Top 3 Operas to See This Weekend – North America (12/15-17): More ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ Plus Two Unique Offerings in New York

By David Salazar

As we move deeper and deeper into the holiday season, more and more companies will be taking breaks and closing shop. So as you might have noticed from the title, this week will not feature five but three major offerings. Some of this might also have to do with that movie coming out this weekend, but in any case, some houses are still willing to brave the galaxy far, far away and give their opera lovers something to celebrate. In addition to our top three picks, we will also include honorable mentions that were already featured in previous weeks. Here we go.

Amahl and the Night Visitors – Renaissance Works / Pittsburgh

It wouldn’t be a December weekend without “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” While European houses have no interest in the Menotti work, American companies can’t get enough of it. If you have been following our weekend previews over the last month or so, this is certainly not the first or last time you will hear mention of “Amahl” for the weekend. But there is good reason for it and east coast opera-goers will get a chance to experience the work in Pittsburgh this weekend with performances on Friday and Saturday.

Bending Towards the Light… A Jazz Nativity – Chelsea Opera

The Chelsea company is going for something a bit different with its second annual showing of “Bending Towards the Light” by Anne Phillips. The showcase will be presented on Sunday and presents an alternative to most of the standard repertory choices of companies around the country.

The Merry Widow – Met Opera

The Met is one house that doesn’t seemed fazed by any major incoming holiday, but its programming is right on point with the comedic “The Merry Widow” shining throughout December. It might not seem like an obvious choice for families, but it certainly can be and with a cast that includes Susan Graham, it is one of the events of the winter.

Repeat Viewings

With few offerings on the slate around the country, we can offer up recommendations for reviews for audiences. “The House Without a Christmas Tree” remains in full force in Houston, with four more performances left. “Turandot” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago also remains an option for viewers, as Pacific Opera Project’s “La Bohème,” which received rave reviews from OperaWire. The Met also gets one more performance of “Norma” on Saturday and “Le Nozze di Figaro” continues its run on Friday evening.