I would love to contribute a top ten list but I didn’t even go to ten things this year. So here are my top five contributions to the 2014 fall opera season.
1) Michael Fabiano‘s star-making Rodolfo. In a rare, satisfying instance of scooping the Met, SFO featured opera’s next big deal, Michael Fabiano, in a starring role. He clobbered it. Here’s hoping other companies don’t steal Michael Fabiano from Bay Area audiences altogether.
2) Alek Shrader‘s hilarious, athletic, vocally dauntless Emilio in Partenope. Everyone in the show took their delirious direction and ran with it, but Shrader was the triple threat for singing, acting, and uproarious physical comedy.
3) Christopher Alden, making 1730 seem awfully au courant. Delightful already to hear the not-so-common Partenope; the more so when it’s treated as an occasion for sparkling theatrical invention. Alden’s luck was his terrific cast. Ours was witnessing this inspired collaboration.
4) Jamie Barton, prima inter pares, narrowly eclipsing the estimable likes of Radvanovsky and terrific fellow einspringer Russell Thomas to run off with the show in Norma. Could this be an era of big young voices?
5) Christian van Horn in essentially everything. A class act with a seriously legit instrument. Maybe cotton to what you’ve got, SFO, and put the gent center stage sometime soon?