Top 5 Operas To See This Weekend – North America (1/25-27)

By David Salazar

If you checked out last week’s edition, you may have noticed a stark preference for 20th century works. Things continue this week with a number of 21st century operas making the list; the only standard repertory piece in this week’s edition is a controversial one. Here is the list (in alphabetical order by company). 

Silent Night – Austin Opera

The Pulitzer Prize winner continues its tour around the states, in the famed production by Tomer Zvulun. The work is appearing in Austin for the first time on Friday evening. It is an opera that seems destined to become a repertory fixture and these early performances will go a long way toward determining its enduring legacy. 

Champion – Opéra de Montréal

Terence Blanchard and Michael Cristofer’s Boxing opera gets its Canadian premiere. The work, which originally premiered in 2013 in St. Louis, is an “opera in jazz” and is Blanchard’s first such work. It tells the story of Emile Griffith, who famously knocked out Benny Paret in a fight; Paret never woke up from the knockout. The work will get its first performance on Saturday evening. 

The Italian Straw Hat – Minnesota Opera

Nino Rota and Ernesta Rota’s comedic work appears at the Minnesota Opera for the first time ever. The Italian opera, which kicks off on Saturday evening, will feature Andrew Stenson, Pietro Di Bianco, Dale Travis, and Danielle Beckvermit. 

Trouble in Tahiti – Painted Sky Opera

It might be 2019 but a number of companies are still celebrating Leonard Bernstein’s centennial. Painted Sky is putting on the composer’s famed “Trouble in Tahiti with performances on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (four in total). Megan Berti and André Chiang star.  

AFTERWARDS: Mozart’s Idomeneo’s Reimagined – Pittsburgh Opera

We imagine that this might wind up a controversial pick but it remains a unique one. Per the Pittsburgh Opera, this work will “reorganize and distill” Mozart’s famed work. It will star Terrence Chin-Loy, Ashley Fabian, Antonia Botti-Lodovico, and Caitlin Gotimer. Glenn Lewis conducts the production by David Paul. Performances are set for Friday, Jan. 26, 2019.