In Quest of Varied Operatic Repertory – February-August 2019

Over the next six months, I will be reviewing performances at the San Diego Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Glimmerglass Festival and the Central City Opera, each of which represents a quite distinct style of musical works.

Rigoletto (Verdi), San Diego Opera, February 2, 5, 8 and 10(m), 2019.

The San Diego Opera presents the Michael Cavanagh production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto”, conducted by Maestro Steven White.

[Below: Stephen Powell as Rigoletto; edited image, based on a Karli Cadel photograph, courtesy of the San Diego Opera.]

Stephen Powell is Rigoletto, Alisa Jordheim is Gilda. Scott Quinn is the Duke of Mantua, with Alissa Anderson as Maddalena and Kyle Albertson as Sparafucile.

[For my performance review, see: Review: San Diego Opera’s Rousing “Rigoletto” – Well-deserved Ovations for Stephen Powell, Alisa Jordheim, Scott Quinn – February 2, 2019.]

El Gato Montés (Penella), Los Angeles Opera, May 4, 5(m), 8, 11, 16 and 19(m), 2019.

Plácido Domingo’s parents performed in zarzuelas – musical works, sung in Spanish, often with arias alternating with spoken dialogue, written in a style that invites operatic voices to perform them..

One of the most famous zarzuelas, Penella’s “El Gato Montés” (The Wildcat), is through-composed, rather than interrupted by spoken dialoge. The opera is about a Spanish woman Solea, attracted to a bullfighter, Rafael Ruiz. A gypsy foretells Rafael’s death in the bullring. Gato Montés (named Juanillo) is a bandit who is hostile to any love affair between Solea and Rafael.

The Los Angeles Opera’s cast includes Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz as the Bullfighter Rafael Ruiz, Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez as Solea and Plácido Domingo is the Wildcat, Juanillo. Spanish Maestro Jordi Bernàcer conducts.

[Below: Juanillo (Placido Domingo) is surrounded by a crowd of villagers; editd image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]

The opera’s characters and plot (and a considerable amount of the music) may remind some opera goers of a very famous French opera, but “Gato Montés‘” origins were Valencia in Spain rather than Paris. The bullfight-associated music from “Gato Montés” will be familiar to many persons who have never seen the opera.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Domingo, Martínez, Chacón-Cruz Excel in “El Gato Montés” – Los Angeles Opera, May 5, 2019.]

Show Boat (Kern), Glimmerglass Festival, July 6, 16, 20, 22, 28, August 1, 3, 5, 11, 17, 20 and 24, 2019.

Francesca Zambello has championed the idea of opera companies performing the best of the classic American musicals. Zambello devotes one-fourth of the mainstage repertory at her annual Glimmerglass Festival to the genre each year.

Her production of “Show Boat” which has been performed at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and The Dallas Opera opens the 2019 Glimmerglass Festival.

[Below: Gaylord Ravenal (Michael Adams, left) and Magnolia Hawks (Lauren Snouffer, right) make believe that they are in love; edited image, based on a Karli Cadel photograph, courtesy of the Glimmerglass Festival.]

Michael Adams is Gaylord Ravenal. Lauren Snouffer is Magnolia Hawks, with Lara Teeter and Christine Ebersole as her parents Cap’n Andy and Parthy Ann. Alyson Cambridge is Julie Laverne, with other key cast members yet to be announced.

[For my performance review, see: Review: “Show Boat” at the Glimmerglass Festival – July 16, 2019.]

Billy Budd (Britten), Central City Opera, July 13, 17(m), 19, 21(m), 23(m), 25, 27(m) and 31(m), 2019.

Central City Opera is presenting what they describe as the Colorado premiere of Britten’s “Billy Budd”, starring Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins in the title role.

Directed by Ken Cazan and conducted by Maestro John Baril, the opera’s cast also includes Daniel Norman and Captain Vere and Kevin Burdette as John Claggart.

[Below: Billy Budd (Joshua Hopkins) is comforted by Dansker (Matthew Burns); edited image based on an Amanda Tipton photograph, courtesy of the Central City Opera.]

Rounding out the cast are Dennis Jesse, Federico de Michelis, Brian Kontes, Benjamin Werley, Jonathan Hays, Matthew Burns, Jonas Hacker and Joseph Gaines.

[For my performance review: see: Review: Hopkins, Norman and Burdette in a Beauty of a “Billy Budd”- Central City Opera, July 21, 2019.]

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

O’Regan’s “The Phoenix” at the Houston Grand Opera; and Corigliani’s “The Ghosts of Versailles” and Tesori’s “Blue” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of 21st Century American Operas – November, 2018 – August, 2019.]

Dvorak’s “Rusalka” at the San Francisco Opera and “The Thirteenth Child” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Operas Based on Myths and Fairy Tales – November 2018 – August 2019.]

Verdi’s “Falstaff” at The Dallas Opera, and Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” and Janacek’s “Jenufa” at the Santa Fe Opera [See In Quest of Less Often Performed Repertory Operas – October 2018 – August 2019.]

Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Santa Fe Opera and Verdi’s “La Traviata” at the Glimmerglass Festival [See In Quest of Italian Opera Favorites, October 2018-August 2019.]

Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito” at the Los Angeles Opera and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” at the Houston Grand Opera [See In Quest of Mozart Operas (October 2018-April 2019)].

Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” at the Seattle Opera [See In Quest of Verdi Operas, March 2018-January 2019.]