In Quest of 1890s Italian Verismo Operas – September 2019 – March 2020

Over the next year, I am scheduled to review four performances of three Italian operas that premiered between 1892 and 1896 by the composers Alfredo Catalani and Giacomo Puccini. Playwright Luigi Illica was librettist or co-librettist for each of the three operas.

La Boheme (Puccini), Los Angeles Opera, September 14, 22, 25, 28, October 2 and 6(m), 2019.

The Los Angeles Opera imports Barrie Koskie’s production of “La Boheme” with a cast led by the Rodolfo or Saimir Pirgu and the Mimi of Marina Costa-Jackson. 

Below: Rodolfo (Saimir Pirgu, right) bids farewell to the dying Mimi (Marina Costa-Jackson, left); edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.

Erica Petrocelli is Musetta, Kihun Yoon is Marcello and Michael J. Hawk is Schaunard. Patrick Blackwell is Alcindoro.

Maestro James Conlon conducts. The scenery is by Rufus Didwiszus and costumes by Victoria Behr.

[For my performance review, see: Review: A Beautifully Sung “La Boheme” with Saimir Pirgu and Marina Costa-Jackson – Los Angeles Opera, September 14, 2019.]

Manon Lescaut (Puccini), San Francisco Opera, November 8, 13, 16, 20, 24(m) and 26, 2019.

Olivier Tambosi’s production of “Manon Lescaut” returns to the San Francisco Opera, conducted by Maestro Nicola Luisotti. Lianna Haroutounian sings the title role, with Brian Jagde as the Chevalier des Grieux. (Rafael Davila performs the role of Chevalier des Grieux on November 26.)

[Below: Manon Lescaut (Lianna Haroutounian, standing) delights Geronte (Philip Skinner, seated center, third from right); edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera.]

Anthony Clark Evans is Lescaut, Eric Halfvarson is Geronte. The sets are by Frank Philipp Schlössmann.

[For my review of the Tambosi production when last seen at the San Francisco Opera, see: World Class “Manon Lescaut” – S. F. Opera November 19, 2006.]

[For my performance reviews, see: Review: A Passionate “Manon Lescaut” Led by Luisotti, Haroutounian and Jagde – San Francisco Opera, November 8, 2019.]

La Boheme (Puccini), Sarasota Opera, February 8, 11, 13, 16(m), 19, 25, 29(m), March 3, 6, 11, 14, 19 and 21, 2020.

Maestro Victor DeRenzi conducts; Mark Freiman directs the Sarasota Opera’s production of Puccini’s perennially most popular score.G

Below: a French edition G. Ricordi poster for “La Boheme”.

The opera opens the Sarasota Opera’s 2020 Winter Season of four operas. William Davenport is Rodolfo, Anna Mandina is Mimi, Filippo Fontana is Marcello, Jessica Sandige is Musetta ad Young Bok Kim is Colline. Maestro Victor DeRenzi conducts.

La Wally (Catalani), Sarasota Opera, March 7, 10, 15(m), 18 and 22(m), 2020.

Sarasota Opera presents the first fully staged North America performances of Catalani’s melodramatic opera to have taken place in the past three decades.

Maestro Victor DeRenzi conducts; Stephanie Sundine directs.

Teresa Romano is Wally, Sean Anderson is Gellner, Rafael Davila is Hagenbach and Young Bok Kim is Stromminger.

[Below: Caitlin Crabill as La Wally; edited image, based on a Rod Millington photograph, courtesy of the Sarasota Opera.]


Librettist Luigi Illica’s contributions to the 1892 success of “La Wally” led to his subsequent collaboration with Giacomo Puccini writing libretti (often in collaboration with Giuseppe Giacosa) for “Manon Lescaut”, “Tosca” and “Madama Butterfly” and for composer Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier”.

[For my performqnce review see: Review: Caitlin Crabill and Rafael Davila Lead Strong Cast for Catalani’s “La Wally” – Sarasota Opera, March 7, 2020.]

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through July, 2020:

Handel’s “Orlando” at the San Francisco Opera, Handel’s “Semele” at the Opera Philadelphia, Handel’s “Saul” at the Houston Grand Opera and Handel’s “Partenope” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of Handel Operas – June 2019-July 2020.]

Penella’s “El Gato Montes” at the Los Angeles Opera, Kern’s “Show Boat” at the Glimmerglass Festival and Britten’s “Billy Budd” at the Central City Opera [See In Quest of Varied Operatic Repertory – February-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)].