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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Hytner back at Royal Opera House
Production of The Valkyrie, part of Wagner's Ring
The season will showcase a full version of Wagner's The Ring
National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner is to return to the Royal Opera House for the first time in 20 years.

He will be back to direct a new production of Verdi's grand opera Don Carlo, which starts in June next year.

The news came as the Covent Garden opera house unveiled its plans for the 2007/8 season.

Other highlights include the complete four-opera cycle of Wagner's The Ring, which will also mark the return of Placido Domingo.

Mr Hytner last directed The Knot Garden at the opera house in 1988.

American singer Deborah Voigt is another name set to return to the Royal Opera House in the title role of the Strauss opera Ariadne Auf Naxos.

Ms Voight hit the headlines in 2004 when she claimed she was sacked for being too fat for the role of Ariadne - a claim the Royal Opera House has dismissed as "a load of rubbish".

Meanwhile, the new ballet season will feature a new production of George Balanchine's Jewels, as well as six full-length performances including Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake.

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