Weekend Preview (12/23-25) – International: Piotr Beczala and Nino Machaidze Celebrate the Holidays in Two Different Productions of “La Boheme’

By Francisco Salazar

This weekend is a time to celebrate and to get into the Christmas spirit. And that is exactly what all the opera companies are doing. The weekend will see works by Mozart, Puccini, Humperdinck and Verdi presented. Many of the world’s most famous are on vacation but there are still stars ready to sing including Piotr Beczala, Rene Pape, Nino Machaidze and Waltraud Meier.


The Vienna State Opera celebrates the holiday season with performances of Mozart’s beloved classic “Die Zauberflote.” The first performance will be on Friday and the second on Christmas. It will star coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova and Joseph Dennis.


La Monnaie will show Rimnsky-Korsakov’s opera “The Golden Cockerel” in a new production by Laurent Pelly. The performance will star Alexey Dolgov, and Pavlo Hunka and will be streamed on the Opera Platform all around the world.

At the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège The company will present Offenbach’s popular “Orphee aux Enfers.” The cast includes Papuna Tchuradze as Orphee and Jodie Devos as Eurydice.


The holiday weekend is kicked off at the Paris National Opera with Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Hindemith’s “Sancta Susanna.” It will be the final performance of the run and it will star Marco Berti and Elena Zhidkova in Mascagni’s work and Anna Caterina Antonacci in Hindemith’s work. The company will celebrate Christmas with the final performance of Gluck’s “Iphigenie en Tauride” with an all-star cast that includes Veronique Gens. Bertrand de Billy conducts the final performance.


Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote” will dominate the weekend at the Berlin Staatsoper with a cast that stars Andreas Schager, Rene Pape, Nora Friedrichs and Roman Trekel. Michael Wendeberg conducts the performances.

Meanwhile at the Deutsche Oper Berlin Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” will be performed twice on Friday with Irene Roberts and Heidi Stober. Christmas will see the premiere of Puccini’s “La Boheme” with tenor Piotr Beczala and Guanqun Yu in Gotz Friedrich’s classic production. Ivan Repusic conducts the timeless tale which is set during Christmas.

At the Dresden Semperoper The weekend kicks off with Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffman.” Eric Culer takes on the title role with Christina Bock as his Muse. Tulle Takala takes on Olympia while Sarah-Jane Brandon sings Antonia. Frederic Chaslin conducts the work. On Christmas the company will present Mozart’s “Die Zauberflote” with Georg Zeppenfeld, Barbara Senator and Bernhard Hansky.


Celso Albelo and Jose Maria Lo Monaco will sing the final performance in Massenet’s “Werther” at the Teatro Communale di Bologna. The production which opened earlier this month obtained rave reviews.


On Dec. 23 the Mariinsky theater will present Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” under the direction of Valery Gergiev. The cast includes Tatiana Serjan and Alexey Markov. Christmas will be kicked off with another Verdi work. The company will present “La Traviata” with an all Russian cast.


At the Teatro Real de Madrid the company will continue its run of Wagner’s “Die Fliegende Hollander.” The company’s performance will be streamed through mezzo and on Facebook in a continued support to expand opera’s audience. Samuel Youn stars in the leading role while Pablo Heras-Casado conducts the new production by Alex Olle.

Strauss’ “Elektra” ends its run with Josep Pons conducting a extraordinary cast that includes Evelyn Herlitzius, Waltraud Meier and Adrianne Pieczonka at the Liceu de Barcelona. All three singers performed the leading roles when Patrice Chereau first premiered the production at the Aix en Provence festival.


Nino Machaidze and Dmytro Popov star in Puccini “La Boheme” at the Grand Theatre Geneve. The two perform the timeless Puccini classic on Friday before the Christmas break.