Coming Up on World of Opera
JULES MASSENET: Thérèse, La Navarraise
Wexford Festival (Ireland)
Week of 12/14/2013
Wexford Opera Orchestra and Chorus
David Agler, conductor
CAST (Thérèse): Nora Sourouzian (Thérèse); Philippe Do (Armand de Clerval); Damian Pass (Morel); Brian Mulligan (André Thorel)
CAST: (La Navarraise): Nora Sourouzian (Anita); Philippe Do (Araquil); Brian Mulligan (Garrido); Damian Pass (Remigo)
Known primarily for a single, truly great opera -- Manon -- Massenet was in fact among the most versatile and prolific opera composers of his time. The two short dramas featured here are seldom heard today, but together they make a stunningly dramatic double bill.
GIOACHINO ROSSINI: The Barber of Seville
Royal Theater, Turin
Week of 12/21/2013
Teatro Regio Orchestra and Chorus
Alessandro De Marchi, conductor
CAST: Laura Polverelli (Rosina); Antonino Siragusa (Count Almaviva); Vito Priante (Figaro); Paolo Bordogna (Dr. Bartolo); Nicola Ulivieri (Don Basilio); Ryan Milstead (Fiorello); Giovanna Donadini (Berta)
There may be no such thing as artistic perfection, but with The Barber of Seville Rossini surely came as close as anyone to creating a flawless operatic comedy.
W. A. MOZART: The Magic Flute
Drottningholm Court Theater, Stockholm
Week of 12/28/2013
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
Daniel Hardin, conductor
CAST: Christiana Karg (Pamina); Andrew Staples (Tamino); Albina Shagimuratova (Queen of the Night); Carl Ackerfeldt (Papageno); Mari Eriksmoen (Papagena); Peter Rose (Sarastro)
A quick look at the story of Mozart's Magic Flute might suggest that it's a great opera for the kids. And it is! But it's also a very adult look at the conflict between lightness and dark, and how difficult it often is to distinguish which is which.
ANTONIO VIVALDI: The Coronation of Dario
International Baroque Opera Festival, Beaune
Week of 1/4/2014
Ottavio Dantone, conductor
CAST: Anders Dahlin (Dario); Kristina Hammarström (Statira); Delphine Galou (Argene); Ricardo Novaro (Niceno); Roberta Mameli (Alinda); Franco Fagioli (Oronte); David DQ Lee (Arpago); Giuseppina Bridelli (Flora)
Baroque operas, especially after 1700, tend to be filled with long numbers -- both recitatives and arias -- that tend to slow down the action. But this unusual and neglected drama has a torrent of brief arias that make it one of Vivaldi's most colorful scores, and an opera particularly well-suited to modern day performances.
GIOACHINO ROSSINI: L'Italiana in Algeri
Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro
Week of 1/11/2014
Teatro Communale Orchestra and Chorus of Bologna
José Ramón Encinar, conductor
CAST: Anna Goryachova (Isabella); Uijie Shi (Lindoro); Alex Esposito (Mustafá); Mario Cassi (Taddeo); Davide Luciano (Haly)
The story may be a little silly -- OK, a lot silly -- and it's politically incorrect in the extreme! But nobody did wackiness better, more beautifully, or with a finer instinct for pure comedy than Rossini displays in this sparkling score.
G. F. HANDEL: Agrippina
Grand Liceu Theater, Barcelona
Week of 1/18/2014
Liceu Symphony Orchestra
Harry Bicket, conductor
CAST: Sarah Connolly (Agrippina); Malena Ernman (Nero); Henry Waddington (Pallante); Dominique Visse (Narciso); Enric Martinez-Castignani (Lesbo); David Daniels (Ottone); Denielle De Niese (Poppea); Franz-Josef Selig (Claudius)
Handel's Italian operas made him the toast of London long before his famous English oratorios caught the public's ear. Agrippina is named for Nero's shrewd and savvy mother, without whom the infamous emperor could never have fiddled while Rome burned.
GIUSEPPE VERDI: La Traviata
La Scala, Milan
Week of 1/25/2014
La Scala Orchestra and Chorus
Daniele Gatti, conductor
CAST: Diana Damrau (Violetta Valéry); Piotr Beczala (Alfredo Germont); Zeljko Lucic (Giorgio Germont); Giuseppina Piunti (Flora ); Mara Zampieri (Annina); Antonio Carianò (Gastone); Roberto Accurso (Barone Douphol); Andrea Porta (Dr. Grenvil)
It's hard to think of an opera house more closely associated with Verdi than La Scala, or a more beloved Verdi opera than La Traviata. So it's fitting that this stellar production kicks off La Scala's 2013-2014 season, culminating Verdi's bicentennial year.