Elīna Garanča, Jamie Barton, Jennifer Holloway Headline Top 5 Operas to See This Weekend – North America

By David Salazar
(Credit / Source: Jamie Barton Official Website / Paul Schirnhofer)

Full disclaimer – it has been quite a while since a weekend of opera has been packed with so many incredible opportunities around the continent. To whittle it down to five was a tall order and only almost impossible. So for this addition, we will not only include our top five choices, but also mention some honorable mentions. 

Honorable Mentions: “The Turn of the Screw” at Nashville Opera; “Das Barbecu” at On Site Opera; “Everest” at Austin Opera; “Flight” at Opera Minnesota; “Gianni Schicchi” & “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges” at Pacific Opera Projects; “Alcina” at Pittsburgh Opera; among many others. 

Salome – Atlanta Opera, Georgia

Starting on Saturday, the Atlanta Opera will showcase a hotly anticipated production of “Salome” as directed by Tomer Zvulun. The big headliner will be Jennifer Holloway, who is set to make her U.S. title role debut under the musical direction of Arthur Fagen. Nathan Berg will appear as Jochanaan with Frank van Aken as Herod. Finally, Jennifer Larmore will star as Herodias.

La Favorite – Houston Grand Opera, Texas

One of Donizetti’s greatest operas, “La Favorite” is slowly garnering the acclaim it has long deserved at the biggest opera companies in the world. Still, it remains a rarity in the standard repertory, making any opportunity to see it essential. HGO’s production, which kicks off on Friday, stars Jamie Barton and Lawrence Brownlee, two singers that are simply impossible to miss. There will be a second performance on Sunday. 

La Damnation de Faust – Metropolitan Opera, New York

This masterpiece will get a “revival” on Saturday afternoon. Originally set to feature Robert LePage’s visually enticing production, technical mishaps have left audiences with a concert performances. However, the cast is the true selling point here with Elīna Garanča returning to the Met for the first time since opening the 2018-19 season. Moreover, she will be joined by Bryan Hymel in the title role and Ildar Abdrazakov in a role he has made his own. Edward Gardner will conduct.

Written on Skin – Opéra de Montréal, Canada

One of the great modern operas, “Written on Skin” is starting to travel around the world and its latest stop in North America, specifically Canada, makes it all the more important for opera lovers. The production will be conducted by Nicole Paiement and stars Daniel Okulitch, Luigi Schifano, Florence Bourget, Magali Simard-Galdès, and Jean-Michel Richer. The first performance is set for Saturday. 

Scalia / Ginsberg & Trial by Jury – Opera Naples, Florida

For two nights only, Friday and Saturday, Opera Naples will showcase this unique double bill of the new opera by Derrick Wang and the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, with new orchestration by Wang. The two works, which focus on those who uphold the law (“Scalia / Ginsberg” has been described as a “crash course on the U.S. Constitution”), seems like perfect timing given the current political context.