In Quest of “Core” Verismo Operas, February-September, 2018

I will be reviewing – at the Sarasota Opera, Santa Fe Opera and San Francisco Opera – four iconic operas written in the Italian “verismo” style exemplified by such composers as Puccini, Mascagni, Giordano, Leoncavallo and Cilea. Three of the operas are from the first four years of the 1890s that defined and popularized the style; the fourth from a decade later is one of Puccini’s – and verismo’s – most famous works.

Manon Lescaut (Puccini) Sarasota Opera, February 10, 14, 18, 20, 24, March 1, 4, 17 and 23, 2018

Sandra Lopez is Manon Lescaut and Matthew Vickers is the Chevalier des Grieux in the Sarasota Opera’s first ever production of Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”. Filippo Fontana is Lescaut and Costas Tsourakis is Geronte.

[Below: Manon Lescaut (here, Sandra Lopez, right) is dying in a desert in Louisiana and the Chevalier des Grieux (Matthew Vickers, left) is unable to find relief for her; edited image, based on a Rod Millington photo, courtesy of the Sarasota Opera.]

The opera is conducted by Maestro Victor DeRenzi and directed by Stephanie Sundine. The sets are by David P. Gordon.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Sarasota Opera’s “Manon Lescaut” – Zhanna Alkhazova, Matthew Vickers, March 17, 2018.]

Madama Butterfly (Puccini) Santa Fe Opera, June 30, July 6, 11, 20, 30, August 4, 8, 13, 18, 22 and 24, 2018.

Two pairs of principals perform. For the first four scheduled performances Kelly Kaduce is Cio-Cio-San and A. J. Glueckert is B. F. Pinkerton. From July 30 throughout August the pair are respectively Ana María Martínez and Joshua Guerrero. For all performances Megan Marino is Suzuki, Nicholas Pallesen is Sharpless, Soloman Howard is the Bonze and Matthew DiBattista is Goro.

The production is that of the late Lee Blakeley, created for Santa Fe Opera in 2010 and re-created for the Los Angeles Opera in 2016.

[Below: Kelly Kaduce as Cio-Cio-San; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

Maestro John Fiore conducts. Matthew Ozawa is stage director. Jean-Marc Puissant designed the production’s sets, Brigitte Reiffenstuel the costumes.

[For my performance review: see: Review: A Stunning “Madama Butterfly” Starring Kelly Kaduce – Santa Fe Opera, June 30, 2018.]

Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) San Francisco Opera, September 7, 12, 16(m), 19, 22, 28 and 30(m), 2018.

The San Francisco Opera imports the Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège’s Jose Cura production of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana”, created by dramatic tenor/conductor/director Jose Cura. The setting for both operas takes place in a village modeled on the La Boca neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.

Ekaterina Semenchuk is Santuzza, Roberto Aronica is Turiddu and Dimitri Platanias is Alfio.

[Below: the La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires on which the sets for the Jose Cura production of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” is based; edited image, based on a photograph from wikipedia commons.]

Jill Grove is Mamma Lucia. Maestro Daniele Callegari conducts, Jose Maria Condemi directs the revival.

[For my performance reviews, see: Review, Part I: San Francisco Opera Season Opening “Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci”, Nicely Sung, Brilliantly Staged, September 7, 2018 and Review: A Second Look at San Francisco Opera’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” – September 16, 2018.]

Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), San Francisco Opera, September 7, 12, 16(m), 19, 22, 28 and 30(m), 2018.

Marco Berti is Canio. Lianna Haroutounian is Nedda. Dimitri Platinias is Tonio.

[Below: Beppe (Amitai Pati, left) tries to persuade Canio (Marco Berti) to concentrate his attention on the upcoming performance; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

David Pershall is Silvio, Amitai Pati is Beppe. Maestro Daniele Callegari conducts, Jose Maria Condemi directs the revival.

[For my performance reviews, see: Review, Part II: Thrilling Performances in San Francisco Opera Season Opening “Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci”, September 7, 2018 and Review: A Second Look at San Francisco Opera’s “Pagliacci” – September 16, 2018.]

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through January 2019:

Massenet’s “Thaïs” at the Minnesota Opera [See In Quest of Operatic “Exoticism” – July 2017-May 2018.]

d’Albert’s “Tiefland” at the Sarasota Opera  and Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of German Operatic Repertory – September 2017-August 2018.]

Bizet’s “Carmen” at the Sarasota Opera and Berlioz’ “Beatrice et Benedict” at the Seattle Opera [See In Quest of Operas by Berlioz, Bizet and Massenet – November 2017 – March 2018.]

Bellini’s “Norma” at the Sarasota Opera, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at The Dallas Opera and Bellini’s “Norma” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Mozart and Bellini Operatic Masterpieces – January-April 2018.]

Verdi’s “Don Carlo” at the Washington National Opera, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and “Don Carlo” at the Los Angeles Opera and Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at the Seattle Opera [See In Quest of Verdi Operas, March 2018-January 2019.]