Since Susan T. Danis became leader of Florida Grand Opera, a new, more adventurous wind is clearly blowing for opera in Miami.
Nowhere is that more clear than in the decision to open her first official season with the local premiere of Mourning Becomes Electra by Marvin David Levy. Widely regarded as one of the greatest American operas, the work is adapted from Eugene O’Neill’s play, which updates the Sophocles tragedy to post-Civil War America, featuring the Mannon family haunted and ultimately destroyed by deep secrets.
Don’t let the unfamiliarity of the opera deter you. The music is magnificent and the roiling drama intense and harrowing. FGO has fielded its finest cast in years, headed by Lauren Flanigan.
Even in these days of dizzying virtuosity among young keyboard firebrands, Wang’s powerful bravura remains a phenomenon. Pair her with Tilson Thomas in Gershwin’s Concerto in F and a ticket to the New World Symphony’s season-opening program is a no-brainer.
The consistent polish and excellence of Seraphic Fire means that one can throw a dart at the chorus’ schedule and hear a first-rate performance virtually every time out. Mark your calendar for November when Patrick Dupre Quigley will lead Seraphic Fire and the Firebird Chamber Orchestra in Mozart’s Requiem, presented in a new completion by young composer Gregory Spears.
Tilson Thomas’ ongoing Mahler cycle with the New World Symphony has closed each recent season. Next May it will be the Seventh Symphony, one of the longest and most intractable of all Mahler works. Who better to pull off this challenge than Tilson Thomas, the world’s reigning Mahler conductor?
Vocal recitals are rarities everywhere these days, but the genre is especially on life support in South Florida. Kudos to Doreen Marx for booking one of the brightest young lights in opera with Isabel Leonard. The charismatic mezzo-soprano is a regular at the Metropolitan Opera and the world leading houses and will make her Miami recital debut in May.