6 Opera Stars You Must See At the Royal Opera House in 2017-18

By David Salazar

The Royal Opera House’s 2017-18 season is loaded with the world’s greatest opera singers. While every star deserves notice, here are the singers that will likely steal the headlines throughout the season.

Michael Fabiano – “La Bohème” & “Rigoletto”

The tenor will be featured on opening night and is getting two major productions. His famed portrayal of Rodolfo in “La Bohème” kicks off the season and will then get a showcase in cinemas around the world (He will also be broadcast live in cinemas for the same opera at the Met Opera in January).

Then he gets to showcase his talents in Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in the winter, with a performance in cinemas taking place on Jan. 16. Fabiano is among the few tenors that has made his name as a master in the Verdi tenor, his voice showcasing the heft and brightness required for the repertoire.

Dmitri Hvorostovsky – “Rigoletto”

The baritone’s status remains in doubt for next season, especially after announcing that he will be ending all opera engagements in the foreseeable future due to health concerns. And yet a number of major companies have announced his inclusion in 2017-18, including the Teatro Liceu, the Vienna State Opera and ROH. If he does perform in 2017-18, he will take on the title role in “Rigoletto,” which will be a tremendous treat as the Russian baritone has dominated the Verdi repertoire throughout his career.

Malin Bystrom  – “Salome” & “Les Vêpres Siciliennes”

The Swedish soprano has often gone under the radar, but those who have seen her perform know she is the real deal. I witnessed this back when she took on “Arabella” at the Metropolitan Opera. Next season she takes on the massive challenge of Richard Strauss’ “Salome.” This will be her second run of the opera after a showcase this summer. The fact that she is singing alongside Michael Volle in “Salome” (the two were incredible together in “Arabella”) makes this a must-see.

And prior to that, she will have showcased her talents in Verdi’s monstrous “Les Vêpres Siciliennes,” which will be her first performances of the opera

Kristine Opolais – “Lohengrin”

The Latvian soprano is taking her first steps into the Wagner repertoire, which will undoubtedly be something to see. Opolais is as committed an artist as they come and her superlative acting chops should be inspiring to watch in this most complex of characters. Throw in her supporting cast members, Klaus Florian Vogt and Christine Goerke (all vets in the opera), and you should have a showcase for the ages.

Elīna Garanča – “Cavalleria Rusticana”

Another Latvian artist that we simply cannot ignore. Anything that Garanča has touched over the last few years has turned to gold and her Santuzza in “Cavalleria Rusticana” is said to have caused quite the excitement earlier this season in Paris. Her dramatic skills coupled with her ever pristine voice make her the perfect fit for this most intense of verismo operas.

Anna Netrebko – “Macbeth”

The soprano is appearing at ROH in arguably her greatest role, maybe, ever. Her Lady Macbeth is a monster, unpredictable and yet ever fascinating. Throw in the fact that Sir Antonio Pappano is conducting the run, which will also feature Željko Lučić (in his best role) and the ever exciting Ildebrando D’Arcangelo and you have a performance that will likely be for the ages. It will also be showcased in cinemas in exactly one year.

Other singers to look out for…

Bryan Hymel takes on “Les Vêpres Siciliennes” and “Cavalleria Rusticana,” while Carmen Giannattasio and Simon Keenlyside appear in “Pagliacci.” Keenlyside also appears in “Falstaff.”

Joyce El-Khoury will perform in a concert version of “L’Ange de Nisida,” while “Falstaff” will feature Bryn Terfel and Ana María Martinez. Mariusz Kwiecień will perform in “La Bohème” and “Don Giovanni” while Eva-Maria Westbroek and Brandon Jovanovich team up for “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk,” an opera they dominated together at the Met a few years ago.

Angela Gheorghiu and Adrianne Pieczonka lead Tosca alongside Joseph Calleja and Gerald Finley.

The entire cast of “Semiramide” was terrific in Munich this season. Joyce DiDonato, Lawrence Brownlee and Daniela Barcellona reunite with Ildebrando D’Arcangelo joining the cast.

Erwin Schrott appears in his signature of Procida in “Les Vêpres Siciliennes” while Lisette Oropesa will make waves in “Lucia Di Lammermoor.”  Janai Brugger will showcase her talents in “Die Zauberflöte” while Maria Agresta, Nicole Car, Benjamin Bernheim, Atalla Ayan, Matthew Polenzani, Nadine Sierra, Danielle De Niese and Alessio Ardiuni will collaborate on the new “La Bohème” production.