Opera Philadelphia Continues to be a Fresh Voice in Opera with Company Premieres and New Productions Slated for 2013-2014 Season
OPERA AT THE ACADEMY
· Company Premiere of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco, a co-production with Washington National Opera and The Minnesota Opera, opens the season at the Academy of Music on Sept. 27, with a FREE, HD broadcast on Sept. 28
· Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and Mozart’s Don Giovanni to be presented at the Academy of Music
AURORA SERIES FOR CHAMBER OPERA AT THE PERELMAN THEATER
· American Repertoire Program’s East Coast Premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt, a new co-commission and co-production with Houston Grand Opera starring Frederica von Stade
· Company Premiere of Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, presented by Curtis Opera Theatre in association with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
Tuesday, January 29, 2013: General Director & President David B. Devan and Music Director Corrado Rovaris are pleased to announce Opera Philadelphia’s 39th Season, featuring five productions at the Academy of Music and the Perelman Theater.
“This is an exciting season with a broad range of operatic experiences that will surprise and delight audiences. Our very first Nabucco opens the season in stunning fashion, with Thaddeus Strassberger’s gorgeously designed production bringing colorful life to Verdi’s landmark opera,” said Devan. “The 2013-2014 Season offers a roster of inspiring and talented singers, from homegrown rising superstars like Elliot Madore and Michelle Johnson, who co-star in Don Giovanni, to the legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, who makes her company debut in Ricky Ian Gordon’s new work, A Coffin in Egypt.”
“It is a remarkably varied repertoire,” said Rovaris. “Ranging from the expressive, lyrical contemporary music of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, with its Spanish-influenced rhythms, to one of opera’s greatest works, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, we believe this season embraces this art form in its entirety, for the full enjoyment of our local, national and international audiences.”
The popular Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater returns with two new productions: Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, starring the gifted young voices of the Curtis Opera Theatre, under Artistic Director Mikael Eliasen; and the American Repertoire Program’s East Coast Premiere of A Coffin in Egypt, a new co-commission and co-production with Houston Grand Opera from composer Ricky Ian Gordon, whose effervescent style has spanned opera (The Grapes of Wrath) and theatrical song (Green Sneakers, Orpheus and Euridice).
The new season also brings a new, more contemporary name for the organization, which has operated as the Opera Company of Philadelphia since the 1975 merger of the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company and the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company.
“This rebranding is not just an expression of Opera Philadelphia’s future ambitions, but the next step in a creative journey that began several years ago,” said Devan. “Since 2006, Opera Philadelphia has moved quickly to diversify our repertoire, identify and cultivate rising new talent, and present innovative programs, all in an effort to connect with people in powerful ways. We believe the name Opera Philadelphia represents a thriving present and a bold future for opera in our city, and we invite you to come out and shape that future with us.”
Opera Philadelphia celebrates the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth with a new co-production of his first great opera, Nabucco, which follows the plight of the Jews as they are conquered and exiled from their homeland. In a stunning new production by Thaddeus Strassberger, the epic struggle of the Jews suppressed by Babylon's King Nabucco is echoed in Italy’s nationalist conflict with Austria at the time Verdi created the opera. Strassberger sets Nabucco as a play-within-a-play, enacted before a 19th-century audience in Milan's historic La Scala opera house (the model for Philadelphia's own Academy of Music). This landmark work is filled with grand and gorgeous music, including one of opera's most famous choruses, “Va, pensiero (The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves),” adopted as Italy’s unofficial national anthem following the opera’s 1842 premiere.
A number of international stars make their Opera Philadelphia debuts in Nabucco. Romanian baritone Sebastian Catana stars as Nabucco, a role he has performed to enthusiastic audiences in Frankfurt and Stuttgart. Hungarian soprano Csilla Boross makes her company debut as the vengeful Abigaille, which she performed at the Teatro dell'Opera diRoma with Riccardo Muti, broadcast on live television throughout Europe. Tenor Adam Diegel and Academy of Vocal Arts resident artist Margaret Mezzacappaportray the young lovers Ismaele and Fenena, and bass Morris Robinson (Aida) returns as Zaccaria, the high priest of Solomon’s temple. Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducts Verdi’s dramatic, inspiring score in a production that beautifully showcases the talents of the Opera Philadelphia Chorus. A FREE, HD broadcast of Nabucco will be presented on Independence Mall on Saturday, September 28, 2013, marking the third year of Opera Philadelphia’s Opera on the Mall.
The Grammy Award-winning first opera from Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov comes to Philadelphia after a three-city tour of Spain conducted by Music Director Corrado Rovaris. The opera tells the story of the celebrated Spanish playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, who was executed in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. Ainadamar, the supposed site of that murder, means “fountain of tears” in Arabic. Lorca’s life and death are told in flashbacks by actress and frequent collaborator Margarita Xirgu, for whom Lorca wrote some of his greatest female roles. Golijov’s dreamy score fuses traditional Jewish and Arabic styles with Spanish-influenced flamenco and rumba rhythms.
Hailed by New York Magazine as “an astonishing demonstration of how an opera can sound completely contemporary yet still convey its message in very potent lyrical song,” Ainadamarmarks three important Opera Philadelphia debuts. Catalan soprano Maria Hinojosa Montenegro, described by Opera News as a “luminous stage presence,” sings the role of the Catalan actress Xirgu. Mezzo-soprano Marina Pardo sings the ‘trouser role’ of Lorca, and soprano Carmen Romeu is Nuria, a favorite student of Xirgu. Maestro Corrado Rovaris leads the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra in a production that features the Antonio Gades Flamenco Dance Company.
Widely regarded as the greatest opera ever composed, Don Giovanni returns to Opera Philadelphia, weaving the tale of the legendary rake Don Juan in Mozart’s alternately playful and dramatic musical masterpiece. Don Giovanni is a brilliant combination of comedy and tragedy, set to music of limitless genius. Mozart’s anti-hero has a personality so engaging that audiences will wonder why they are rooting for him as he charms and abandons women at will until his darkest side emerges.
A cadre of the most prestigious alumni of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts come home to star in director Nic Muni’s lavish production. Baritone Elliot Madore (Madame Butterfly), a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and a winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, returns as history’s most beguiling scoundrel. Soprano Michelle Johnson, who made a dazzling Opera Philadelphia debut last season in the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, returns as Donna Anna, the conflicted object of Giovanni’s desire. American lyric soprano Amanda Majeski, hailed by Musical America for the “silvery beauty” of her voice, sings the role of the spurned Donna Elvira, with David Portillo (Madame Butterfly) as Anna’s loyal fiancé, Don Ottavio and Joseph Barron (Otello) as Giovanni’s servant, Leporello. Rising American mezzo-soprano Cecilia Hall makes her company debut as Zerlina. Maestro George Manahan leads the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra.
Poulenc’s powerful, emotionally challenging 1957 opera tells the sad truestory of an order of Carmelite nuns whose world collapses with the onset of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. Based on a play by Georges Bernanos, Dialogues follows Blanche, terrified daughter of the wealthy Marquise de la Force, who joins the convent in an attempt to find refuge. Instead, she finds her inner strength as a nun, overcoming her fear to join her sisters in a vow of holy martyrdom. Further details of the creative team will be announced later in the spring of 2013.
Opera Philadelphia proudly presents the East Coast Premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt, based on the 1998 play by Horton Foote. Described as a “haunting tale of passion, infidelity and murder,” A Coffin in Egypt follows the 90-year-old grand dame Myrtle Bledsoe as she reminisces about her life on and off an Egypt, Texas ranch. Was her life well lived? What was it all for? The beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade, called “one of the America’s finest artists and singers” by The New York Times, makes her Opera Philadelphia debut in this moving production. Gordon is a leading composer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Hisfirst full-scale opera, The Grapes of Wrath, was hailed byThe New Yorker as an "evening of vintage musical Americana” when it debuted in 2007 at The Minnesota Opera.
Nabucco, Ainadamar and Don Giovanni are performed at The Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets. Curtis Opera Theatre’s Dialogues of the Carmelites and Opera Philadelphia’s A Coffin in Egypt are performed at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets.
Performance times: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Full season subscriptions to Opera at the Academy or the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater are available beginning Tuesday, January 29, 2013at noon at operaphila.org, or by calling 215-732-8400 (Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Single tickets for Nabucco will go on sale in August, and the spring 2014 season will go on sale in December 2013 via Ticket Philadelphia at operaphila.org or 215-893-1018.
SUPPORT FOR OPERA PHILADELPHIA
Opera Philadelphia is supported by major grants from Wyncote Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Music Project, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Jacob Burns Foundation, Inc., Independence Foundation, and The Lenfest Foundation. US Airways is the official airline of Opera Philadelphia. YAMAHA is the official piano of Opera Philadelphia. Hyatt at the Bellevue is the official hotel of Opera Philadelphia. Burdumy Motors Incorporated is the official automotive dealership of Opera Philadelphia. Opera Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
OPERA PHILADELPHIA 2013-2014 SEASON
CASTING & CREATIVE DETAILS
OPERA AT THE ACADEMY
*Opera Philadelphia Debut