Opera Warhorses

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

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Selected French and German Opera Offerings Coast to Coast April-August, 2014

March 1st, 2014

This feature highlights selected performances of two French and two German operas being performed between April and August 2014, in San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Fe and Glimmerglass, New York.

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed between April and August, 2014:

These are Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” in San Francisco in June, 1014 [See In Quest of Italian Opera Core Repertory Masterpieces in the American Southwest, January, June 2014]; 

Kern’s “Show Boat” in San Francisco and Bizet’s “Carmen” in Santa Fe [See Popular Opera Offerings in Southwestern Vacation Destinations – March-September, 2014.


Don Quixote – Don Quichotte  (Massenet), San Diego Opera, April 5, 8, 11 and 13(m), 2014.

The San Diego Opera in 2009 created a new production of Massenet’s late career masterpiece “Don Quichotte” about the adventures of the would-be Spanish knight-errant Don Quixote, his sidekick Sancho and the woman he desires to be his Lady-Love, Dulcinea.

Furlanetto returns to San Diego as Quixote and Eduardo Chama reprises his role as Sancho.

[Below: Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Quixote with Eduardo Chama as Sancho Panza; edited image of a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the San Diego Opera.]


The Dulcinea for the 2014 revival is to be mezzo-soprano Anke Vondung, returning after her successful San Diego Opera debut as Octavian in Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier”. Karen Keltner conducts. Keturan Stickann will be stage director.

[For my review of Furlanetto’s previous San Diego Quixote, see: Furlanetto, Campbell Lead Compelling Revival of Massenet’s “Don Quixote” – San Diego Opera February 14, 2009.]

[For my performance review, see: Ferruccio Furlanetto’s Masterful “Don Quixote” – San Diego Opera, April 5, 2014.]


Thais (Massenet), Los Angeles Opera, May 17, 25, 29, June 1, 4 and 7, 2014

Three of my favorite singers, baritone Placido Domingo, soprano Nino Machaidze and tenor Paul Groves are scheduled to be Athanael, Thais and Nicias in a Spanish production of Massenet’s exotic opera, Thais, about a courtesan whom the believer Athanael has converted to religious purity, just as Athanael finds himself overcome by attraction to Thais’ fleshly charms.

[Below: Athanael (Placido Domingo, right) expresses his passion for Thais (Nino Machaidze, left); edited image, based on a copyrighted production photograph from the Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville.]


The smaller roles are to be sung by Valentin Anikin, Milena Kitic, Hae Ji Change and Rebeccal Nathanson, and Cassandra Zoe Velasco.

The production is directed by Nicola Raab with sets and costumes by Johan Engel. It is conducted by Patrick Fournillier, making his Los Angeles Opera debut. The team of Raab, Engel, Fournillier and Domingo previously mounted this work at Göteborg, Sweden; Valencia and Seville, Spain; and Helsinki, Finland.

[For my performance review, see: Placido Domingo, Nino Machaidze In a Triumphant “Thaïs” – Los Angeles Opera, May 17, 2014.]


Fidelio (Beethoven), Santa Fe Opera, July 12, 16, 25, 31, August 5, 12 and 21, 2014

Stage Director Stephen Wadsworth, who conceptualized Seattle Opera’s spectacular productions of Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelungs” as well as the 2012 Santa Fe Opera production of Szymanowski’s “King Roger” returns to Santa Fe for a new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio”.

[Below: Production designer/stage director Stephen Wadsworth; resized image of a publicity photograph.]


Alex Penda is the scheduled Leonore, Paul Groves the Florestan. The Don Pizarro is Greer Grimsley.

Rounding out the principal cast is Devon Guthrie (Marzelline), Joshua Dennis (Jacquino), Manfred Hemm (Rocco) and Evan Hughes (Don Fernando).

Sets are by Charles Corcoran, costumes by Camille Assaf. Harry Bicket, Santa Fe Opera’s newly installed principal conductor is in the pit.

[For my reviews of recent Stephen Wadsworth productions, see World Treasure: Seattle Opera’s Gripping and Glorious “Götterdämmerung” – August 9, 2013 and also Mariusz Kwiecien in Reverential, Resplendent “King Roger” – Santa Fe Opera – August 3, 2012.]


Ariadne auf Naxos (Richard Strauss), July 19, 22(m), August 2(m), 8, 17(m), 21 and 23(m), 2014

Richard Strauss’ masterwork – about a wealthy patron who demands that performances of a comic and tragic opera that were to be performed consecutively to save time should be performed simultaneously instead – will be the subject of a new production by Glimmerglass Festival Artistic Director Francesca Zambello.

Christine Goerke, 2014’s Artist in Residence stars in the title role. Rachele Gilmore, whose Amina in Bellini’s “La Sonnambula” I recently praised, will be Zerbinetta. Catherine Martin is the Composer and Corey Bix the Bacchus. Veteran Wynn Harmon is the Master of the Estate.

[Below: Christine Goerke, right, as Ariadne, sharing her island of Naxos with Harlequin (Carlton Ford, left),  Scaramuccio (Andrew Penning, second from right), Truffaldino (Gerard Michael D’Emilio, center, below),  and Brighella (Brian Ross Yeakley, center above) edited image, based on a Karli Cadel photograph, courtesy of the Glimmerglass Festival.]


Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists Adam Ciofari, Gerard Michael D’Emilio, Jacqueline Echols, Carlton Ford, Jeni Hauser, John Kapusta, Beth Lytwynec, Cooper Nolan, Andrew Penning, Thomas Richards, Vince Wallace and Hrian Yeakley are cast in Strauss’  brilliantly conceived smaller roles.

Kathleen Kelly conducts. The sets are by Troy Hourie, the costumes by Erik Teague. Eric Sean Fogel is choreographer.

[For my review of another an earlier production with Christine Goerke’s Ariadne, see: Goerke, Claycomb, Graham in Stylishly Accessible “Ariadne auf Naxos” – Houston Grand Opera, April 29, 2011. See also: “Sonnambula” Reawakened: Rachele Gilmore’s, Michele Angelini’s Artistry, Vocal Fireworks Enliven Bellini’s Masterpiece – Florida Grand Opera, February 9, 2013.]

 [For the performance review, see: Review: Zambello’s Dazzling New “Ariadne in Naxos” Enchants Glimmerglass Festival Audiences – July 19, 2014.]

Tags: Quests and Anticipations