North Carolina Opera | LA BOHÈME

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LA BOHEME Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

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OUR MISSION To enhance the cultural life of North Carolina by presenting artistically significant opera productions of the highest quality, strengthening and expanding audiences for opera in the region, and providing regional artists opportunities to participate in operatic productions and events.

2021-2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ralph Roberson, President Brigette Wilds, Vice President John Lunsford, Treasurer Nancy Hablutzel, Secretary Francis Acquaviva Joel Adams Ria Battaglino Andrew Blass Yvonne Bryant Richard Falvo Bryan Gilliam James Gulick William Hampton

James Hargrove Douglas Holbrook C. Thomas Kunz Candyce Marsh Susan Oller Florence Peacock June Roberg John Russell in memoriam William Rustin Richard Sarles Steven Shaber Shohreh Taavoni Jean Wozencraft-Ornellas

PAST PRESIDENTS OF NORTH CAROLINA OPERA BOARD OF DIRECTORS James Romano: 2010 - 2012 Stephen Prystowsky: 2012 - 2014 C. Thomas Kunz: 2014 - 2018 Bill Rustin: 2018 - 2019 James Gulick: 2019 - 2021



LA BOHÈME Music by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, Based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henry Murger World premiere: Teatro Regio, Turin, February 1, 1896 United States premiere: Los Angeles, October 14, 1897 La bohème is generously underwritten by E.T. Franklin, Jr. Conductor: Joseph Mechavich Director: Brenna Corner


Scott Quinn



Lucia Cesaroni Levi Hernandez


Shannon Kessler Dooley




Donald Hartmann

Adam Lau Timothy Murray


Donald Hartmann


Wade Henderson

Custom House Officer


Chorus Master

Children’s Chorus Master

Lighting Designer

Guy Chambers Jacob Cortes Scott MacLeod Lauren Saeger Ross Kolman

Sets from New Orleans Opera, designed by Steven Kemp Costumes provided by Sarasota Opera Association, Inc.




Supertitles by Jonathan Dean

Production Stage Manager

Assistant Stage Manager

Properties Master

Costume Coordinator

Production Manager

Technical Director

Tim Stettler

Master Electrician

Jennifer Sherrod

Wig and Makeup Designer

Sound Engineer

Supertitle Operator

Lighting Assistant

Assistant Conductor

Wig/Makeup Assistants

Rehearsal Pianists

Stephanie Canada Mary Parisi Christina Donovan, Pamela McLamb Denise Schumaker Linda T. Carlson

Martha Ruskai Sean Loepp Julia Sullivan Charlie Raschke Kyle Naig Jillian Leonard, Tiffany Bolick Turley Kent Lyman, Anatoly Litvak

Children’s Chorus generously sponsored by Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas North Carolina Opera is funded in part by the City of Raleigh, based on recommendations from the Raleigh Arts Commission


This production of La bohème is dedicated to the memory of John Russell.







La bohème is one of the world’s favorite operas. Rodolfo’s and Mimi’s love at first sight and Puccini’s masterful depiction of the highs and lows of their love have captivated audiences for generations. For many of us, returning to this opera is like hearing again from an old friend, and we are happy to welcome you back into the theater. Although we opened our season in November with a concert performance of Beethoven’s Fidelio, these performances of La bohème are our first staged production in two years. We are most grateful for your continued patronage and support. This is just the first event in a busy winter and spring for us. In March, we’ll present the world stage premiere of Sanctuary Road, an opera based on The Underground Railroad Record written by William Still, a leading abolitionist who helped hundreds of slaves achieve freedom. Sanctuary Road, by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, was originally performed in concert form at Carnegie Hall in 2018. For this production in Raleigh, Moravec and Campbell expanded the piece, which will be staged for the first time. Both La bohème and Sanctuary Road are new productions never seen anywhere before. And in April, Mozart’s delightful opera The Magic Flute concludes our season. Not to be missed, our annual Opera Gala takes place on Saturday, March 19th at the Park Alumni Center on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus. We hope you’ll join us for what is always a great party, and also North Carolina Opera’s most important fundraiser of the year. We are very happy that you are here and delighted to be able to share great opera with you. Thank you.

Ralph Roberson Board President

Eric Mitchko General Director



LA BOHÈME SYNOPSIS ACT I In the garret Paris, 1837. Marcello, a painter, works on his canvas while Rodolfo, a poet, looks out the window. Rodolfo decides to burn the manuscript of his play to heat the room. The philosopher Colline arrives, soon followed by Schaunard, a musician and the fourth inhabitant of the garret. He has food, money, and wood, but he tells his friends that tonight is Christmas Eve and he insists they dine out. The apartment erupts into turmoil when Benoit, the landlord, demands the rent. He is coaxed by Marcello into talking about his amorous adventures. With mock indignation, the bohemians condemn Benoit’s marital infidelity and usher the landlord away without paying him. Rodolfo decides to finish writing an article before joining his friends. Unable to write, Rodolfo answers a knock at the door. A young woman asks to have her candle relit but faints once inside the garret. After Rodolfo revives her, they are forced to search in the dark for her lost key after both of their candles go out. The poet finds it but convinces the woman

he has not and gently touches her hand in the dark. Rodolfo tells her that he is a poet and attracted to her. The woman in turn explains that her name is Mimì, and she makes her living by embroidering. Mimì and Rodolfo profess their love. ACT II In the Latin Quarter Outside the Café Momus, peddlers sell their merchandise to the revelers. The bohemians converge at the café, and Rodolfo introduces Mimì to his friends. She is readily accepted and tells them about the pink bonnet Rodolfo has bought her. Marcello is surprised when Musetta, his former lover, arrives with her current paramour Alcindoro. Musetta’s behavior embarrasses Alcindoro as she sings a song to rekindle Marcello’s love. Sensing her attempt is successful, Musetta contrives to get rid of the old man. After he leaves, Marcello and Musetta fall into each other’s arms. The waiter presents a bill to the bohemians who cannot pay it. Musetta solves the problem by having the amount added to Alcindoro’s bill.

INTERMISSION ACT III Barrière d’Enfer At the tollgate, guards admit workers and peasants into the city. Mimì, in ill health, finds Marcello at the tavern where Musetta and he are working and Rodolfo has recently arrived. Mimì explains that she and Rodolfo have been quarreling. Marcello urges her to leave when he sees that the poet is looking for him. Instead, Mimì hides so she can observe the two. Rodolfo tells Marcello that he wants to separate from Mimì. What frightens him is Mimì’s bad health: she is sure to die. Mimì overhears the conversation, and the men discover her as she coughs and weeps. Rodolfo tries to comfort her while Marcello jealously goes to find Musetta. Mimì tells Rodolfo that she will no longer live with him. They begin to affectionately reminisce as Marcello and Musetta argue. Mimì and Rodolfo decide to remain together until spring as Musetta and Marcello break up.



ACT IV In the garret Several months later, both Rodolfo and Marcello desperately miss their former loves. Schaunard and Colline arrive with a meager meal. As much clowning ensues, Musetta bursts through the door and announces that Mimì is at the top of the stairs, too weak to enter. Rodolfo brings Mimì in and makes her comfortable. When left alone, Rodolfo and Mimì relive moments from their first meeting. The others return and as they busy themselves, Schaunard notices that Mimì has died. Rodolfo sees his friends’ reactions and, rushing to the bedside, discovers Mimì dead.

PROGRAM NOTES Giacomo Puccini’s first triumph as an opera composer was Manon Lescaut (1893). His success with that piece came from a combination of his use of a popular story, his alliance with the powerful music publisher Giulio Ricordi, and, most of all, his mastery in applying new musical language to the passionate forms of Italian opera. As he looked to build on that success, he searched for a subject for his next opera. Ricordi helped in this in supplying him with the team of librettists – Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa – that would help Puccini craft some of his greatest works. Illica’s main responsibility was the dramatic scenario, while Giacosa’s was the verse. In music theater terms, this is roughly the difference between book and lyrics. Their attention was drawn to a fifty-year old work by the French author Henry Murger, Scenes de la vie de Bohème (Scenes from Bohemian Life). This episodic novel (turned into a stage play by Murger himself) treats Renata Tebaldi as Mimi the lives and adventures of various poor artists, writers, and others in Paris’s Latin Quarter in the 1830s. Murger himself emerged from the poverty depicted in the story, and the believability and pathos of the episodes captures the public’s attention. What may really have captured Puccini’s attention, though, was the news that Ruggero Leoncavallo, composer of Pagliacci (1892), was working on an opera on the same topic. Puccini claimed, probably falsely, that he and Leoncavallo came up the idea of an opera based on Murger’s work independently. He proclaimed, “I will write my Bohème and Leoncavallo will write his. The public can decide which it prefers.” Puccini finished his first. It was premiered in Turin on February 1, 1896, to greater public than critical acclaim, though as the piece was repeated across Italy, its popularity grew. By the time Leoncavallo’s effort saw the stage a year later, it was too late; Puccini’s Bohème had already won the hearts of the operatic public. Operas had been through-composed (that is, without separate numbers) for a while by the time Puccini began composing. But he brought a surpassing gift for agreeable melody, an understanding of how to deploy and redeploy motifs throughout the score, very singable vocal lines, and some surprisingly modern musical language. Act III of La bohème remains, in its taut construction Soloman Howard as Colline (Photo by Curtis Brown Photography) and ability to move the audience, one of the most perfects acts in all of opera. The libretto is unusual in that, like the novel on which it is based, it is truly “scenes,” in which one episode is not necessarily generated by the one before it. Illica and Giocosa even called the four divisions “pictures” instead of “acts.” The Italian scholar Fedele D’Amico calls the opera “not so much a story as an atmosphere.” Indeed, what has moved audiences most about this work it its heart. According to its co-librettist Illica, “great freedom in love is the supreme characteristic of La bohème.” La bohème was the inaugural production of Capitol Opera Raleigh in 2003, and the Opera Company of North Carolina presented it in 2007. North Carolina Opera’s first La bohème was in February, 2014, in a production that saw the company debuts of two singers who would become favorites here: Jacqueline Echols and Soloman Howard. This weekend’s performances are the debut of a new production of the opera, with sets designed by Steven Kemp. —Eric Mitchko



NORTH CAROLINA OPERA SUPPORTERS North Carolina Opera extends its deepest gratitude to the following generous individuals who have contributed to making this season possible. This listing represents gifts made to NCO between July 1, 2020 and January 3, 2022. This representation includes gifts made to Fund a Need at the NC Opera Gala. INDIVIDUAL GIVING GOLD PATRON

Gifts of $50,000 or more Rosemarie Sweeney and C. Thomas Kunz Ross W. Lampe Jr. GRAND UNDERWRITER

Gifts between $25,000 and $49,999 E.T. Franklin Jr. Florence and James Peacock UNDERWRITER

Gifts between $15,000 and $24,999 Donna and Richard Falvo Rae and James Gulick Francine and Ralph Roberson GRAND SPONSOR

Gifts between $10,000 and $14,999 Mia Kang and Tony Acquaviva Anna and James Romano SPONSOR

Gifts between $5,000 and $9,999 Joel R. Adams Anonymous Ria Battaglino and Lawrence Loughlin Danielle and Andrew Blass Brigette Wilds and Michael C. Byrne John Elmo William L. Hampton Kim Kotlar and James Hargrove Shohreh Taavoni and Alan Kronhaus Judith LeGrand Elizabeth and John Lunsford Barbara McGuire Susan and Dale Oller Aurora Pajeau Mary Louise and William Rustin Lois T. Flaherty and Richard Sarles Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas PATRON

Gifts between $2,500 and $4,999 Jane and Francis Acquaviva Amy Moss and Bill Brown Heather Brown Virginia and Michael F. Byrne Ruth and G. Sidney Cox Susan M. Curtis Vivian Clark and Bryan Gilliam Peter Hamilton



Douglas R. Holbrook Candyce Marsh Margaret and Bill McCulloch Robert W. Morrison Jr. Linda and Wendell Murphy June and Tom Roberg Kelley and John Russell David Sackett Sarah and Steve Shaber Paul and Holly Tesar The George Smedes Poyner Foundation Alice and Patrick Turner BENEFACTOR

Gifts between $1,000 and $2,499 Anonymous Agnes F. Marshall and Robert M. Auman Susan and David Baker Anne Prince Cuddy Jacobi Daley Anne Driscoll Nancy Dunn Connie and Bob Eby Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation Sallie and Joe Exum Kellie Falk and Joe Patterson Mary Owen Fitzgerald Douglas Flint Ekaterina Korobkina and Robert Golub Paula S. Greenman Hannelore and Konrad Jarausch Sally and Bill Johnson Deborah and Richard Kadlick Chancy and Keith Kapp Betsy and Steven Levitas Jane Lynch Mark A. McDermott The Honorable Nancy McFarlane and Ron McFarlane Carolyn and Peter Olejar Rochelle and Stephen Prystowsky Frances Rollins Harry Rosenberg Kay Schoellhorn Brian Bizub and Anthony Sgarlata Julie Song and David Smyth James S. Stringfellow Cathy and Jim Stuart

Sally and Robert Tiller Susan and Dick Timmons Mr. Edmund Tiryakian Ann and Steve Tyler Josephine Walker Betsy Blackwell and John Watson Erna and Bill Womble Melissa and Bryan Yeazel Rosemary and Smedes York SUSTAINER

Gifts between $500 and $999 Anonymous Wendy Lapish and John Beck Sharon and Byron Braswell Eva Buck The Honorable Ann Marie Calabria and Robert Calabria Simmie Kastner and Jerome Davis Cheryl and John Denardo Alma and Peter Gaudette Kimberly Gooden June and Michael Graham James Gray Dotty and Lee Hanson Karen and Clark Havighurst Phyllis Pomerantz and Charles Hochman Eloise Watson and Mark Jalkut Elizabeth and Joseph Kahn Alan Karr Suzanne Kennedy-Stoskopf Moyra and Brian Kileff Martha and Peter Klopfer Myra Kornbluth Annie Lang Joy Lewis Jo Ann Lutz and Doc Muhlbaier Amy and David Marschall Arthur Mellor David H. Midvidy Carol and Rusty Parks Janet and James Rapp Connie and Fred Roberson John Sarratt Emmett E. Stobbs, Jr. Benjamin Sweezy Stephen W. Teitsworth Sally Thomas Eunice Toussaint Catalina and Eric Vander Elst


Gifts between $250 and $499 John Adams, III Judith and Jack Adler Anonymous Linda and Matthew Arnold Amanda and Michael Bambrick Kay Burgess David Burtt Mary Lovelock and W. R. Chapman Mary and George Deaton Martha Dimes Ann Erickson The Giving Lunch Group Megan Grissett and Sergio Moreno Rich Haney Wade Henderson Susan and Carl Hibbert Deborah Huff Carol and Rick Johns Melissa and Robert Johnson Joan and Howard Kastel Deborah and Thomas Keefe Martha N. Keravuori Lou and Donald Kline Rainelle Krause Kathy and Tom Lada Lewis Lampiris Dorothy Lichtwardt Marylin and Don Lummus Thomas Mansfield Susanna Martin Laurane Mendelsohn Kristine Forney and William Prizer Rachel Starr Fran and Jack Steele Mary Warlick Adela and Jerry Whitten Robert Wiley III Marylin Ehrenshaft and John Williamson Mary Zehr MEMBER

Gifts between $100 and $249 Barbara Jasmine Adams Robin and Dwight Allen Eugenie Almeida Judy and Chip Anderson Tracy and Armando Arismendi Barbara and Robert Bell Helen Koo and Richard Bilsborrow Denise and Peter Bleckner Natalie and Gary Boorman Roy and Hermis Boston Louise and Charles Bryan

Carla and Michael Burns Perrin and Jeff Burton Denise Canada Linda and Philip Carl Dolores and Burton Carnegie Mary Beth Tobin and John Connors Sara and Jim Craven Tammy and Bill Crook Lester Czukor Catherine Anderton and José Delgado Katie Dixon and Daniel Wilkinson Jane Duncan Amy Edge Jane and Jim Ericksen Peggy and Jim Fain Leonard Gettes Jean Thomas Goldberg Elizabeth Gordon Phyllis and Stephen Gordon Marie Grauerholz John Graybeal Ruth Gross and Hans Kellner Margo Lynn Hablutzel Jim Konold and Tim Hackett Millie and Barlow Herget Pamela Nelson and Phillip Hopkins Ken Howell Brooke Fortson and Michael Huckabee Lewis H. Kairys Gail and Eugene Karcher Liisa Kissel Kathleen Klesh Gail Kohn Naomi and Charles Lambert Ross Lampe, Sr. Margaret Link Rebecca and Scott MacLeod Julian Mann Cynthia Martens Cindy and Merrill Mason Susan and Earl McClanahan Judith McDaniel Mary Robert McGrath Dick and Ginny McKay Patricia McWaters Eileen Greenbaum and Larry Mintz Christina and Tom Mitchko Eugene Molisso Joan and Gustavo Montana Barbara Morales-Burke Waynell Morris Eloise and Alan Neebe Laura and Charles Neely Jane Norris Phyllis and Paul Page Elizabeth and Daniel Palmieri

JoAnn and Donald Parkerson Linda and Bob Patton Elizabeth Pennington Patricia S. Peterson Kathryn Langenkamp and Peter Peroutka Margaret Rich Sylvianne Roberge James Rogers Susan Royster Jennifer and Alfonse Runquist Pat and Paul Scheible Lori Schweickert Lucia and John Sehon Barbara and Simon Shane Ken Small Harriet and John Smith Jeff Hall and David Snider Jane and Graham Snyder Georgiana and Stephen Snyderman Libby and Jason Spain Sam Spence, Molly Spence Ward, and Anna Spence Jennifer J. Stanigar Iris and Donald Stoll Perry H. and William A. Suk The Templeton Family Earleen Thomas Pamela Trent Delores Tuck Robert W. Upchurch Mary Van Name Lizbeth and Jean Marie Videau Isabel Villa-Garcia Alice Watkins Sally and Ron Wenda Kate Dixon and Daniel Wilkinson Marti and Dan Wilson Katherine and James Wilson Margaret Wolchok



NORTH CAROLINA OPERA SUPPORTERS North Carolina Opera gratefully acknowledges the following community leaders for their gracious support in making this season possible. This lists gifts made to NCO between July 1, 2020 and January 3, 2022. This representation does not include gifts made to the NC Opera Gala. FOUNDATIONS AND GOVERNMENT UNDERWRITER Gifts of $25,000 or more

City of Raleigh The John William Pope Foundation Wake County SPONSOR

North Carolina Arts Council Triangle Community Foundation’s Carver Fund for North Carolina Opera


Gifts up to $2,500 Amazon Smile Foundation Baird Foundation Bell Family Foundation Ella Ann & Frank B. Holding Foundation Opera America Eddie and Jo Allison Smith Family Foundation


Gifts between $5,000 and $9,999 The George Smedes Poyner Foundation

Gifts between $10,000 and $24,999

National Endowment for the Arts



Gifts of $25,000 or more

Gifts between $2,500 and $4,999

PNC Bank

Allman Bobbie Group at Baird Citrix Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. Stuart Law Firm, PLLC


Gifts between $10,000 and $24,999 Goldman Sachs & Co.


Gifts up to $2,500 Robert W. Baird and Co., Inc

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina ClickCulture Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund GlaxoSmithKline Foundation IBM Matching Program IQVIA Lilly US Matching Gifts Program Mitchell Casteel Norfolk Southern Foundation Kendra Scott LLC

HONORARY AND MEMORIAL GIFTS In Honor of Jane and Fran Acquaviva Rachel Starr In Honor of Being Retired Hannelore and Konrad Jarausch In Honor of Brigette Wilds Virginia and Michael F. Byrne In Honor of David, Jenny, & Foxx Melton Joel Adams In Honor of Eric D. Hale Mary Van Name In Honor of Jacobi Daley Joel Adams In Honor of John Lunsford Catherine Anderton and José Delgado In Honor of Kim Gooden Pearla Alston In Honor of Lawrence J. Wathan Aurora Pajeau In Honor of Rosemarie Sweeney C. Thomas Kunz In Honor of S. Worth Dunn for his devotion to NCO Nancy Dunn In Honor of the Respect and Generosity NCO Has for Their Artists During



This Time of Need Rainelle Krause In Honor of Tom Kunz Susan M. Curtis In Honor of Rosemarie Sweeney and Tom Kunz Paula S. Greenman Deborah and Richard Kadlick James S. Stringfellow In Support of Chelsea Huber’s Passion Eugene Molisso In Memory of Donald E. Hunter Sandra Craig In Memory of Dr. Tom McGuire Peggy and Jim Fain In Memory of Gordan B. LeGrand Judith LeGrand In Memory of Ivan Korobkin Ekaterina Korobkina and Robert Golub In Memory of Jane Gregory Hobson, 1937-2019 Jane and Graham Snyder In Memory of John Russell Bank of America Private Bank Mark Barr

Betsy Blackwell and John Watson Jane Duncan KDB Law Firm Rosemarie Sweeney and C. Thomas Kunz Naomi and Charles Lambert Betsy and Steven Levitas Cindy and Merrill Mason Robert W. Morrison, Jr. Margaret Rich Francine and Ralph Roberson Judy and Chip Anderson Jeff Hall and David Snider Sam Spence, Molly Spence Ward, and Anna Spence In Memory of Linda Karen McGill Rosemarie Sweeney and C. Thomas Kunz In Memory of Ruth and Thomas Martin, who believed in opera in English Susanna Martin In Memory of Senora Karr Alan Karr In Memory of Tom McGuire Julian Mann, III



ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS North Carolina Opera offers special thanks to the following individuals, organizations, and businesses for their support during the last year: Jane Acquaviva Cornerstone Custom Printing Curtis Media Galloway Ridge* Rae Gulick Judy Hendrickson

Indy Week Lysaght & Associates* Meredith College Department of Music Mitchell•Casteel – A Fine Catered Affair* Christina Mitchko Morningstar Law Group* Raleigh Beer Garden

Stuart Law Firm* Summit Hospitality Group Telepathic Graphics Williams Mullen* Elaine Wood York Properties, Inc.*

Today’s pre-performance lobby music is provided by Philharmonic Association String Quartet, under the direction of Margaret Partridge.



MULTI YEAR GIVING Long-range planning is critical to North Carolina Opera’s continued success and growth as we strive to bring the Triangle Area world-class opera productions, performances, and musicians. An essential component of this planning is accurately forecasting contributed revenues from our generous donors — contributed revenues that comprise some 70% of NCO’s budget! North Carolina Opera is profoundly grateful to the following individuals who have pledged their financial support to the organization over multiple seasons. Please join us in thanking these tremendous donors for their commitment to our current and future success. DIRECTORS CIRCLE

Individuals having made multi-year pledges totaling $250,000 or more Rosemarie Sweeney and C. Thomas Kunz Individuals having made multi-year pledges totaling $30,000 or more Francine and Ralph Roberson Individuals having made multi-year pledges totaling $15,000 or more Joel Adams Anonymous Brigette Wilds and Michael C. Byrne Elizabeth and John Lunsford Lois T. Flaherty and Richard Sarles Shohreh Taavoni, MD and Alan Kronhaus, MD Jeanie Wozencraft-Ornellas LEADERSHIP CIRCLE

Individuals having made multi-year pledges to North Carolina Opera Jane and Francis Acquaviva Douglas R. Holbrook Melissa and Bob Johnson Candyce Marsh Robert Wiley


For information on becoming at part of the Directors Circle or Leadership Circle, please contact the NC Opera office of Development at 919.792.3855 or Cary Byrd at Your legacy gift creates North Carolina Opera’s legacy of opera for future generations. Making this kind of gift is cost-free during your lifetime, but the benefits are long-lasting to NCO and those who love opera. With your help, we can make sure that the Triangle enjoys the magic of opera for years to come!

FOUR EASY WAYS TO MAKE YOUR LEGACY GIFT Your Life Insurance Life insurance that no longer serves its original purpose, such as college funding or spousal support, may be used to ensure that opera is enjoyed by and accessible to audiences in the future. Your Retirement Plan You can ensure that the magic of opera continues by making NC Opera a beneficiary in your retirement plan.

Your Will You can help NC Opera expand its productions and education programs for years to come, continuing the rich tradition of the arts in the Triangle, simply by making a gift of any amount in your will. Your Charitable Gift Annuity When you create a charitable gift annuity benefiting NC Opera, you will ensure that the curtain continues to rise upon high-quality productions like SIEGFRIED Act III, PAGLIACCI, Lawrence Brownlee in recital and THE MAGIC FLUTE.

To discuss a legacy gift, call the Development office at NCO, (919) 792-3855 or email

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES JOSEPH MECHAVICH CONDUCTOR American conductor Joseph Mechavich has established a leading position on the modern music podium with breakthrough productions of contemporary opera such as Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick, Great Scott, Out of Darkness: Two Remain, and Three Decembers; and Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Cold Sassy Tree, Of Mice and Men and Wuthering Heights. The 2021-22 season sees the eminent conductor pacing La bohème at North Carolina Opera, An American Dream at Kentucky Opera, and two productions at The Curtis Institute of Music The Medium/Triple-sec and The Dangerous Liasons. Today, some of M. Mechavich’s greatest successes lie in his interpretation of the most significant contemporary titles currently on the US opera scene, including Talbot’s Everest, Bohlmer’s Riders of the Purple Sage, Puts’s Silent Night, Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas, Adams’s Nixon in China, and Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Although known for his vast knowledge of contemporary repertoire, M. Mechavich can also be found conducting much of the standard operatic canon in leading US opera houses; recent highlights include Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Washington National Opera and at Minnesota Opera, Werther at Florida Grand Opera, Cavalleria Rusticana/ Pagliacci at Madison Opera, Eugene Onegin at Curtis Institute, Ariadne auf Naxos, Macbeth and Madama Butterfly at Kentucky Opera where he serves as Artistic Advisor. Past international engagements include Porgy & Bess at Deutsche Oper Berlin and at Cape Town Opera, Silent Night, Aida, Madama Butterfly, Turandot at Calgary Opera, and Nixon in China for Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/New Zealand Opera. A native of Long Lake, Minnesota, Joseph studied at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music then the Yale University School of Music.



BRENNA CORNER STAGE DIRECTOR Brenna Corner has worked as a director, actor, singer, choreographer, and fight director across Canada, the United States and Europe. Brenna has been a member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Program with Vancouver Opera as well as the Atlanta Studio Artist Program. Ms. Corner is also the artistic director of Manitoba Underground Opera in Winnipeg, Canada. Brenna made her directorial mainstage debut creating a new production of Hansel and Gretel designed by the Old Trout Puppet Workshop for Vancouver Opera. That same year she also made her American debut with New Orleans Opera creating a new production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Since then Ms. Corner has been directing and creating shows across the United States and Canada. Select directing projects include: Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera);Hansel and Gretel (San Diego Opera); Pygmalion and Sweeney Todd (New Orleans Opera); Der fliegende Höllander (Cincinnati Opera); L’Elisir d’Amore (Vancouver Opera); Carmen (The Atlanta O p era); Noye’s Fludd and S calia/Ginsburg (Glimmerglass Festival); L’Elisir d’Amore (Vancouver Opera) The Four Note Opera (Yulanda M. Faris Vancouver Opera Young Artist Program), Cendrillon & La Clemenza di Tito (Manitoba Underground Opera), Béatrice et Benedict (Fraser Lyric Opera), Die Lustige Witwe (Vancouver Music Academy). Select assistant directing projects include: The Siege of Calais, La Bohème (Glimmerglass Opera Festival); Carmen (Canadian Opera Company); Madama Butterfly, and Stickboy, (Vancouver Opera), Der fliegende Holländer and L’Italiana in Algeri (Calgary Opera). She is also a certified member of Fight Directors Canada and has choreographed many fights for both opera and theatre. Brenna has a degree in music from The University of Manitoba, and theatre diplomas from Grant MacEwan College and The British American Drama Academy.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES LUCIA CESARONI MIMÌ With her “lush, creamy voice” and “giddy coloratura”, Italian-Canadian soprano Lucia Cesaroni is freshly in demand as some of opera’s most coveted heroines, making new signature roles out of Verdi’s Violetta, Puccini’s Mimì, and Mozart’s Donna Anna. In her rescheduled 2020/21 season, Ms. Cesaroni was slated for Violetta in Saskatoon Opera’s production of La traviata, Fiordiligi in Vancouver Opera’s Così fan tutte and Donna Clara in Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg at the Enescu Festival in Romania. With Tapestry Opera, Ms. Cesaroni sang the role of Ava in the cast recording of the award-winning opera by Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton, Rocking Horse Winner. In recent seasons, Ms. Cesaroni made acclaimed role debuts, including Violetta and Mimì at Pacific Opera Victoria’s productions of La traviata and La bohème, as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni at the Spoleto Festival under James Conlon, Micaëla in Carmen with Maine’s Bay Chamber Concerts, and Hanna Glawari in Vancouver Opera’s The Merry Widow. A champion of Italian bel canto repertoire, Ms. Cesaroni has joined Boston’s Odyssey Opera in two productions of obscure Donizetti operas, including Mathilde in Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, and Eleonora in L’assedio di Calais. Additional operatic credits include Donna Anna at the Teatro Aligheri di Ravenna and the Teatro Coccia di Novara, Musetta in La bohème with Opéra de Montréal, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at the Spoleto Festival, Woglinde in Das Rheingold at Pacific Opera Victoria, Norina in Don Pasquale at Saskatoon Opera, Yum-Yum in The Mikado with Toronto Operetta Theatre, and Maria in West Side Story with Vancouver Opera. As a concert artist, Ms. Cesaroni was a soloist for Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection”, with the Sinfonia Nazionale della RAI in Torino, a programme of duets and arias with Andrea Bocelli at the Columbus Citizens Foundation, NYC, Carmina Burana with the Berliner Symphoniker and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Handel’s Messiah with The Victoria Symphony and the Montréal Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Cesaroni is a graduate of the Atelier lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal. Additionally, she has trained at the Ravinia Festival’s Steans Institute, the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme at Aldeburgh, the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg-Augsberg, the

Chautauqua Festival, the Aspen Music Festival, and the International Vocal Arts Institute. She is an alumna of the University of Toronto Opera School (MMus).

SCOTT QUINN RODOLFO Acclaimed by the Twin Cities Pioneer Press for his “brilliantly clear, emotionladen tenor voice,” in the 2021/22 season Scott Quinn joins both Houston Grand Opera and Pittsburgh Opera as Don José in Carmen, Florentine Opera for the Duke in Rigoletto, and North Carolina Opera for Rodolfo in La bohème. Last season, Mr. Quinn joined San Antonio Opera for Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He recently returned to San Francisco Opera for Elemer in Arabella, made his San Diego Opera debut as the Duke, sang his first performances of Cavaradossi in Tosca with North Carolina Opera, returned to Seattle Opera for Don Jose, joined Utah Opera for Rodolfo, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City as the Duke, Austin Opera for Alfredo in La traviata, and Opera Saratoga for both Camille in The Merry Widow and Oscar in the American premiere of Gareth William’s Rocking Horse Winner. Mr. Quinn recently made role and company debuts with San Francisco Opera as Števa Buryja in Jenůfa, Den Jyske Opera as Fritz in L’amico Fritz, Seattle Opera as Boris in Káťa Kabanová, Arizona Opera as Don José. He recently sang his first performances of Alfredo with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Duke with Atlanta Opera, Dallas Opera for Narraboth in Salome, and Northern Lights Music Festival as Lenski in Eugene Onegin. He also recently joined Minnesota Opera for Rodolfo and Palm Beach Opera for Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. He maintains a close association with Houston Grand Opera and recently returned to create the role of Villiers, Duke of Buckingham in the world premiere of Floyd’s Prince of Players. With the same company, he also sang Pirelli in Sweeney Todd and Tamino in outdoor performances of Die Zauberflöte. He is an alumnus of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera Studio. Mr. Quinn is a former participant in San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Merola Opera Program. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Stephen F. Austin State University.



ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES SHANNON KESSLER DOOLEY MUSETTA Known for her lyricism and expressiveness, Shannon Kessler Dooley’s most recent operatic credits include: Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus with Opera Wilmington, Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly) with Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, Opera Theater of Connecticut, First Coast Opera, and Erie Chamber Orchestra, Biancofiore cover (Francesca da Rimini), Alice cover (Le Comte Ory) with The Metropolitan Opera, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with Erie Chamber Orchestra, Mimì (La bohème) with Opera Theater of Connecticut, Narcissa (Philemon and Baucis) with the Spoleto Festival USA, Sister Constance (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Almirena (Rinaldo), Nannetta (Falstaff), Frasquita (Carmen), Lucia (Rape of Lucretia), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro, youth performance) with Pittsburgh Opera, Marzelline (Fidelio), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Clorinda (La Cenerentola) with Utah Opera, Micaëla, (Carmen) with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh. Concert credits include soprano solos in Messiah, Peer Gynt, Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, and Ravel’s Shéhérazade, Schubert Mass in G, with Utah Symphony, Erie Philharmonic, Asheville Symphony, Erie Chamber Orchestra, Long Bay Symphony and Wilmington Choral Society. In 2022 Ms. Dooley looks forward to reprising the role of Pamina with Opera Wilmington in Die Zauberflöte and debuting the role of Musetta with North Carolina Opera in La bohème, and the role of Violetta with First Coast Opera in La traviata.

LEVI HERNANDEZ MARCELLO In the 2021-2022 season, Mr. Hernandez returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago as Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas, reprises the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Tulsa Opera, debuts with Hawaii Opera Theater as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, returns to Intermountain Opera Bozeman for his role debut as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro, and performs Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer with Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra. In recent seasons, he has continued his longstanding relationship with the work of composer Daniel Catan, appearing in La Hija de Rappaccini with Chicago Opera Theater. He has also sung Tonio in Pagliacci with Opera Colorado and El Paso Opera, and Aba in El milagro del recuerdo Houston Grand Opera. He has sung Pa Joad in The Grapes of Wrath with Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Virginia Opera, Nashville Opera, Arizona Opera, and Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. He recently debuted with Opera Colorado as Marcello, Inspector Kildare in Elizabeth Cree with Chicago Opera Theater, Alvaro in Florencia en el Amazonas with San Diego Opera and Madison Opera, and Ford in Falstaff with Intermountain Opera. He has covered the title role in The Death of Klinghoffer and productions of Die Frau ohne Schatten and Carmen with the Metropolitan Opera. Additionally, he has sung Sharpless with Houston Grand Opera, Schaunard in La bohème with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Tomski in Pique Dame with the Komische Oper Berlin. His American festival appearances include Guglielmo in Le villi at Spoleto, both that role and Remigio in La Navarraise at Bard, and Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Pine Mountain. His credits with Opera Theatre of St. Louis include Leporello in Don Giovanni and the Music Master in Ariadne auf Naxos. He has sung numerous roles with both Los Angeles Opera and Opera Philadelphia. An alumnus of the Lyric Opera center for American Artists, Mr. Hernandez made his Lyric Opera main stage debut during the 2004-2005 season. He has been seen on the concert stage as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the El Paso Symphony, Charlotte Symphony, the Phoenix Symphony, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and Cheyenne Symphony and in Orff ’s Carmina burana with the Pennsylvania Ballet. A 2002 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards finalist,



ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES his many awards include a Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation grant as well as being a 2002 OPERALIA competition finalist. After receiving his undergraduate degree at Westminster Choir College, Mr. Hernandez attended the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.

ADAM LAU COLLINE American bass Adam Lau, praised as a “bass of real quality, with sonorous low notes,” continues a busy and active career with a wide range of operatic and concert dates in the 2021-2022 Season. Returning to Utah Opera, Mr. Lau sang Don Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Following these performances, Mr. Lau made his Metropolitan Opera house and role debuts singing the Jailer in Tosca and the Second Armoured Man in The Magic Flute. Following his debut at the Met, Mr. Lau returns to North Carolina Opera for his fifth appearance with the company, where he sings Colline in La bohème. Next, Mr. Lau returns to The Dallas Opera to sing the role of The Bonze in Madama Butterfly for the first time and to reprise the role of Don Basilio. Concluding his operatic season, Mr. Lau makes his debut with the Atlanta Opera singing Kobun in Mason Bates’s The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with the Atlanta Opera. Adam Lau won First Prize in the 2016 Jensen Vocal Competition and Top Prize in the 2015 George London Competition. He was also a finalist in the 2016 Dallas Opera Competition. He has appeared with such opera companies as Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, and North Carolina Opera, as well as with some of the nation’s leading summer programs including Merola Opera Center, Aspen Opera Theater, and Santa Fe Opera. In addition to opera, Mr. Lau maintains an active concert career. He has appeared with several leading symphonic organizations including Los Angeles Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony, San Diego Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Costa Rica, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

TIMOTHY MURRAY SCHAUNARD Heralded for his “firm, flexible baritone” (New York Times) and “swaggering, rakish” stage presence (Opera News), baritone Timothy Murray has won recognition in such competitions as the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, t he L oren. L. Z achar y competition, the Mario Lanza competition, and was a Grand Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. As a participant in the 2019 Merola Opera Program, he performed the role of Paul in the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s opera, If I Were You, and finished out the summer on the War Memorial Opera House stage singing the title role in a scene from Thomas’ Hamlet as part of the Merola Grand Finale. He is currently a member of the Adler Fellowship Program with San Francisco Opera, and just sang Sciarrone in Tosca there. Concert work includes Berlioz Lélio with NJSO, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with the Oratorio Society of New York.

DONALD HARTMANN ALCINDORO/BENOIT No stranger to North Carolina Opera audiences, having appeared in Tosca, Carmen, Aida, Le Nozze di Figaro, Rusalka, and others, bassbaritone Donald Hartmann, is celebrating 43 years of singing on operas stages nationwide. His professional career began in 1978 with the Stadttheater Regensburg, and later with the Vereinigte Städtisches Bühnen Krefeld/ Mönchengladbach in Germany. He has been described as possessing a, “big, rich voice with an amazing timbre” and “… his flair for comedic bel canto is major-leagueworthy.” Having performed in over 160 operatic productions, in over 60 operas singing over 70 different roles, he is “one of the best character singers on any opera stage anywhere. “ His 2015-2016 season included two very important national debuts: William Jennings Bryan in the 60th anniversary production of Ballad Baby Doe for Central City Opera in Colorado, and Sacristan in Tosca in the historic reopening of New York City Opera’s return to Lincoln Center. Donald Hartmann is a Professor of Voice in the School of Music at UNCG.







Scott MacLeod has served as chorus master for North Carolina Opera since the 2013 production of Aida. He also maintains an active musical career as a singer, conductor, director, and teacher. Notable performances include John Adams The Wound Dresser with North Carolina Symphony, Holiday Pops with the Lansing Symphony, Hercules in Patrick Morganelli’s Hercules v. Vampires with North Carolina Opera, Frederik in A Little Night Music with Piedmont Opera, a workshop performance of Scott Wheeler’s The Sorrows of Frederick with the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York City, the Fox 8/Old Dominion Holiday Triad Concert with the WinstonSalem Symphony, Pangle in the North Carolina debut of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain, and a solo recital of original compositions by J. Mark Scearce at the historic Municipal House in Prague. Dr. MacLeod is Associate Professor of Voice at High Point University, where he provides individual voice training, teaches opera and musical theatre techniques, and serves as music director for HPU opera and musical theatre productions. He has led several student performance tours in Costa Rica as part of the Centro Cultural Costarricense/Norteamericano “Promising Artists of the 21st Century” program, and was HPU faculty leader for the Prague Institute in spring semester 2015. He spent two summers as a guest artist/lecturer in China and was awarded an honorary faculty post at Shaoguan University (Guangdong, China) in 2017. He holds degrees from Northwestern University, Florida State University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.



Ross Kolman has designed lighting for a number of artists, choreographers, and companies including Ellen Hemphill, Lynne TaylorCorbett, Christopher Wheeldon, Richard Tanner, Damian Woetzel, Robert Weiss, Tyler Walters, Mark Dendy, Liz Lerman, Amanda Miller, Clay Taliaferro, the National Opera, The North Carolina Dance Theater, The Pennsylvania Ballet, North Carolina Opera, Ballet Hawaii, PlayMakers Rep, & Nnenna Freelon. Mr. Kolman was the Resident Lighting Designer for The Duke University Institute of the Arts, Ann Carlson, and Marlies Yearby’s Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater. In addition, Ross has worked as Production Manager for the American Dance Festival, Carolina Ballet, and for Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble Creative Exchanges Program. Mr. Kolman has also worked on the faculty of the Theater Studies Department at Duke University. He is a founding member of Carolina Ballet where he is currently the Resident Lighting Designer. Mr. Kolman lives and works in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.


march 19, 2022 Exciting New Location

park alumni center at nc state university

Centennial Campus – 2450 Alumni Drive, Raleigh, NC

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ORCHESTRA 1ST VIOLIN Carol Chung Margaret Partridge Ariadna Ilika Anne Leyland Leah Peroutka Nonoko Okada Petia Radneva-Manolova Lucy Greenleaf 2ND VIOLIN Suzanne Kelly Krista Cala Laura Thomas Cortney Baker Lyda Cruden Sarah Griffin Robert Rempher

VIOLA Simon Ertz Matthew Chicurel Kristen Beard Emi Mizobuchi Michael Castelo CELLO Nate Leylan Brian Carter Rosalind Leavell Lauren Dunseath Erica Leavell BASS Emily Buccola Chris Buddo Robbie Link FLUTE Carla Copeland-Burns Whitney Pencina

OBOE Jaren Atherholt

TIMPANI Christopher Nappi

CLARINET Mike Cyzewski Kevin Streich

PERCUSSION Victoria Nelson Mark Dinitz

BASSOON Michael Burns

HARP Jacqueline Bartlett

FRENCH HORN Tristan Burns Caleb Harris


TRUMPET Alexander Fioto Don Eagle

LIBRARIAN Julia Thompson

TROMBONE Michael Kris Russell McKinney

CHORUS WOMEN Gretchen Bruesehoff Joanna Burke Tanya Hanano Mary Royall Hight Paula Hostetter Chelsea Huber Laura Hutchins Erica Jackson Emily Krol Julia Laird Kaitie Lawson Madeline Lilich Jaclyn McGhee Constance Paolantonio Jean Renze-Eilers Angela Santucci Joncie Sarratt Lorraine Snyder Rachel Stenbuck Annette Stowe Bailey Sutton



MEN Jeff Aldridge Michael Blake Forrest Bunter Guy Chambers Francis Cianfrocca Jordan Clifton John Clingman Mason Cordell Jacob Cortes Marichi Gupta Wade Henderson Greg Hirsh Jerry Hurley Tom Keefe Liston Kidd David Marschall Lindon Pearson Matt Sawchak Ted Willis

CHILDREN’S CHORUS Madison Abby Jones Azzie Marino Ellie Sims Cynthia Styron Sanchez Emerson Sanders Brown Adeline Moore Namita Manoj Kanmani Madhanraj Piper Barrett Amelia Lee Charlotte Harrison

STAGE BAND Erin Lunsford Lucy Mackin Kate Olsen Ganesh Om Cyril Sagan Krista Siachames

SUPERNUMERARIES Chuck Galle Juan Matamoros Stan Williams Ed Zahurak

In Memory

John Spotswood Russell

October 22, 1954 – November 30, 2021

We fondly remember John Russell, longtime opera supporter, author, lawyer, NCO board member, and former Chairman of the Board of the Opera Company of North Carolina. Today’s production of La bohème is dedicated to the memory of our friend John.



NORTH CAROLINA OPERA STAFF General Director – Eric Mitchko Company Manager – Julie Williams Director of Development – P. Carrigan Byrd, Jr. Director of Marketing – Angela Grant Production Manager – Linda T. Carlson Box Office Associate – Rebecca Edmonds

DUKE ENERGY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS STAFF City Manager – Marchell Adams-David Assistant City Manager – Jim Greene Director/General Manager – Kerry Painter Assistant General Manager – Michelle Bradley Finance Director – Hazel Cockram Director of Security – Byron K Johnson III Director of Operations – Brian Clark Box Office Manager – Rob Leavell Assistant Box Office Manager – Gavin Brown Booking Manager – Melanie Margarum Marketing Manager – Sarah McAlister Marketing Coordinator – Briana Pedroza Maintenance Supervisor – Russell Denton Facilities Supervisor – William Negron Fiscal Manager – Kathi Wimmer Accountant – Kathy Strait Production Manager – Lucas Johnson Production Supervisors – Michelle Boyette, Bryan Hitzigrath, Paul Marsland, Dave McManus Front of House Managers – Matthew Hester, Brittany Washington Operation Staff – Deshondre Bellinger, Brittany Brandon, Alex Brickley, Kevin Brown, Dave Chapman, Ricky Cherry, Andrew Crane, Scott Gibson, Michael Green, Robert Hall, Ehhteeku Htaw, Liberty Lander, Noeree Sunshine Lander, Lisa Morgan, Lucas Pooran, Rusty Sharpe, Htee Shee, Sa Tin, Mason Tierney, Luke Watkins






DECEMBER 17-24, 2021 Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

ROMEO & JULIET FEBRUARY 3-20, 2022 Fletcher Opera Theater

SNOW WHITE MARCH 10-27, 2022 Fletcher Opera Theater

SPRING TIDINGS OF BACH, CHAMINADE AND GLASS APRIL 21-24, 2022 Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

GISELLE MAY 19-22, 2022 Raleigh Memorial Auditorium 919-719-0900 | 800-982-2787 SPONSORED BY:

SPOTLIGHT ON SANCTUARY ROAD An American Opera about the Underground Railroad The Underground Railroad is the name given to a loose network of secret arrangements by which enslaved Blacks in the American South were able to escape for the freedom either of the northern U.S. or of Canada. One of its leaders, or conductors, was William Still, a Philadelphia man who helped as many as 800 slaves escape bondage from the 1840s through the end of the Civil War in 1865. Still kept meticulous records, and in 1872 published The Underground Railroad Records, an account detailing not just the workings of the Underground Railroad but the stories of many individuals who escaped by means of it. It was, he said, “a record of facts, hardships, hairbreadth escapes, and death struggles.” While the enterprise as a whole is inspirational – perhaps like the French resistance in World War II – it is the specificity of the individual stories in Still’s account that really captures our attention. The accounts of Henry “Box” Brown, who mailed himself to Philadelphia, or of Ellen Craft, who fears being discovered while on the train, are gripping, all the more so because they are actual historical figures, not merely archetypes. When composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell were looking for a subject from American history for their next collaboration, Still’s dramatic accounts of escape caught their imagination. They initially conceived the piece as a successor to their oratorio The Blizzard Voices, about the great snowstorm of 1888. Sanctuary Road is structured around the character of Still himself, writing and remembering the events and, in one case, actually interviewing one of the escapees. Vocal soloists appear in short scenes to tell their stories; in between these episodes, a chorus comments on the action. They exhort Still to “write it down,” so the names of the people will be remembered. Sanctuary Road had its premiere in its original version in 2018 at Carnegie Hall, presented by the Oratorio Society of New York. The piece was highly acclaimed, and Moravec and Campbell realized that it could be expanded, and that such stories called out for a dramatic treatment greater than what the form of oratorio could offer. The expanded Sanctuary Road, Composer Paul Moravec now staged and a full opera, will have its world premiere on March 4, 2022, presented by North Carolina Opera in a new production directed by Dennis Whitehead Darling and conducted by William Curry, with sets designed by Brian Ruggaber and with projections from Driscoll Otto. — Eric Mitchko

Sanctuary Road set design by Brian Ruggaber




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Join us for the remainder of our 2021-2022 Season! UP NEXT FROM NCT

Sister Act

February 8-13, 2022 Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts

After witnessing a murder, a divine disco diva is put into protective custody in a convent with a crumbling choir. Based on the hit movie, the nuns raise their voices in song to find the true power of sisterhood.


April 29- May 8, 2022

August Auuggus ust 9-14, 99--14 1 , 2022 2 22 20





Thank you for enhancing our lives with the gift of music. At Curtis Media, we applaud your artistry and your talent as well as the many ways that you enrich North Carolina’s cultural fabric.



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Today is the day to open some eyes.

The arts make us think, make us feel, and make us wonder. And being able to support the North Carolina Opera today makes us proud.

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