The Fort Worth Opera festival takes the stage at Bass Hall this week, and it promises to be an event that will spur conversations for weeks. The main attraction will be tenor Sean Panikkar, who starred as Rodolfo in La Bohème here last year. Since then, he has boosted his profile immensely by teaming with two other tenors in the group Forte Opera Trio and performing on TV’s America’s Got Talent. This singer of Sri Lankan descent will sing the lead in Bizet’s Sri Lankan-set opera The Pearl Fishers, a nicely resonant piece of casting.
However, there are other things to enjoy, too. Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask’s opera With Blood, With Ink also debuts this week, using modern music to recount the life of 17th-century Mexican nun and literary maven Juana Inés de la Cruz. The work first played in Baltimore back in 1993, but this will be its first full-fledged mainstage production. Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Silent Night also gets its first public hearing. Based on the 2005 French movie Joyeux Noel, the opera retells a real-life incident when British, French, and German soldiers during World War I agreed to a truce to celebrate Christmas. In addition to all this will be a production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte for the more traditional crowd.
Next year’s festival is expected to be smaller due to budget considerations, so this might be your last chance to catch some operatic extravagance.