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Fall Concert Highlights: Opera-tune-ities

Photo of Renée Fleming by Andrew Eccles and Decca ; of Aaron Sheehan by Kevin Day; of Jennifer Johnson Cano by Liza Voll; of Ryan Turner courtesy of the artist
Renée Fleming, soprano (left); Aaron Sheehan, tenor (top right); Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano (center right); Ryan Turner, conductor (bottom right)"

Here is a look at some of the juicy operatic events coming to Boston in the coming weeks and months.  

  1. Richard Strauss's Rosenkavelier with Renée Fleming & Susan Graham
Renée Fleming
Credit Decca/Andrew Eccles
Renée Fleming, soprano

When: Thursday, September 29, 7:00pm / Saturday, October 1, 7:00pm

Where: Symphony Hall in Boston

Putting on large-scale Strauss operas with big-name artists has become part of the Boston Symphony's M.O. in the years since conductor Andris Nelsons became music director. First, it was Strauss' Salome at Symphony Hall in 2014 with soprano Gun-Brit Barkmin. Then last year, soprano Christine Goerke thrilled Boston with her ElektraThis year, Renée Fleming and Susan Graham combine forces and are sure to light up Symphony Hall with Strauss' elegant Der Rosenkavelier. This amazing "opera-tune-ity" should not be missed*!

Learn more about this concert from the Boston Symphony Orchestra

  1. BEMF's Chamber Opera Series: "Versailles - Portrait of a Royal Domain"
Credit Kevin Day
Aaron Sheehan, tenor

When: Saturday, November 26, 8:00pm; Sunday, November 27, 3:00pm

Where: New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

Grand gesture, opulent garb, big wigs, beautiful singing: it's what we've come to expect from the Grammy-Award winning Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Opera Series. And this fall, they cannot help but deliver again with an operatic peek into Louis XIV's gilded halls at Versailles. On the program, Charpentier’s Les Plaisirs de Versailles ("The Pleasures of Versailles") and Lalande’s Les Fontaines de Versailles ("The Fountains of Versailles"), as well as music from Lully's Atys (the so-called "King's Opera"), all musical testimonials to a time of great elegance and opulence. A definite must-see!

Learn more about this program from theBoston Early Music Festival.

  1. Boston Lyric Opera Celebrates 40 years with Bizet's Carmen
Credit Liza Voll
Jennifer Johnson Cano, mezzo-soprano as Carmen

When: Friday, September 23 7:00pm - Sunday, October 2, 3:00pm

Where: Boston Opera House

It's 40 years for the BLO in Boston and they're celebrating with an opera for each decade and a tour of Boston's concert halls! They're presenting four operas in four concert halls, kicking off with Bizet's Carmen at the Boston Opera House. As is their way, BLO is presenting a tweaked staging of a classic: designed by "controversy-magnet" Calixto Bieito, the BLO's Carmen is set "in the arid earthiness of 1970’s post-Franco-Spanish North Africa", and is a co-production with the San Francisco Opera. I love Carmen, it's one of the works that got me excited about opera in the first place, and I'm always eager to see it again. That said, this is not your daddy's staging of a favorite, and it might be prudent to suggest that some viewer discretion be exercised. 

By the way, the other BLO operas will be Mark-Anthony Turnage's Greekat the Emerson/Paramount Center; Stravinsky's The Rake's Progressat the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theater; and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaroat John Hancock Hall at the Back Bay Events Center.

Learn more about this performance from the Boston Lyric Opera.

  1. BMOP/Odyssey Opera with "Wilde Opera Nights: 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'"
Gil Rose
Liz Linder
Gil Rose, Music Director for BMOP and Odyssey Opera

When: Friday, November 18, 8:00pm

Where: New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall

This year, both institutions under Gil Rose's baton - the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) and Odyssey Opera - are joining forces for a series of operas inspired by the writings of Oscar Wilde. The series, wonderfully titled "Wilde Opera Nights", starts this November with a semi-staged performance of Lowell Liebermann's 1996 opera The Picture of Dorian Gray. I imagine that there are not many people who know this work (myself included), but Gil Rose rarely disappoints, and given the great success of Dvorak's Dimitrij that Odyssey opera just finished, I am inclined to see anything that Gil Rose endeavors to present.

Learn more about this performance from Odyssey Opera

  1. Emmanuel Music presents Apollo
Ryan Turner, Artistic Director for Emmanuel Music

When: Saturday, October 1, 8:00pm / Sunday, October 2, 3:00pm

Where: Longy School of Music's Pickman Hall

For 45 years, Emmanuel Music has been presenting a different Bach cantata or sacred work every single Sunday through out the year at Emmanuel Church in Boston. As they say, they hope to present "Bach’s astounding human document, in the liturgical setting for which it was intended." Its a fantastic series and a huge undertaking, so I'm always astounded that in addition Ryan Turner and Emmanuel Music manage to present a full regular season of concerts as well. Their 2016-2017 season begins with "Apollo" (named for the Greek the god of music), and presents three composers' settings of the Apollo myths: Mozart's first opera, Apollo et Hyacinthus, Handel's cantata Apollo e Dafne, and a new work, Overture to Apollo e Dafne by Edwin Sung, winner of the Emmanuel Music's "Handel Overture Competition". 

Learn more about this concert from Emmanuel Music

Again, these are just a few highlights. A really exceptional list can be found via BLO's 40 Days of Opera campaign. 

*If you find yourself unable to attend, the opera will be aired live from Symphony Hall on WCRB, Saturday October 1 at 7:00pm.

Chris Voss is the Weekday Afternoon Host and a Producer for CRB.