In Quest of Popular Verdi Operas – October 2014 to Summer 2015

This feature highlights selected performances of operas in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Santa Fe that I am scheduled to review.


This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed from September, 2014 through Summer, 2015.

The operas noted in the previous lists are Verdi’s “La Traviata” in Los Angeles [See Popular Opera Offerings in Southwestern Vacation Destinations – March-September, 2014]; 

Bellini’s “Norma” and Rossini’s “La Cenerentola” in San Francisco [See “Bel Canto” Italian Works in Toronto and the American Southwest – April-October, 2014];

Floyd’s “Susannah” at the San Francisco Opera and Corigliani’s “The Ghosts of  Versailles” at the Los Angeles Opera [See In Quest of Opera Company Performances of American Works – July 2014 to February 2015.].

Puccini’s “Tosca” and “La Boheme” at the San Francisco Opera and Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the San Diego Opera [See A Selection of Popular Puccini Opera Performances – July 2014-January 2015.]

Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas” and Bartok’s “Bluebeard’s Castle” at the Los Angeles Opera [See Anticipated Opera Operatic “Double Bills” in Santa Fe and Los Angeles – July-November, 2014.]

Richard Strauss’ “Capriccio” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Handel’s “Partenope” at the San Francisco Opera and “Florencia en el Amazonas” at the Los Angeles Opera [See In Quest of Less Well-Known Operas – July-December, 2014].


A Masked Ball – Un Ballo in Maschera (San Francisco Opera) October 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19(m) and 22, 2014.

Ramon Vargas is King Gustav and Thomas Hampson as his friend and assassin, Anckarstrom in a revival of the elegant production set in the 18th century Swedish court (created by Zack Brown.)

[Below: Count Anckarstrom (Thomas Hampson, left) warns King Gustavo (Ramon Vargas, right) of a plot to assassinate him; resized image based on a C0ry Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]


Julianna di Giacomo, in her San Francisco Opera debut, is Amelia. Popular favorites Dolora Zajick and Heidi Stober are, respectively, Mme Arvidson (Ulrica) and Oscar.

Nicola Luisotti conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, Jose Maria Condemi is the stage director.

[For my review of Ramon Vargas in a very different production of the opera, see: Vargas, Podles Brilliant in Puzzle Box “Ballo”: Houston – November 2, 2007.]

[For my review of a Juliana de Giacomo performance, see: Ildebrando D’Arcangelo’s Roguish Libertine, James Conlon’s Impressive Conducting, in Insightful “Don Giovanni” – Los Angeles Opera, September 22, 2012.]

[For my performance review, see: Review: A Stylishly Sung and Intelligently Staged “Masked Ball” at San Francisco Opera – October 4, 2014.]


Otello (Houston Grand Opera) October 24, 26(m), November 1, 4 and 7, 2014.

Simon O’Neill is Otello, Ailyn Perez Desdemona, and Marco Vratogna their nemesis, Iago in Verdi’s masterful opera on the Bard’s tragic drama.

[Below: Otello (Simon O’Neill, above)  has slain Desdemona (Ailyn Perez, laying on bed) in the 2014 Houston Grand Opera production of “Otello”; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.]


Norman Reinhardt is Cassio, Morris Robinson Ludovico and Victoria Livengood is Emilia. Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera, the esteemed British director John Cox directs.

[For my reviews of other Simon O’Neill performances, see: Summers Leads Sumptiously Sung “Lohengrin”: Houston Grand Opera, November 13, 2009 and  25 Years Old, “Nixon in China” Arrives at San Francisco Opera – June 8, 2012.]

[For my performance review, see: Review: O’Neill, Pérez and Vratogna Impressive in Houston Grand Opera’s “Otello” – November 1, 2014.]


Il Trovatore (Lyric Opera of Chicago), October 27, November 5(m), 9(m), 12, 15, 18, 21 and 29, 2014.

Sir David McVicar’s production, which I first reviewed in San Francisco [See Lyrical Luisotti Leads Triumphant “Trovatore” – San Francisco Opera September 11, 2009] is seen for the first time at Lyric Opera with Yonghoon Lee as Manrico and Amber Wagner as Leonora.

[Below: The gypsies are at their anvils in the second scene of Sir David McVicar’s Lyric Opera production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore”; edited image, based on a Michael Brosilow photograph, courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.]

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Quinn Kelsey is the Count di Luna, Stephanie Blythe is Azucena, and Andrea Silbestrelli is Ferrando.

[For my reviews of Yonghoon Lee performances, see: Yonghoon Lee’s Calaf Tames Theorin’s Time-Traveling Turandot – Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, November 28, 2012 and True Verismo: Nello Santi Conducts Yonghoon Lee, Martina Serafin, Lucio Gallo in “Andrea Chénier” – Zurich Opera, May 4, 2014.]

[For my performance review, see: Review: Golden Age Verdi Singing for Lyric Opera’s “Il Trovatore” – Chicago, October 27, 2014.]


Rigoletto (Santa Fe Opera), July 4, 10, 15, August 4, 10, 15, 19, 25 and 28, 2015.

Quinn Kelsey appears in the title role of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, in a Santa Fe Opera production that co-stars Brian Hymel as the Duke of Mantua and Georgia Jarman as Gilda.

[Below: Rigoletto (Quinn Kelsey) swears vengeance before the image of the Duke of Mantua (Bruce Sledge, center, in portrait) in the 2015 Santa Fe Opera production of “Rigoletto”; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph for the Santa Fe Opera.]


Andrea Silverstrelli is Sparafucile, Nicole Piccolomini is Maddalena and Robert Pomakov is Monterone.

 [For my reviews of other Quinn Kelsey performances, see: and An Admirable “Aida”: Hui He, Berti, Smirnova, Kelsey Are Impressive – Lyric Opera of Chicago, March 15, 2012 and Review: San Francisco Opera’s Pérez, Costello, Kelsey Lineup Leads to High Scoring “Traviata” – July 5, 2014.]

For my performance review, see: Review: Quinn Kelsey, Georgia Jarman – Powerful Performances in Lee Blakeley’s New Santa Fe Opera “Rigoletto” – July 4, 2015.