And so it begins! I have sporadically blogged over the last two years and haven’t been able to stick to it. I find searching for the balance between a ‘professional’ writing style and writing a simple fun blog rather difficult. However, over the summer at Caramoor, I happened to share a cab with a professional critic and it inspired me to write again. We had a wonderful evening discussing a range of operatic topics; including the MET’s recent decision to cancel all transmissions of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer and the growing antisemitism in Europe to the strikes that disrupted performances at the Aix-en-Provence festival. Unbelievable that this was one of the first times I had been able to discuss opera at the opera!
Currently, this season features 41 performances in Canada, the US, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Denmark and Norway. I thought last year’s 50 in the US and Canada was a breeze but even my new critic friend thought I was crazy! Beginning tonight with the Canadian Opera Company’s first performance of Madama Butterfly and with the rest ranging in style from Handel’s Alcina to the premiere of Dusapin’s Penthesilea, below is a list of highlights I look forward to sharing with you all.
Michigan Opera – Elektra: October 18 – 26, 2014
Christine Goerke. ‘Nuff said
Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Guillaume Tell: December 5, 2014
Headlined by Angela Meade and the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio di Torino led by Gianandrea Noseda, audiences in North America have the treat of hearing the rarely performed opera with one of bel-canto’s best. After hearing Meade’s Lucrezia Borgia at Caramoor, I cannot wait to see her performances as Matilde. As her technique grows, so does her acting ability, which has plagued her early on her career. The tour also visits New York City, Chicago and the University of Michigan.
Canadian Opera Company – Don Giovanni: January 24 – Febraury 21, 2015 Die Walkure: January 31 – February 22, 2015
Dylan Hayden, Canadian Opera Company, 2012
Tchernaikov’s much traveled production of Don Giovanni finally arrives in Toronto with an almost all Canadian cast featuring Russel Braun, Kyle Ketelson, Jane Archibald and Michael Schade, Tchneraikov has them as one big giant family and I am curious to see how the hired double to play the deceased Commendatore at the end of the opera plays out. Don G is paired with Egoyan’s critically divided Die Walkure but with a cast featuring Christine Goerke, Heidi Melton and Johan Reuter, who cares?
Berlin Staatsoper – Parsifal: March 28 – April 18, 2015
Part of the Easter Festtage, who knows what Tchernaikov will do to Parsifal, but I am excited to find out. Throw in Rene Pape as Gurnemanz and you have one of the most anticipated operas of the season.
Baden Baden Festpielhaus – La damnation de Faust: March 29 & April 5, 2015 Der Rosenkavalier: March 27 – April 6, 2015
I am seeing these two operas on back to back nights and this is about as luxurious of a casting you can get. Joyce Didonato in the Faust and Anja Harteros, Peter Rose, Magdalena Kozena, Anna Prohaska and Lawerence Brownlee in Rosenkavalier! Also very excited to meet up with old and new friends, as everyone appears to be descending on Baden-Baden that weekend!
Toronto Symphony Orchestra – Verdi Requiem: May 21-23, 2015
Conductor Laureate Andrew Davis first stood on the TSO podium in 1974 and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra is presenting a series of concerts to celebrate his 40th anniversary: Pictures at an Exhibition, Yo-Yo Ma and the Verdi Requiem. Amber Wagner, who made a surprise debut as Ariadne a few years ago at the COC, Jaime Barton, Frank Lopardo and Eric Owens join the TSO and Toronto Mendelssohn Choir in bringing us this tremendous work. Expect chills.
New works for me this year include Written On Skin, The Sunken Garden, Penthesilea, and the Danish Maskerade. Boris Godunov and a Sandra Radvanovsky Aida are equally exciting. Let me know what has you most excited for this wonderful 2014/15 season! Add me on Twitter if you don’t mind all the hockey tweets in between all the opera 🙂
Dylan Hayden, Metropolitan Opera, 2014