In Quest of Donizetti and Early Verdi (January-July, 2020)

Several times I have been invited to write articles for the programs that accompany live performances of operas. Three of these articles relate to the operas composed by Gaetano Donizetti and his younger contemporary, Giuseppe Verdi.

These articles are: 21st Century Love for Donizetti’s “Elixir”, and,

From the “Barber of Seville” to “Don Pasquale”, and

Gaetano Donizetti: European Romanticism and The Pathway to Verdi

Over the next several months, I am scheduled to review the following operas written by Donizetti or by Verdi during Donizetti’s lifetime in Houston, Sarasota, Los Angeles and San Francisco:

La Favorite (Donizetti), Houston Grand Opera, January 24, 26(m), February 1, 6 and 9(m), 2020

Jamie Barton is Léonor de Guzman, with Lawrence Brownlee and Jacques Imbrailo respectively as her suitors Fernand and King Alphonse XI. Federico De Michelis is Balthazar. Christopher Bozeka is Don Gaspar and Elena Villalón is Inès.

[Below: Jamie Barton as Leonor in the Kevin Newbury production of “La Favorite”; edited image, based on a Lynn Lane photograph, courtesy of the Houston Grand Opera].

Maestro Christophe Rousset conducts. Kevin Newbury directs the new production, whose sets are by Victoria Tzykun and costumes are by Jessica Jahn.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Jamie Barton, a Phenomenon in “La Favorite” – Houston Grand Opera, January 24, 2020.]

L’Elisir d’Amore (Donizetti), Sarasota Opera, February 22, 26, March 1, 5, 13, 17 and 21, 2020.

Sarasota Opera presents Italian opera’s second most popular opera buffa, Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love” starring Geoffrey Agpalo as Nemorino, Adelaide Boedecker as Adina and Stefano de Peppo as Doctor Dulcamara.

[Below: Adina (Adelaide Boedecker, left) flirts with Nemorino (Geoffrey Agpalo, right); edited image, based on a Rod Millington photograph for the Sarasota Opera.]

Maestro John F. Spencer IV conducts. Marco Nistico directs. Roger Hanna creates the scenic design.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Sarasota Opera’s Endearing “Elixir of Love” Starring Geoffrey Agpalo and Adelaide Boedecker – March 5, 2020.]

Roberto Devereux (Donizetti), Los Angeles Opera, February 22, 27, March 1(m), 5 and 8(m), 2020.

The Los Angeles Opera presents Donizetti’s “Roberto Devereux” for the first time in its history. Davinia Rodriguez stars as the Virgin Queen and Ramon Vargas is her romantic interest, Roberto Devereux, whose disloyalty costs him his head. Alice Coote is Sarah. The artist performing the Duke of Nottingham is to be announced. Michael J. Hawk will be Sir Walter Raleigh.

[Below: Ramon Vargas as Roberto Devereux; edited image, based on a Cory Weaver photograph, courtesy of the Los Angeles Opera..]

Maestra Eun Sun Kim conducts all but the March 14 performance, which will be helmed by Maestro Louis Lohraseb. Stephen Lawless directs the production.

[For my performance review, see: Review: Los Angeles Opera – Angela Meade Joins Vargas, Kelsey and Dixon in Impressive “Roberto Devereux”, February 22, 2020.]

[The San Francisco Opera’s 2020 Summer Season was canceled due to Covid19.]

Ernani (Verdi), San Francisco Opera, June 7(m), 13, 16, 19, 26 and July 2, 2020 [The San Francisco Opera’s 2020 Summer Season was canceled due to Covid19.]

After an absence of 36 seasons, Verdi’s “Ernani” returns to the San Francisco Opera. Russell Thomas is Ernani, Michelle Bradley is Elvira, Simone Piazzola is Don Carlo and Christian Van Horn is Don Ruy Gomez de Silva.

[Below: Nunzio Todisco (left) is Ernani and Montserrat Caballe (right) is Leonora in the 1984 San Francisco Opera production of Verdi’s “Ernani”; edited image, based on a Ron Scherl photograph, courtesy of the San Francisco Opera Archives.]

Maestro James Gaffigan conducts. Jose Maria Condemi directs. THe production is designed by Scott Marr.

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

Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” at the Seattle Opera and Rodgers’ and Hammestein’s “The Sound of Music” at the Glimmerglass Festival. [See In Quest of Intriguing Opera Productions – September, 2019-August, 2020]

Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” at the San Francisco Opera, Wagner’s “Die Feen” at the Glimmerglass Festival and Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and Dvorak’s “Rusalka” at the Santa Fe Opera. See [In Quest of Operas Based on Myths and Fairy Tales – November 2019 – August 2020]

Aucoin’s “Eurydice” at the Los Angeles Opera; Bates’ “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at the San Francisco Operaand Ruo’s “M. Butterfly” at the Santa Fe Opera. [In Quest of 21st Century Operas, August 2019-August 2020]

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute” at the Los Angeles Opera. [See In Quest of Immersion into Mozart Operas: July-December, 2019.]

Gounod’s “Romeo et Juliette” at the 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 “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 “Partenope” at the San Francisco Opera [See In Quest of Handel Operas – June 2019-July 2020.]