But if you ask me and my opera-bias, the big draw for this season's 21C is the world premiere of Gould's Wall, the new opera by Brian Current and Liza Balkan, produced by new-opera leaders, Tapestry Opera.
I intend to take it all in, and I'm particularly excited to experience Will Liverman and Nicole Cabell in a production together. Plus, Patricia Racette's Elle is an exciting thought.
The Monster I Am Today is an excellent pick for the contemporary opera fan. It's grand and operatic, with its emotional peaks and depths. For me, it's a completely new — and frankly, overdue — perspective on this beloved art form. It's a fresh read, and I highly recommend.
Probably in large part due to Pavarotti himself, this aria is in that upper echelon of the canon that's recognizable in the mainstream. This aria a dance, somewhat of a ditty; it would almost be fluff, if not for the Duke spewing some old-school chauvinist views on women.
Azucena, the gypsy woman with an obvious PTSD situation over having accidentally thrown her own baby in a fire several years back. The crackling fire triggers the memory, and Azucena sings "Stride la vampa" ("The flames roar").
Maybe because of morbid curiosity, I'm oddly pumped for this season. It'll be like watching opera history happen: we've gotten used to digital opera, and there's more out-of-the-box thinking happening now than we've had in centuries.
Rigoletto sings this aria at the moment he learns that his boss's goons have kidnapped his daughter, Gilda. He begs them to give her back, in a crazy sweep of drama that starts at enraged and ends at desperation.
Leonora sings this from the cave she's been living in lately, hermiting away from things like botched elopements and family curses. This marathon aria is certainly one to work on closely with your trusted teachers and coaches.
As ever, I was truly inspired by the creativity of the artists in the line-up this season at Tête à Tête; they never fail in their curation of and encouragement for any and all work that lies outside the realm of the traditional.
Indeed Barber, the most thoroughbred of warhorses and the ultimate comic opera, has the potential to delight anew with a sense of tradition that feels like innovation, even in a sprawling park on a smiling summer night.