Summer used to be the season when opera lovers went without. No longer, as the Following highlights show.
Strauss’s thunderous Elektra shivers the timbers at the Spoleto Festival, Charleston. South Carolina, in a controversial production first mounted in Spoleto, Italy. In the grueling title role: Deborah Polaski, a singing actress who blazes with conviction (May 29 to June 5; 803-722-2764).
The San Francisco Opera fêtes Rossini on the 200th anniversary of his birth with William Tell, the sweeping operatic fresco that marked his farewell to the stage, the evergreen comedies The Barber of Seville and The Italian Girl in Algiers, and the American premiere (in concert) of the mythological Ermione. The glittering casts include Carol Vaness, Frederica von Stade, Marilyn Horne, and the superb coloratura tenor Frank Lopardo (May 30 to June 28; 415-864-3330).
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis presents the American premiere of The Vanishing Bridegroom, three Scottish folktales crosscut into a swift, dreamlike collage by the gnomic young composer Judith Weir, also Scottish (June 2 to 18; 314-961-0644).
The Kirov Opera, of St. Petersburg, takes over the Metropolitan Opera House for two weeks of all-Russian blood and thunder under the baton of Valery Gergiev, whose reputation in Europe and the United States is on a meteoric rise. Three works are on view, each in its way an essay in demonic possession: Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel, Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades, and Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov (July 6 to 18; 212-362-6000).
Glimmerglass Opera, in the idyllic environs of Cooperstown, New York, presents fresh-voiced young artists in bewitching chamber-scale productions by meticulous master directors. This year Martha Clark stages Mozart’s Magic Flute; Jonathan Miller, Cimarosa’s Secret Marriage; and Mark Lamos, Britten’s Turn of the Screw (July 11 to August 9; 607-547-2255).
The Sorrows of Young Wei ther, Goethe’s heart-onsleeve manifesto of romanticism. comes to Santa Fe in the form of a new opera by Hans-Jürgen von Bose. In ironic counterpoint: John Gay’s The Beggar's Opera (1728), under the baton of Nicholas McGegan, a star of the first magnitude in the early-music firmament. The motley cast includes winning performers from grand opera and Broadway (July 18 to August 27; 505982-3855).
The Seattle Opera reunites the director François Rochaix and the designer Robert Israel— creators of the company’s landmark Ring of the Nibelung and Die Meistersinger— for a fresh take on Verdi’s epic Aïda. Expect grandeur, gorgeous images, and a razor-sharp point of view (August 5 to 22; 206-389-7699).