In Quest of Midyear 2024 Operatic Performances in Santa Fe and San Francisco

The following is a list of operas that I am scheduled to review at the Santa Fe and San Francisco Operas.

The Righteous (Spears and Smith) July 13, 17, 26, 30, August 7 and 13, 2024

Gregory Spears’ much admired opera, “Fellow Travelers” was set to a Greg Pierce libretto based on Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel of the same name. The 2016 opera tackled the subject matter of a sexual relationship between to men occurring during the McCarthy era of the 1950s.

“The Righteous”, whose world premiere will take place at the Santa Fe Opera on July 13th, is the second operatic collaboration between Spears and American poet-laureate Tracy K. Smith. Their previous work 2022’s “Castor and Patience”, deals with the 21st century battles in Southern states over land held by former slaves for the past century and a half.

“The Righteous'” lead character is David (Texas baritone Michael Mayes), a member of a West Texas church community who obtains political power during the 1980s, confronting social issues that test his religious faith.

[Below: Composer Gregory Spears; edited image, based on a photograph from Facebook/Greg Spears.]

Louisiana bass-baritone Greer Grimsley is David’s political mentor, Paul. New Jersey countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo is Paul’s son Jonathan, who struggles with sexual identity. The cast also includes Jennifer Johnson Cano, Elena Villalón, Amber Wagner and Brenton Ryan. Maestro Jordan de Souza conducts.

Der Rosenkavalier (Richard Strauss) July 20, 24, August 2, 8 and 15, 2024

In Bruno Ravella’s “Der Rosenkavalier” production, first performed at Britain’s Garsington Opera in 2022, the action is moved from 18th century Vienna to the Austrian capital in the 1950s. Scenic and Costume designer Gary McCann has created an attractive setting for Strauss’ operatic masterpiece.

[Below: the Presentation of the Rose to Sophie (here, Erin Morley) by Octavian (here, Samantha Hankey) in the 2022 Garsington Opera production to be performed by the Santa Fe Opera; edited image from scenic designer Gary McGann.]

The Santa Fe Opera cast is led by the Marschallin of Rachel Willis-Sørensen, the Count Octavian of Paula Murrihy, the Sophie of Ying Fang (through August 8) and of Liv Redpath (August 15) and the Baron Ochs of Matthew Rose. Others in the large cast include Zachary Nelson, David Portillo, Gerhard Siegel and Megan Marino. Maestra Karina Canellakis conducts.

L’Elisir d’Amore (Donizetti) July 27, 31, August 9, 14 and 22, 2024

After a decade and a half, the Santa Fe Opera revives Stephen Lawless’ production of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore”, starring tenor Jonah Hoskins as the lovesick Nemorino, soprano Yaritza Véliz as the object of his desire, baritone Luke Sutliff as his soldier rival Sergeant Belcore and baritone Alfredo Daza as the slippery “snake oil” salesman, Doctor Dulcamara.

[Below: Nemorino (here, Dimitri Pittas, center) believes his sudden popularity with the village ladies is the result of his drinking a love elixir, unaware that those ladies have learned that that his rich uncle has died and left him a fortune; edited image, based on a Ken Howard photograph, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera.]

Maestro Roberto Kalb conducts. the scenic and costume designs were those of Ashley Martin-Davis.

[For my review of the opening performance of this production 15 years ago, see: Review: Dimitri Pittas a Sparkler in Lawless’ Deft “L’Elisir d’Amore” – Santa Fe Opera, July 4, 2009.]

Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi) September 6, 11, 15,18, 21, 24 and 27, 2024

The San Francisco Opera mounts a production of Verdi’s “Ballo in Maschera”, the composer’s opera about a nobleman’s murder of a king at a masked ball as revenge for his wife’s infidelity with him. The opera’s plot is based, in part, on the historical assassination of Gustavus III, King of Sweden, who is the protagonist of the “Swedish” version of the opera..

[Below: the arrival of masked characters at the masked ball; edited image, based on a 2016 production photograph for the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma.]

New Jersey tenor Michael Fabiano is King Gustavo III, Armenian soprano Lianna Haroutounian is Amelia. Making his San Francisco Opera debut is Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat as Count Anckarström. Romanian/Hungarian mezzo-soprano Judit Kutasi is Ulrica Arvidsson, Chinese soprano Mei Gui Zhang is Oscar and California bass-baritone Adam Lau is Samuel.

Maestra Eun Sun Kim conducts, Italian director Leo Muscato directs, the sets and costumes were created respectively by Italian designers Federica Parolini and Silvia Aymonino.

This list is supplementary to previous lists in this “Quests and Anticipations” series of selected operas being performed through August, 2024:

Saariaho and Oksanen‘s “Innocence” [See In Quest of 21st Century Operatic Projects].

Mozart’s “The Magic Flute:, Handel’s “Partenope”, Verdi’s “La Traviata” and Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” [See In Quest of Early Summer 2024 Operas in San Francisco and Santa Fe].