Coming Up on World of Opera
FROMENTAL HALÉVY: La Juive
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
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
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.