The performances to see early this 2016 / 2017 season

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It’s an intoxicating time of year for operagoers! The 2016/2017 opera season is just beginning, and it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic year! Here are a few of the biggest productions to keep your eyes on this fall…

The Metropolitan Opera is opening its season with Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde next week on Monday, September 26, 2016. This revolutionary work is often viewed as one of the earliest pieces to take definitive steps away from tonal music, as represented by the famous Tristan chord, an integral part of the Tristan leitmotiv. For those of you not in New York, you will still have a chance to see a live performance of this groundbreaking work at the cinema on October 8, 2016 at noon Eastern Time. Later in October I am particularly excited to watch the Met’s Don Giovanni, one of the Mozart – Da Ponte collaborations, at the cinema.

The people of Chicago are especially lucky this fall – Lyric Opera of Chicago is putting on three magnificent productions: Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and Berlioz’s Les Troyens. The Berlioz is particularly exciting inasmuch as it is so rarely performed; it’s a massive undertaking, so if you are anywhere near Chicago in late November, make sure you get tickets! Lucia is the quinessential bel canto opera with perhaps the most famous “mad scene” of them all, and Wagner’s Das Rheingold is the first opera in the epic Der Ring des Nibelungen (the Ring cycle). A couple months of pure operatic bliss!

The Minnesota Opera has a thrilling fall planned, opening with Gounod’s under-performed Romeo and Juliet at the end of this month, followed by Wagner’s Das Rheingold in mid-November. The last time this company did a Wagner opera was in the 2002/2003 season (Der Fliegende Höllander, The Flying Dutchman), so I am thrilled that they are doing Rheingold this year!

Seattle Opera opens its season with what looks like a young, edgy production of Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel.

San Francisco Opera is opening the season with three lesser-known works: Umberto Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, Bright Sheng’s Dream of the Red Chamber (a San Francisco Opera commission), and Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Later in the season we get some of the more traditional productions – Rigoletto, Aida, and Don Giovanni.

No matter where you are in the U.S., you’re bound to have some great opera near you!

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