Opera Warhorses

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

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Engaging Operatic Fare in Texas – October 2015 – March 2016

August 28th, 2015

There is much of interest for opera-goers in the 2015-16 seasons of the Houston Grand Opera and The Dallas Opera. Below are four productions I am scheduled to review between the months of October 2015 through March 2016. One is a world premiere, three are significant productions of major operas that tend to be mounted less often than they should be.


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

Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” and Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the San Francisco Opera, Bellini’s “Norma” at the Los Angeles Opera and Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart) at the Seattle Opera. [See In Quest of High Drama in Early 19th Century Opera – September 2015 to March 2016.]

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera [See In Quest of Mozart Operatic Magic – July 2015 to March 2016.]

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.]

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

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

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

Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” and Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” at the Los Angeles Opera and Getty’s “Usher House” and Debussy’s “La Chute de la Maison Usher” at the San Francisco Opera [See Anticipated Operatic “Double Bills” in Los Angeles and San Francisco – Fall, 2015.]


Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky), Houston Grand Opera, October 30, November 1(m), 7, 10 and 13, 2015.

Robert Carsen’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”, created originally for the Metropolitan Opera with sets and costumes designed by Michael Levine, and now owned by Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company, opens in Houston October 30 for five performances. Paula Suozzi is revival director.

Michael Hofstetter conducts. The cast is led by Scott Hendricks as Onegin, Katie Van Kooten as Tatyana and Norman Reinhardt as Lensky.

[Below: Lensky (Norman Reinhardt, second from right) introduces Eugene Onegin (Scott Hendricks, right) to Madame Larina (Cynthia Clayton, center), Olga (Megan Samarin, third from left) Tatyana (Katie Van Kooten, second from left) and the Nurse, Filipyevna (Larissa Diadkova, left).]


Dmitry Belosselskiy is Pince Gremin, David Cangelosi Monsieur Triquet. Megan Samarin is Olga, Larissa Diadkova is Filipyevna, Cynthia Clayton Madame Larina, Federico De Michelis as Zaretsky and Ben Edquist as the Captain.

[For my performance review, see: Review: A Praiseworthy “Eugene Onegin” in Robert Carsen’s “World Treasure” Production – Houston Grand Opera, November 1, 2015.]


Rusalka (Dvorak), Houston Grand Opera, January 29, 31(m), February 6, 9 and 12, 2016.

Melly Still’s production of Dvorak’s “Rusalka” with Rae Smith’s sets created a stir at the 2009 Glyndebourne Festival. The Rusalka of that production, Ana Maria Martinez, re-creates her role for Houston Grand Opera.

[Below: The Prince (Brian Jagde, right) joins Rusalka (Ana Maria Martinez) in her mysterious world; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.] 


In Houston, her Prince is Brian Jagde. Maria Hudeling is the Foreign Princess. Richard Paul Fink is Vodnik and Jill Grove is Jezibaba. Others in the cast are Keith Jameson, D’Ana Lombard, Sofia Selowsky, Megan Samarin, Mane Galoyan and Chris Bozeka. Harry Bicket conducts.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Powerful Performances by Martinez, Jagde in “Rusalka” – Houston Grand Opera, January 29, 2016.]


Manon (Massenet), The Dallas Opera, March 4, 6, 9 and 12, 2016.

Sir David McVicar’s production of Massenet’s “Manon” is revived in Dallas by E. Loren Meeker with a cast led by Ailyn Pérez as Manon and Stephen Costello as the Chevalier des Grieux. The set and costume designer is Tanya McCallin.

[Below: the Chevalier des Grieux (Stephen Costello, top) comforts the dying Manon (Ailyn Pérez, below) in Sir David McVicar’s production of “Manon”; edited image, based on a Karen Almond photograph, courtesy of The Dallas Opera.]


Edwin Crossley-Mercer is Lescaut and David Pittsinger the Comte des Grieux. The conductor is Graeme Jenkins.

[For my performance review, see: Review: A Magnificent “Manon” starring Ailyn Pérez and Stephen Costello – The Dallas Opera, March 4, 2016 .]


Prince of Players (Floyd), Houston Grand Opera, March 5, 9, 11 and 13(m), 2016.

Carlyle Floyd’s latest opera is “Prince of Players” will have its world premiere in March with four non-subscription performances.

Baritone Ben Edquist stars as Edward Kynaston, a famous interpreter of women’s parts in the London theaters during the Restoration era of King Charles II. An edict of Charles II rescinds a historic ban on women appearing onstage and also prohibits men from playing women’s parts, actions that would have destroyed Kynaston’s livelihood. How he copes is the subject of the opera.

[Below: Edward Kynaston (Ben Edquist, right) in a bawdy house woman’s costume is rescued from a beating by Margaret Hughes (Mane Galoyan, left); resized image of a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.]


Also in the cast are Mane Galoyan and Margaret Hughes, Scott Quinn as Villiers, Chad Shelton as Charles II and Sofia Selowsky as Nell Gwyn.

Patrick Summers conducts. Michael Gieleta, who conceptualized and staged Santa Fe Opera’s 2014 double bill of Mozart’s “The Impresario” and Stravinsky’s “Le Rossignol” directs. The sets are by Shoko Kambara, the costumes by Gregory Gale. Federico De Michelis (Thomas Betterton), Megan Samarin (Lady Meresvale/Mistress Revels), Pureum Jo (Miss Frayne) and Chris Bozeka (Male Emilia) round out the cast.

[For my performance review, see: World Premiere: A Triumphant “Prince of Players” for Composer Carlisle Floyd, Baritone Ben Edquist – Houston Grand Opera, March 5, 2016.]

Tags: Quests and Anticipations