In Quest of Italian Opera Masterpieces, September-November, 2017

The following operatic masterpieces by Verdi and Puccini are being performed by the San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera and/or Houston Grand Opera between September and November, 2017:

Turandot (Puccini), San Francisco Opera, September 8, 12, 15, 21, 24, November 18, 25, 28, December 3, 6 and 9, 2017.

The San Francisco Opera offers two “Turandot” casts. The season’s opening night cast that performs for all six September performances includes Austrian soprano Martina Serafin as Turandot, New York tenor Brian Jagde as Calaf, Italian soprano Maria Agresta as Liu (except for the last two performances when Toni Marie Palmertree sings the role) and Raymond Aceto as Timur.

[Below: The Princess Turandot (Martina Serafin, front) poses a riddle for Prince Calaf (Brian Jagde, center left, standing on fourth step); edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

The spectacular David Hockney production and set design (that I have described as a “world treasure”) with Ian Falconer’s cotumes, are revived under the supervision of Director Garnett Bruce. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts.

[For a previous review of the Hockney production, see: Luisotti Leads Superb “Turandot” Cast In David Hockney’s Treasured Production – San Francisco Opera, September 9, 2011.]

[For my performance reviews, see: Review: San Francisco Opera’s “Turandot” – Sonic Splendor, Visual Delight – September 8, 2017 and A Second Look: San Francisco Opera’s “Turandot” – September 24, 2017 and Review: San Francisco Opera’s Treasured “Turandot” – Stemme, Crocetto, Howard Join Cast, November 18, 2017.]

La Traviata (Verdi), San Francisco Opera, September 23, 26, 28, October 1(M), 3, 6, 8, 11, 14 and 17, 2017.

Rumanian soprano Aurelia Florian in her American debut is Violetta, Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan (San Francisco Opera debut) is Alfredo and Polish baritone Artur Rucinski is Giorgio Germont in a revival of the elegant and venerable John Copley production of Verdi’s “La Traviata”, whose sets are by John Conklin and whose revival diretor is Shawna Lucey. Maestro Nicola Luisotti conducts.

[Below: Alfredo (Atalla Ayan, right) expresses his feelings for Violetta (Aurelia Florian, left); edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

[For a previous review of the Copley production see: Luisotti Leads Triumphant “Traviata” Starring Cabell and Pirgu – San Francisco Opera, June 11, 2014.]

[For my performance review, see: Review: an Engaging “La Traviata” in John Copley’s Classic Production – San Francisco Opera, September 23, 2017.]

Nabucco (Verdi), Los Angeles Opera, October 14, November 2, 5, 8, 11 and 19, 2017.

Placido Domingo is Nabucco, Liudmula Monastryska is Abigaille, Morris Robinson is Zaccaria. Ismaele and Fenena are portrayed by Mario Chang and Nancy Fabiola Herrera. Maestro James Conlon conducts.

[Below: Placido Domingo as Nabucco in the Los Angeles Opera’s Thaddeus Strassberger production of Verdi’s “Nabucco”; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]

The production is that of Thaddeus Strassberger for the Washington National Opera (as a co-production with Minnesota Opera and Opera Philadelphia).

[For a previous review of the Thaddeus Strassberger production, see: Strassberger’s Verdi-Year “Nabucco” – Leo An, Csilla Boross Are Magnificent in Inventive Production – Washington National Opera, May 15, 2012.]

[For my review of the Los Angeles Opera production, see: Review: Los Angeles Opera’s Glorious “Nabucco” – Domingo, Monastyrska, Conlon Soar in Strassberger’s Imaginative Production.]

La Traviata (Verdi), Houston Grand Opera, October 20, 22, 28, November 1, 3, 5 and 11, 2017

Arin Arbus directs her production of Verdi’s “La Traviata”, seen last year at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, opens the 2017-18 Houston Grand Opera season and launches an HGO six season project. Beginning with the 2017-18 season through the 2022-23 season, three operas will be part of HGO’s “Seeking the Human Spirit” thematic initiative.

The opening night “La Traviata” cast stars Albina Shagimuratova as Violetta for five performances (Mane Galoyan as Violetta for the final two performances. Also performing with Shagimuratova is Dimitri Pittas as Alfredo Germont and George Petean as Giorgio Germont. Alfredo and Giorgio for the final two performances are Yongzhao Yu and Sol Jin respectively.

[Below: Alfredo (Dimitri Pittas, left) has returned to be with the dying Violetta (Albina Shagimuratova, right) in the Houston Grand Opera’s Reslience Theater presentation of Arin Arbus’ production of Verdi’s “La Traviata”; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera.]

The comprimario roles are sung by Richard Smagur (Gastone), Thomas Glass (Douphol), Ben Edquist (d’Obigny), Anthony Robin Schneider (Grenvil) and Yelena Dyachek (Annina). Maestro Eun Sun Kim conducts the first five performances, Maestro Bradley Moore the last two.

Riccardo Hernandez designed the sets, Cait O’Connor the costumes and Christopher Ash the projections.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Houston Grand Opera’s “La Traviata” with Shagimuratova, Pittas, Petean – October 28, 2017 .]

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through May 2018:

Donizetti’s “L’Assedio di Calais” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of Donizetti and Bellini – November 2016 to August 2017.]

Handel’s “Xerxes” at the Glimmerglass Festival, Handel’s “Alcina” at the Santa Fe Opera and Handel’s “Giulio Cesare” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Handel and Vivaldi Opera Performances – May to November, 2017.]

George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and Rodgers’ and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” at the at the Glimmerglass Festival, Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at the Santa Fe Opera and Adams’ “The Girls of the Golden West” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of American Operas and Musicals – July to December, 2017.]

Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Le Coq d’Or [The Golden Cockerel]” at the Santa Fe Opera, Bizet’s “Les Pecheurs de Perles [The Pearl Fishers]” at the Los Angeles Opera, Saint-Saens’ “Samson et Dalila” at The Dallas Opera and Massenet’s “Thaïs” at the Minnesota Opera [See In Quest of Operatic “Exoticism” – July 2017-May 2018.]