In Quest of 21st Century Operas, August 2019-August 2020

The following four operas continue an ongoing “Quests and Anticipations” Feature:  In Quest of 21st Century American Operas – November, 2018 – August, 2019. Three are by composers, each of whom has written an opera or operas for which I had previously written world premiere reviews. Three of the operas will be world premieres.

If I Were You (Heggie), San Francisco Opera Merola Program, August 1, 3, 4, 6, 2019.

Composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer were commissioned by Merola Opera Program, the young artists program affiliated with the San Francisco Opera), to create a new work to be presented at the War Memorial Center’s Herbst Theater.

[Below: Diana (Esther Tonea, left) has become acquainted with Fabian (Michael Day, right) whose diabolical contract granting him supernatural powers she comes to understand; edited image, based on a Frank Wing photograph, courtesy of the Merola Opera Program.]

The opera is based on Si j’étais vous, by the French-born American author Julian Green (1900-1998), Green’s Parisian residence and choice of French as the language for his prolific body of works earned him membership in the Academic-Francais (the first American ever to be so honored.)

j’étais vous is the story of Fabian Hart, a young man dissatisfied with his life, who makes a deal with the Devil to successively inhabit the bodies of other persons, only to find disillusionment as a result.

[For my performance review, see: World Premiere Review: Jake Heggie’s Faustian Fantasy “If I Were You” – Merola Opera Program, San Francisco, August 1, 2019.]

For my previous world premiere reviews of Heggie operas, See: World Premiere: Heggie’s Theatrically Brilliant, Melodic “Moby Dick” at Dallas Opera – April 30, 2010, and

World Premiere Review: Heggie’s “Great Scott” is a Great New Opera, Hilarious, Endearing, Sophisticated, Profound – The Dallas Opera, October 30, 2015 , and

World Premiere Review: Jake Heggie’s Celestial Transformation of “It’s a Wonderful Life” – Houston Grand Opera, December 2, 2016.

Eurydice (Aucoin), Los Angeles Opera, February 1, 8, 14, 16, 20 and 23, 2020.

The Los Angeles Opera presents the world premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s opera based on Sarah Ruhl’s play about a modern day wedding reception, during which the bride disappears into the Underworld.

A co-production with the New York Metropolitan Opera, Danielle De Niese and Joshua Hopkins are Eurydice and Orpheus.

[Below: Eurydice (Danielle De Niese) enjoys he beach time; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera.]

Rod Gilfry plays Eurydice’s deceased father, who resides in the underworld. Barry Banks plays an annoying wedding guest who turns out to be Hades, the Underworld’s ruler and John Holiday is Orpheus’ double.

Maestro Aucoin conducts his composition. Mary Zimmerman directs. The scenery is by Daniel Ostling, the costumes by Ana Kuzmanic.

[For my performance review, see: World Premiere Review: Matthew Aucoin’s “Eurydice” at the Los Angeles Opera, February 1, 2020.]

The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (Bates), San Francisco Opera, June 20, 24, 25, 28, 30, July 1 and 3, 2020.

Mason Bates’ opera, with its libretto by Mark Campbell, centers on the personal evoluation Steve Jobs, the driven technological genius, and the influence of his wife and Zen Master K?bun Chino Otogawa in Jobs’ achieving a degree of inner peace.

[Below: Steve Jobs (Edward Parks, right) and Steve Wozniak (Garrett Sorenson, left) are excited with a new invention; edited image, based on Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

San Francisco Opera will be the third company to mount the work (after theSanta Fe and Seattle Operas). The principals in the world premiere cast – Edward Parks as Steve Jobs, Sasha Cook as Laurene Jobs, Garrett Sorensen as Steve Wozniak and Wei Wu as Kobun Chino Otogawa will repeat their world premiere roles (Parks and Wu making San Francisco Opera debuts).

For my review of the opera’s world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera, see: World Premiere Review: Ovations for the (R)evolution of Steve Jobs – Santa Fe Opera, July 22, 2017

M. Butterfly (Ro), Santa Fe Opera, August 1, 5, 14, 19 and 26, 2020

The Santa Fe Opera commissioned Huang Ro, whose opera “Doctor Sun-Yat Sen” had its world premiere in Santa Fe’s 2014 season, to compose the music for an operatic version of David Henry Hwang’s play M. Butterfly for which Hwang will be librettist.

[Below: Kangmin Justin Kim who will create the role of Song Liling in Ro and Hwang’s “M. Butterfly”; edited image of a publicity photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

Korean countertenor is M. Butterfly (Song Liling). Serbian baritone David Bizic is the French diplomat Rene Gallimard. Korean soprano Hera Hyesang Park is both Comrade Chin and Shu Fang. California tenor Joshua Dennis is Marc. Tennessee bass Kevin Burdette is Manuel Toulon and a Judge. Maestra Xian Zhang, who is from Dandong, Liaoning, conducts, James Robinson directs. The sets are Allen Moyer, the costumes by James Schuette.

For my previous world premiere review of a Huang Ro opera, see: Review: Santa Fe Opera Shows its Mettle in Mounting Huang Ruo’s “Doctor Sun Yat-Sen” – July 30, 2014

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

Mozart’s “Cosi fan Tutte” at the Santa Fe Opera, Mozart’s “Abduction from the Seraglio” at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” at the San Francisco Opera, and Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the Los Angeles Opera. [See In Quest of Immersion into Mozart Operas: July-December, 2019.]

Bizet’s “Carmen” at the San Francisco Opera, Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” at the San Francisco Opera and Sarasota Opera, and Debussy’s “Pelleas et Melisande” at the Los Angeles Opera. [See In Quest of French Operatic Masterpieces – June, 2019-May 2020.]

Puccini’s “La Boheme” at the Los Angeles Opera, Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut” at the San Francisco Opera, Puccini’s “La Boheme” and Catalani’s “La Wally” at the Sarasota Opera.  [See In Quest of 1890s Italian Verismo Operas – September 2019 – March 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.]

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.]

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.]

Bizet’s “The Pearlfishers” 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.]