Everyone’s busy and sometimes figuring out what opera you should go see can be quite a challenging decision to make. There is always so much to see in so many places, but unfortunately never enough time.
While every opera house undeniably packs their schedule with “Must See” productions, there are some that simply generate more excitement for different reasons. No one is better at generating excitement than the singers themselves and the 2017-18 season of the Houston Grand Opera has packed its schedule with quite a number of them. But there are a few that have us particularly excited. Here are the ones you must not miss.
1. Liudmyla Monastyrska – Norma
Last month Monastyrska surprised Metropolitan Opera audiences with her commanding portrayal of Abigaille in Verdi’s “Nabucco.” The result was tremendous accolades. Now she turns herself to opera’s soprano summit with “Norma.” While she is not the first soprano one think of for Bellini’s “Norma,” one must not forget that the role used to be sung by dramatic sopranos and was intended for a heavier voice. After so much acclaim around a world, this will be a rare chance to see a dramatic soprano in this daunting role.
Dates to See Monastyrska: April 27, 29, May 5, 8, 11
2. Christine Goerke – Elektra
Goerke is one of the most exciting artists singing today and one that has captivated audiences with her voice and her dramatic skills. Having already triumphed in the role of “Elektra” around the world a few years back, artistic maturity will have undeniably helped elevate her portrayal even more. That alone should make for some thrilling viewing.
Dates to See Goerke: Jan. 21, 27, 31, Feb. 2
3. David Portillo – The Barber of Seville
Portillo is one of the promising young stars in the opera world and last season he made a splash at the Metropolitan Opera as the Count Almaviva. Critics said, “He has a bright, creamy leggiero tenor with more than enough power to blaze out the top notes; his coloratura was quite nimble, too.” He is a tenor who has a bright career and this might be one of the few remaining chances to see him before he becomes a household name.
Dates to See Portillo: Jan. 28, Feb. 3, 8, 10
4. Anthony Roth Costanzo – Julius Cesar
Costanzo is one of the leading countertenors in the world and this will be a chance to see him sing his first Julius Cesar, a role that is regarded as one of the touchstones in the baroque repertoire. After conquering a number of baroque operas and modern works, the young countertenor is bound to stun audiences as he takes this big step.
Dates to See Costanzo: Oct. 27, 29, Nov. 4, 8, 10
5. Eric Owens – The Barber of Seville
Owens is one of the versatile artists singing today and this season he will be taking on the role of Don Basilio. While most know him for his work in Wagner and Strauss and most recently for his acclaimed work in “L’Amour de Loin,” this will be a rare occasion to see him in the Bel Canto repertoire and one that should truly be comic and memorable.
Dates to See Owens: Jan. 28, Feb. 3, 8, 10