In Quest of Operas by Berlioz, Bizet and Massenet – November 2017 – March 1018

I will be reporting on four operas by 19th century Parisian composers Hector Berlioz, Georges Bizet and Jules Masssenet:


Manon (Massenet), San Francisco Opera, November 4, 7, 10, 16, 19(m) and 22, 2017.

Ellie Dehn is Manon and Michael Fabiano is the Chevalier des Grieux in a Vincent Broussard staging of Massenet’s “Manon”, conducted by Maestro Patrick Fournillier. David Pershall is Lescaut, James Creswell the Comte de Grieux, Timothy Mix De Bretigny and Robert Brubaker Buillot de Morfontaine. Monica Dewey, Laura Krumm and Renee Rapier form the trio of young women.

[Below: Soprano Ellie Dehn in the Cours la Reine scene in San Francisco Opera’s 2017 production of Massenet’s “Manon”; edited image of a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

The production is a co-production with the Lietuvos Nacionalinis Teatras operaos ir baleto (Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet) and the Israeli Opera.

[For my performance reviews, see: Review: An Exquisitely Sung “Manon” with Ellie Dehn and Michael Fabiano – San Francisco Opera, November 4, 2017 and A “Second Look” Review: “Manon” – San Francisco Opera, November 19, 2017.]


The Pearl Fishers [Les Pecheurs de Perles] (Bizet), Lyric Opera of Chicago, November 19(m), 22(m), 25, 29, December 4, 7 and 10(m), 2017.

Marina Rebeka is the priestess Leila. Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecien is Zurga,with Andrea Silvestrelli as the high priest Nourabad.

[Below: Set and costume designer’s Nadir costume (here worn by Charles Castronovo in the 2004 San Francisco Opera production of Bizet’s “THe Pearl Fishers”); edited image, based on a Merkle photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera Archives.]

The maestro is Sir Andrew Davis. Andrew Sinclair is Director for the production whose sets and costumes were designed by Zandra Rhodes.


Carmen (Bizet), Sarasota Opera, February 17, 22, 25(m), 27, March 2, 7, 9, 13, 16, 22 and 24(m), 2018 

At Sarasota Opera, Lisa Chavez will be Carmen to Cody Austin’s Don Jose. Steven La Brie is Escamillo and Hanna Bremmer Dillon is Micaela

[Below: Mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez; edited image of a publiciity photograph.]

Maestro John F. Spencer conducts; Martha Collins directs. The sets are by David P. Gordon.


Beatrice et Benedict (Berlioz). Seattle Opera, February 24, 25, 28, March 3, 7, 9 and 10, 2018.

Daniela Mack and Alek Shrader (February 24, 28, March 7 and 10] share with Hanna Hipp and Andrew Owens [February 25 March 3 and 9] the roles of Beatrice and Benedict. Performing all seven nights are Laura Tatulescu (Hero ), Avery Amereau (Ursule), Kevin Burdette (Somarone), Craig Verm (Claudio) and Daniel Sumegi (Don Pedro).

[Below: Alek Shrader (left) is Benedict and Daniela Mack (right) is Beatrice in the Seattle Opera’s production of  Berlioz’ Beatrice et Benedict”; edited image, based on a frame from a Santa Fe Opera YouTube interview.]

Seattle Symphony Orchestra Maestro Ludovic Morlot conducts. ACT Theater Artistic Director John Langs directs, with supertitles quoting passages from the Bard’s Much Ado About Nothing, from which the opera derives.


This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through May 2018:

Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Handel and Vivaldi Opera Performances – May to November, 2017.]

Adams’ “The Girls of the Golden West” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of American Operas and Musicals – July to December, 2017.]

Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalila” at The Dallas Opera and Massenet’s “Thaïs” at the Minnesota Opera [See In Quest of Operatic “Exoticism” – July 2017-May 2018.]

Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Houston Grand Opera and  Puccini’sTurandot” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of Italian Opera Masterpieces, September-November, 2017.]

Wagner’s “Die Walkure” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, d’Albert’s “Tiefland” at the Sarasota Opera  and Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of German Operatic Repertory – September 2017-August 2018.]