World of Opera listings
Spoleto Festival USA
Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra
John Kennedy, conductor
CAST: John Hancock (Kepler); Anne-Carolyn Bird, Leah Wool, Kathryn Krasovec, Gregory Schmidt, Dan Kempson, Matt Boehler (Scholars)
In an encore presentation, the American stage premiere of Philip Glass's dynamic new drama, rooted in the life and inspirational ideas of the 17-century mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler.
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus
Daniel Oren, conductor
CAST: Bryan Mymel (Robert); Patrizia Ciofi (Isabelle); John Relyea (Bertram); Marina Poplavskaya (Alice); Jean-Francois Borras (Raimbaut); Nicolas Courjal (Alberti)
This five-act extravaganza features everything from an orgy of evil spirits, to a chorus of defrocked nuns rising from their graves, to a deal with the devil which, for once, doesn't turn out all that badly. The work's Paris premiere, in 1831, instantly made Meyerbeer the most celebrated opera composer of the time.
Göteborg Opera, Sweden
Göteborg Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Olaf Henzold, conductor
CAST: Elisabet Strid (Rusalka); Nikolai Schukoff (Prince); Anders Lorentzson (Vodník); Annalena Persson (Foreign Princess); Susanne Resmark (Jezibaba); Eva-Lotta Ohlsson, Mia Karlsson, Erika Sax (Wood Sprites); Henrik Andersson (Hunter)
Best known for his dramatic and popular symphonies, Dvorak also wrote more than a dozen operas. Rusalka is the second of them featured this quarter, and is arguably his best. The title character is a beautiful water nymph who falls tragically in love with a human prince, and the opera's music is Dvorak at his finest.
Paris National Opera, Palais Garnier
Paris National Opera Orchestra
Philippe Jordan, conductor
CAST: Michaela Kaune (Countess); Michaela Schuster (La Clairon); Joseph Kaiser (Flamand); Adrian Eröd (Olivier); Bo Skovhus (Count); Peter Rose (La Roche); Ryland Davies (Monsier Taupe)
Forget about the chicken and the egg. Strauss's last opera revolves around a question that's even more elemental, at least in the world of musical theater: Which should take precedence -- the words, or the music?
Royal Theater, Turin
Royal Theater Orchestra and Chorus
Francesco Pasqualetti, conductor
CAST: Barbara Bargnesi (Carolina); Paolo Bordogna (Sir Geronimo); Erika Grimaldi (Elisetta); Emanuele D'Auganno (Paolino); Roberto de Candia (Count Robinson); Chiara Amarù (Fidalma)
Cimarosa's politics once got him in so much trouble that he nearly faced execution, yet his music made him one of the most popular composers of the late 1700s. The Secret Marriage was composed in Vienna in 1792, and remains his most successful opera.
La Scala, Milan
La Scala Orchestra and Chorus
Daniel Harding, conductor
CAST: Ambrogio Maestri (Falstaff); Fabio Capitanucci (Ford); Barbara Frittoli (Alice Ford); Irina Lungu (Nannetta); Laura Polverelli (Meg Page); Daniela Barcellona(Mistress Quickly); Francesco Demuro (Fenton); Caro Bosi (Dr. Caius); Riccardo Botta (Bardolph); Alessandro Guerzoni (Pistol)
Verdi's final two operas, Otello and Falstaff, were both based on Shakespeare. Together, they may be the finest valedictory in the history of opera, and Falstaff may also be the most optimistic.
La Monnaie, Brussels
La Monnaie Orchestra and Chorus
Julian Reynolds, conductor
Elena Mosuc (Lucrezia Borgia); Charles Castronovo (Gennaro); Silvia Tro Santafé (Maffio Orsini); Paul Gay (Duke of Ferrara); Roberto Covatta (Jeppo Liverotto); Tijl Faveyts (Don Apostolo Gazella); Jean-Luc Ballestra (Ascanio Petrucci); Stefan Cifolelli (Oloferno Vitellozzo); Carlo Bosi (Rustighello); Jean Teitgen (Gubetta); Justin Hopkins (Astolfo)
The historical Lucrezia Borgia may actually have been a fine, upstanding citizen. But her popular reputation isn't so sunny, and it's her legacy as a notorious poisoner that Donizetti exploits in an opera featuring a title role that's both brilliant, and daunting.