Jonas Kaufmann, Piotr Beczala, Juan Diego Flórez, Russell Thomas,Nicole Heaston, Lisette Oropesa Headline Top 10 Operas to Stream This WeekBy David Salazar
If last week’s central theme was all about Wagner, it seems that this week formed around tenors. Superstar tenors. Of course, there are loads of other types of performers, but if you’re a fan of the tenor, you’re in for a nice series of offerings (especially today, April 5).
So without further ado, let’s take stock of the top 10 operas to stream this week and the superstar tenors you’ll have a chance to enjoy.
Faust – Metropolitan Opera (April 5)
Last week we recommended Jonas Kaufmann’s Met performance of “Werther,” which is arguably his finest moment on that stage. But he was also in peak form for this “Faust,” which he performed alongside Marina Poplavskaya and René Pape. Yannick Nézet-Séguin had one of his finest hours upon the Met stage in this production as well. While the production is undeniably the core issue with this performance, the vocal showcases, particularly Kaufmann’s, make this an experience not to be missed.
Piotr Beczala in Concert – Polish National Opera (April 5)
We promised lots of tenors and here’s another superstar. Beczala will perform works by Giordano, Moniuszko, Puccini, Mascagni, and Glinka in his home country alongside the Orchestra of the Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera under the baton of Łukasz Borowicz. This is perfect for those that don’t want a formal opera production, but just a vaster array of repertory.
Die Zauberflöte – Semperoper Dresden (April 5)
Famed tenor Klaus Florian Vogt leads Mozart’s final opera and a cast that includes Julia Muzychenko, Sebastian Wartig, Evelin Novak, Alexandros Stavrakakis, Nikola Hillebrand, Menna Cazel, Michal Doron, Lawson Anderson, Gerald Hupach, Doğukan Kuran, Jürgen Müller, Anna Kudriashova-Stepanets, and Aaron Pegram. Oh, and René Pape is also on display with his iconic Sarastro. Christoph Gedschold conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden in the production by Josef E. Köpplinger.
Rigoletto – Vienna State Opera (April 6)
Carlos Álvarez is undeniably the star of this show (he sings the title role) and Olga Peretyatko is a renowned Gilda the world over. But yes, there is also a superstar tenor in this production, this time Juan Diego Flórez as the Duca di Mantua. Evelino Pidò conducted the 2016 performance.
Russell Thomas in Signature Recital Series – Los Angeles Opera (April 9)
And rounding out the tenor series this week is Russell Thomas, who opens the LA Opera’s Signature Recital Series alongside pianist Kyung-Mi Kim. The duo will perform Schumann’s song cycle “Dichterliebe” and love songs by American composers Adolphus Hailstork and Robert Owens.
La Traviata – Teatro dell’Opera di Roma (April 9)
For those exhausted by the already long-running superstar tenor narrative that’s kicked off this column, we have some good news – this production is decidedly not about the tenor. Especially not when Lisette Oropesa is involved. Oropesa is one of the foremost interpreters of this role right now and that alone makes her the draw for this production. She is flanked by a formidable cast that includes tenor Saimir Pirgu and baritone Roberto Frontali.
Pelléas et Mélisande – Opéra de Lille / OperaVision (April 9)
In a clear departure from the theme that has developed so far, the Opéra de Lille will present a new production of “Pelléas et Mélisande” with François-Xavier Roth and his ensemble Les Siècles.The cast will be headlined by Julien Behr and Vannina Santoni. The new production is directed by Daniel Jeanneteau.
Nicole Heaston in ‘Live From the Cullen’ – Houston Grand Opera (April 9)
Looking for another recital option that does not feature a tenor? Nicole Heaston is here to save you. The soprano continues the Houston Grand Opera’s “Live from The Cullen” series with music by Copland, Gershwin, and Floyd. She will be joined by Richard Bado, HGO chorus master, and director of artistic operations.
The Fall of the House of Usher – San Francisco Opera (April 10-11)
Maybe you’re not in the mood for the standard repertory. Well, then San Francisco Opera’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” is just the thing for you. This double bill of operas by Gordon Getty (“Usher House”) and Debussy (“La Chute de la Maison Usher”) features Brian Mulligan as Roderick Usher. The Getty work also stars Jason Bridges, Anthony Reed, Jamielyn Duggan, and Jacqueline Piccolino. Debussy’s opera stars Edward Nelson, Joel Sorensen. Lawrence Foster conducts both works.
St. Matthew Passion – Berlin Philharmonic (April 11)
Not really feeling an opera production or recital? How about this masterpiece by Bach, starring baritone Christian Gerhaher, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená, soprano Camilla Tilling, tenor Mark Padmore, tenor Topi Lehtipuu, and bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff. The production by Peter Sellars will be conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, who will lead the Berlin Philharmonic.