10(+) Operas to Hear This Fall

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 - 04:00 PM

Nothing against summer and its brainy cavalcade of festivals—from a rare Strauss exposed at Bard to a pared-down Mozart at the Lincoln Center Festival—but, as we noted yesterday, autumn is going to pack a potent punch this year with a series of stimulating and mind-nourishing programs. And while some vocalists made their way into our top 20 reasons to look forward to this season, here's an all-vocal lineup of shows you'll want to fall into this year.

Sept. 18–24. Atys
Brooklyn Academy of Music
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William Christie may be all up in the Met’s business since making his (long overdue) debut with them last fall, but that doesn’t mean that he and his ensemble, Les Arts Florissants, don’t remember who gave them their start. They return to BAM with their lauded production of a Lully rarity that should add extra credence to New York’s ongoing Baroque revival.

Sept. 26–Feb 4. Anna Bolena
Oct. 13–Mar. 17. Don Giovanni
Oct. 27–Nov. 5 Siegfried
Metropolitan Opera
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With three new productions before Thanksgiving, it’s hard to choose which one is the most exciting: Anna Netrebko garnered rave reviews for her account of Donizetti’s ill-fated Tudor queen earlier this spring in Vienna and will here sing alongside a royal-caliber cast that includes Ekaterina Gubanova, Ildar Abdrazakov and Stephen Costello. Then we get a new Giovanni with the smoldering Mariusz Kwiecien, Barbara Frittoli and Luca Pisaroni. And we see the third and penultimate installment of iconoclastic director Robert Lepage’s new Ring cyle? Bring it on, Met. 

Sept. 30–Oct. 4. One Sweet Morning
Oct. 27–29. Babi Yar
New York Philharmonic
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While John Corigliano abandoned “la forme fatale” after his opus, The Ghosts of Versailles, debuted at the Met twenty years ago, he has not eschewed writing for the voice. And with his deep-seated connections to the New York Philharmonic (his father was their concertmaster), it seems like the perfect amount of synergy to create a commemorative 9/11 vocal work, here sung by the powerhouse mezzo Stephanie Blythe. The voracious vocals don’t stop there: Russian baritone Sergei Leiferkus takes a turn next month with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, conducted by former Phil music director Kurt Masur.

Oct 6. Composer Portrait: Tobias Picker
Miller Theatre at Columbia University
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Undoubtedly one of the most prolific and prestigious contemporary opera composers, Tobias Picker gets explored from all angles as part of the Miller Theater’s introspective Composer Portrait series with no small dose of vocal works making their way into the picture. Singers Gordon Gietz, Layla Claire and Joyce El-Khoury give us a taste for Picker’s An American Tragedy, Thérèse Raquin, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Emmeline.

Oct. 21 & 23. White Light Festival: London Symphony Orchestra
Lincoln Center
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Last year’s ravishing White Light Festival comes back for a second round and gives its own one-two punch of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis—with soloists Helena Juntunen, Sarah Connolly, Paul Groves and Matthew Rose—and Britten’s War Requiem featuring soprano Sabina Cvilak, tenor Ian Bostridge and baritone Simon Keenlyside. Here are two amazing reasons to sit back, decompress and gain some higher spiritual ground through music.

Oct. 26. Anna Netrebko
Carnegie Hall
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Trebs makes good on her promise to reschedule her once-canceled Carnegie Hall debut with this program, accompanied by Elena Bashkirova, which slips into the dreamy art-song worlds of Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky (a program recorded live at the Salzburg Festival with Daniel Barenboim and released on Deutsche-Grammophon last year). 

Oct. 30. Jonas Kaufmann in Recital
Metropolitan Opera
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Vice magazine described the jummy Jonas Kaufmann as a “lumberjacky voice, but with all the flex of a yoga instructor,” which may be the best summary of this German tenor’s burnished charm. His creative fingerprints have been all over the Met as of late, but now he adds an even larger footprint with an evening-length recital in the plush, grand house. 

Oct. 31. Marcello Giordani Foundation
Merkin Concert Hall
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Don’t get too tired out with Jonas, however, as the following night features fast-rising soprano Angela Meade in a fundraising concert for the prestigious tenor’s foundation. Singing with her will be the contestants from the Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition.

Nov. 8. Adriana Lecouvreur
Opera Orchestra of New York
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Continuing with the tradition of giving voice to rare operas with sterling casts, new OONY music director Alberto Veronesi leads his musicians in Cilea’s verismo opera about French divas and poisoned violets. In other words, the title role is tailor-made for soprano Angela Gheorghiu.

Nov. 11–19. Dark Sisters
Gotham Chamber Opera
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Eccentric and eclectic topics are synonymous with composer Nico Muhly’s work, so it’s no surprise that his second opera should go all Big Love on us. What we can count on Muhly for, however, is a sympathetic hand in exploring the humanistic side of the media sensations caused by the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints and the raids on its polygamist compounds.

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