It’s that time of the year when opera seasons return and when some of the biggest stars grace the world’s most prominent stages. In the case of United States, there will be a number of world premieres as well as rising stars and established stars who have some fascinating performances planned for this year. With hundreds of different shows, OperaWire has curated a list of must-see operas for this fall and winter season that are sure to please audiences of all types and ages.
10. Samson et Dalila – Dallas Opera
It has been years since Olga Borodina graced a U.S. stage. The Russian mezzo has been in Europe for the past few years, performing many of her signature roles. But on Oct. 20, 2017, Borodina returns in her signature role as Dalila in her Dallas debut, generating excitement to watch one of the greatest stars of her time making a return. She will be joined by Clifton Forbis, who has been acclaimed for his work in the dramatic tenor repertoire. Emmanuele Villaume conducts the exciting new production by Bruno Berger-Gorski in his Dallas debut.
9. Carmen – LA Opera
“Carmen” is one of the most performed operas in the repertoire and perhaps one of the most beloved. However, what makes this revival so exciting is the fact that Ana María Martínez, a soprano, will sing the title role. When Martinez first did it in 2014, critics were ecstatic and said, “Ana María Martínez’s voice…..is warm and vibrant, soaring easily. She adds a new fervor to one of the opera’s most beloved heroines.” Her fiery passion combined with Brandon Jovanovich’s unhinged Don José, make this a work you cannot miss this fall. The opera will be conducted by James Conlon with performances opening on Sept. 9.
8. La Fanciulla Del West – New York City Opera
Last year, the New York City Opera presented its first complete season since reopening and the results were outstanding as it experimented with classic repertoire, rare pieces, and modern masterworks. It also showcased some very promising young stars and some seasoned singers. As a result, the company has become one of the most exciting in New York. This season it opens with Puccini’s classic “La Fanciulla del West,” which is slated to be directed by Ivan Stefanutti and conducted by James Meena. The production is an international collaboration between the Teatro di Giglio in Lucca, Italy, the Teatro Lirico in Cagliari, Sardinia, and Opera Carolina. With such pedigree, it will be enjoyable to see this masterwork in New York for the first time since 2010. Performances begin on Sept. 4, 2017 and runs through the 12th.
7. Maria de Buenos Aires – New Orleans Opera
Astor Piazzolla’s chamber opera is regarded as one of the most important 20th-century works and one that is widely performed. This season his tango operetta returns to the stage to open the New Orleans Opera. The new production features the finest interpreters of the primary roles including Colombian singer Catalina Cuervo, who has the distinction of participating in the most productions of the opera and Luis Alejandro Orozco, who performs the work regularly. Tomer Zvulun will stage the work with Maestro Robert Lyall leading a special Piazzolla orchestra. The work will be presented on Sept. 9 and 10.
6. Giulio Cesare – Houston Grand Opera
Anthony Roth Costanzo has become of the most interesting artists of his generation for his bold choices and his decisions to think outside the box. However, once in a while he takes on classic roles that work for his countertenor. In his HGO debut, Costanzo takes on the iconic Giulio Cesare for the first time, leading a cast that also includes David Daniels, Metropolitan Opera Council Audition winner Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Heidi Stober and Stephanie Blythe. Patrick Summers conducts this cast of titans in a production by James Robinson which opens on Oct. 27, 2017.
5. Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt – On Site Opera
Opera is seen as lavish and expensive. However, On Site opera is once again finding new ways to bring the art form right to audiences for free, all while showcasing its endless possibilities. This time the company is presenting the World Premiere of “Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt,” a new opera by John Musto with libretto by Eric Einhorn at the American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of Saurischian Dinosaurs. The 20-minute family-friendly opera is continuing OSO’s initiative of free opera which began with its acclaimed spring performances of Mozart’s “The Secret Gardener.” Performances will run from Sept. 23 through Oct. 15.
4. Die Walküre – Lyric Opera of Chicago
Every time the Ring Cycle is announced for any company, it is always something of a special event. After its successful 2016-17 “Das Rheingold,” the Lyric Opera of Chicago continues its journey through Wagner’s tetralogy with “Die Walküre” with a starry cast. Directed by David Pountney, the new production stars Christine Goerke, Elisabet Strid, Brandon Jovanovich, Eric Owens, Tanja Ariane Baumgartner and will be conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. Performances run from Nov. 11 through 30.
3. Girls of Golden West – San Francisco Opera
John Adams and Peter Sellars return with yet another collaboration that is sure to be mind-blowing and eventually turn into another modern classic. This time, the composer/librettist team will explore remarkable characters who flock to Gold Country hoping to strike it rich but are quickly caught up in the optimism, greed, and prejudices of a rapidly changing world. Starring Julia Bullock, Paul Appleby, J’Nai Bridges and Ryan McKinny, the opera is set to make its world premiere on Nov. 21, 2017 with Grant Gershon conducting.
2. Tosca – Metropolitan Opera
It has been eight years since “Tosca” was booed at the opening night of the Metropolitan Opera’s 2009-10 season. The production by Luc Bondy never recovered from its controversial reputation and was disliked by audiences and critics alike. Even though it had some incredible casts and two HD performances, Bondy’s direction always got in the way of the incredible story. Now Sir David McVicar returns to the Met to bring a classic touch to the beloved work. Inspired by the Zeffirelli production, the Met is pleasing audiences with a traditional perspective with modern touches. Opening on New Year’s Eve, this production has already been making headlines due to three high profile cancellations. Luckily the Met is bringing an intriguing cast with Sonya Yoncheva and Vittorio Grigolo making their role debuts alongside Bryn Terfel, singing his signature Scarpia. James Levine conducts the work for the first time since 2009.
1. Elizabeth Cree – Opera Philadelphia & Chicago Opera Theater
Opera Philadelphia’s world premiere is one of the biggest events of the fall season as it reunites Kevins Puts and Mark Campbell after successful collaborations in “Silent Night” and “The Manchurian Candidate.” The new chamber opera, headlined by the rising star Daniela Mack, is based on Peter Ackroyd’s novel, “The Trial of Elizabeth Cree” and is set in London in the 1880s. The opera interweaves several narratives to create a gripping and exhilarating new work. Opening the Opera Philadelphia 2017 festival on Sept. 14 and then appearing at the Chicago Opera Theater, this is a must see.