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 – November 2016 -May 2017

September 23rd, 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 Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles and Houston.


Berlioz, The Trojans (Les Troyens), Lyric Opera of Chicago, November 13(m), 17(m), 21(m), 26(m) and December 3(m), 2016

British director Tim Albery has long been associated with productions of Berlioz’ “The Trojans [Les Troyens]” for the United Kingdom’s Opera North and Welsh National Opera. He and his collaborator set designer Tobias Hoheisel will mount the epic opera for Lyric Opera with a stellar cast led by New York soprano Christine Goerke as Cassandra and Montana tenor Brandon Jovanovich as Aeneas.

[Below: British director Tim Albery; edited image of a YouTube video for Opera North.]


Other cast members include North Carolina baritone Lucas Meachem as Chorebus, French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch as Dido, and Christian Van Horn as Narmal. Sir Andrew Davis conducts.


Janacek, Katya Kabanova, Seattle Opera, February 25, 26, March 1, 4, 8, 10, 11, 2017

Two casts split seven performances of Janacek’s “Katya Kabanova”, with Melody Moore and Joseph Dennis performing the roles of Katya and Boris in four the performances (Feruary 25, March 4, 8 and 11) and Corinne Winters and Scott Quinn scheduled for the other three (February 26, March 1 and 10). Victoria Livengood will be Kabanicha in all seven performances, as will Stefan Szkafarowskky as Dikoy and Maya Lahyani as Varvara. Olivier von Dohnanyi will conduct.

[Below: Australian director Patrick Nolan; edited image, based on a publicity photograph.]


This will be my first opportunity to observe the operatic staging of Australian director Patrick Nolan, whose reputation with Australian legitimate theater precedes him. Genevieve Blanchett creates the sets for Seattle Opera’s new production.


Offenbach, Tales of Hoffmann, Los Angeles Opera, March 25, 30, April 2(m), 6, 9(m) and 15, 2017.

Marta Domingo’s vibrant 2002 production for Los Angeles Opera of Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann” is revived for a stellar cast, boasting Vittorio Grigolo as Hoffmann, Diana Damrau as the four heroines and Nicolas Teste as the four villains. Rodell Rosel is Spalanzani and Christophe Mortagne plays the four servants.

[Below: A scene from Marta Domingo’s 2002 Los Angeles Opera production of Offenbach’s “The Tales of Hoffmann”; edited image, based on a Robert Millard photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]


A co-production of the Mariisnky Theater of Saint Petersburg, Russia and the Washington National Opera, the sets and costumes are by Giovanni Agostinucci. Placido Domingo conducts.


Wagner’s Götterdammerüng, Houston Grand Opera, April 22, 25, 29, May 4 and 7(m), 2017.

The final and most ambitious entry of Spain’s La Fura dels Baus production of Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungs, “Götterdammerüng” is staged by Carlus Padrissa, with sets by Roland Olbeter and costumes by Chu Oroz.

Heldentenor Simon O’Neill and dramatic soprano Christine Goerke are respectively Siegfried and Brünnhilde. Andrea Silvestrelli is Hagen, Ryan McKinny is Gunther and Christopher Purves is Alberich.

[Below: Christine Goerke as Brunnhilde in the 2016 Canadian Opera Company production of Wagner’s “Siegfried”; edited image, based on a photograph, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company.]


The Norns are Meredith Arwady, Jamie Barton and Heidi Melton. Barton also plays Waltraute. Patrick Summers conducts.


This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through August 2017:

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.]

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

Heggie’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Repertory-Expanding Operas – April-December, 2016.]

Verdi’s “Aida” at the San Francisco Opera. [See In Quest of Live Performances of Popular Operas – May-November, 2016.]

Donizetti’s “Don Pasquale” at the San Francisco Opera and “L’Elisir d’Amore” at the Houston Grand Opera and Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Operatic Comedy – July 2016 – August 2017.]

Gounod’s “Faust” at the Houston Grand Opera, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at The Dallas Opera, Weber’s “Der Freischütz” at the Virginia Opera and Montemezzi’s “L’Amore dei Tre Re” at the Sarasota Opera [See In Quest of Intriguing Operas, Casts and Productions – October 2016-March 2017.]


Tags: Quests and Anticipations