Coming Up on World of Opera


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Week of June 25,2016

Vienna State Opera

Alain Altinoglu, conductor

CAST: George Petean (Macbeth); Tatiana Serjan (Lady Macbeth); Ferruccio Furlanetto (Banquo); Jorge de León (Macduff); Jinxu Xiahou (Malcolm); Donna Ellen (Lady-in-Waiting)

Astonishingly, there may be only a half-dozen or so successful operas inspired by Shakespeare. Even more remarkable is that Verdi alone accounted for three of them. His Macbeth may not be heard quite so often as Otello and Falstaff, but it's still among his finest and most intense dramas.


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Week of July 2, 2016

Vienna State Opera
Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Gustavo Dudamel, conductor

CAST: Lise Lindstrom (Turandot); Yusif Eyvazov (Calaf); Anita Hartig (Liù); Dan Paul Dumitrescu (Timur); Heinz Zednik (Emperor Altoum); Gabriel Bermúdez (Ping); Carlos Osuna (Pang); Norbert Ernst (Pong)

As he also proved with Madame Butterfly and La Fanciulla del West, Puccini never hesitated to apply his proudly Italian sensibilities to far flung, “exotic” locales. With Turandot, he evokes the splendors of ancient China -- in an opera featuring “Nessun dorma,” the aria the Three Tenors famously put on the charts.


Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona

Week of July 9, 2016

Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus

Christopher Franklin, conductor

CAST: Gregory Kunde (Otello); Jessica Pratt (Desdemona); Dmitry Korchak (Rodrigo); Yije Shi (Iago); Lidia Vinyes-Curtis (Emilia); Mirco Palazzi (Elmiro); Josep Fadó (Doge of Venice); Josep Lluís Moreno (Lucio); Beñat Egiarte (Gondolier)

Lovers of Shakespeare's Othello may find that Rossini's version strays a bit at the beginning. But when all is said and done, Rossini and the bard seem joined at the hip, in a hair-raising finale that rivals even Verdi's masterful setting of the drama. The production is the first half of an Otello double-header from Barcelona.


Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona

Week of July 16, 2016

Grand Liceu Theater Orchestra and Chorus

Philippe Augin, conductor

CAST: Marc Heller (Otello); Ermonela Jaho (Desdemona); Marco Vratogna (Iago); Alexei Dolgov (Cassio); Vicenç Esteve (Roderigo); Roman Ialcic (Lodovico); Olesya Petrova (Emilia); Damián del Castillo (Montano)

Leave it to Verdi to take a classic tragedy by Shakespeare and, if anything, make it even more powerful and heartrending. The libretto is by Arrigo Boito, who also collaborated on another of Verdi's great Shakespeare operas, Falstaff.


Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Week of July 23, 2016

Vienna State Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Ingo Metzmacher, conductor

CAST: Dorotea Röschmann (Jenufa); Angela Denoke (Kostelnička); Christian Franz (Laca); Marian Talaba (Steva); Aura Twarowska (Grandmother Buryjovka); Il Hong (Stárek); Alexandru Moisiuc (Mayor); Donna Ellen (Mayor's Wife); Hyuna Ko (Karolka)

Janácek was in his sixties, at an age when many are enjoying retirement, when the surprise success of Jenufa first brought him widespread fame. The opera is an undoubted masterpiece, telling a disturbing, yet strangely inspiring story of multiple betrayals, gruesome murder and ultimate, if unlikely, forgiveness.

GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Forza del Destino

Grand Theatre of Geneva (from Victoria Hall)

Week of July 30, 2016

Grand Theater Chorus
Suisse Romande Orchestra

Paolo Arrivabeni, conductor

CAST: Csilla Boross (Leonora); Aquiles Machado (Don Alvaro); Franco Vassallo (Don Carlo di Vargas); Slobodan Stankovic (Marquis of Calatrava); Ahlima Mhamdi (Preziosilla); Pietro Spagnoli (Fra Melitone); Vitaly Kovalyov (Padre Guardino)

Verdi's relentless drama of politics, passion and revenge demands a top-notch ensemble cast. This production from Geneva delivers, and the Suisse Romande Orchestra shines in what may be Verdi's most famous overture.

W. A. MOZART: Così fan tutte

Aix-en-Provence Festival

Week of August 6, 2016

Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Cape Town Opera Chorus

Louis Langrée, conductor

CAST: Lenneke Ruiten (Fiordiligi); Kate Lindsey (Dorabella); Joel Pietro (Ferrando); Nahuel di Pierro (Guglielmo); Sandrine Piau (Despina); Rod Gilfry (Don Alfonso)

Deceptively complex, this comic farce leaves many listeners a little bit queasy. Lorenzo da Ponte's libretto revolves around lightweight jokes and an elaborate prank, but in tandem with Mozart's music that trickery also reminds us that even our most cherished relationships can quickly turn fragile, and tenuous.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY: Pelléas and Mélisande

Aix-en-Provence Festival

Week of August 13, 2016

Philharmonia Orchestra
Cape Town Opera Chorus

Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor

CAST: Stéphane Degout (Pelléas); Barbara Hannigan (Mélisande); Laurent Naouri (Golaud); Franz Josef Selig (Arkel); Sylvie Brunet-Grupposo (Geneviève); Chloé Briot (Yniold); Thomas Dear (Doctor)

Can an opera deliver passion and intensity without over-the-top mad scenes, rousing calls to arms, and crashing cadences? The answer is yes, and this emotional marvel by Debussy proves it.

GIOACHINO ROSSINI: The Barber of Seville

Proms Concerts, Royal Albert Hall, London

Week of August 20, 2016

London Philharmonic Orchestra
Glyndebourne Festival Chorus

Enrique Mazzola, conductor

CAST: Danielle de Niese (Rosina); Taylor Stayton (Almaviva); Björn Burger (Figaro); Alessandro Corbelli (Dr. Bartolo); Christophoros Stamboglis (Basilio); Janis Kelly (Berta); Huw Montague Rendall (Fiorello)

There may be no such thing as artistic perfection, but with Barber of Seville Rossini surely came as close as anyone to creating a flawless operatic comedy. The production is the first of three this quarter from the prestigious Proms Concerts, performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London.


Göteborg Opera, Sweden

Week of August 27, 2016

Göteborg Opera Orchestra and Chorus

Henrik Schaefer, conductor

CAST: Thomas Oliemans (Hamlet); Ditte Højgaard Andersen (Ophelia); Paul Whelan (Claudius); Kaarina Karnéus (Gertrude); Peter Loguin (Polonius); Björn Larsson (Ghost of King Hamlet); Anton Ljungqvist (First Gravedigger); Ingemar Anderson (Second Gravedigger)

The first of back-to-back musical takes on Shakespeare's Hamlet, this drama is among just a handful of Shakespeare-based operas to have achieved lasting success in the world's theaters. The few others include works by Verdi, Gounod and Britten, putting Thomas in rarified operatic company.

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