Opera Warhorses

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

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In Quest of Mozart Operatic Magic – July 2015 to March 2016

May 4th, 2015

Below is a list of performances of Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera” and “The Magic Flute” that I am scheduled to review:


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

Tutino’s “Two Women (La Ciociara)” at the San Francisco Opera, Higdon’s “Cold Mountain” at the Santa Fe Opera, Heggie’s “Great Scott” at The Dallas Opera and Adamo’s “Becoming Santa Claus” at The Dallas Opera [See In Quest of Operatic World Premieres – June-December, 2015.]

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

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.

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.]



The Magic Flute (Mozart), Glimmerglass Festival, July 10, 20(m), 23, 25(m), 28(m), August 2(m), 7, 10(m), 14, 18(m) and 23(m), 2015.

Madeline Sayet, the Connecticut author/director who celebrates the Mohegan culture from which she is descended, is creating a new production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute” for the 2015 Glimmerglass Festival.

Sayet’s ancestral lines include Mohegan medicine women, the last fluent speaker of Mohegan and (particularly germane to Glimmerglass and nearby Cooperstown) the Sachem Uncas, the great chief of John Fenimore Cooper’s classic novel The Last of the Mohicans.

[Below:Tamino (Sean Panikkar), magic flute in hand, goes further into the woods; edited image of a photograph, courtesy of the Glimmerglass Festival.]


Sean Panikkar is Tamino, Jacqueline Echols is Pamina and Ben Edquist is Papageno. Sarastro is sung by Soloman Howard, the Queen of the Night by So Young Park. Carolyn Kuan conducts.

For my interview with the opera’s conductor see: Rising Stars – An Interview with Conductor Carolyn Kuan.

For my interview with the lead tenor see: Rising Stars: An Interview with Sean Panikkar, Part 1.

For my performance review, see: Review: Sean Panikkar, So Young Park Brilliant in Madeline Sayet’s “Magic Flute” – Glimmerglass Festival, July 20, 2015.


La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart), Santa Fe Opera, July 25, 29, August 7, 13 and 21, 2015

British director Tim Albery returns to the Santa Fe Opera for Mozart’s “Finta Giardiniera”. His last previous work in Santa Fe was the elegant 2012 production of Richard Strauss’ “Arabella”. For 2015 he turns to the 18-year old Mozart’s comedy of disguises and intrigues.

[Below: Sandrina (Heidi Stober) has momentarily lost her mind; edited image of a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]


A stellar group of Santa Fe Opera veterans has been assembled. Heidi Stober is Sandrina, Susanna Philips is Arminda. William Burden sings Podesta and Joshua Hopkins Nardo. Others in the cast are Laura Tatulescu as Serpetta and Joel Prieto as Count Belfiore.

Harry Bicket conducts. Hildegard Bechtler is Scenic Deisgner and Jon Morrell is Costume Designer.

For my performance review, see: Review: “La Finta Giardiniera”: Madcap Mozart at the Santa Fe Opera – July 29, 2015.


The Magic Flute (Mozart), San Francisco Opera, October 20, 25(m), 27, 29, November 4, 8(m), 12, 14, 17 and 20, 2015.

Omaha-based artist and ceramicist Jun Kaneko has produced a trio of colorful, inventive opera productions. The San Francisco Opera premiered one of these, “The Magic Flute” in 2012. (The other two are Kaneko’s productions of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and Beethoven’s “Fidelio”.

[Below: visual projections, constantly in motion, from the Jun Kaneko production of Mozart’s “Magic Flute”; edited image of a Cory Weaver photograph for the San Francisco Opera.]


For the revival, San Francisco casts Paul Appleby (San Francisco Opera debut) as Tamino, Nadine Sierra as Pamina and Philippe Sly as Papageno. Albina Shagimuratova, the original Kaneko production’s Queen of the Night, reprises the role. Alfred Reiter is Sarastro, Greg Fedderly is Monostatos.

The Opera de Marseille’s music director, Lawrence Foster, whom I had praised for his conducting of Lalo’s “Le Roi d’Ys” in Marseille, makes his San Francisco Opera debut.

[For my previous performance reviews, see: Perfect Game: Gunn, Shagimuratova Shine in New Kaneko-Designed “Magic Flute” – San Francisco Opera, June 13, 2012 and A Second Look: the Kaneko-Gockley Production of “Magic Flute” – San Francisco Opera, June 24, 2012.

[For my performance review, see: Review: The Jun Kaneko “Magic Flute” Revived – San Francisco Opera, October 20, 2015.]


The Magic Flute (Mozart), Los Angeles Opera, February 13, 20, 24, 28(m), March 2 and March 6(m), 2016.

James Conlon, Los Angeles Opera’s music director, conducts the revival of the Barrie Kosky production of “The Magic Flute”. Ben Bliss is Tamino; Marita Solberg is Pamina, Jonathan Michie is Papageno and So Young Park is the Queen of the Night. Wilhelm Schwinghammer is Sarastro and Brenton Ryan is Monostatos.

The action is shifted to 1927, with sets and costumes by Esther Blalas.

[Below: a scene from the Barrie Kosky production of “The Magic Flute”; edited image of a production photograph.]


The concept and extraordinary animation is the work of Paul Barrit, in collaboration with Suzanne Andrade and Kosky.

[For my previous performance review, see: Outrageously Inventive, Unceasingly Entertaining – Kosky/Andrade /Barritt’s Silent Movie “Magic Flute” Wows L. A. – Los Angeles Opera, November 23, 2013.]

[For the performance review, see: Beautiful Singing from a Silent Screen “Magic Flute” – Los Angeles Opera, February 24, 2016.]

Tags: Quests and Anticipations