J’Nai Bridges, Ryan McKinny, Katie van Kooten Headline Top 6 Operas to See This Weekend – North America

By David Salazar

New and old come together in this weekend’s major picks. There will be a unique world premiere as well as a revival of two recent premieres. You also have a mix of some repertory staples taking the nation’s capital by storm.

Anna Bolena – Baltimore Concert Opera, Maryland

The Baltimore Concert Opera continues its season with a presentation of the famed Donizetti opera written by Romani. These concert performances, set for Friday and Sunday, will feature Meghan Kasanders, Hannah Ludwig, Derrek Stark, Noragh Devlin, and Hans Tashijan. Rachelle Jonck conducts with Joy Schreier at the piano.

Riders of the Purple Sage – Arizona Opera

Throughout the weekend, Arizona Opera will be reviving the hugely popular sensation in Phoenix with casts starring Katie van Kooten, Kaitlyn Johnson, Christian Bowers, Thomas Glass, Joshua Dennis, and Billie Bruley, among others.

Don Giovanni / Samson et Dalila – Washington National Opera

It was really challenging to pick between one of the Washington National Opera’s big heavy hitters this weekend. On one hand you have Saint-Saëns’ masterpiece with J’Nai Bridges leading the way in her WNO debut (the show opens on Sunday). But then on the other hand you have a knockout cast in Saturday’s  “Don Giovanni,” starring Ryan McKinny,  Vanessa Vasquez, Alek Shrader, Kyle Ketelsen, Vanessa Becerra, Norman Garrett, and Keri Alkema. So they both had to go on the list. Think of it as a double bill.

Shadowlight – Marble City Opera, Tennessee

The opera company in Knoxville is set to world premiere a unique work by Larry Delinger and Emily Anderson about Beauford Delaney, who left the segregated South for the freedom of Harlem and Paris. The opera will star Brandon Gibson as Beauford, with Vincent Davis, Regan Bisch, Joshua Allen, and Breyon Ewing. Brian Holman conducts.

Gianni Schicchi / Buoso’s Ghost – Michigan Opera Theatre

Ever wonder what happens after “Gianni Schicchi’s” comic hijinx? Well, “Buoso’s Ghost” offers up an opportunity to expand on one of opera’s great comedies. The production, which will play throughout the weekend in Detroit, will star Darren Drone, Edward Graves, Avery Boettcher, Diane Schoff, Joseph Michael Brent, Nicole Joseph, Frank Pitts, and Olivia Johnson, among others.