This production co-produced with Teatro Real, Madrid and Rome Opera is the first return of the opera to the Royal Opera stage in nearly 20 years and welcomes back the incomparable Deborah Warner, who has made a career staging Britten.
This time, it's Rumspringawakening: L'opera ragazzo Amish, and it's definitely a must-see. No spoilers, but you should know that it's by no means safe for work.
You'll also hear soprano/composer Danika Lorèn's curiously titled The Secret Lives of Vegetables, and in a guarantee for laughs, the song cycle by Toronto favourite Peter Tiefenbach, Chansons de mon placard.
So confident was I that I almost took it for granted; so, when Mahler's music began, it was as though it dragged me by the nape of my neck through an emotional rollercoaster I didn't know I needed.
"It's like when you meet a love for the first time and for the first two months it's ecstatic love. That's what I need to do with my music and with roles; to have that spark at all times because it's what refreshes me."
The plot is rather fantastical even compared to some of Strauss' prior works, to the point that I would almost be tempted to call it hallucinogenic: Helen and Menelaus find themselves washed up on an island where a sorceress enchants Menelaus to fall in love with Helen all over again.
"Getting my hands dirty planting the earth, tending to the land with a chainsaw, baking and brewing, reading, and maybe driving up the Highway 1 coastline will ultimately blow out any cobwebs. Also, long walks and hikes really get my ideas flowing."
He subjects Faust to a writhing, grotesque circus; tormenting him with visions of a pregnant Marguerite, and a dead Valentin. Schrott is maniacal and callous, delighting in the pain of others and becoming more despicable every moment he is on stage.
The comedy of this silly, convoluted plot is no longer dependent on racist stereotypes, imagery and impersonations; instead it forces the players step up to the plate and be imaginative.
The highly engaged audience was obviously enthralled with all elements of this production, laughing uproariously at onstage antics and giving hearty applause where appropriate (including at one especially effective lighting gag).