Opera Warhorses

An appreciation and analysis of the 'Standard Repertory' of opera

Opera Warhorses random header image

In Quest of Rossini and Bellini – September 2013 to February 2014

September 17th, 2013

In an earlier post in the Quests and Anticipations series, I gave my arguments for considering the Italian opera composers Rossini and Bellini together, and in the posts In Quest of Rossini and Bellini – April to October 2012 and In Quest of Rossini and Bellini – January to August 2013 highlighted performances of their operas in various parts of the United States.

The Fall is a busy time for opera companies, both in North America and Europe. 

Previous postings on the works of other composers, highlighted in my “Quests and Anticipations” series include September and October, 2013 performances of Boito’s “Mefistofele” in San Francisco [In Quest of “High Concept Direction” in Opera Performance – June-September 2013].

Also highlighted are productions of Bizet’s “Carmen” in Los Angeles and Delibes’ “Lakme” in Montreal [Best Bet Revivals of Live Opera Productions May-September, 2013and of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” in Washington, DC [Fall Bets for Wagner Year – Coast to Coast].

Although I would like to see each of the productions I have noted, time and travel considerations prevent me from being be able to see every one. However, those I have highlighted include opera singers or productions that have impressed me previously, and all have my recommendation as worthy of any opera goer’s consideration. 


The Capulets and the Montagues – I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bellini), Lyric Opera of Kansas City, September 21, 25, 27 and 29, 2013.

Joyce DiDonato as Romeo and Nicole Cabell as Giulietta enchanted San Francisco audiences a year previously [see Joyce DiDonato, Nicole Cabell Sing Beautifully in Bellini’s Bel Canto “Capulets and Montagues” – San Francisco Opera, September 29, 2012.

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City brings DiDonato and Cabell again in a new production by Kevin Newbury, whose summer has been devoted to two world premieres [See my reviews of Warm Reception for Adamo’s “Mary Magdalene” – San Francisco Opera, June 19, 2013 and World Premiere of “Oscar” at Santa Fe Opera – July 27, 2013.]

[Below: Joyce DiDonato (right) is Romeo and Nicole Cabell (left) is Giulietta; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph for the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.] 


Tebaldo is sung by the esteemed American tenor William Burden [See my interview at American Orpheus: An Interview with William Burden], whose summer was spent performing in the world premieres staged by Kevin Newbury in San Francisco and Santa Fe.]

Stephen Morscheck is the Capellio. Ward Holmquist conducts.


Norma (Bellini), New York Metropolitan Opera, September 30, October 4, 7, 10, 14, 18, 24, 28 and November 1, 2013.

The title role of this extraordinary opera is one of the greatest soprano roles, and those most successful in the role over the past 18 decades are afforded (and deserve) the title diva. The Met has engaged two such divas.

The amazing Sondra Radvanovsky has conquered diva roles as different as Anna Bolena [Radvanovsky’s Astonishing Anna Bolena Adorns An Admirable Cast – Washington National Opera, October 6, 2012], Lucrezia Borgia [The Donizetti Revival, Second Stage: Radvanovsky, Grigolo in Pascoe’s WNO “Lucrezia Borgia” – November 17, 2008], and Tosca [Sondra Radvanovsky is a Radiant, Transcendent Tosca – Los Angeles Opera, May 18, 2013].

Other performances are sung by the ascending diva Angela Meade [Ssee Legend Making at the Kennedy Center: Angela Meade’s First Norma – Washington National Opera, March 9, 2013

[Below: Oroveso (James Morris, left) looks on as Norma (Sondra Radvanovsky, center) threatens to kill Pollione (Aleksandrs Antonenko, right); edited image of a Nicole Bengiveno photograph for the New York Metropolitan Opera.]


Kate Aldrich and Jamie Barton share assignments as Adalgisa. Aleksandrs Antonenko sings all the Polliones. James Morris and Ievgen Orlov split the Orovesos. The sets are by John Conklin, the stage direction by John Copley. Riccardo Frizza is the conductor.


The Barber of Seville – Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), San Francisco Opera, November 13, 14, 16. 17(m), 19, 20, 22, 23, 26 and 29, 2013.

Spanish stage director/production designer Emilio Sagi, whose brilliant conceptualization of “Barber of Seville” I have praised [See Florez and DiDonato Dominate Los Angeles Opera’s “Barbiere di Siviglia” – December 6, 2009 and Korchak, Coburn and Meachem Illuminate Alternate “Barber of Seville” Cast – Los Angeles Opera, December 5, 2009], promises a new production of Rossini’s eternal hit for the San Francisco Opera.

[Below: Figaro (Lucas Meachem, right) sets about to con Doctor Bartolo (Alessandro Corbelli, left); edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]


As Figaro, Lucas Meachem alternates with Audun Iversen. Isabel Leonard and Daniela Mack alternate the role of Rosina, as do Javier Camarena and Alek Shrader the role of Almaviva. Alessandro Corbelli and Mauricio Muraro are the Doctor Bartolos. Andrea Silvestrelli is Don Basilio in both casts, Catherine Cook the Berta. Giuseppe Finzi conducts all performances.

The sets are designed by Llorenc Corbella, with costumes by Pepa Ojanguren.

[For the performance review, see: Lucas Meachem, Javier Camarena and Isabel Leonard Romp in Sagi’s Sprightly New “Barber of Seville” – San Francisco Opera, November 13, 2013 and Daniela Mack, Alek Shrader, Auden Iversen and Maurizio Muraro Sparkle in San Francisco Opera “Barber of Seville” – November 14, 2013.]


The Barber of Seville – Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Rossini), Lyric Opera of Chicago, February 1, 3, 6(m), 9(m), 15, 18, 21, 25 and 28(m), 2014.

Lyric Opera of Chicago revives “Barber of Seville” with a solid cast consisting of Nathan Gunn as Figaro, Isabel Leonard as Rosina, Alek Shrader as Almaviva, and Alessandro Corbelli as Barolo. Kyle Ketelsen is the Basilio. Michele Mariotti is the conductor.

[Below: Alek Shrader (left) is Almaviva and Isabel Leonard is Rosina in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of”Barber of Seville”; resized image of a Dan Rest photograph for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.]


Rob Ashford is the production designer, with sets by Scott Pask and costumes by Caterhine Zuber.



Tags: Quests and Anticipations