Here is a look at some of the juicy operatic events coming to Boston in the coming weeks and months.
- Richard Strauss's Rosenkavelier with Renée Fleming & Susan Graham
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 Elektra. This 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*!
- BEMF's Chamber Opera Series: "Versailles - Portrait of a Royal Domain"
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!
- Boston Lyric Opera Celebrates 40 years with Bizet's 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 Greek at the Emerson/Paramount Center; Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theater; and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro at John Hancock Hall at the Back Bay Events Center.
- BMOP/Odyssey Opera with "Wilde Opera Nights: 'The Picture of Dorian Gray'"
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.
- Emmanuel Music presents Apollo
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".
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.