Opera Warhorses

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

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In Quest of Operatic World Premieres – June-December, 2015

March 28th, 2015

Below is a list of world premieres of new operas, which I will be reviewing between June and December, 2015. 


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

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at the Houston Grand Opera and the San Francisco Opera and Bernstein’s “Candide” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of American “Opera Repertory-Expanding” Musical Works, March-September, 2015.]

Wagner’s “Die Walkure” at the Houston Grand Opera, Richard Strauss’ “Salome” at the Santa Fe Opera and Wagner’s “Die Meistersinger” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of Operas by Wagner and Richard Strauss: March-November, 2015.

Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” at the Santa Fe Opera, Verdi’s “Macbeth” at the Glimmerglass Festival and Verdi’s “Nabucco” at the Seattle Opera [See In Quest of Donizetti and Early Verdi – March 2015 through August 2015.]

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.]

Berlioz’ “The Trojans (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 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.]


Tutino, “Two Women (La Ciociara)”, San Francisco Opera, June 13, 19, 23, 28(m) and 30, 2015 

Two refugee women struggle to survive in a rural Italian community against the backdrop of the German World War II invasion of Italy as the Fascist government of Mussolini falls.

[Below: Cesira (Anna Caterina Antonacci, center) stands in front of Rosetta (Sarah Shafer, third from left), in an attempt to protect her from Moroccan soldiers; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]


Anna Caterina Antonacci, returning to the San Francisco Opera after an absence of 17 years and Sarah Shafer are respectively the mother Cesura and daughter Rosetta. The male leads are Dmitri Pittas as Michele and Mark Delavan as Giovanni. Nicola Luisotti conducts in a production created by Francesca Zambello with sets by Peter Davison.

[For my performance review, see: World Premiere Review: Tutino’s Melodic, Melodramatic “Two Women (La Ciociara)” Makes a Strong First Impression – San Francisco Opera, June 13, 2015.]


Higdon, “Cold Mountain”, Santa Fe Opera, August 1, 5, 14, 17 and 22, 2015.

Based on Charles Frazier’s novel about a Confederate deserter, the Santa Fe Opera production commemorates the 150th anniversary of the end of the American Civil War. The music is that of Jennifer Higdon to a libretto by Gene Scheer (“Moby Dick”).

[Below: Isabel Leonard as Ada Monroe; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

S FE COLD 16 (400) ADA

The scheduled cast includes Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard, Emily Fons, Jay Hunter Morris, Roger Honeywell, Anthony Michaels-Moore, Kevin Burdette and Robert Pomakov. Miguel Harth-Bedoya conducts.

[For my performance review, see: World Premiere Review: All-Star Cast and Crew, Ardent Audience Ovation for Higdon’s “Cold Mountain” – Santa Fe Opera, August 1, 2015.]


Heggie, “Great Scott”, The Dallas Opera, October 30, November 1, 4, 7 and 15, 2015.

A new comic opera, composed by Jake Heggie with a libretto by Terrence McNally, stars Joyce DiDonato, Ailyn Pérez, Federica von Stade, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Kevin Burdette and Nathan Gunn.

The comic set-up: the famous opera singer Arden Scott (Joyce DiDonato) has agreed to bring an operatic masterpiece she has rediscovered to her home town in an effort to save an opera company in a financial death spiral. Unfortunately, the premiere’s date conflicts with the Super Bowl, and the home city’s team is one of the contenders in that event.

[Below: Joyce DiDonato as Arden Scott; edited image, based on a Karen Almond photograph, courtesy of The Dallas Opera.]


A co-production with the San Diego Opera, this is The Dallas Opera’s second Jake Heggie world premiere, taking place five and a half years after his sensational “Moby Dick” was launched there [See World Premiere: Heggie’s Theatrically Brilliant, Melodic “Moby Dick” at Dallas Opera – April 30, 2010.]

[For my performance review, see:  World Premiere Review: Heggie’s “Great Scott” is a Great New Opera, Hilarious, Endearing, Sophisticated, Profound – The Dallas Opera, October 30, 2015.]


Adamo, “Becoming Santa Claus”, December 4, 6, 9 and 12, 2015.

Carlisle Floyd, the composer of “Susannah” and of “Of Mice and Men”, in the opinion of many opera-goers, including myself, is the Dean of American Opera Composers.  In my recent interview with him [see Dean of American Opera Composers: An Interview with Carlisle Floyd] he said that the two composers of the younger generation that most impressed him were Jake Heggie and Mark Adamo.

The Dallas Opera devotes its Fall to world premieres of operas by both Heggie and Adamo (and the Houston Grand Opera hosts the world premiere next Spring of Floyd’s new opera “Prince of Players”. My plan is to be at all three world premieres.)

[Below: Prince Claus (Jonathan Black, second from right) is surrounded by an entourage of elves in Adamo’s “Becoming Santa Claus”; resized image of a illustration, courtesy of The Dallas Opera.]


Although Santa Claus is an iconic image for children, we rarely think about what Santa Claus himself was like as a kid. Adamo’s opera will fill in the backstory, based on a children’s story by Holly and Tom Mayer and Maile Shea.

The opera stars Juan José de León, Jennifer Rivera, Kevin Burdette and Matthew Boehler. Emmanuel Villaume conducts in a production staged by Scottish director Paul Curran.

[For the performance review, see: World Premiere Review: A Lavish Dallas Opera Production for Mark Adamo’s “Becoming Santa Claus” – December 4, 2015.]

Tags: Quests and Anticipations