Following up on last year’s feature on unusual “double bills” of operas, this feature highlights selected operatic double bills that I am scheduled to review that are to be performed by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Opera companies.
This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed from June 2015 through February 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 Glimmerglass Festival, San Francisco Opera and Los Angeles Opera and Mozart’s “La Finta Giardiniera at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Mozart Operatic Magic – July 2015 to March 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.]
Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro at the San Francisco Opera and the Houston Grand Opera and Rossini’s “The Barber of Seville” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of “Figaro” Operas – February 2015 through February 2016.]
Gianni Schicchi (Puccini), Los Angeles Opera, September 12, 17, 20(m), 24, 27(m) and October 5, 2015.
The Los Angeles Opera, whose principal venue is the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center, a mere seven miles or so from major Hollywood film studios, has coaxed A-List Hollywood personalities totake part in Los Angeles Opera productions.]
[Below: Gianni Schicchi (Placido Domingo, lying in bed) is pretending to be a just deceased Florentine merchant as part of a conspiracy with the merchant’s family, including Zita (Meredith Arwady, seated right) and Marco (Liam Bonner, standing right) to convince the notary Ser Amantio (Kihun Yoon, left) to change the merchant’s will for their benefit; edited image, based on a Craig T. Mathew photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]
Seven years ago, director-actor Woody Allen created a new production of Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” [See Woody Allen’s L. A. “Gianni Schicchi”: Spoofing Italian Films – September 6, 2008. Allen returns to launch opening night of the 2015-16 Los Angeles Opera season, with Placido Domingo performing the title role.
“Schicchi’s” cast includes Andriana Churchman as Lauretta, Arturo Chacon-Cruz as Rinuccio and Meredith Arwady as Zita. Greg Gershon conducts.
[For the performance review, see: Review: Domingo Dominates Double Bill: Part 1 “Gianni Schicchi” – Los Angeles Opera, September 24, 2015.]
I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), Los Angeles Opera, September 12, 17, 20(m), 24, 27(m) and October 5, 2015.
In 1996, the Los Angeles Opera mounted a new production by superstar designer Franco Zeffirelli of Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” as a vehicle for Los Angeles Opera’s superstar tenor, Placido Domingo as Canio.
Below: a scene from the Franco Zeffirelli production of Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci”; edited image, based on a Craig T. Mathew photograph for the Los Angeles Opera]
A decade later the Zeffirelli production was revived in L. A. for the superstar couple of Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.
The famous production returns for tha gala Los Angeles Opera season opening night, celebrating Placido Domingo as conductor, mounting the podium after having just finished performing the title role of “Gianni Schcchi” in the first part of the season opening double bill.
Domingo’s distinguished cast includes Marco Berti as Canio, Ana Maria Martinez as Nedda and George Gagnidze as Tonio.
[For the performance review, see: Review: Domingo Dominates Double Bill: Part 2 “I Pagliacci” – Los Angeles Opera, September 24, 2015.]
Usher House (Getty), San Francisco Opera, December 8, 10, 11 and 13(m), 2015.
English director David Pountney, who heads the Welsh National Opera, conceived a double bill of two operas based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The Fall of the House of Usher. That double bill will arrive at the San Francisco Opera for four mid-December performances.
[Below: Brian Mulligan as Roderick Usher in Getty’s “Usher House”; edited image of a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Welsh National Opera.]
The opening of the double bill is the work of composer Gordon Getty, “Usher House”. Baritone Brian Mulligan sings the role of Usher, while Richard Croft is the poet Edgar Allan Poe.
[For the performance review, see: Review: Getty’s Ghostly “Usher House” – San Francisco Opera, December 13, 2015.]
La Chute de la Maison Usher (Debussy, completed and orchestrated by Orledge), December 8, 10, 11 and 13(m), 2015.
Baritone Brian Mulligan and tenor Richard Croft are also present in the second opera of the double bill, an opera that Debussy worked on over many years, but leaving unfinished at his death. The work has been completed and orchestrated by Robert Orledge.
[Below: Roderick Usher (Brian Mulligan, at the bottom center) has developed paranoid feelings about the House of Usher, in which he resides; edited image of a Cory Weaver photograph of the San Francisco Opera production of “La Chute de la Maison Usher”, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]
Lawrence Foster, the music director of the Marseille Opera [see A Rousing “Le Roi d’Ys” at Opera de Marseille – May 10, 2014] conducts both the Getty and Debussy operas.
Pountney’s imaginative operatic productions I have both praised [see An Impressive Production for Weinberg’s Holocaust-Themed “The Passenger” – Houston Grand Opera, January 25, 2014] and failed to praise [Hampson Transcends Quirky “Macbeth” in S. F. – November 18, 2007], but Pountney’s ideas are always substantive, instructive and absorbing.
[For the performance review, see: Review: Brian Mulligan’s Bravura Performance in Debussy’s “La Chute de la Maison Usher” – San Francisco Opera, December 13, 2015.]