Press Room

02-07-2011

Opera Company of Philadelphia Announces 2011-2012 Season

Highlights include:

The return of a classic Carmen featuring Curtis Institute of Music alumna and celebrated star Rinat Shaham, with the OCP debuts of David Pomeroy and Jonathan Beyer

A new production of Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio showcasing emerging stars Elizabeth Zharoff, Antonio Lozano, and Elizabeth Reiter

Soprano Ermonela Jaho returns as Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, with Thiago Arancam and Troy Cook

New American opera Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly and Stephen Karam debuts in the newly-named Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater

Philadelphia, PA: The Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to announce the 2011-2012 Season featuring five productions at the Academy of Music and Perelman Theater. The season showcases OCP’s commitment to casting the finest in both emerging and returning star operatic voices, and features three new productions created for Philadelphia’s audiences. With works in French, German, Italian and English, the line-up offers a varied blend of operatic styles and a much-anticipated new co-commission from sought-after composer Nico Muhly and playwright Stephen Karam. Dark Sisters, commissioned and produced with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group of New York, will represent the American operatic debut for the composer, who has also been commissioned to write operatic work for Carnegie Hall, English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.

The season opens with Carmen, “which we chose specifically as a vehicle for Rinat Shaham, one of the most acclaimed Carmens of our time,” shares Artistic Director Robert B. Driver. “Rinat began her career at the Curtis Institute of Music, and sang with the Opera Company of Philadelphia early on in roles such as Zerlina, Cherubino, and Werther’s Charlotte. To have her return at a time when she is so deeply in demand around the world is thrilling, and it affirms our practice of creating opportunities for emerging voices whom we then follow throughout their development.”

Opera at the Academy also features Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, each of which have only been produced once in the Opera Company’s 36-year history.

One block south, the extremely popular Perelman Series will now be known by a new name: the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman. “We are so pleased to announce the naming of this innovative and extremely popular series as it begins its third season at the Perelman Theater,” shared Executive Director David B. Devan. “We feel that the name, which honors the family of its underwriter, the Wyncote Foundation, also embodies the creative spirit of exploration and discovery which we celebrate in productions like Dark Sisters, and the endless possibilities of this intimate chamber opera model.”

The Opera Company of Philadelphia 2011-2012 Season opens on September 30, 2011 and features 23 mainstage performances, plus a variety of educational opportunities for both adults and students.
 


OPERA AT THE ACADEMY

Georges Bizet

CARMEN

Performed in French with English translations
September 30, October 2m, 5, 9m & 14, 2011
Opera’s ultimate temptress opens the season with a sizzle in this classic production that transports audiences to sultry Seville. The story of a beguiling gypsy who sets her sights on a naïve but passionate young corporal, Carmen traces a tale of seduction, obsession, and deadly betrayal. Bizet’s masterpiece features many of opera’s most powerful melodies, from the bewitching “Habañera,” to the passionate “Seguidilla,” and the bravura of the “Toreador” song, capturing the imagination from the first notes of its renowned overture.

Starring in the title role is one of the signature Carmens of our time, Curtis Institute of Music alumna mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham. Her Glyndebourne Festival debut as Carmen led the The Independent to praise her as “… a sensation. From the moment she slinks downstage…. this [Carmen] uses the music like promises and threats, coaxing, cajoling, insinuating, bending the melody." She most recently performed the role in Sydney, Australia to rave reviews.

As Don José, dynamic Canadian tenor David Pomeroy makes his OCP debut on the heels of recent performances at the Metropolitan Opera in the title roles of Faust and The Tales of Hoffmann. Rising star baritone Jonathan Beyer, a Curtis Institute of Music alumnus who has sung a number of major roles with Pittsburgh Opera and recently performed in the World Premiere of Moby Dick at Dallas Opera, makes his Company debut as Escamillo.

Academy of Vocal Arts alumna Ailyn Pérez, currently singing the title role of Romeo and Juliet with the Opera Company, returns as Micaëla, while fellow AVA alumni baritone Eric Dubin, who was last seen in OCP’s La traviata as Baron Douphol and recently sang Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera Cleveland, takes on the dual roles of Morales and Dancairo. Soprano Greta Ball makes her Opera Company debut as Frasquita, with mezzo-soprano Tammy Coil, a Curtis graduate, as Mercedes. Corrado Rovaris, the Jack Mulroney Music Director, leads this season opening production that features a classic setting that was designed by Allen Charles Klein for the Opera Company’s 1992 production, and is directed by David Gately in his OCP debut.

W.A. Mozart

THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO

(Die Entführung aus dem Serail)
A New Co-Production with Teatro Comunale, Treviso, Italy
Performed in German with English translations
February 17, 19m, 22, 24 & 26m, 2012
Mozart’s musical genius returns in a fresh, highly theatrical co-production between the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Teatro Comunale of Treviso. Director Robert B. Driver and Italian designer Guia Buzzi – the team who brought OCP audiences a delightful double-bill of L’enfant et les sortilèges and Gianni Schicchi – collaborate once again for this humorous tale of a Turkish ruler’s comically passionate pursuit of his beautiful young prisoner. This new production sets the story in the 1920s, painting the resourceful heroine Konstanze as a spy, and Belmonte, her would-be rescuer, as a handsome pilot, brilliantly playing on the timeless human foibles that still make Mozart’s work ring true.

Long recognized as an engine for rising talent, the Opera Company has cast an array of today’s most thrilling new voices to conquer Mozart’s daunting arias and stratospheric high notes. Starring as Konstanze is soprano Elizabeth Zharoff, whom Italy’s Revista magazine called “a singer with a beautiful scenic presence, of unquestionable vocal interest” at the premiere of this production. Zharoff’s recent performances include Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Theater of St. Louis and her January Carnegie Hall debut as a winner of the Alexander International Vocal Competition. As Belmonte, rising tenor Antonio Lozano, who has sung roles at La Scala, Barcelona, and Valencia, among others, was lauded for his “warm, vibrant voice that gave Belmonte great passion.” Soprano Elizabeth Reiter, who made her OCP debut as Amor in Orphée et Eurydice last season and returns as Aphrodite in Phaedra this June, sings the role of Blonde. Two additional OCP debuts are in store, with tenor Krystian Adam as Pedrillo and Danish bass Per Bach Nissen as Osmin. Maestro Rovaris leads the Opera Company Orchestra in this new production that also features video design by Lorenzo Curone (L’enfant, ’09) and lighting by OCP veteran Drew Billiau.

Giacomo Puccini

MANON LESCAUT

Performed in Italian with English translations
April 20, 22m, 25, 27 & 29m, 2012
The master composer who created La bohème, Turandot and Madama Butterfly crafts yet another soulful tale of boundless love. Manon Lescaut is a beautiful young girl about to be sent to a convent when Des Grieux first lays eyes on her. Though the flame of passion between them is ignited, Manon's life follows a winding path, seduced by riches that ultimately trigger her downfall – but ultimately finding redemption in Des Grieux’s love for her. Puccini's gorgeous, swelling melodies permeate the opera, from Manon's poignant arias to the lush orchestral score.

Returning in the title role is soprano Ermonela Jaho, who captivated OCP audiences in Madama Butterfly and La bohème, and whose starring roles have recently taken her to Royal Opera Covent Garden and to Hamburg as Violetta in La traviata. Tenor Thiago Arancam, who stars as Cavaradossi in the 2011 OCP production of Tosca, returns as Manon's true love, Des Grieux. He ended 2010 as Christian in San Francisco Opera’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac, and is currently starring as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Washington National Opera.

OCP favorite baritone Troy Cook (Madama Butterfly, ’09) sings the role of Lescaut, following 2010 performances as Guglielmo in Royal Opera Covent Garden’s Così fan tutte and as Ford in Hamburg’s Falstaff. Bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs, who sings the role of Capulet in OCP’s Romeo and Juliet in 2011 and recently starred as Lindoro in Minnesota Opera’s Cinderella, performs the role of Geronte. Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris leads the Opera Company Orchestra in this stylized production directed by Michael Cavanagh in his OCP debut and featuring elegant, period costumes.

THE AURORA SERIES
Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater

The Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to announce the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater. Previously known as Opera at the Perelman, the Aurora Series embraces the spirit of innovation and creativity that has defined OCP’s chamber opera presentations since 2009. The name “Aurora” honors Aurora Synnesvedt Cooper, who passed on her deep love for music to her daughter Chara Aurora Cooper Haas, who in turn nurtured that spark into an operatic legacy within her family. The series is generously underwritten by her family through the Wyncote Foundation.

On behalf of the Wyncote Foundation, Frederick R. Haas and Opera Company Board Member Daniel K. Meyer shared, “We are very happy to honor Aurora Cooper and Chara Cooper Haas with these engaging operatic productions which encapsulate the best and most innovative artistic aspirations for this art form. As individuals who have passed their love for music to future generations, we are pleased to recognize them by ensuring the future of opera in Philadelphia.”

The Aurora Series once again features two productions. In March 2012, the Opera Company presents its fourth Curtis Opera Theatre production in association with Kimmel Center Presents, and in June 2012, OCP is proud to present the new American co-commission Dark Sisters. In recognition of this important new operatic work, OPERA America will hold the 2012 National Opera Conference in Philadelphia, bringing artistic leaders from across the nation and international destinations to see this contemporary opera from Nico Muhly and Stephen Karam.

 

CURTIS OPERA THEATRE’S
ELEGY FOR YOUNG LOVERS

in association with Opera Company of Philadelphia
Hans Werner Henze
NEW PRODUCTION and Philadelphia Premiere
Performed in English
March 14, 16 & 18m, 2012

What happens when a ruthless poet looks to an unlikely cast of characters to provide his artistic inspiration? For those in the company of poet Gregor Mittenhofer, the results may be as dramatic as the deadly snowstorm that swirls around the mountain inn where they find themselves. Hans Werner Henze, considered to be one of the foremost composers of our time, brings us this powerful opera about which The Guardian wrote, “… compelling… the power of Henze's wiry, intense score for an ensemble of 23 players emerges.”

The acclaimed team of director Chas Rader-Shieber and designer David Zinn return with a new production for Curtis Opera Theatre under Artistic Director Mikael Eliasen. These performances mark the Philadelphia Premiere of the work, which has not been performed in the U.S. for nearly 20 years.

A NEW CO-COMMISSION & CO-PRODUCTION
with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group
DARK SISTERS

Music by Nico Muhly
Libretto by Stephen Karam
Performed in English
June 8, 10m & 13, 2012

The Opera Company of Philadelphia is proud to partner with New York’s Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in the co-commission and co-production of Dark Sisters, a new American Opera with music by Nico Muhly and a libretto by Stephen Karam. The opera follows one woman’s dangerous attempt to escape her life as a member of the FLDS Church (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), a sect that split from mainstream Mormonism in the early 20th Century. Set against a red-earthed landscape filled with revelations, dark prophets and white temples stretching towards heaven, Dark Sisters charts one woman’s quest for self-discovery in a world where personal identity is forbidden.

Muhly, a New York-based graduate of the Juilliard School, is one of classical music’s fastest rising stars. In 2009, Carnegie Hall commissioned “The Adulteress” for soprano Jessica Rivera, and countertenor David Daniels and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields performed his Vocalise and Drones on arias by Handel. He has also been commissioned to write a new opera, Two Boys, for English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. Dark Sisters will mark his U.S. full-scale operatic premiere. He partners with playwright Stephen Karam, whose work Speech and Debate for Roundabout Theater in New York has received over 70 subsequent productions.

An incredible ensemble of strong female stars headline the production. Soprano Caitlyn Lynch makes her OCP debut as Eliza, the conflicted central wife, following a series of recent performances as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro with Glimmerglass Opera, Lyric Opera Ottawa and Michigan Opera Theater. Additional OCP debuts arrive with soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Zina and mezzo-soprano Eve Gigliotti as Ruth. Zetlan returns to the Met in spring 2011 as Xenia in Boris Godunov, while Gigliotti starts off 2011 as Isabella in The Italian Girl in Algiers in Bilbao, Spain. Mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore, whose work runs the gamut from early music to her role as Jordan Baker in The Great Gatsby at the Metropolitan Opera, makes an additional Company debut in the role of Presendia. Soprano Jennifer Check, a graduate of Academy of Vocal Arts who is also a frequent guest artist at the Met, returns to Philadelphia as Almera. As the Prophet, bass Kevin Burdette makes his Opera Company of Philadelphia debut following successful performances as Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Colline in La bohème in Buenos Aires. Award-winning New York director Rebecca Taichman stages this new production by 59 Productions, featuring set and video design from Mark Grimmer and Leo Warner. Gotham Chamber Opera Artistic Director Neal Goren leads the Opera Company of Philadelphia Orchestra.