Opera Warhorses

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A Selection of Popular Puccini Opera Performances – July 2014-January 2015

June 22nd, 2014

This feature highlights selected performances of the Puccini operas at the Glimmerglass Festival and the San Francisco and San Diego Operas I am scheduled to review.

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed from July, 2014 through February, 2015.

These are Bizet’s “Carmen” in Santa Fe and Verdi’s “La Traviata” in Los Angeles [See Popular Opera Offerings in Southwestern Vacation Destinations – March-September, 2014], 

Beethoven’s “Fidelio” in Santa Fe and Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Glimmerglass Festival, New York [See Selected French and German Opera Offerings Coast to Coast April-August, 2014]; 

Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” in Santa Fe and Bellini’s “Norma” and Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” in San Francisco [See “Bel Canto” Italian Works in Toronto and the American Southwest – April-October, 2014and

Rogers’ and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” and Picker’s “An American Tragedy” at the Glimmerglass, New York, Floyd’s “Susannah” at the San Francisco Opera, and Corigliani’s “The Ghosts of  Versailles” at the Los Angeles Opera [See In Quest of Opera Company Performances of American Works – July 2014 to February 2015.]



Madama Butterfly (Puccini), Glimmerglass Festival,  July 11, 13(m), 17, 21(m), 24, 26, 29(m), August 3(m), 9, 15, 18(m) and 21, 2104.

I reported on Francesca Zambello’s ideas about “Madama Butterfly” in a revival of her classic production [See Racette, Ventre Impress in Zambello-Inspired “Butterfly” at San Diego Opera- May 20, 2009]. Zambello will give who personal attention to the restaging “Butterfly” for the Glimmerglass Festival’s opening production.

[Below: Lieutenant Pinkerton (Dinyar Vanya, right) enters into a marriage contract with Cio-Cio San (Yunah Lee); edited image, based on a photograph, courtesy of the Glimmerglass Festival.]


South Korean soprano Yunah Lee is Butterfly, India-born American tenor Dinyar Vania is Pinkerton. Russian-American bass-baritone Aleksey Bogdanov, whose work at the Washington National Opera I have praised, returns to Glimmerglass as Sharpless.

Others in the cast include Glimmerglass Young Artists California mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi as Suzuki, District of Columbia tenor Ian McEuen as Goro, Kansas baritone Sean Michael Plumb as Prince Yamadori, Minnesota bass-baritone Thomas Richards as the Bonze and New York mezzo-soprano Erica Schoelkopf as Kate Pinkerton.

Joseph Colaneri will conduct. The sets are by Michael Yeargan, with costumes by Anita Yavich.

[For my perfromance review, see: Review: Yunah Lee Leads Impressive Cast in Glimmerglass Festival “Madama Butterfly” – July 17, 2014.]


Tosca (Puccini), San Francisco Opera, October 23, 26(m), November 1, 4 and 8, 2014

In my review of June, 2014’s San Francisco Opera production of “Madama Butterfly” [House of Puccini: Jun Kaneko’s Enchanting “Madama Butterfly” Soars at War Memorial – San Francisco Opera, June 15, 2014] I suggested that the War Memorial Opera House, the S. F. Opera’s home, was a perfect setting for Puccini’s operas.

In fact, opera-goers have the opportunity to see Puccini’s three most popular operas – “Boheme”, “Butterfly” and “Tosca” (that happen to be the three most performed operas in San Francisco Opera history) at the War Memorial during 2014.

[Below: Mario Cavaradossi (Brian Jagde, center) expresses forbidden revolutionary sentiments to the police chief, Baron Scarpia (Mark Delavan, left) as Tosca (Lianna Haroutounian, right) tries to restrain him; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera..]


Tosca will be sung by Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian. Rising star tenor Brian Jagde will be Mario Cavaradossi.

Mark Delavan, the Wotan in San Francisco Opera’s 2011 cycles of Francesca Zambello’s production of Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelungs” will be the Baron Scarpia [See The Dawning of a New Wotan: Interview with Mark Delavan Part 1 and The Dawning of a New Wotan – An Interview with Mark Delavan, Part 2.]

Jose Maria Condemi, whom I have praised  in this production’s most recent mountings [See  “Tosca” Surprise in San Francisco – Angela Gheorghiu, Melody Moore Split Role of Tosca, Massimo Giordano Excels as Cavaradossi- November 15, 2012 and House of Puccini: Striking San Francisco Opera “Tosca” with Pieczonka, Ataneli and Ventre – June 14, 2009 again will be the stage director.

Riccardo Frizza will conduct. The sets, by Thierry Bosquet, recreate the sets for the “Tosca” production that opened the War Memorial Opera House in 1932.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Lianna Haroutounian Triumphs as Tosca – San Francisco Opera, October 23, 2014.] 


La Boheme (Puccini), San Francisco Opera, November, 14, 15, 19, 20, 22, 23(m), 25, 29, 30(m), December 2, 3, 5 and 7(m), 2014

British theater and opera director-designer John Caird’s production of  “La Boheme” is scheduled for 13 performances, with two alternating casts.

Alternating as Mimi are Greek soprano Alexia Voulgaridou and Leah Crocetto. The Rodolfos are Michael Fabiano [see Rising Stars: An Interview with Michael Fabiano] and Giorgio Berrugi.

[Below: Rodolfo (Michael Fabiano, left) consoles the dying Mimi (Alexia Voulgaridou, right); edited image of a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]


The Musettas are Nadine Sierra and Ellie Dehn. The Marcellos are Alexey Markov and Brian Mulligan [See Rising Stars: An Interview with Brian Mulligan]. Christian Van Horn (Colline), Hadleigh Adams (Schaunard) and Dale Travis (Benoit/Alcindoro) appear with both casts.

[For my performance reviews , see: Review: Michael Fabiano, Alexia Voulgaridou are Vocally Splendid in John Caird’s Cleverly Conceived “La Boheme” – San Francisco Opera, November 14, 2014 and Review: Crocetto, Berrugi, Dehn, Mulligan Star in Well-sung, Intelligently-Acted “La Boheme” – San Francisco Opera, November 15, 2014.]


La Boheme (Puccini), San Diego Opera, January 24, 27, 29 and February 1(m), 2015.

The eyes of the opera world will be on the opening of the 50th season of the San Diego Opera, the company having survived a near-death experience when its Board of Directors voted to liquidate the company at the end of its 49th season.

A community groundswell of opposition to the board’s action led to the election of a new board, a successful fund-raising effort, and confirmation that most of the originally announced 2015 season will be performed after all.

[Below: Allyson Cambridge is the Mimi; edited image of a professional photograph.]


Allyson Cambridge will be Mimi; Harold Meers is the Rodolfo, Morgan Smith the Marcello. Sara Gartland is Musetta, Malcolm Mackenzie is Schaunard. Karen Keltner conducts.

Tags: Quests and Anticipations