Opera Warhorses

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

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In Quest of Less-Often Performed Core Repertory Operas – June-September, 2016

June 4th, 2016

In recent years, live performances of some important operas of the “standard repertory” have become rarer. I am scheduled to review four such operas, each with major international casts, in San Francisco and Santa Fe.


Don Carlo (Verdi), San Francisco Opera, June 12(m), 15, 18, 21, 24 and 29, 2016.

An illustrious cast has been assembled for Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at the San Francisco Opera – arguably the most impressive “Don Carlo” cast in the company’s history. New Jersey tenor Michael Fabiano takes on the title role, with Puerto Rican soprano Ana Maria Martinez as Queen Elisabetta.

[Below: Michael Fabiano as Don Carlo; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]


Polish baritone Marius Kwiecien is Rodrigo, Bulgarian mezzo Nadia Krasteva is Eboli, German bass René Pape is King Filippo, Italian-born American bass Andrea Silvestrelli is the Grand Inquisitor.

The Emilio Sagi production with Zack Brown’s sets is revived. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts.

[For my performance reviews, see: Review: A Legendary Performance of “Don Carlo” at the San Francisco Opera, June 12, 2016 and Review: A Second Look – “Don Carlo” at the San Francisco Opera, June 18, 2016.]


La Fanciulla del West [The Girl of the Golden West] (Puccini), Santa Fe Opera, July 1, 6, 9, 15, August 2, 8, 13, 17, 23 and 27, 2016.

The Santa Fe Opera’s 2016 Summer Festival opens with a new to Santa Fe production of Puccini’s masterpiece “La Fanciulla del West”, imported from the English National Opera. Patricia Racette will be Minnie (her role debut), with Gwyn Hughes Jones as Dick Johnson and Mark Delavan as Jack Rance.

The cast also includes Raymond Aceto as Ashby, Allan Glassman as Nick, Craig Verm as Sonora, Nicholas Davis as Jake Wallace and Kristen Choi as Wowkle.

[Below: Sheriff Jack Rance (Mark Delavan, left) mixes his official duties with his private desire for Minnie (Patricia Racette, right); edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]


A Santa Fe Opera co-production with the English National Opera (winning the 2015 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera), it is staged by British director Richard Jones in his company debut. The sets are designed by Miriam Buether, the costumes by Nicky Gillibrand. Maestro Emmanuel Villaume conducts.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Impressive, Compelling – “Girl of the Golden West” at Santa Fe Opera, July 1, 2016.]


Roméo et Juliette (Gounod), Santa Fe Opera, July 16, 20, 29, August 4, 9, 16 and 25, 2016.

Stephen Lawless returns to Santa Fe Opera (and Gounod) to direct a new production of “Roméo and Juliet”. It will be the Santa Fe Opera debut for Stephen Costello as Roméo, with Ailyn Pérez as Juliette.

[Below: Juliette (Ailyn Pérez) is at prayer; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph of the 2016 Santa Fe Opera production, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]


Raymond Aceto is Frére Laurent, with Elliot Madore as Mercutio, Denyce Graves as Gertrude, Emily Fons as Stephano, Soloman Howard as the Duke of Verona and Timothy Mix as Capulet. Maestro Harry Bicket conducts.

[For my performance review, see: Review: A Surprise at Santa Fe Opera – Joshua Guerrero joins Pérez, Aceto in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”, July 29, 2016.]


Andrea Chénier (Giordano), San Francisco Opera, September 9, 14, 17, 22, 25(m) and 30, 2016.

As the opening night opera of the first season of Matthew Shilvock’s tenure as General Director of the San Francisco Opera, Sir David McVicar’s production of Giordano’s “Andrea Chénier” is imported from London’s Royal Opera House.

Opening night will be the occasion for the San Francisco Opera debuts of Yonghoon Lee as Chenier, Anna Pirozzi as Maddalena de Coigny, George Gagnidze as Carlo Gerard and J’nai Bridges as Bersi.

[Below: Sir David McVicar’s production of “Andrea Chénier”; edited image, based on a Bill Cooper photograph for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.]


Also in the cst are Joel Sorenson as L’Incredible, Robert Pomakov as Mathieu, David Pershall as Roucher and Jill Grove as Madelon.

Robert Jones designed the sets, Jenny Tiramani the costumes. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts.

[For my review of a previous performance of Yonghoon Lee as Andrea Chénier, see: True Verismo: Nello Santi Conducts Yonghoon Lee, Martina Serafin, Lucio Gallo in “Andrea Chénier” – Zurich Opera, May 4, 2014.]


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

Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” at the San Francisco Opera. [See In Quest of Puccini’s “Tosca” and “Butterfly” in the American Southwest – October 2015 to December 2016.]

Barber’s “Vanessa” at the Santa Fe Opera and Ward’s “The Crucible” at the Glimmerglass Festival. [See In Quest of American Operas – October 2015 through August 2016.]

Janacek’s “Jenufa” and “The Makropoulos Case” at the San Francisco Opera and Richard Strauss’ “Capriccio” at the Santa Fe Opera. [See In Quest of Operatic Masterpieces from the German and Czech Repertories – April- November, 2016.]

Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at the Glimmerglass Festival, Sheng’s “Dream of the Red Chamber” at the San Francisco Opera and Heggie’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Repertory-Expanding Operas – April-December, 2016.]

Bizet’s “Carmen” and Verdi’s “Aida” at the San Francisco Opera, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the Santa Fe Opera and Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Glimmerglass Festival. [See In Quest of Live Performances of Popular Operas – May-November, 2016.]


Tags: Quests and Anticipations