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Thread: Opera on the USA West Coast

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    Default Opera on the USA West Coast

    From Seattle to San Diego, there are many vibrant opera companies on the west coast of the United States.

    Where have you been? What are you looking forward to?

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    We are still in the middle of the 2015/16 seasons, but several companies have announced their 2016/17 seasons:

    Seattle Opera: Le comte Ory, Hansel und Gretel, La traviata, Káťa Kabanová, and Die Zauberflöte

    San Francisco: Andrea Chénier, Dream of the Red Chamber (world premiere), Don Pasquale with Lawrence Brownlee, Věc Makropulos with Nadja Michael, Aida with Leah Crocetto, Madama Butterfly, The Source, La voix humaine with Anna Caterina Antonacci, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni with Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, and La bohème.

    Los Angeles Opera: Macbeth, The Source, Akhnaten, Wonderful Town, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Salome with Patrica Racette, Les contes d'Hoffmann with Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau, Tosca with Sondra Radvanovsky, and Thumbprint.

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    In 2012 I went to Seattle Opera to see Attila with John Relyea.



    At the time Relyea had a very close relationship with the opera house and every year they would stage an opera which show-cased his talent e.g. Don Quichotte, Bluebeard's Castle and Aleko. I only know this as Director Speight Jenkins (who has retired now) mentioned it in an online interview.

    This was the first time I had seen opera in the US and I had a fabulous time. After every show (I saw it three times), Speight Jenkins would hold a Q&A with the audience who had attended that performance. This was held in a lecture theatre. If people wanted to praise him, didn't like something or were curious about something, he answered them. He waited until everyone had had their say and it was a brilliant way of engaging with fans.

    The city is wonderful, the natives are friendly and if you concentrate, the language isn't too much of a problem.
    Ann

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    Haven't been, but I'm interested in all of the above.

    I do feel like I've experienced the Long Beach Opera by proxy. A few years before I left Chicago, Andreas Mitisek, the director of LBO, assumed directorship of the Chicago Opera Theater, and made a practice of importing at least one LBO production per season "out of the box", bringing over the same principal vocalists and sets, all under his stage and musical direction. Recommended, but be prepared for edgy and thought provoking, borderline regie. Here are my reviews of the COT versions: Glass "House of Usher" kicks off new era at Chicago Opera Theater

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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    In 2012 I went to Seattle Opera to see Attila with John Relyea.
    Nice! I am going back to Seattle in a few months and will see Seattle Opera for the first time. I am really looking forward to it, and will be sure to comment after.


    Thus far, though, as far as the West Coast is concerned, I have only seen opera in the San Francisco Bay area.

    The San Francisco Opera is the major company here, and has been around since 1928. The War Memorial Opera House opened in 1932, was renovated in 1992, and has recently been getting some seating renovations in the off season. It currently holds a little over 3000 people. Their main stage season is split, seven productions in repertory in the fall, and three more centered in June. This year marks the first year of SF Opera Labs, with chamber operas and related performances at the 300-seat Taube Atrium Theater.

    At the War Memorial I really like the Grand Tier/Dress Circle for the clean sight-lines and clear sound, but I have also enjoyed seats in the Orchestra section. The cheapest seats in the house are the $26 (or so) balcony side. There are also 200 standing room tickets available day of for $10 each.

    The upcoming summer season.
    Eleven performances of Carmen, in the Calixto Bieito production seen around the world (and available on DVD from the Liceu), with two different casts.

    Jenůfa, starring Malin Byström in the title role and Karita Mattila as Kostelnička. Jiří Bělohlávek conducts; the production by Olivier Tambosi that has been seen all over (and available on DVD from the Liceu).

    Don Carlo, conducted by music director Nicola Luisotti with a cast that includes Michael Fabiano, Ana María Martínez, Mariusz Kwiecien, and René Pape.


    I really want to see all three!

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    I would love to go to the Seattle Opera production of the Flying Dutchman this May but alas, it is such a long, long way from Detroit, Michigan (over 1900 miles).
    "Life is too short to spend it wandering in the barren Sahara of musical trash."
    --Sergei Vasilyevich Rachmaninoff

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    That's the one I'm seeing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    I would love to go to the Seattle Opera production of the Flying Dutchman this May but alas, it is such a long, long way from Detroit, Michigan (over 1900 miles).
    Wimp!* Seattle is more than 4,000 miles from London.



    *only kidding
    Ann

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    I caught both Nabucco and The Pearl Fishers last fall at Seattle Opera. Both were excellent. McCaw Hall is a beautiful facility and the sets for both were very impressive. Been meaning to check on seats for The Flying Dutchman.

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    LA Opera: R & J Netrebko/Villazon/Tosca/Lucia
    San Francisco Opera: Tosca/Mefisofele/Butterfly
    Last edited by nina foresti; Feb-03-2016 at 05:35.

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    The San Diego Opera is just over 50 years old now and got quite adventurous for a while (they even did Henze in their early years!) however financial issues almost closed the company about two years ago. A significant part of the board decided that it was no longer feasible to maintain a company and made arrangements to shut down the company. Fortunately some cooler heads prevailed, there was a substantial crowd funding initiative, and the company survived but with the board nay-sayers and company director having left. Their season is smaller now and less adventurous but with still some interesting choices. This year it is Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Jake Heggie's Great Scott with libretto by Terrence McNally with a cast that includes Frederica Von Stade!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    The San Diego Opera is just over 50 years old now and got quite adventurous for a while (they even did Henze in their early years!) however financial issues almost closed the company about two years ago. A significant part of the board decided that it was no longer feasible to maintain a company and made arrangements to shut down the company. Fortunately some cooler heads prevailed, there was a substantial crowd funding initiative, and the company survived but with the board nay-sayers and company director having left. Their season is smaller now and less adventurous but with still some interesting choices. This year it is Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Jake Heggie's Great Scott with libretto by Terrence McNally with a cast that includes Frederica Von Stade!
    Excellent compromise and even showing only three operas is better than none.
    Ann

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    The San Diego Opera is just over 50 years old now and got quite adventurous for a while (they even did Henze in their early years!) however financial issues almost closed the company about two years ago. A significant part of the board decided that it was no longer feasible to maintain a company and made arrangements to shut down the company. Fortunately some cooler heads prevailed, there was a substantial crowd funding initiative, and the company survived but with the board nay-sayers and company director having left. Their season is smaller now and less adventurous but with still some interesting choices. This year it is Tosca, Madama Butterfly and Jake Heggie's Great Scott with libretto by Terrence McNally with a cast that includes Frederica Von Stade!
    I like both Tosca and Madama Butterfly but to stage both of them in the same season is just too narrow. I wonder what they were thinking.

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    I would suggest that (a) those bring in the money and for which they have existing productions thereby minimum overhead, and (b) it is more significant that they are including a new work in an abbreviated season.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Becca View Post
    I would suggest that (a) those bring in the money and for which they have existing productions thereby minimum overhead, and (b) it is more significant that they are including a new work in an abbreviated season.
    I understand that too but there are popular operas that are not by Puccini.
    Last edited by Sloe; Feb-03-2016 at 18:09.

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