10 Must See Operas For The Summer Season [U.S Edition]

By Francisco Salazar

Now that that most of the major opera companies in the U.S are about to finish their 2016-17 season, most opera lovers will be left searching for what to see. While most festivals take place in Europe, many companies and festivals will be active introducing new works, bringing old classics and discovering new talent.

The following is a list of OperaWire’s 10 Must-See productions in the U.S over the summer.

10. “Don Giovanni”

It may not be the most ambitious of programming but San Francisco Opera has lined up an all-star cast that makes this an exciting event. Starring Ildebrando D’Arcangelo in his SF Opera debut, Erin Wall, also in her debut and Ana María Martinez, the production will be directed by Jacopo Spirei in his SF debut. “Don Giovanni” will be shown eight times from June 4 to the 30.

9. “Sweets By Kate”

OperaRox productions presents the New York Premiere of Griffin Candey’s lesbian work about Elizabeth who must return to the small-town that shunned her 12 years before when her father died. OperaRox is taking part in the  New York Opera Fest, which has a plethora of incredible opera events for audiences in New York. But what makes “Sweets by Kate” such a standout is that the four performances between July 2 through 12 will take place at the historic Stonewall Inn.

8. “The Grapes of Wrath”

Based John Steinback’s great novel Opera Saint Louis will present 2007 opera by Ricky Ian Gordon & Michael Korie. Having made its world premiere at the Minnesota Opera, the work is getting a rare appearance and a new performance version. Baritone Tobias Greenhalgh is Tom Joad, with sopranos Deanna Breiwick as Rosasharn and Katharine Goeldner as Ma Joad. Performances begin May 27 and end June 25.

7. “Ariadne Auf Naxos” 

After its first season and breakout run of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly,” the Berkshire Opera Festival is trying something a bit more ambitious. This time it will stage Strauss’ “Ariadne Auf Naxos” with Jonathan Loy directing a new production. Based on last year’s rave reviews, this should be an event to keep track of. Starring Marcy Stonikas in the title role, this is one opera and festival that should be on every opera lover’s radar as it grows. “Ariadne Auf Naxos” will be performed three times from August 26 through Sept. 1.

6. “Intermezzo”

Following critically acclaimed performances of “Ariadne Auf Naxos” in 2014, “Capriccio” in 2015, and “The Silent Woman” in 2016, the Pittsburgh Opera Festival continues its Strauss series with “Intermezzo.” the 1923 gem is a series of comic scenes from a marriage that takes a conductor-husband on tour and his lonely wife to the ski slopes, where a toboggan collision brings her a new ‘friend’ to add to the romantic confusion. The opera will be performed on July 21 and 23.

5. “Thumbprint”

Kamala Sankaram’s opera is getting its west coast premiere at the LA Opera. “Thumbprint” is inspired by the extraordinary transformation of Mukhtar Mai, a young illiterate peasant whose world was shattered by an act of brutality that could have destroyed her. The story is told through its dynamic score filled with Hindustani and European opera influences with a libretto by Susan Yankowitz. The opera will run Jun 15 to 18 and will be performed without an intermission.

4. “Winterreise”

The Mostly Mozart festival may be staging “Don Giovanni” but it’s the theatrical production of Schubert’s poignant song cycle that will be the operatic highlight of the festival. German composer Hans Zender’s  has orchestrated the famed work and it will be directed by Netia Jones. The cycle stars tenor Ian Bostridge, one of the most acclaimed tenors in the lieder repertoire. The festival will present the work on August 12 and 13.

3.  “The Siege of Calais”

Glimmerglass always has something interesting to offer and this time it will stage Donizetti’s rarely performed opera. Directed by the legendary Francesca Zambello, Leah Crocetto will star in the role of Elenora and Aleksandra Romano will take on the role of Aurelio. This night promises to be one filled with vocal fireworks and will run from July 16 to August 19.

2. “Steve Jobs”

Mason Bates makes his operatic debut composing the score to “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs” at the Santa Fe Opera. The work will include electronic sounds with guitar and a full orchestra and will be directed by Kevin Newbury. Librettist Mark Campbell wrote the opera which is set to star Sasha Cooke, Edward Parks, Garrett Sorenson and Wei Wu. It makes its world premiere on July 22 and runs through  August 25.

1. “Dimitrij”

Everyone knows Dvorak’s masterpiece “Rusalka.” However, “Dimitrij’ is rarely performed and this summer Bard Summerscape will give the work its U.S staged premiere. Dating back to 1882, the work has rarely been performed outside of the Czech Republic. The opera was performed in it U.S concert premiere in 1984, more than a century after its composition and it has been described as an exemplary of Dvořák’s signature lyricism and masterfully stirring choral writing. Anne Bogart will stage the production which will also include a rarely heard, full-length overture and original, brutal conclusion. Clay Hilley and Melissa Citro star in the production which runs from July 28 to August 6.


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