A Little Wine with Your Opera?

By Marion Frizzell, Communications Coordinator

Few things pair better with wine than cheese. Given that today is National Wine and Cheese day, we at HGO have decided it was the perfect opportunity to pair the operas of our 2018–19 season with wine.

Please note, we (sadly) do not have a sommelier on staff and these recommendations were derived from a love of both opera and wine. Wines were chosen based on the story of each opera as well as other details like composer or language.


Our season opens with Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and so do our pairings. We chose to pair this opera with a Cabernet Sauvignon to match Wagner’s complex orchestration and the dramatic romance between The Dutchman and Senta.


For La bohème, we decided there was no better wine to pair with than a Sancerre. Sancerre comes from a central region of France that has been the center of French resistance since the Middle Ages. With roots in the heart of French counterculture and a unique flinty flavor among Sauvignon Blancs, we believe this wine would make an ideal companion for artists in the bohemian revolution.

Our wine choice for Florencia en el Amazonas, a Torrontés, is inspired by the lush South American jungles and the flowing Spanish language. This white wine originated in Argentina and features a sweet floral aroma with flavors of white peach and lemon zest.


When pairing a wine with Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, we looked to the occupation of Nadir and Zurga and sought a wine that paired well with fish and shellfish. We found our match in the French Muscadet. Muscadet is known as the perfect wine to pair with seafood, especially oysters and mussels. It also shares the country of origin with the composer of The Pearl Fishers, Georges Bizet.  

Don Giovanni is an opera that just screams red wine. After much debate, we settled on the northern Italian Barolo. Barolo is a rich and full bodied wine that is often described as having aromas of tar and roses. With a character like Don Giovanni who has the beautiful surface of a rose but a soul covered in tar, we thought this wine was a perfect match.


The Phoenix tells the story of Lorenzo da Ponte, the famous librettist who lead a life almost as scandalous as the operas he wrote. What better wine to represent this indulgent bon vivant than Lambrusco, red like da Ponte’s famous character Don Giovanni but bubble like champagne.

Like opera, wine is a topic that incites opinions and sparks debates. We want to know, do you agree with our wine and opera pairings? Let us know your thoughts via social media!