Ivor Bolton and Kasper Holten collaborate on Wagner

Teatro Real and Royal Opera House Covent Garden (ROH) have announced a new co-production of Wagner’s Das Liebesverbot. The opera runs at Teatro Madrid between 19 February and 5 March. Composed by Wagner at the tender age of 21, the libretto is based on Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and tells a tale of sexual frustration and hypocrisy.

Englishman Ivor Bolton will direct the music, while outgoing ROH director of opera Kasper Holten takes care of stage direction. The double cast includes Christopher Maltman and James Rutherford (Friedrich), Andrew Staples and Peter Lodahl (Lucio), Manuela Uhl and Sonja Gornik (Isabella), Ante Jerkunica and Martin Winkler (Brighella), and Bernard Richter (Claudio).

‘With this opera he [Wagner] rather tried to compose an Italian or French style comic opera,’ said Holten, ‘it is amazing to hear glimpses of the great composing potential that Wagner went on to develop.’

The opera is seldom performed, and this will be the first time the full opera has been staged in Spain. It was only fully performed once during Wagner’s lifetime; a fight broke out among the cast on the second night, with the show (which had attracted an audience of just three) being cancelled.

A DVD of the production is planned, co-produced by Teatro Real, Francois Roussillon et Associes, TVE and ARTE. It will also be broadcast on Teatro Real’s digital channel Palco Digital on 28 February at 8pm. Radio Clásica are broadcasting the show live on 5 March.