In Quest of New Opera Productions, March-August 2018

Below are four opera/musical theater works in new productions that I am scheduled to review in Chicago, Houston and Santa Fe.


Faust (Gounod), Lyric Opera of Chicago, March 3, 9, 12, 15, 18(m) and 21, 2018.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago unveils its new Kevin Newbury production of Gounod’s “Faust”. This will be the American debut of French tenor Benjamin Bernheim.

[Below: Faust (Benjamin Bernheim, right) joins Marguerite (Ailyn Pérez, left) in her bed; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.]

Ailyn Pérez will be Marguerite for all performances except for March 21 when Ana María Martínez assumes the role. Christian Van Horn is Méphistophélès and Edward Parks (who created the role of Steve Jobs in Mason Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at Santa Fe Opera) will be Valentin.

Maestro Emmanuel Villaume, music director of The Dallas Opera, conducts. 

[For my performance review, see: Review: Benjamin Bernheim Leads Superb “Faust” Cast – Lyric Opera of Chicago, March 12, 2018.]


West Side Story (Bernstein), Houston Grand Opera, April 20, 22(m), 28, May 1, 3, 4 and 6, 2018.

As one of her contributions to the Leonard Bernstein Centennial Year, Francesca Zambello creates a new production of Bernstein’s “West Side Story” with Andrea Carroll as Maria, Norman Reinhardt as Tony, Gabrielle McClintock as Anita and Brian Vu as Riff.

[Below: Leonard Bernstein composing; edited image of a historical public domain photograph.]

Maestro Timothy Myers conducts. The set designs are by Zambello’s frequent collaborator, Peter Davison, the costumes are by Jessica Jahn.


Candide (Bernstein), Santa Fe Opera, June 29, July 4, 7, 13, 31, August 6, 11, 14, 21 and 25, 2018. 

Laurent Pelly creates a new production Bernstein’s “Candide” with Alek Shrader as Candide; Brenda Rae as Cunegonde; Kevin Burdette as Voltaire, Pangloss, Martin and Cocambo; Helene Schneiderman as the Old Lady; Jarett Ott as Maximilian and the Captain; and Richard Troxell as the Governor, Vanderdendur and Ragotski.

[Below: French Director Laurent Pelly; edited image of a Carole Parodi photograph from MaestroArts.]

Maestro Harry Bicket conducts. Chantal Thomas creates the costumes.


Doctor Atomic (Adams), Santa Fe Opera, July 14, 18, 27, August 2, 7 and 16, 2018

In Santa Fe Opera’s first production of a John Adams opera, Ryan McKinny stars as “Doctor Atomic’s” Robert Oppenheimer, Julia Bullock as Kitty, Ben Bliss as Robert Wilson, Meredith Arwady as Pasqualita, Andrew Harris as Edward Teller, Daniel Okulitch as General Groves and Tim Mix as Jack Hubbard.

[Below: Ryan McKinny will star as Robert Oppenheimer (Doctor Atomic); edited image for a publicity photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

Maestro Matthew Aucoin conducts. Peter Sellars, the opera’s librettist, directs. The new production’s set designs are by David Gropman.


Massenet’s “Thaïs” at the Minnesota Opera [See In Quest of Operatic “Exoticism” – July 2017-May 2018.]

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.]

Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Sarasota Opera [See In Quest of Operas by Berlioz, Bizet and Massenet – November 2017 – March 2018.]

Bellini’s “Norma” at the Sarasota Opera, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at The Dallas Opera and Bellini’s “Norma” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Mozart and Bellini Operatic Masterpieces – January-April 2018.]

Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at the Washington National Opera, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Don Carlo” at the Los Angeles Opera and Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at the Seattle Opera [See In Quest of Verdi Operas, March 2018-January 2019.]

Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” at the Sarasota Opera, Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” at the Santa Fe Opera, Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” at the San Francisco Opera and Leoncavallo’s “I Pagliacci” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of “Core” Verismo Operas, February-September, 2018.]