Coming Up on World of Opera

GIUSEPPE VERDI: Il Trovatore

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

Week of November 5, 2016

Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus 
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor

CAST: Ekaterina Semenchuk (Azucena); Francesco Meli (Manrico); LIanna Haroutounian (Leonora); Zeljko Lucic (Count di Luna); Maurizio Muraro (Ferrando); Jennifer Davis (Ines); David Junghoon Kim (Ruiz) 

The story of this complex drama at times verges on the outlandish, but Verdi's score also serves up an astonishing number of his most familiar melodies, making it one of the most popular of all the composer's operas.

GEORGE ENESCU: Oedipe

Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London

Week of November 12, 2016 

Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus 
Leo Hussain, conductor 

CAST: Johan Reuter (Oedipus); Sophie Bevan (Antigone); John Tomlinson (Tirésias); Claudia Huckle (Mérope); Sarah Connolly (Jocasta); Marie-Nicole Lemieux (The Sphinx); Alan Oke (Shepherd); Nicolas Courjal (High Priest); Hubert Francis (Laius); Samuel Youn (Créon); In-Sung Sim (Phorbas); Stefan Kocan (The Watcher); Samuel Dale Johnson (Theseus)

While Enescu's music sometimes reveals the influences of Brahms, Wagner and Fauré, he also imbued his work with distinctly Romanian elements, creating a fascinating and highly-original personal style. This intense drama is based on the classic Oedipus plays by Sophocles.

VINCENZO BELLINI: Norma

Royal Opera House Covent Garden, London

Week of November 19, 2016

Royal Opera House Orchestra and Chorus 
Antonio Pappano, conductor

CAST: Sonya Yoncheva (Norma); Sonia Ganassi (Adalgisa); Joseph Calleja (Pollione); Brindley Sherratt (Oroveso); Vlada Borovko (Clotilde); David Junghoon Kim (Flavio)

Perhaps the ultimate bel canto classic, Bellini's masterpiece features a powerfully emotional story and a title role that's among the most challenging in all of opera, sung here by the exciting young Bulgarian soprano, Sonya Yoncheva.

GIOACHINO ROSSINI: Il Turco in Italia

Rossini Opera Festival, Pesaro

Week of November 26, 2016 

G. Rossini Symphony Orchestra
Teatro della Fortuna M. Agostino Chorus
Speranza Scappucci, conductor

CAST: Erwin Schrott (Selim); Olga Peretyatko (Fiorilla); Cecilia Molinari (Zaida); Nicola Alaimo (Geronio); René Barbera (Narciso); Pietro Spagnoli (Prosdocimo); Levy Sekgapane (Albazar)

With A Turk in Italy, Rossini turns the narrative tables on his own, more popular comedy, The Italian Girl in Algiers. This opera may be less familiar but it's every bit as funny.

FROMENTAL HALÉVY: La Juive

Lyon Opera

Week of December 3, 2016 

Lyon Opera Orchestra and Chorus
Daniele Rustioni, conductor 

CAST: Rachel Harnisch (Rachel); Nikolai Schukoff (Eléazar); Sabina Puértolas (Princess Eudoxie); Enea Scala (Leopold); Roberto Scandiuzzi (Cardinal Brogni); Vincent Le Texier (Ruggiero); Vincent Pavesi (Albert) 

Halévy's high-powered drama was launched at the Paris Opéra in 1835 -- during a highly-competitive era in French opera, when spectacle was the name of the game. The premiere of La Juive may have been the most extravagant opera production in history -- complete with lavish, period costuming and a phalanx of onstage equestrians.

RICHARD WAGNER: The Flying Dutchman

2016 Bayreuth Festival

Week of December 10, 2016

Bayreuth Festival Orchestra and Chorus

Axel Kober, conductor

CAST: John Lundgren (Dutchman); Ricarda Merbeth (Senta); Peter Rose (Daland); Andreas Schager (Erik); Christa Mayer (Mary); Benjamin Bruns (Steersman)

While weighing in at nearly two-and-a-half hours -- without an intermission! -- Dutchman may still be Wagner's most straightforward and approachable opera. It's a stormy drama of legendary determination, undeniable love and ultimate redemption. 

G. F. HANDEL: Ariodante

Lausanne Opera

Week of December 17, 2016

Chamber Orchestra of Lausanne
Lausanne Opera Chorus
Diego Fasolis, conductor

CAST: Yuriy Mynenko (Ariodante); Marina Rebeka (Ginevra); Clara Meloni (Dalinda); Johannes Weisser (King of Scotland); Juan Sanchio (Lurcanio);Christophe Dumaux (Polinesso); Jérémie Schütz (Odoardo)

Among all of Handel's many, brilliant operas, this one is considered by many to be his most exciting. It's also emblematic of Handel's cosmopolitan career: Ariodante is an Italian opera, set in Scotland, and written by a German composer for a London audience. 

JOHN ADAMS: El Niño

Spoleto Festival USA

Week of December 24, 2016

Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra
Westminster Choir
Joe Miller, conductor

CAST: Erica Brookhyser (Mezzo-Soprano); Daniel Bubeck (Countertenor 1); Brian Cummings (Countertenor 2); Caitlin Lynch (Soprano); Steven Rickards (Countertenor 3); Mark Walters (Baritone)

John Adams, describes El Niño as, “my way of trying to understand what is meant by a miracle." This sweeping setting of the Christmas story is both freshly contemporary and filled with ancient traditions, featuring medieval carolers, Latin American verse and an ethereal children's chorus. 

GIOACHINO ROSSINI: L'Italiana in Algeri

Florence Opera Theatre

Week of December 31, 2016

Florence Opera Theatre Orchestra and Chorus

CAST: Marianna Pizzolato (Isabella); Boyd Owen (Lindoro); Pietro Spagnoli (Mustafà); Omar Montanari (Taddeo); Damiana Mizzi (Elvira); Lamia Beuque (Zulma); Sergio Vitale (Haly) 

This opera's story may be a little silly -- OK, more than a little -- and its cultural portrayals are outmoded in the extreme, to put it kindly. Yet nobody did wackiness better, more beautifully, or with a finer instinct for pure comedy than Rossini displays in this sparkling score. 

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