What to Watch: Opera


  • Rene Pape in Boris Godunov at the Met, opens 10/11. Mr. Pape is one of the world’s greatest singers, and everyone will be watching to see if director Stephen Wadsworth can create something exciting after stepping in for Peter Stein at the last minute.


  • Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place at New York City Opera, opens 10/27. Bernstein’s 1983 opera about a troubled family, an amalgam of new music and his 1952 one-act Trouble in Tahiti, has never really caught on. It’s never been done in New York, though, and the production is by the always-thoughtful Christopher Alden.


  • William Christie conducts Cosi fan tutte at the Met, opens 11/9. The visionary artistic director of Les Arts Florissants has never conducted at the Met, but late is much better than never when it comes to this legendary artist.


  • Mendelssohn’s Elijah with NY Philharmonic, Avery Fisher Hall, 11/10. Conductor Alan Gilbert is bringing together excellent soloists in three performances of Mendelssohn’s stirring oratorio.


  • Simon Rattle conducts Pelleas et Melisande at the Met, opens 12/17. William Christie’s is not the only belated Met debut of a legendary conductor this fall. Mr. Rattle leads Debussy’s gorgeously strange opera in Jonathan Miller’s decrepit-Victoriana production.





  • La Navarraise and Cavalleria Rusticana, Opera Orchestra of NY, Carnegie Hall, 10/25. Full concert performances from Opera Orchestra of New York are back! The casts are golden, and even if the orchestra can be uneven, always attend these.


  • Rameau Redux (Opera Francais de New York), Le Lycée Français de New York, Auditorium, 11/10. This small company will be presenting selections from the operas of Jean-Philippe Rameau, whose work is not done in New York nearly enough.


  • Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, Juilliard 11/17. The baroque specialist Harry Bicket leads the talented Juilliard singers in Monteverdi’s masterpiece, a production of the school’s excellent new historical performance program.


  • Lee Hoiby’s Summer and Smoke, Manhattan School of Music, opens 12/8. MSM’s opera performances don’t get a lot of visitors, perhaps because of the way-uptown location, but they should, particularly for Hoiby’s sensitive setting of Tennessee Williams’ play. Hopefully, the 84-year-old composer will be in attendance.


  • 100th Anniversary Performance of Puccini’s La fancuilla del West at the Met, 12/10. On Dec. 10, 1910, Puccini’s opera had its world premiere at the Met: Toscanini conducted, and Enrico Caruso and Emmy Destinn starred. While it will be hard to match that legendary performance, this is the best occasion for celebrating the Met’s glorious history.
What to Watch: Opera