Weekend Preview (2/24-26) – USA: A Western, A Heggie & A Floyd Make Major Premieres This Weekend

By David Salazar

A new opera starts its life on Saturday while a rarity gets its premiere in a major city and a modern masterwork arrives in our nation’s capital.

Yes, opera is finally starting to bloom around the States, with many smaller companies getting in on the act.

Arizona Opera is showcasing the world premiere of Bohmler’s “Riders of the Purple Sage.” The work is a western that is set to bring many modern issues to the forefront in music that combines the style of Wagner, musical theater and Verdi into one exhilarating package. OperaWire recently covered the story revolving around the work’s inception. The work starts Saturday and Sunday in Tuscon before heading to Phoenix the following weekend.

The Washington National Opera returns for its spring season with Jake Heggie’s famed “Dead Man Walking” which will feature, among others, Susan Graham returning to an opera she sang over a decade ago. The soprano recently told OperaWire about the emotional challenge the work was for her, but was equally enthused about creating a dynamic portrayal for a new character.

Finally Carlyle Floyd’s “Prince of Players” made its New York Premiere on Thursday with the little Opera theatre and continues playing through the weekend for four days. OperaWire recently spoke with Matthew Curran, who is starring in the opera.

The Seattle Opera premieres its run of Janacek’s Katya Kabanova starring Melody Moore and Corinne Winters, who are alternating the title role. Winters is singing her first Czech role ever.

On Saturday night, the Los Angeles Opera continues its run of Salome starring Patricia Racette. She garnered tremendous  reviews her run of performances in New York and Los Angeles.

On Friday, Sondra Radvanovsky sings her final performance of “Norma” this season at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, which will open “Eugene Onegin” that following Sunday. Mariusz Kwiecień, Ana María Martinez and Charles Castronuovo star.

Meanwhile at the Met Opera, Sonya Yoncheva, Michael Fabiano and Thomas Hampson will give Verdi’s “La Traviata” for the first time this season on Friday evening. On Saturday, audiences around the world will get a chance to see a Live in HD transmission of Dvorak’s “Rusalka” starring Kristine Opolais, Eric Owens and Jamie Barton among others. Saturday night sees a performance of “I Puritani” starring Diana Damrau and Javier Camarena.