Saturday, January 18, 2020

Favorites of the Past Decade 2010-19 Without Big Names

Here are some favorites from the past decade which did not make the previous list because no big name appeared in the performance.


I saw Rossini's Maometto II at the Santa Fe Opera in the new critical edition in 2012. It starred Luca Pisaroni and Leah Crocetto.  Leah sang the role originally written for Isabella Colbran.  I found this a magnificent opera and have been disappointed that I haven't seen it revived elsewhere.


That same year I saw Heggie's Moby-Dick at the San Francisco Opera.  I declared it to be a masterpiece, but haven't seen much of it lately.  Dead Man Walking seems to be everyone's favorite Heggie opera.  Stephen Costello and Jay Hunter Morris were the stars.




For a triple threat year I also saw a touring company present in its original production Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass.  It was an historic event, even if I don't remember much about it.



Opera Parallèle brought me Golijov's Ainadamar in 2013.  This was already a favorite from recording.  There is time travel in the story which was easily solved by posting the current year in the titles.  The confusing story was well presented here.  It's about a play by Federico Garcia Lorca, done as a trouser role.  There was Flamenco dancing.  What more could you ask for?




Bay Area wonders continued with West Edge Opera's presentation of Berg's Lulu in 2015.  It starred Emma McNairy, so far my favorite Lulu ever.  She played her for sex, an entirely not irrelevant part of the story.  I see her name pop up in Europe now.



I visited Berlin in 2016 to see five Strauss Operas but ended up liking best Marschner's Der Vampyr at the Komische Oper.  No one I'd heard of before or since was in it, but it was enormous fun.




2017 was a notable year primarily for two different and very interesting productions of Mozart's  La Clemenza di Tito by two of the more notorious regisseurs in opera:  Claus Guth at Glyndebourne and Peter Sellars at Salzburg. Sellars focused on creating a racial context for the drama with racial casting while Guth moved the story from Rome to a river bank.  Sellars featured Golda Schultz and Russell Thomas while Guth had Alice Coote.  I dearly loved both of these performances and have come to regard this as Mozart's greatest opera.


Glyndebourne brought us in 2018 Barber's Vanessa. It was wonderfully mysterious and charming, and made me wonder why it never plays here.



2019 topped everything with the Metropolitan Opera's presentation of Glass's Akhnaten in an astounding production by Phelim McDermott.  We didn't know an opera could be about juggling.  Much of this success is due to the brilliant performance of Anthony Roth Costanzo.

I have added this list because it is simply not complete with only the great stars. Obscure companies can bring us wonderful opera.  This isn't every wonderful thing.  You should create your own list.


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