In Quest of Italian Opera Masterpieces, February – July, 2017

This summer, I will be reporting on productions in San Diego and San Francisco of Italian operas by Mozart, Verdi and Puccini:


Falstaff (Verdi), San Diego Opera, February 18, 21, 24 and 26(m), 2017.

Italian baritone Roberto de Candia makes his San Diego Opera debut in the title role of Verdi’s “Falstaff”, in the famous production by French director Olivier Tambosi. Ford is played by Troy Cook, his wife Alice by soprano Ellie Dehn. Maureen McKay is Nannetta, Jonathan Johnson is Fenton, Marianne Cornetti is Dame Quickly and Kirstin Chavez is Meg Page.

[Below: Sir John Falstaff (Roberto de Candia, left) has followed the directions that Alice Page (Ellie Dehn, right) has given him for them to meet clandestinely; edited image, based on an edited image of a production photograph for the Florence (Italy) Opera.]

Falstaff’s henchmen are played by Simeon Esper (Bardolfo) and Reinhard Hagen (Pistola). Joel Sorensen is Dr Caius. Daniele Callegari conducts.

For my performance review, see: Review: A Fun-filled, Fast-paced, Finely Cast “Falstaff” – San Diego Opera, February 18, 2017.


Rigoletto (Verdi), San Francisco Opera, May 31, June 6, 9, 14, 18(m), 22, 27 and July 1, 2017.

Hawai’ian baritone Quinn Kelsey returns to the San Francisco Opera for the title role of “Rigoletto”, his seventh role in San Francisco ( and his fifth by Verdi). The now 20-year old Michael Yeargan production will be the occasion for the San Francisco Opera debut of the Republic of Georgia lyric soprano Nino Machaidze as Gilda.

[Below: Quinn Kelsey as Rigoletto in the English National Opera production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”; edited image of a production photograph for the English National Opera.]


Samoan-born New Zealand tenor Pene Pati is the Duke of Mantua, Italian-born American basso Andrea Silvestrelli is Sparafucile, Latvian mezzo-soprano Zanda Svede is Maddalena. Rob Kearley directs. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts the first six performances, and Maestro Jordi Bernàcer conducts the seventh.


Don Giovanni (Mozart), San Francisco Opera, June 4(m), 8, 11(m), 13, 21,24 and 30, 2017.

Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando d’Arcangelo makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Don Giovanni, and with him soprano Erin Wall (debut) as Donna Anna, Stansilas de Barbeyrac (debut) as Don Ottavio and Ana Maria Martinez as Donna Elvira. Marco Vinco repeats his San Francisco debut role Leporello. Michael Sumuel is Masetto and Sarah Shafer is Zerlina. Also debuting is Maestro Marc Minkowski.

[Below: Ildebrando d’Arcangelo as Don Giovanni in the Los Angeles Opera’s production of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]


The new production is that of Italian director Jacopo Spirei, with projections and scenic adaptations by German designer Tommi Brem and costumes by Andrea Viotti.


La Boheme (Puccini), San Francisco Opera, June 10, 15, 17, 20, 23, 25(m), 29 and July 2, 2017.

Mexican tenor Arturo Chacon-Cruz will be Rodolfo in the revival of Puccini’s “La Boheme” taking place roughly 50 years after the San Francisco Opera debut of Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti in the role. His Mimi will be Italian soprano Erika Grimaldi for every performance excepting the evenings of June 20 and 25, when California soprano Julie Adams takes over the role.

[Below: Arturo Chacon-Cruz as Rodolfo; edited image of a YouTube video for Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège.]


Minnesota soprano Ellie Dehn is Musetta. Auden Iversen is Marcello, Scott Conner is Colline. John Caird is Director. The production designer is David Farley. The Conductor is Maestro Carlo Montanaro.


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

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

Johann Strauss’ “Die Fledermaus” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Operatic Comedy – July 2016 – August 2017.]

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.]

Janacek’s “Katya Kabanova” at the Seattle Opera, Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffmann” at the Los Angeles Opera and Wagner’s Götterdammerüng at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Less-Often Performed Core Repertory Operas – November 2016 -May 2017.]

Bellini’s “Norma” at The Dallas Opera, Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Santa Fe Opera and Donizetti’s “L’Assedio di Calais” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of Donizetti and Bellini – November 2016 to August 2017.]

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