Opera Warhorses

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

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In Quest of Operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss: March-November, 2015

February 18th, 2015

Below is a list of performances of operas by German composer Richard Wagner and Austrian composer Richard Strauss that I am scheduled to attend and review between March and November 2015.


This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed from February 2015 through March 2016:

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.]

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the San Diego Opera and Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro” at the Los Angeles Opera [See In Quest of the “Da Ponte” Mozart Operas – October 2014-March 2015.]

Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Popular Verdi Operas – October 2014 to Summer 2015.]

Poulenc’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites” at the Washington National Opera, Handel’s “Semele” at the Seattle Opera, Berlioz’ “TheTrojans (Les Troyens)” at the San Francisco Opera, and Vivaldi’s “Cato in Utica” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of Less Well-Known Operas – February to August, 2015.]

Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” at the Los Angeles Opera and the San Francisco Opera and Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” at the San Francisco Opera and the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of “Figaro” Operas – February 2015 through February 2016.]


The Flying Dutchman – Die Fliegende Holländer (Wagner), Washington National Opera, March 7, 9, 11, 13, 15(m), 19 and 21, 2015.

Stephen Lawless’ staging with sets designed by Giles Cadle, first seen in the Kennedy Center in 2008 (originating at the New York City Opera in the ill-fated month September 20o1) is revived by Washington National Opera for seven performances in 2015..

The opening night cast consists of Eric Owens as the Dutchman, Christiane Libor as Senta, Jay Hunter Morris as Erik and Ain Anger as Daland.

[Below: Erik (Jay Hunter Morris, left) expresses his concern at the obsession of Senta (Christiane Libor, right); edited image of a Scott Suchmann photograph, courtesy of the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center.]


On March 11, Jennifer Root is Senta and Alan Held (the Dutchman in this production’s first season) repeats his original role. Peter Volpe is Daland for the performances of March 19 and 21. Sheila Adler is Mary throughout. Phillippe Auguin conducts the first five performances, Eric Weimer the last two.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Fair Weather and a Well-Sung “Flying Dutchman” at Washington National Opera – March 7, 2015,]


Die Walküre (Wagner), Houston Grand Opera, April 18, 22, 25, 30 and May 3(m), 2015.

Dramatic soprano Christine Goerke continues her exploration of the role of Brünnhilde, with which she will have a close association for the next few years to come.

The formidable cast includes Karita Mattila as Sieglinde and Simon O’Neill as Siegmund, Jamie Barton as Fricka and Ain Anger as Hunding. Patrick Summers conducts.

[Below: Brunnhilde (Christine Goerke, center front) with four of her valkyrie sisters; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.]


This is the second part of “Ring of the Nibelungs” production conceived by La Fura dels Baus, the creative team associated with the wildly popular opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Carlus Padrissa directs the production that was previously performed in Valencia, Spain. Roland Olbeter designed the sets, Chu Uroz the costumes.

[For my performance review, see:  Review: Houston “Walküre” Showcases Christine Goerke’s Astonishing Brünnhilde, Karita Mattila’s Stunning Sieglinde – Houston Grand Opera, April 25, 2015.]


Salome (Richard Strauss), Santa Fe Opera, July 18, 22, 31, August 6, 11, 18 and 27, 2015.

An early career success of British director Daniel Slater’s 2001 American debut producing Berg’s “Wozzeck” at the Santa Fe Opera, which was revived recently. He returns to Santa Fe to create a production of Richard Strauss’ “Salome” in which dramatic soprano Alex Penda (last summer’s Leonore in Beethoven’s “Fidelio” at Santa Fe Opera) will assay the title role. Leslie Travers is Scenic Designer.

[Below: Salome (Alex Penda) invades the study of John the Baptist (Ryan McKinny); resized image, based on a publicity photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]


Playing the mother Herodias and stepfather Herod whose nurturing of their daughter shows deficient parenting skills are respectively Michaela Martens and Robert Brubaker. Ryan McKinny extends his exploration of the German dramatic baritone roles as Jokanaan. Brian Jagde is Narraboth. The conductor is David Robertson.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Penda, McKinny, Brubaker, Jagde Impress in Daniel Slater’s Psychiatrically Searing “Salome” – Santa Fe Opera, July 31, 2015.]


Die Meistersinger (Wagner), San Francisco Opera, November 18, 21, 24, 27, December 2 and 6, 2015.

Wagner’s great comic masterpiece returns to the San Francisco Opera’s War Memorial Opera House in a co-production between San Francisco Opera, the Glyndebourne (England) Festival and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the latter two who have already performed it.

Although Sir David McVicar shifted “Die Meistersinger’s” action and costumes from late medieval times to the early 19th century (the year of Wagner’s birth in 1813), it introduces no “modernisms” into Wagner’s story.

[Below: Hans Sachs (James Rutherford, front center left, with arms upstretched) welcomes the crowds to the singing contest in Sir David McVicar’s production of Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger”; edited image, based on a production photograph, for the San Francisco Opera.]


The cast is exemplary, led by the Hans Sachs of Greer Grimsley, the Walther von Stolzing of Brandon Jovanovich, and the Eva of Rachel Willis-Sorensen, in her San Francisco Opera debut. Alek Shrader is David and Sasha Cooke is Maddalena. Martin Gantner and Ain Anger in San Francisco Opera debuts are respectively Beckmesser and Pogner. Also noteworthy in the large cast are Andrea Silvestrelli and Joel Sorensen.

Sir Mark Elder (San Francisco Opera debut) conducts. Marie Lambert directs the revival. Ian Robertson, who was guest chorus master when the production was mounted by Lyric Opera directs his home opera chorus in one of the most demanding choral parts in all of  opera.

[For my performance review, see: Review: McVicar’s Magical, Masterful “Meistersinger” – San Francisco Opera, November 18, 2015 .]


Tags: Quests and Anticipations