In Quest of German Operatic Repertory, September 2017-August 2018

The following is a list of operas performed in German, that I am scheduled to review in San Francisco, Chicago, Sarasota and Santa Fe:


Elektra (Richard Strauss), San Francisco Opera, September 9, 13, 17(m), 19, 22 and 27, 2017. 

British director Keith Warner’s production of Richard Strauss’ “Elektra”, whose sets by Boris Kudlicka,  is revived by San Francisco Opera following its 2016 previous performances in Prague.

[Below: Elektra (Christine Goerke, left) and Chrysothemis (Adrianne Pieczonka, right) contemplate the execution of their mother, in Keith Warner’s San Francisco Opera production of Richard Strauss’ “Elektra”; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph for the San Francisco Opera.]

Dramatic soprano Christine Goerke is Elektra. Klytemnestra is portrayed by Michaela Martens and Chrysothemis by Adrianne Pieczonka. Alfred Walker makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Orest, with Robert Brubaker as Aegisth. Anthony Reed, Jill Grove, Laura Krumm, Nicole Birkland, Sarah Cambridge, Rhoslyn Jones, Amina Idris and Kyle van Schoonhoven complete the cast.

Maestro Henrik Nánási, in his San Francisco Opera debut, conducts. Anja Kühnhold is the revival director.

[For my performance review, see: Review: San Francisco Opera’s “Elektra” – Goerke, Pieczonka in a Gory, Gloriously Sung Night at the Museum – September 9, 2017.]


Die Walküre (Wagner), Lyric Opera of Chicago, November 1, 5(m), 10, 14, 18, 26(m) and 30, 2017.

Lyric’s four-season introduction of the new David Pountney production of Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelungs” continues with “Die Walküre” starring Christine Goerke as Brünnhilde, Eric Owens as Wotan, Elisabeth Strid as Sieglinde, Brian Jovanovich as Siegmund, Ain Anger as Hunding and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner as Fricka.

[Below: Christine Goerke is Brünnhilde in David Pountney’s production of Wagner’s “Die Walküre”; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Lyric Opera of Chicago.]

The new production’s sets were conceived by the late Johan Engels. The realization of Engels’ concepts are under the care of designer Robert Innes Hopkins. Marie-Jeanne Lecca and Fabrice Kebour respectively designed the costumes and the lighting.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Chicago’s Imaginative New “Walküre”: Goerke, Owens, Jovanovich, Strid Excel – Lyric Opera, November 30, 2017.]


Tiefland (d’Albert), Sarasota Opera, March 10, 15, 18(m), 21 and 25(m), 2018.

According to the Sarasota Opera’s research, Eugen d’Albert’s early 20th century verismo opera has been performed in the United States only in 1908 and 1995. The opera is a repertory staple in Germany and Austria. Maria Callas made her operatic debut as Marta, the opera’s lead soprano role.

[Below: Pedro (Ben Gulley, left) has persuaded Marta (Kara Shay Thomson, right) to join him when he returns to his mountains; edited image of a Rod Millington photograph, courtesy of the Sarasota Opera.]

Ben Gulley is the unsophisticated mountain-dwelling shepherd Pedro. His life changes when he becomes involved with people living at the valley (tiefland) floor. The wealthy mill-owner Sebastiano (Aleksey Bogdanov) intends that Pedro be married to Sebastiano’s mistress Marta (Kara Shay Thomson). This arrangement is intended to allow Sebastiano to marry a woman for money while having a mistress at his beck and call.

In verismo opera, things don’t always work out as planned.

Maestro David Neely conducts. Michael Unger directs. Steven C. Karp, Howard Tsvi Kaplan and Ken Yunker are respectively the designers of the scenery, the costumes and the lighting.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Sarasota Opera’s Triumphant “Tiefland” Stars Kara Shay Thomson, Ben Gulley – March 18, 2018.]


Ariadne auf Naxos (Richard Strauss), Santa Fe Opera, July 28, August 1, 10, 15 and 23, 2018

Amanda Echalaz returns to the Santa Fe Opera as Ariadne in Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos”, with Bruce Sledge as Bacchus, Erin Morley as Zerbinetta and Amanda Majeski as the Composer.

[Below: The pagliacci (left to right, Scaramuccio (Matthew DiBattista), Truffaldino (Anthony Robin Schneider), Brighella (Terrence Chin-Loy), Arlecchino (Jarrett Ott) and Zerbinetta (Liv Redpath) gather backstage at the home of “the richest man in Vienna; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

Zerbinetta’s companions include Jarrett Ott as Arlecchino and Matthew DiBattista as Scaramuccio. Rod GIlfrey (music master), Brenton Ryan (dancing master) and Kevin Burdette (Major Domo) appear in the opera’s prologue.

Tim Albery directs, Maestro James Gaffigan conducts. Tobias Hoheisel designs the sets.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Santa Fe Opera’s Delectable New Ariadne auf Naxos” – Santa Fe Opera, July 28, 2018.]


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

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

Adams’ “The Girls of the Golden West” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of American Operas and Musicals – July to December, 2017.]

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.]

Puccini’s “Turandot” and Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the San Francisco Opera, Verdi’s “Nabucco” at the Los Angeles Opera and Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Houston Grand Opera [In Quest of Italian Opera Masterpieces, September-November, 2017.]