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LGBTQ Instagram Eve Queler’s Repertoire Moments First Opera


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OFFICERS Timothy O’Leary Washington National Opera CH A I R

Frayda B. Lindemann, Ph.D. Trustee, The Metropolitan Opera

Zizi Mueller Boosey & Hawkes Ricordi NY John Nesholm Trustee, Seattle Opera


Nicole Paiement Opera Parallèle

Wayne S. Brown Michigan Opera Theatre

Bill Palant Étude Arts


Jane DiRenzo Pigott Trustee, Lyric Opera of Chicago

Laura Kaminsky VICE - CHAI R

Kathryn Smith Madison Opera

Yuval Sharon The Industry


Matthew Shilvock San Francisco Opera

Evan J. Hazell Trustee, Pacific Opera Victoria

L. Michelle Smith no silos communications


Perryn Leech Houston Grand Opera SECR E TA RY

Marc A. Scorca PRES I DE N T/ CE O

BOARD OF DIRECTORS John E. Baumgardner Jr. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Jill Steinberg Trustee, National Sawdust Robert Tancer Trustee, Arizona Opera Ryan Taylor Minnesota Opera John G. Turner Trustee, Houston Grand Opera

Annie Burridge Austin Opera

Dona D. Vaughn Opera Maine Manhattan School of Music

Ned Canty Opera Memphis

Roger Weitz Opera Omaha

Tassio Carvalho American Airlines

Carole Yaley Trustee, Central City Opera

Rena M. De Sisto Bank of America


Larry Desrochers Manitoba Opera David B. Devan Opera Philadelphia Carol E. Domina Director, The Metropolitan Opera Trustee, Opera Omaha Michael Egel Des Moines Metro Opera Robert Ellis Trustee, San Francisco Opera Trustee, Opera Parallèle Anthony Freud Lyric Opera of Chicago Barbara Glauber Trustee, New England Conservatory Denyce Graves-Montgomery Carol F. Henry Trustee, Los Angeles Opera Carol Lazier Trustee, San Diego Opera Susan G. Marineau Trustee, The Santa Fe Opera

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James M. Barton, National Opera Center Board of Overseers Christina Loewen, Opera.ca Alejandra Martí, Ópera Latinoamérica Nicholas Payne, Opera Europa NATIONAL OPERA CENTER BOARD OF OVERSEERS James M. Barton, CHA I R John E. Baumgardner Jr. Larry Bomback L. Henry Cox III Douglas Cuomo Margee M. Filstrup Jeanne Goffi-Fynn, Ed.D. Jane A. Gross Virginia Lauridsen Karen Kriendler Nelson Frederick W. Peters Jane A. Robinson Anthony Rudel Michael Scimeca, M.D. Jeri Sedlar Thurmond Smithgall Robert Tancer Barbara Augusta Teichert Darren K. Woods


Fred Cohn

FCohn@operaamerica.org A RT DIRECTION

Made Visible Studio

michael@madevisiblestudio.com A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R

Nicholas Wise

NWise@operaamerica.org A DV E R T I S I N G M A N AG E R

Vincent Covatto

VCovatto@operaamerica.org DIRECTOR OF M A RKETING A N D C O M M U N I C AT I O N S

Rolando G. Reyes Mir


Opera America (ISSN – 1062 – 7243) is published in September, December, March and June. Copyright © 2019 by OPERA America. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission. Editorial policy: The views expressed in this publication are those of the various authors for the purpose of encouraging discussion. Unless expressly noted, they do not reflect the formal policy, or necessarily the views, of OPERA America. To contact the editor, e-mail Editor@operaamerica.org. The deadline for advertising submissions is 45 days before publication date. The presence of advertising implies no endorsement of the products or services offered. For advertising rates, visit operaamerica.org/Advertising. OPERA America National Opera Center 330 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10001 212.796.8620




LA BOHÈME Giacomo Puccini


COSÌ FAN TUTTE Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Leoš Janáček

santafeopera.org 800-280-4654


Poul Ruders Becky and David Starobin


Photo by Wendy McEahern


Our Year of Learning Curiosity versus certainty. Learning versus knowing. The winter months were filled with discussion about these pairs of contradictory words. These concepts, introduced in our Civic Action Group two years ago, have infused all our programs. We grow in the conviction that our work and our lives depend on the joyful exploration of new ideas, deeper understanding and communication with colleagues. Curiosity and learning are central to our progress. The New Works Forum in January, the year’s largest convening of creators and producers, introduced many of us to new operas that span the range of creative expression. We learned more about the barriers that exist for creators of color who lack easy access to existing networks of company leaders. We learned, too, about some of the steps OPERA America can take to overcome these barriers. Learning continued at the National Trustee Forum in February. Three sessions stand out as highlights. The first demonstrated the organizational and societal value of increased civic practice as measured by deeper community connections, new audiences and new donors — as well as a more satisfying sense of contributing to the health of our communities. Next, a distinguished panel of trustees and general directors identified the key ingredients to successful relationships between boards and staffs. Trust, respect, communication and courtesy were shared fundamentals. Finally, with representatives from the Wallace Foundation, we explored ways board meetings can be enhanced to include opportunities for learning about industry trends, research findings and community resources. In February, we held the first of four regional Civic Practice Workshops, a project supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. Austin Opera played host to attendees from companies across Texas, who shared their experiences of working with community partners to advance a broad civic agenda. Guests enjoyed the closing performance of Silent Night in the stunning production originated by The Glimmerglass Festival. The next Civic Practice Workshop takes place in Orlando on May 3 and 4, hosted by Opera Orlando, followed by the third in Memphis in September. American Express once again underwrote our Leadership Intensive, moved this year from August to February, to accommodate staff who work for summer festivals and have not been able to benefit from this important program. Sixteen participants from the U.S., Canada and South America worked through a rigorous eight-day curriculum designed to identify their individual leadership qualities and to develop skills that are essential for advancement into senior positions. Of this year’s class, 54 percent were women and 29 percent were people of color, auguring well for the future of our field. Our year of learning culminates with Opera Conference 2019. This year’s sessions reflect the topics we have explored across our forums, board meetings and special convenings. Learning, though, is a collaborative effort at OPERA America, so I hope all members will bring their knowledge and experience to San Francisco, ready to share it in a spirit of sustained curiosity. I look forward to seeing you.

Marc A. Scorca President/CEO

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2019 FESTIVAL SEASON | MAY 25 – JUNE 30 World Premiere

FIRE SHUT UP IN MY BONES | Terence Blanchard & Kasi Lemmons Based on the memoir by Charles Blow



(314) 961-0644 ExperienceOpera.org SPR ING 2019  5




hile a contemporary staging of a standard-repertory item may impose a radical shift in an opera’s setting — from Rigoletto in Las Vegas to La bohème on the moon — the score itself is usually sacrosanct. Some recent productions, though, have broken this unspoken rule. They incorporate novel, often indigenous, instruments and even the translation of entire scores into new musical idioms, in the process broadening the cultural reach of European classics. The Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador, has on its payroll an orchestra of Andean instrumentalists but not a traditional ensemble. This gave the company a logistical rationale to create its new, reorchestrated version of The Magic Flute last year, in Spanish and the indigenous language Kichwa. Chía Patiño, the executive 6  O P E R A A M E R I C A

and artistic director of Teatro Sucre, devised a production that emphasized the similarities between Andean and Masonic symbolism. Both belief systems place special emphasis on nature, and the serpent in Mozart’s opera is the symbol of the underworld in Andean mythology. The production drew a significant contingent from Ecuador’s Indian communities, many of whom had never before attended an opera. “The people who would recognize Mozart absolutely did, and for the others, it was storytelling, which is what Mozart was trying to do,” Patiño says. The Andes Magic Flute follows in the tradition of Vancouver Opera’s 2007 First Nations version. A 2014 South African Magic Flute, from the Cape Town-based Isango Ensemble, grew out of a similar impulse to create cultural

Members of Mariachi Rosas Divinas in Mariachi Wagner at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra

connections and expand audiences. “South Africa’s conservative operatic audience has never embraced our work, but the result is fantastic when we play abroad or in the townships or Market Theatre in Johannesburg, where the audience is younger and more mixed,” says Mark Dornford-May, the ensemble’s director and the author of Isango’s Magic Flute libretto. “We try to get The Magic Flute to reflect, as close as possible, Mozart’s dream and desire, but we look at it through a South African prism. Our spirits are more like Motown soul singers rather than choirboys; the flute — not a particularly South African instrument — becomes a trumpet. We can show that cultures have different perspectives on things but that ultimately humanity runs across them all.” Using musical adaptations by Mandisi Dyantyis, Isango has also produced a Bohème, and its Carmen served as the basis for the critically acclaimed 2005 film U-Carmen eKhayelitsha. Creators of these adaptations have to navigate the precarious line between insightful innovation and kitschy cultural appropriation. Guadalajarabased visual artist Gonzalo Lebrija

Gonzalo Guana (Magic Flute), Sylvia Elzafon (Mariachi Wagner)

Teatro Nacional Sucre’s The Magic Flute

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grappled with this dilemma when creating Mariachi Wagner for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s SOLUNA Festival in 2018, in collaboration with composer Jesús Echevarría. The all-female ensemble Mariachi Rosas Divinas performed a 40-minute program of Wagner excerpts that Lebrija considered an ideal experiment in revealing the similarities between cultures though music. During initial rehearsals, though, the “Wagner” element dominated the music. “It felt false,” says Lebrija. The creative team adjusted the arrangements so that the mariachi flavor came through. Only when it approached both traditions with equal respect could the fusion take honest shape. These operatic hybrids suggest tactics for bringing diversity to the field, both in the productions themselves and in their audiences. “The confrontation with antiquated music, text and dramaturgy requires an extra amount of inventiveness and creativity to make it work here and now,” says Amsterdambased playwright and dramaturg Willem Bruls. “But dealing with old forms can create a different, better and more daring result.” —Charles Shafaieh

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ometimes cold, hard evidence trumps even the best intuitive thinking. Opera Theatre of Saint Louis had a “leaky bucket” problem: New audience members weren’t coming in at a rate sufficient to counteract the waning number of older attendees. It instituted a number of initiatives aimed at younger potential audience members, including a Young Friends program offering discount tickets and social events for people under 45. Enter the Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability (BAS) program, launched in 2015. The program distributed funding to a total of 26 organizations — theater companies, dance troupes and orchestras, as well as opera institutions — for the purpose of studying ways in which the performing arts can encourage healthy audience growth. At OTSL, a BAS grant subsidized programs like Young Friends and helped launch Opera Tastings, a series of low-

priced evenings of drinks, dinner and opera in neighborhood venues. Perhaps the most significant element of funding, though, was the support it provided for audience research. These studies let the company see how well its seat-of-thepants instincts conformed to actual market results. Few opera companies make this kind of effort. “Opera companies put millions of dollars into marketing, and almost nothing into research,” notes OPERA America’s president/CEO, Marc A. Scorca. “That lack of investment is staggering.” OTSL’s market research, as detailed in a Wallace Foundation report, “Think Opera’s Not for You?,” offered up some true surprises, not all of them pleasant. Opera Tastings has, in fact, found some success in cultivating new audiences and in re-engaging former OTSL-goers. Forty-two percent of attendees at these events went on to purchase mainstage tickets. But Young Friends hasn’t been as popular with Millennials as had been hoped: The program’s socializing opportunities have had limited appeal; another disincentive has been the program’s policy of waiting until the day before the performance to offer seat assignments. “The Wallace work has helped us make an investment in data that

previously was not possible,” says Andrew Jorgensen, OTSL’s general director. “It has told us not to be afraid of making choices: Sometimes there are good ideas and you have to let them go.” One unexpected finding: Even though intuition might suggest that new works with political themes, like last summer’s Huang Ruo/David Henry Hwang opera An American Soldier, would have a special appeal for younger audiences, this age group is actually more drawn to warhorses like La traviata. The discovery is not going to change OTSL’s historic commitment to new works: Jorgensen notes that 2013’s Champion, “the most successful Opera Theatre production in the last decade,” would never have come to fruition if marketing data had been the only criterion for its production. “The data would have told you it’s a terrible idea,” he says. “There is a magical alchemy to artistic planning that needs to persist,” Jorgensen says. “How we take those products to market, how we plan engagement — that’s the area where there’s an enormous opportunity to continue to be data-driven.” —Fred Cohn To read “Think Opera’s Not for You?,” visit operaamerica.org/Research.



he federal shutdown of December 22 to January 25, the longest in U.S. history, had an impact across society, the opera world included. The National Endowment for the Arts was among the agencies affected, and during the shutdown’s 35-day span, it was not disbursing grants. The stoppage caused an understandable degree of unease among NEA-funded companies, especially in light of President Donald Trump’s threat to reinstate the shutdown if he did not receive funding for his border wall. “Things are being delayed, which is having a moderate impact on our cash flow,” said Lawrence Edelson, producing artistic director of American Lyric Theater, soon after the shutdown ended. “The hope is that they won’t shut it 8  O P E R A A M E R I C A

down again and turn off our grant. We’re a small organization, and any funding is a significant part of our budget.” The NEA did in fact manage to play catch-up, much to the relief of the arts community. The shutdown did give some opera companies an opportunity to demonstrate their civic engagement, in the form of ticket giveaways to furloughed federal employees. Palm Beach Opera offered free tickets to its La traviata. The Metropolitan Opera provided comps for 12 performances of five operas, including its smash-hit new production of Adriana Lecouvreur, starring Anna Netrebko. Seattle Opera’s offer for Il trovatore generated a twominute news segment on the local NBC affiliate KING-TV — an unusual piece of

exposure for the art form. Utah Opera’s free-ticket program for The Little Prince prompted a note from the wife of a federal employee, expressing gratitude for the company’s show of citizenship. “We thoroughly enjoyed our experience,” she wrote. “But what stands out even more in our minds is the concern and support we felt from you, members of our community, at a time of uncertainty, low morale and vulnerability.” “We wanted people to appreciate the work we do in the community,” says Jon Miles, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s vice-president of marketing and PR. “In a stressful time, you feel a little bit helpless. Everyone here appreciated that they were able to do something to help.”

April 21-22,2019 7:30 pm The Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater

May 2-5,2019 BAM Fisher (Fishman Space) Tickets available at Kennedy-Center.org OperaLafayette.org

LA SUSANNA Premiere American Staging • Composed by Alessandro Stradella




Rossini Rossini / Sterbini / Sterbini Rossini Rossini / Sterbini / Sterbini

IlIlBARBIERE BARBIEREdidi IlIlBARBIERE BARBIERE SIVIGLIA SIVIGLIAdidi SIVIGLIA SIVIGLIA July July 5,5, 88 && 2525 • Norton • Norton Hall Hall July July 5,5, 88 &/& 25 25 • Norton • Norton Hall Hall Romano Romano Belcher / Belcher / Nisticó / Nisticó Romano Romano //Belcher /Smith / Nisticó / Nisticó Osgood Osgood /Belcher Smith Belcher Belcher Osgood Osgood / Smith / Smith Belcher Belcher

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June June 2828 && 30; 30; July July 7,7, 1414 && 2626 June June 2828 & & 30; 30; July July 7,7, 1414 && 2626 Norton Norton Hall Hall Norton Norton Hall Hall Parodi/Einhorn Parodi/Einhorn Parodi/Einhorn Parodi/Einhorn

General Generaland and General General and and Artistic ArtisticDirector Director Artistic Artistic Director Director Steven Steven Osgood Osgood Steven StevenOsgood Osgood 90th 90thAnniversary AnniversarySeason Season 90th 90thAnniversary AnniversarySeason Season

June June23–August 23–August33 June June23–August 23–August33

Corigliano Corigliano / Hoffman / Hoffman Corigliano Corigliano / Hoffman / Hoffman


July July 2727 • Amphitheater • Amphitheater Lynch/Romano Lynch/Romano / Belcher / Belcher Lynch/Romano Lynch/Romano //Belcher //Belcher Nisticó/Osgood Nisticó/Osgood Kazaras Kazaras Nisticó/Osgood Nisticó/Osgood / Kazaras / Kazaras

Entire EntireBeaumarchais BeaumarchaisTrilogy TrilogyONE ONETIME TIMEONLY: ONLY:July July25–27, 25–27,2019 2019 Entire EntireBeaumarchais BeaumarchaisTrilogy TrilogyONE ONETIME TIMEONLY: ONLY:July July25–27, 25–27,2019 2019

2019 2019YOUNG YOUNGARTISTS ARTISTS 2019 2019YOUNG YOUNGARTISTS ARTISTS Gabrielle Gabrielle Beteag Beteag Gabrielle Gabrielle Beteag Beteag Cristina Cristina María María Castro Castro Cristina Cristina María María Castro Castro Lindsey Lindsey Chinn Chinn Lindsey Lindsey Chinn Chinn Michael Michael Colman Colman Michael Michael Colman Colman Matthew Matthew Cossack Cossack Matthew Matthew Cossack Cossack Blake Blake Friedman Friedman Blake Blake Friedman Friedman Yazid Yazid Gray Gray Yazid Yazid Gray Gray Brian Brian Jeffers Jeffers Brian Brian Jeffers Jeffers

Edwin Edwin Joseph Joseph Edwin Edwin Joseph Joseph Seunghee Seunghee Lee Lee Seunghee Seunghee Lee Lee Laura Laura León León Laura Laura León León Jordan Jordan Loyd Loyd Jordan Jordan Loyd Loyd Quinn Quinn Middleman Middleman Quinn Quinn Middleman Middleman Jesús Jesús Vicente Vicente Murillo Murillo Jesús Jesús Vicente Vicente Murillo Murillo Scott Scott Purcell Purcell Scott Scott Purcell Purcell Sidney Sidney Ragland Ragland Sidney Sidney Ragland Ragland


Patrick Patrick Dean Dean Shelton Shelton Patrick Patrick Dean Dean Shelton Shelton Kaitlyn Kaitlyn Stavinoha Stavinoha Kaitlyn Kaitlyn Stavinoha Stavinoha James James Stevens Stevens James James Stevens Stevens Natalie Natalie Trumm Trumm Natalie Natalie Trumm Trumm Timothi Timothi Williams Williams Timothi Timothi Williams Williams Lauren Lauren Yokabaskas Yokabaskas Lauren Lauren Yokabaskas Antona Antona CYokabaskas C Yost Yost Antona Antona CC Yost Yost Wan Wan Zhao Zhao Wan Wan Zhao Zhao

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Louise Alenius Silent Zone

Robert Xavier Rodríguez La Curandera John Harbison Full Moon in March David Lang anatomy theater

Stewart Copeland The Tell-Tale Heart

Geoffrey Burgon Orpheus

Julia Wolfe Steel Hammer

Thea Musgrave The Story of Harriet Tubman

Daniel Catán La Hija de Rappaccini


Sarah Kirkland Snider Penelope (Sextet Version)



Chamber operas

Michael Gordon Acquanetta

Missy Mazzoli Proving Up Stewart Copeland The Invention of Morel Donnacha Dennehy The Last Hotel Kirke Mechem Tartuffe Malcom Arnold The Open Window Tarik O’Regan Heart of Darkness

Nico Muhly Dark Sisters

Peter Maxwell Davies The Lighthouse

Virgil Thomson The Mother of Us All

Iain Bell A Christmas Carol John Tavener A Gentle Spirit

Proving Up at Opera Omaha/ photo by James Daniel

For cast and instrumentation details please visit



Cincinnati Opera announced that General Director and CEO Patricia K. Beggs will retire in August 2020. Composer Lisa Bielawa has been named composer-in-residence and chief curator of the Philip Glass Institute, a new learning and creative center established by The New School in partnership with the Philip Glass Ensemble. Wichita Grand Opera’s president and CEO, Parvan Bakardiev, and founding artistic director, Margaret Ann Pent, have retired. Bard College has named Stephanie Blythe as artistic director of its Conservatory of Music Blythe Graduate Vocal Arts Program, effective this July. In a budgetary move, San Francisco Opera eliminated 10 staff positions. The list of departing employees includes Director of Communications and Public Affairs Jon Finck, Director of Donor Stewardship Andrew Maguire and Director of Development Andrew Morgan. Joe Gfaller has resigned as director of marketing and public relations at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Anh Le, a participant in OPERA America’s 2019 Leadership Intensive, has been appointed acting director of marketing and public relations. Montclair State University’s Peak Performances is collaborating with Neal Goren, former artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera, to launch Goren’s new chamber opera company, Catapult Opera, which will begin presenting performances in fall 2020.



American Opera Projects has announced that, as of July, Matt Gray, its current producing director, will become general director, and Mila Henry will join the company as artistic director. Gray, a participant in OPERA 12  O P E R A A M E R I C A

America’s 2019 Leadership Intensive, will replace Charles Jarden, who will move into the newly created role of director of strategic partnerships. Ronald J. Gretz, artistic director of Annapolis Opera Company, will retire in June 2020. Kurt Howard, OPERA America’s director of programs and services, will leave in June to become producing director at Opera Omaha. OPERA America’s director of marketing and communications, Patricia Kiernan Johnson, left her post to become senior director of communications and marketing at Curtis Institute of Music. (See “Staff Shifts at OA,” p. 48.) Festival Opera has named Eman Isadiar as its executive director. Kentucky Opera has hired Christine Johnson-Duell as its director of development. Thomas Lausmann, currently the head of music at the Vienna State Opera, will become the Metropolitan Opera’s director of music administration at the start of next season. He replaces Assistant General Manager John Fisher. Chicago Opera Theater promoted Ashley Magnus, a participant in OPERA America’s 2014 Magnus Leadership Intensive, to general director. Magnus, who was formerly general manager of strategy and development, replaces Douglas R. Clayton, who has stepped down. The company has also promoted Chris Thoren from associate director of communications to general manager of strategy and communications. Ana María Martínez has joined Houston Grand Opera as its first-ever artistic advisor, a role MartÍnez in which, among other responsibilities, she’ll advise on casting and future productions and serve as a mentor to the HGO Studio artists. Charlottesville Opera has hired David O’Dell as general director. He most recently served in the same role at Amarillo Opera.


Florentine Opera Company has selected Maggey Oplinger as its new general director and CEO.

Fort Worth Opera has hired Paula Parkman Parrish as its new director of development. Christopher Powell, formerly director of artistic initiatives at The Glimmerglass Festival, Powell has become executive director of Pittsburgh Festival Opera. Powell took part in OPERA America’s 2013 Leadership Intensive. Amanda Robie has transitioned from production operations manager at Boston Lyric Opera to managing director at Opera Saratoga. Kamala Sankaram, several of whose works have received OPERA America’s Opera Grants Sankaram for Female Composers, has been appointed co-artistic director of Experiments in Opera. Matthew Welch, co-founder of the company, has stepped into an advisory role. Seattle Opera has selected Christina Scheppelmann, currently artistic head of the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Scheppelmann to be its new general director, effective this August. UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music named Eileen Strempel as its dean. Timothy Todd Simmons has been named executive director of Opera Naples, having previously held the same post at New Orleans Opera. Brooke Tolley has assumed the post of general director of Opera Roanoke. San Francisco Conservatory of Music has appointed soprano Rhoslyn Jones and Worth baritone Matthew Worth to its voice faculty.

Stephanie Blythe (Blythe), Robert E. Lee III (Gray), Arielle Doneson (Henry), Layne Dixon Photography (Magnus), Tom Specht (Martínez), Leo & Jenny Photography (Oplinger), Lucas Godlewski (Powell), Dario Acosta (Sankaram), Christian Machio (Scheppelmann), Hoebermann Studio (Worth)


Vern Evans (Adams), Matthew Murpy (Bennett), Suzanne Vinnik (Reyes), Jennifer Taylor (Pederson/Sy)

KUDOS Holland’s Praemium Erasmianum Foundation named John Adams as the recipient of its 2019 Adams Erasmus Prize, awarded annually for exceptional contributions to the humanities, social sciences or arts. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will present Adams with the prize, which carries an award of 150,000 euros. In recognition of Ricky Ian Gordon’s contributions to theater and the LGBTQ community, the Playthings Theatre, an LGBTQ-focused company in New York City, honored the composer on March 11 with its P.R.I.D.E. Performing Arts Award. The Santa Fe Opera’s recording of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, made during its world-premiere run in 2017, won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. The Grammy for Producer of the Year in the classical category went

to Blanton Alspaugh in recognition of recording projects including Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek’s The House Without a Christmas Tree (Houston Grand Opera) and Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s Great Scott (The Dallas Opera).

Bennett, nominated by The Juilliard School, and soprano Gabriella Reyes, nominated by the Metropolitan Opera.

New Hampshire Theatre Alliance bestowed its 2019 Matty Gregg Award for Vision and Tenacity to Opera North for partnering with the National Park Service to develop Blow-Me-Down Farm, part of the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, as an arts venue. The opera company received an OPERA America Innovation Grant for this project in 2018.

At the 48th annual George London Pederson Sy Foundation Awards Competition, the top prizes of $10,000 each went to soprano Rebecca Pedersen, mezzo-sopranos Samantha Gossard and Carolyn Sproule, and tenors Charles Sy and Kyle van Schoonhoven. The remaining 11 finalists received George London Encouragement Awards of $1,000 each.

Lincoln Center for the Performing Bennett Reyes Arts named its 2019 class of Emerging Artists, each of whom was nominated by one of its 11 resident organizations. Among the winners, selected for their talent and career promise, were soprano Mikaela

Houston Grand Opera announced the winners of the 31st annual Eleanor McCollum Competition Meinert for Young Singers: Bass William Meinert won the first-place prize of $10,000; bass William Guanbo Su took the second-place prize of $5,000; and bass-baritone Nicholas Newton received the third-place prize of $3,000.

Our 2019 season: Celebrating 10 Years at The Paramount Theater!




The Tragedy of

Lerner & Loewe’s

CARMEN Camelot

CharlottesvilleOpera.org 434.293.4500

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The German bass-baritone Theo Adam, a leading Wagnerian of the second half of the 20th century, died on January 10 at age 92. A fixture at the Wiener Staatsoper and Bayreuth Festival, Adam appeared sporadically in Wagner roles at the Met from 1969 through 1988. The mezzo-soprano Elaine Bonazzi, who created roles for composers such as Ned Rorem, Dominick Bonazzi Argento and Gian Carlo Menotti, died on January 29 at age 89. At The Santa Fe Opera, her roles included Mrs. Linton in the 1958 world premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Wuthering Heights, Herodias in Salome, and the title roles in Carmen and Regina. She appeared in several contemporary works at New York City Opera, beginning with her house debut in 1965, as Christine in the world premiere of Rorem’s Miss Julie, while also singing a diverse range of standard repertoire roles, including Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Geneviève in Pelléas et Mélisande and Clairon in Capriccio. 14  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Bonazzi taught at SUNY Stony Brook from 1987 until her retirement in 2012. Bass-baritone Andrew Frierson, part of the trailblazing generation of AfricanAmerican opera singers who achieved success in the mid-20th century, died on December 6 at age 94. After studying at Juilliard, Frierson made his professional debut in 1958 with New York City Opera, singing Cal in Marc Blitzstein’s Regina, and continued to appear with the company for six seasons. He went on to join the voice faculties at Southern University Baton Rouge and Oberlin Conservatory of Music, as well as teach privately until his retirement in 2013. Peyton Hibbitt, co-founder of Tri-Cities Opera, died on March 1 at age 93. In 1949, along with his business partner Carmen Savoca, Hibbitt founded Tri-Cities Opera in Binghamton, New York, and for the next five decades he served as its music director, principal conductor and coach of the resident artist program.

Bruce W. Hyman, a board member of San Francisco Opera for 27 years, died on December 17 at age 84. A practicing real estate lawyer for more than 60 years, Hyman first developed a love of opera at age 14 as an usher at San Francisco Opera. He also offered significant support to OPERA America over the past decade and was an active member of its National Trustee Forum. The conductor, composer and pianist André Previn died on February 28 at age 89. After decades of Previn success as a composer of film scores, as well as orchestral and chamber works, Previn wrote his first opera, A Streetcar Named Desire, which premiered in 1998 at San Francisco Opera, with a cast starring Renée Fleming. The work has since been produced throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2009, he followed up Streetcar with Brief Encounter, premiered by Houston Grand Opera. Baritone Sanford Sylvan, known for his collaborations with John Adams and Peter Sellars, Sylvan died on January 29 at age 65. After studying at Juilliard and Tanglewood, he moved to Boston, where in 1981 he was cast in the title role of Haydn’s Orlando in Sellars’ production for American Repertory Theater. Sylvan went on to appear in Sellars’ updated stagings of Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro and to create two roles in Adams operas: Chou En-lai in Nixon in China and Leon Klinghoffer in The Death of Klinghoffer. At the time of his death, Sylvan was chair of the voice department at Juilliard, where he had taught since 2012. Ekkehard Wlaschiha, a German baritone who made Wagner’s villains his specialty, died on February 20 at age 80. In the last quarter of the 20th century, Wlaschiha sang Wagnerian roles on the world’s leading stages. He appeared 69 times at the Met from 1988 through 2001, earning particular acclaim for his Alberich, a role he also played at Lyric Opera of Chicago in the 1990s.

Courtesy of University of Minnesota Archives, University of Minnesota — Twin Cities (Argento), Courtesy Stony Brook University (Bonazzi), Lillian Birnbaum (Previn), William Clift (Sylvan)

Composer Dominick Argento, whose prolific, diverse output includes 13 operas, among them Postcard from Morocco, died on February 20 at age 91. Originally from York, Pennsylvania, Argento studied composition under Nicolas Nabokov at the Peabody Conservatory, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, before earning his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music. In 1958, he moved to Minneapolis with his wife, the soprano Carolyn Bailey, to teach at the University of Minnesota. Argento Commissions from the Minnesota Orchestra, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Guthrie Theatre and Dale Warland Singers soon followed. In 1963, Argento co-founded Center Opera Company, which produced his one-act opera The Masque of Angels the following year. In 1971, that company presented the premiere of Postcard from Morocco, the composer’s most enduringly popular opera. Center Opera Company later became Minnesota Opera, continuing to commission operas from Argento, including The Voyage of Edgar Allan Poe (1976) and Casanova’s Homecoming (1984), which went on to a successful production at New York City Opera. Argento’s most recent success on the opera stage came in 2001, when Opera Theatre of Saint Louis premiered his revised, shortened version of Miss Havisham’s Fire, first seen at New York City Opera in 1979. Argento won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975 for his song cycle From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, which, along with his Six Elizabethan Songs, is frequently heard on recital stages. He also won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his song cycle Casa Guidi, recorded by Frederica von Stade and the Minnesota Orchestra.

“The plot’s tension is set, taut as a drawn bow.”

– The New York Times Magazine “...an inspiring journey into an Iraq War veteran’s reality.”

– Salt Lake Tribune “This is what art...should do: tell an intimate story that resonates universally. It shows us who we are.”

– Albany Times Union “…a smart, chaotic, explosive success.”

– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “...a strong moving show.”

– Opera News


Based on the Memoir The Long Walk: A Story of War and the Life that Follows by BRIAN CASTNER The Long Walk is a deeply personal exploration of a soldier’s return from Iraq, where he served as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit. Upon  returning from the war, Brian battles what he calls “the Crazy” as he struggles to reintegrate into his family life. Commissioned by American Lyric Theater; LAWRENCE EDELSON, Producing Artistic Director World Premiere: Opera Saratoga | Saratoga Springs, New York (2015) Subsequent Productions: Utah Opera | Salt Lake City, Utah (2017); Pittsburgh Opera | Pittsburgh, PA (2018) NOW AVAILABLE FOR LICENSING BY PROFESSIONAL COMPANIES, COLLEGES AND CONSERVATORIES ROLES: BRIAN (Baritone) – A returned Iraq veteran, served as EOD unit captain, home for almost 2 years; JESSIE (Mezzo Soprano) – Brian’s wife; THEIR 3 SONS  (Trebles) – Virgil, 10; Martin, 7; Samuel, 5; CASTLEMAN (High Tenor) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit; RICKY (Lyric Tenor) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit; JEFF (Bass  Baritone) – Soldier in Brian’s Unit; IRAQI WOMAN / SHRINK / AUNT SARAH (Soprano); IRAQI WOMAN / PERNEATHA / YOGINI (Soprano) INSTRUMENTATION (17 musicians): fl (= picc), cl (= bcl) / 2 hn, 2 tpt (both = picc tpt), tbn, btbn / pno (= synth), 1 perc, 2 egtr / 2vn, va, vc, db (= ebgtr) Performance licensing and materials rental for The Long Walk are administered by American Lyric Theater. Visit altnyc.org/the-long-walk for perusal materials and additional information, or call 646.216.8298



SCORCA: Ms. Norman, who brought you to your first opera? NORMAN: I would rather talk about the first time I saw something live onstage. When I was about six years old, growing up in Augusta, Georgia, and a Brownie, we were taken to the Bell Auditorium for the Augusta Players in Cinderella. There was a real carriage and a real horse on the stage and I was completely fascinated. We were taken backstage where we could see the players in all of their makeup, with the costumes hanging in various dressing rooms. It seemed so wonderful. This first look at a staged performance stayed with me throughout my very young life. Later, I would see live theater at Paine College, where a different play was staged every year. This was a mustattend event for the entire community. My brother Silas was a part of the theater group. I did not actually see an opera until The Flying Dutchman, when I attended Indiana University’s High School Solo Singers’ Clinic the year of my 15th birthday. I spent my adolescence listening to Milton Cross on Saturdays describing everything that was happening on the Met Opera stage, so the genre was not new to me. But The Flying Dutchman certainly was. I thought: “Oh, my ... Goodness, this is opera ... This is hard!” Now, let’s talk about Sissieretta Jones. When did you first learn about her? When I was a student at Howard University I heard about the African 16  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Jessye Norman has embarked on a multiyear multimedia project honoring the pioneering African American singer Sissieretta Jones (1868–1933). Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America, talks to Norman about Sissieretta Jones: Call Her by Her Name! and about her own path to opera stardom.

American singer called “The Black Patti,” apparently because her voice resembled that of Adelina Patti, the reigning Italian soprano of that time. But I did not pursue any further knowledge about her. Then, in 2006, Maureen D. Lee’s book Sissieretta Jones: “The Greatest Singer of Her Race” was published. I became completely intrigued by her, and I felt it my duty to make her voice and life known. She was one of the first African Americans to find success in classical music. We know something about the period of Reconstruction in this country, but we do not know a lot. Most people do not know, for instance, that in this pre-Jim Crow era, African Americans were part of the legislature in South Carolina, Mississippi and other states. That era is truly forgotten today. Before the Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” ruling, there was a relative grace period when people who were coming out of hundreds of years of slavery were allowed to structure their lives and make their gifts and talents known. I really do feel that the universe distributes talents and gifts equally. What is not available equally is the opportunity to nourish these gifts so that they can be expanded and extended. What do you know about Sissieretta Jones’ specific gifts? Did she make any records? Press accounts described her voice as beautiful, agile, accurate and

strong, and she was said to have been wonderful onstage. I live in hope that I am going to be able to find recordings. But I do not need to hear her to be amazed by her story. Here was a person born five years after the Emancipation Proclamation who learned to sing in Italian and French, and who created her own troupe of performers and traveled the world. How was it even possible to travel from Boston, Massachusetts, to Sydney, Australia? It must have taken weeks! Sissieretta Jones’ determination and fortitude are evident in the sheer number of performances she and her troupe presented all over the world. It’s a lesson for the ages. She showed real entrepreneurial spirit. She traveled with this company and made sure that everybody ate, slept, rehearsed, performed and got paid. Only a very good manager could organize something as complex as this. And all the while she was singing! I want people to know this story. I want people to know that she was on the main stage of Carnegie Hall in 1893, two years after its opening, singing “Sempre libera” from La traviata. What brought her to that point? When she was a youngster singing in the Pond Street Baptist Church in Providence, Rhode Island, people were so taken with her voice that they made it possible for her to attend the Boston Conservatory. Conservatory administrators and coaches invited presenters and promoters to listen to

SneakPeek Photography

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Sissieretta Jones, c. 1911


her. In her early 20s, she was already touring the West Indies, where aristocrats and government officials presented her with gold medals and all kinds of treasures. She was amazing. Doesn’t your own career have some of the same elements? Well, I have not actually thought about it in that way because I came along at such a different time in our history. I was fortunate in having a different kind of support. I had wonderful professors at Howard University, the Peabody Conservatory and the University of Michigan. I also received financial support from all three institutions. When I was in my early 20s, J. Ralph Corbett, an industrialist from Cincinnati, invited European impresarios to New York to listen to young American singers. So that is how I ended up on the stage of Town Hall in May of 1969 singing “Allmächt’ge Jungfrau” from Tannhäuser. As I was about to leave, Professor Egon Seefehlner, the intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, asked, “Do you happen to know the rest of the opera?” I replied, “No, I do not ... but I could learn it in about two weeks.” He said, “It does not need to be quite that fast.” I made my professional opera debut in Berlin as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser in December. I had been engaged for the one performance, but after the second act, Professor Seefehlner came to my dressing room and offered me a threeyear contract. Yes, it is a fairy tale, but this is what actually happened. 18  O P E R A A M E R I C A

(a fellow Georgian), along with those of Eubie Blake, Blind Tom and Scott Joplin and many more. Theirs was a level of determination and devotion that made my own professional life even imaginable. I do not mean to imply that things just fell into my lap — that would be disingenuous in the extreme — but I know that I was relatively lucky. You launched Sissieretta Jones: Call Her by Her Name! at a December event at National Sawdust in Brooklyn. It was an evening honoring my professional life, but the project, which will go on for the next two years and more, will have nothing to do with that. It will be all about Sissieretta Jones and her troupe. I want people to know, for instance, that although she sang for four sitting presidents at the White House, each time she was asked to enter through the back door. She was brilliant in her work but still treated as a fourthclass citizen. I have been a guest at the White House many times and I did not know there was a back door! Stories like this one make for deeply humbling thoughts. What’s the next phase of the project? We are going to prepare the narrative for our multimedia production. We will also prepare a syllabus for a planned six-week study course for colleges and conservatories on the African American story of this period. It will cover the historical, cultural and social mores of the time between the birth of Madame Jones and the Jim Crow era, when the ugly head of racism wrestled

itself into the legislative agenda and took up residence. We will look at the development of American music and understand that something came before the blues, originating from Africans on this foreign soil. The banjo in Appalachia has its counterpart in a similar African instrument. Anything that we now call “popular music” in this country has its roots with my ancestors. We shall have an extended program in 2020 and 2021 that will narrate Madame Jones’ life, and we shall call out the names of other African American artists of that period. We may not be able to study all of them in depth for this project, but we shall make sure that people know they existed and that they had talents. Where will the actual performances take place? We have been invited already by several institutions curious about what has me so engaged. We are thrilled that so many wish to be a part of this. We will have different iterations of the production so that those smaller institutions, colleges and conservatories that do not have access to full orchestras or major multimedia possibilities will nonetheless be able to bring it to their communities. If an opera company reads this and says, “I would like to have this in a future season,” where should they turn? Well, Adina Williams, Harolyn Blackwell and myself have just created our own LLC. After her tour of the West Indies, Madame Jones is quoted as having said, “I woke up famous.” So the name of our company is Woke Up Famous LLC. This is a time-consuming undertaking, but wonderful. To employ a phrase kids use, we are “beyond excited” about presenting the astonishing life and legacy of Sissieretta Jones for all to see. I would hope that your project would encourage aspiring African American singers, showing them that there are footprints to follow. Yes, absolutely. People have a general idea about the wonderful, glorious Marian Anderson, for example, but it is important for us to know that even this majestic icon stood on somebody else’s shoulders. Every day, I learn a bit more about the era and about the people who, in spite of everything, made music all the time. Woke Up Famous LLC can be contacted through Michael Zeno at MZeno@ zplcaccounting.com.

Harry Lawrence Freeman Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Archives

Like Sissieretta Jones, you attained this early. Yes, but I do not want to compare my early experiences to hers. I not only had the support of my friends and family and teachers; I had these sterling examples of those who had gone before me. The doors had long since been pried open for African Americans before that night in Berlin. I knew the names Sissieretta Jones, Dorothy Maynor, Leontyne Price, Mattiwilda Dobbs

Celebrate Performance




OU T OF T H E CLOSET A N D I N TO T H E L I M EL IGH T LGBTQ audiences have long been drawn to the opera. Now they can see their stories onstage.

was at the theater and at Carnegie Hall that Paul really lived. ... The moment the cracked orchestra beat out the overture from Martha, or jerked at the serenade from Rigoletto, all stupid and ugly things slid from him, and his senses were deliciously, yet delicately fired,” wrote Willa Cather in “Paul’s Case,” her short story about a sensitive young outsider who seeks refuge and belonging in opera and classical music. Though Cather never explicitly identifies Paul as a gay man, there is something decidedly queer about how he finds escape and liberation at the opera house. “There has always been something about opera that has been connected to LGBTQ culture, whether it’s a sensibility wafting through works like Norma or Rosenkavalier or the content of the story itself,” says Gregory Spears, composer

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Dan Norman


Andres Acosta and Hadleigh Adams in Fellow Travelers at Minnesota Opera

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Jordan Rutter and Melisa Bonetti in Three Way at Nashville Opera

“Audiences today are going to the opera not just to hear a beautiful voice, but to see a story that speaks to them.” — L AU R A K A M I N S K Y

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opera to feature gender-non-conforming characters, premiered at Nashville Opera in 2017 before runs at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and Shreveport Opera. Just this February, Justine Chen and David Simpatico’s The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing, about the tragic life of the gay British codebreaker, received its first performance, in concert, under the auspices of Chicago Opera Theater. “For a long time, there was the notion of what was appropriate subject matter for opera,” says Christopher Koelsch, president and CEO of Los Angeles Opera, “and that thinking has evolved so that people are much less constrained, both in the audience and on the creative side.” From the castrati heroes of Baroque opera, to the en travesti roles in operas by Mozart through Strauss, to John Claggart in Britten’s Billy Budd and Sam in Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, LGBTQ stories have been encoded into opera for centuries. Berg’s Lulu, first performed in 1937, featured opera’s first lesbian character, Countess Geschwitz, and Britten, in his last opera, Death in Venice (1973), offered his most unambiguous treatment of queer subject matter. Still, opera didn’t officially come out of the closet until 1985, with Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s Harvey Milk, about the first openly gay politician in California history. Romance was the focus of Paula M. Kimper and Wende Persons’ 1998 Patience and Sarah, based on Isabel Miller’s 1969 novel; the work is considered to be the first mainstream opera that positively depicted LGBTQ relationships. Both operas set the stage for the recent emergence of an American LGBTQ opera canon. As One, the first opera to deal directly with transgender issues, has, since its premiere, become the most frequently performed new opera in North America. Composer Laura Kaminsky initiated the project after reading a news story about a married New Jersey couple: One spouse had come out as transgender, with the full support of her wife, but because same-sex marriage in the state was then in contention, the ultimate decision would have a profound impact on the couple. “I couldn’t believe that these two people, who had shared years of their lives together, could be told that their union was no longer valid,” says Kaminsky. “I turned to my wife and said, ‘I have to write an opera about this — about what you give up to be true to yourself.’” Kaminsky enlisted as her collaborators Kimberly Reed, the award-winning transgender filmmaker of Prodigal Sons, and gay librettist Mark Campbell, who helped fashion the text out of Reed’s own stories of transition. As One, developed through American Opera Projects, premiered at Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014 and has received 24 productions as of January 2019. “Audiences today are going to the opera not just to hear a beautiful voice, but to see a story that speaks to them — that reflects life today,” says Kaminsky. LGBTQ operas tackle important and relevant contemporary topics, while also enabling audience members, whether they identify as queer or not, to relate to the characters and stories onstage. “It was during the final workshop presentation of Fellow Travelers that we knew that this was a work we needed to produce,” says Evans Mirageas, artistic director of Cincinnati Opera. “At that point, it didn’t matter if Fellow Travelers was an

Anthony Popolo

of Paul’s Case, the 2013 opera based on Cather’s story. “Being queer involves speaking in code, and a big part of opera is communicating things through the music, and not necessarily through words. I think that’s why opera resonates with LGBTQ audiences.” While LGBTQ audiences have long been drawn to opera, their stories have rarely been depicted onstage. Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, notes that this is partly due to classical music’s history of being wary of openly queer performers, composers and stories. “Which is strange given the centuries-old sense that classical music has been a haven for gay men and women,” Ross explains. “But in the last 10 years, there’s a sense that these old barriers are no longer present and that LGBTQthemed works are being actively cultivated.” Jorge Martín and Dolores M. Koch’s Before Night Falls, based the memoirs of the gay Cuban poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas, bowed at Fort Worth Opera in 2010 and had a Florida Grand Opera production in 2017. Cincinnati Opera presented the 2016 premiere of Fellow Travelers, by Spears and Greg Pierce, based on Thomas Mallon’s novel about a gay romance in McCarthy-era Washington, D.C. The piece subsequently moved on to New York’s PROTOTYPE Festival, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Minnesota Opera. Masquerade, the third opera in Robert Paterson and David Cote’s Three Way and the first

Rozarii Lynch

As One, with Jorell Williams and Taylor Raven, at Seattle Opera

LGBTQ opera or not. It’s an incredibly powerful story, beautifully told, that takes the human condition and writes it in huge capital letters.” The company followed Fellow Travelers with As One in 2018, using its production as an opportunity to engage with the local transgender community through seminars, talkbacks and other special programming. Lawrence Edelson, producing artistic director of American Lyric Theater, which workshopped The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing, puts a similar stress on the need for universality in LGBTQ operas. “Successful LGBTQ operas have more than one point of intersection,” Edelson says. “Alan Turing was persecuted for being a gay man, but the story also appeals to computer scientists and mathematicians, and Turing’s role during World War II appeals to history buffs. Any good LGBTQ opera will reach a diverse audience.” Although David Simpatico, Turing’s librettist, is gay, its composer, Justine Chen, is heterosexual. Nonetheless, she had her own moment of identification with the

title character. “As an Asian woman, I immediately understood and recognized the feeling of discrimination that Turing experienced,” says Chen. “But writing Turing made me think about having to hide what makes you different, the fear of being outed, and how that can rule your life. If there’s one thing I want audiences of all backgrounds to take away from Turing, it’s that we can have these moments where we relate deeply to a story that is different from our own experiences.” The institutions commissioning, producing and programming LGBTQ-themed operas have various reasons for including these new works in their seasons, but they all boil down to two main motivations: supporting the work of artists and engaging audiences. Audiences have evolved since Patience and Sarah and Harvey Milk to be more receptive to LGBTQ characters and stories. It is no longer a special risk to present these operas, which has opened the way for more works and further experimentation. Opera Philadelphia has taken a decidedly experiS P R I N G 2 0 1 9   23

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confines of traditional gender roles. By expanding the definition of what opera can be, and what stories it can tell, LGBTQ operas show how the art form can address today’s audiences with stories that reach beyond heteronormativity and reflect our complicated societies and identities. “The one thing I heard most frequently from our audience members after both As One and Fellow Travelers was that they never knew about the Lavender Scare or about the struggles of the transgender experience,” says Cincinnati Opera’s Mirageas. “In both Fellow Travelers and As One, our audiences responded to the joy in discovering new stories and understanding experiences that were different from their own.” “I don’t think there is so much a trend toward creating and producing more LGBTQ-themed operas, than there is a desire to create work that is relevant and speaks to our current experiences,” says Mark Campbell, whose new work Stonewall, with a score by Iain Bell, will have its world premiere at New York City Opera this June. “LGBTQ characters and experiences are such an important, present part of our everyday lives, why shouldn’t they be represented in this wave of American opera?” Steven Jude Tietjen is a writer and translator living and working in New York City. His work has appeared in Opera News, Opera America and Edible Manhattan, and at the Miss Manhattan Reading Series.

Sarah Baranova

mental approach in recent seasons, commissioning and producing two non-traditional works with LGBTQ characters or stories that further expand opera’s possibilities. Heath Allen and Dan Visconti’s 2015 Andy: A Popera, created in collaboration with the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, combined opera and cabaret to examine the eccentric lives of iconic gay artist Andy Warhol and members of his gang, like Candy Darling, one of his “Superstars” and a transgender icon. At its O18 festival, the company offered Queens of the Night, a blend of opera, cabaret and performance art, starring drag queen Martha Graham Cracker (Dito van Reigersberg) and drag king Blythely Oratonio (better known as mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe). “These works aren’t supplemental, but are an integral part of our overall programming,” says David Devan, Opera Philadelphia’s general director and president. “We want to have as many on-ramps to the opera experience as possible to allow audiences to make their own choices about what opera can be. We attracted an incredible audience for Queens: everybody from drag fans to longtime opera aficionados to hipsters and Millennials. The overwhelming response was one of joy and amazement.” In a way, diverse LGBTQ-themed programming like Queens, As One and Fellow Travelers is directly in line with LGBTQ and queer culture, in which individuals can find the freedom to express themselves beyond the

Lynn Lane

Paula Kimper Ensemble’s 2016 production of Patience and Sarah, with Nadia Petrella and Elsa Quéron

The Redoing of

Revisionist productions give new agency to the standard repertoire’s victimized heroines.


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Rosalie O’Connor (Dido and Aenaes), Ken Howard (La traviata), Russ Rowland (Heartbeat Carmen and Lucia di Lammermoor), Pietro Paolini/TerraProject (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Carmen), Randall L. Schieber (Madama Butterfly)

1979, the French cultural critic Catherine Clément published Opera, or the Undoing of Women, a disturbing exploration of just how much of the standard opera repertory is built on female suppression, subjugation and death. In the chapter “Dead Women,” she offers a preliminary list of how these victims meet their ends: “Nine by knife, two of them suicides; three by fire; two who jump; two consumptives; three who drown; three poisoned; two of fright; and a few unclassifiable, thank god for them, dying without anyone knowing why or how.” Clément also talks about the rapes, the mad scenes (analyzing them as female sexual ecstasy and hysteria that must be brought back under control), and the patriarchal social structures that lead, if not to death, to the defanging and domestication of operatic females. Not to mention the witches... Four decades later, the opera world, jolted into the present day by the #MeToo movement, has finally started a serious conversation about what this all means. In January, for instance, the Royal Opera House presented an “Insights” event titled “Does Opera Hate Women?” to be followed up with a series of presentations discussing female opera characters and women who work behind the scenes in the opera house. It also announced an inaugural June festival, Engender, featuring new operas written and produced by women. The initiative seemed like a pre-emptive strike, a way to air the subject with new audience members who might not be quite as tolerant of these stories as their elders had been for so many years. Since the opera business remains firmly entrenched in the repertory of the past, its company leaders and stage directors are understandably hesitant to toss the whole canon into the trash — they even note that younger audience members are often more interested in warhorses like Carmen and Madama Butterfly than they are in less politically insensitive contemporary works (see “OTSL Dives into Data,” p. 8). But while these operas are likely to remain on the stage, #MeToo has at the very least sparked a new focus both on how women are represented in them, and on who is doing the representing. Why the operatic fascination with oppressed women? The core of the repertory dates from the 19th century, and those source materials didn’t exactly promote the liberated female. Opera, with its outsized emotion, is perfectly calibrated for tragedy, and tragedy usually requires death. And, as Esther Nelson, general and artistic director of Boston Lyric Opera, points out, “A major component of what makes people love opera is high voices — remember, the original heroic roles were given to castrated males.” Put those elements together, and it’s easy to see how the formula developed. In addition, of course, the canonical operas were written

by men, and the opera business, to this day, remains dominated by males. So what to do? Francesca Zambello, artistic director of Washington National Opera and The Glimmerglass Festival (where she is also general director), says, “It’s important to distinguish between operas that depict misogynistic characters and societal structures, and operas that are actually misogynistic. I think the former can actually help the cause, especially when put into proper context.” “Opera has a lot to say about power relationships and the place of women in society,” says Louisa Proske, co-artistic director of Heartbeat Opera. “Every opera says something a little different. These are some of the most expansive attempts at understanding people — individually and collectively, women and men. We need to probe, to wrestle robustly with these pieces, and bring out what they have to say.” One approach is for the stage director to underline the complexity and agency of the female characters rather than portraying them as stereotype-confirming clichés. At Heartbeat, Proske directed a 2017 Carmen that presented the heroine as the leader of the criminal gang. The title character of her 2016 Lucia di Lammermoor was “wild, anarchic and affected by the violence of her family,” she explains. “She’s like a Wuthering Heights heroine.” The time may have finally come for such reinterpretations. But in 1992, Zambello directed a Lucia at the Met in which June Anderson, according to the director, “conveyed a sense of victory at the end; not crazy but finally free of the shackles of her brother.” The reaction? “It got booed off the stage.” The beauty and brilliance of the music through which these often distasteful stories are told can be a doubleedged sword. The conductor and coach Kathleen Kelly has written of “the patina of nostalgia” that has developed around the canon’s disturbing content: “We can easily watch an attempted rape and murder in a Puccini opera because those brutal acts are at once sensationalized and sweetened.” “The music of La traviata is so Clockwise from top beautiful — and so fetishized — left: Shakèd Bar in Juilliard Opera’s Dido that you sometimes forget that and Aeneas, directed it’s a story about a prostitute, by Mary Birnbaum; a profession defined by men,” Sydney Mancasola in Opera Theatre of says Proske. “She tries to live her Saint Louis’ La traviata, own life and make choices, and directed by Patricia Racette; Sishel Claverie is cut down at every corner. The and Brent Reilly Turner opera puts her center stage and in Heartbeat Opera’s makes the audience wrestle Carmen, directed by Louisa Proske; with her choices and her Veronica Simeoni in loneliness. If you gloss over that Carmen, directed by by putting it in a museum, with Leo Muscato, at the Teatro del Maggio pretty 19th-century dresses, Musicale Fiorentino; then it’s offensive.” In her view, Opera Columbus’ Madama Butterfly, with opera houses need to shake off Janet Szepei Todd and the “feel-good” approach, and Daniel Montenegro for the programming mentality (at center), directed by Crystal Manich; to shift from doing Carmen Jamilyn Manning because it will fill the house White in Heartbeat to doing Carmen “because we Opera’s Lucia di Lammermoor, directed have something strong to say by Louisa Proske about it.” S P R I N G 2 0 1 9   29

“The music of La traviata is so beautiful that you sometimes forget that it’s a story about a prostitute.” — LO U I S A P R O S K E , H E A R T B E AT O P E R A

Heartbeat Opera specializes in rearranging the music and words of well-known operas in ways that often dramatically underline their subtexts. Proske had Carmen sing the Habanera at the end, after her murder, as an anthem of the freedom she died for. Other producers have also taken liberties: Just last summer, the Carmen in Leo Muscato’s Maggio Musicale production shot Don José with his own pistol; at Bayreuth, director Yuval Sharon left Elsa alive at the end of Lohengrin, with Ortrud portrayed as a courageous questioner of male power rather than a villainous witch. In Mary Birnbaum’s Juilliard production of Dido and Aeneas this winter, the Carthaginian queen, rather than submit to her fate, walks off during the final mourning chorus, leaving her crown behind. Some directors, while cognizant of the need to bring feminist viewpoints to the core rep, are still wary of going overboard. When Robin Guarino was invited to direct Butterfly at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, she considered going back to the source story in which CioCio-San doesn’t die: She and Suzuki go off with the child. She decided against the change, as did Peggy Kriha Dye, who discussed the option with her own (all-female) Butterfly production team at Opera Columbus, where she is general and artistic director. “We couldn’t ignore what the music was telling us,” Dye says. Still, directors and producers keep looking for ways of bringing feminist viewpoints to favorite works. Zambello is mulling the commissioning of a new ending for Turandot in which Calaf fails to melt and domesticate the ice princess: Since Puccini left the opera unfinished, she sees it as fair game. Christopher Koelsch, president and CEO of LA Opera, cites Bartlett Sher’s Lincoln Center Theater production of My Fair Lady, in which rather than marrying Henry Higgins — and fetching his slippers — Eliza walks out the door. “This was a stage director adding a layer of complexity to the work,” Koelsch says. “The people in the play were aware of the misogyny of Henry Higgins, so when Eliza walked out, it felt earned.” A director may bring a heightened explicitness to a core work in an effort to make the audience address the violence of its content. Zambello’s 2002 Covent Garden Don Giovanni made it clear that Don Giovanni sexually assaults Donna Anna: “She was raped, and she didn’t like it,” Zambello says. Proske’s Carmen brought unprecedented gore to Carmen’s murder. “We tried to make it gruesome,” Proske says. “This is how someone ended her life, and it was deeply violent and disturbing.” The number of women who are now tackling these operas is a sign that the field is seeking ways to counteract the repertory’s misogyny. This season, women direct all four of Boston Lyric Opera’s productions. Esther 30  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Nelson says that the 100 percent figure was not entirely deliberate, but she was dead set on having a woman direct Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. “I think a woman has a special lens with which to look at rape,” Nelson says. Sarna Lapine directed the production this March. Nelson says she would like to see a female director take on Der Rosenkavalier, in which the Marschallin, as Clément points out, is a relatively young woman accepting the end of her existence as a sexual being. Meanwhile, companies staging Pelléas et Mélisande might want to speak to Robin Guarino, who has lots of ideas about Mélisande’s PTSD and the work’s depiction of familial abuse. Nelson also thinks that nobody should be complacent about misogyny in current opera, and that creators need to consider how their operas depict women. “We can have a good conversation about how to stage the misogyny of the past — but what are we doing today?” she says. “We are no longer in a century where a woman has to die in order to be a heroine.” She thinks BLO’s final offering this season, Poul Ruders’ The Handmaid’s Tale (directed by Anne Bogart) might be an example. “It’s depressing as hell, and we don’t know if [Offred, the heroine] escapes. But there’s hope. This is a woman who refuses to be suppressed.” Next season’s world premiere at LA Opera, Matthew Aucoin and Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, directed by Mary Zimmerman, may also offer a further step in that direction. Koelsch notes that the new opera flips the focus of the Orpheus myth, a staple operatic subject for centuries, from Orpheus’ grief to Eurydice’s loss. The company is surrounding it with a festival, Eurydice Found, looking at the persistence of primal myths and spotlighting the work of women artists. It’s a way of interrogating the canon in the light of the zeitgeist. “There’s a strong public perception that opera companies live in a hermetically sealed world,” Koelsch says. “This gives us an opportunity to countermand that by asking the question: ‘How, collectively, as a community, can we sort ourselves out?’” Opera can perhaps look to theater for examples. Shakespeare’s plays, for instance, have not been discarded, but instead have been continually reinterpreted for new audiences, like Phyllida Lloyd’s recent Julius Caesar, acted entirely by women. Proske, for one, remains adamant about the continuing power of the core operatic repertoire, even at its most problematic. “Having to deal with, to understand artworks of a different time can open us up; being interested in otherness is a very important part of human existence,” she says. “We are a little in danger of losing that as a culture when [the attitude is] ‘I only want to consume what is 100 percent like me.’” She offers Così fan tutte as a perfect example: “Two young men and two young women are manipulated by a horrible older man,” she points out. “In order to understand it, you need context. It comes from a culture of deep irony. It’s tricky, but worth engaging with. And you get some of the most fabulous women ever written.” Heidi Waleson is the Wall Street Journal’s opera critic and the author of Mad Scenes and Exit Arias: The Death of New York City Opera and the Future of Opera in America.

ORLANDO Olga Neuwirth ENDGAME György Kurtág M. BUTTERFLY Huang Ruo

We’re dealing new cards.

DENIS & KATYA Philip Venables 7 MINUTI Giorgio Battistelli MACBETH Pascal Dusapin

New Operas

FROM UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING CLASSICAL umpg.classical@umusic.com www.umpgclassical.com

Clockwise from top left: The Santa Fe Opera House (@santafeopera/@tonigoble); Katherine Weber in Chicago Opera Theater’s Iolanta (@ chicagooperatheater); Conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya’s baby (@chicagooperatheater); Opening-night celebrations for director Kevin Newbury’s Faust at Lyric Opera of Chicago (@kevinnewbury); Jamie Barton as Fricka at the Met (@jbartonmezzo); Plácido Domingo at the gala celebrating Houston Grand Opera’s return to the Wortham Center (@hougrandopera)

The social media platform offers dynamic possibilities for reaching new audiences. By F R E D COH N S P R I N G 2 0 1 9   33

ere’s what you’ll find on Chicago Opera charmed life from Prague Castle to Radio City Music Hall to Theater’s Instagram feed: Music Director Soho Square. Harpist Emmanuel Ceysson has drawn 8,500 Lidiya Yankovskaya on the podium for Iolanta. followers through droll, but deeply musical, video clips Her infant son Artie reading the orchestra that show him playing in the Met’s pit while mouthing score to The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing. along with the singers onstage. School kids’ drawings from COT’s Opera for All “When I look at these accounts, I could be seeing pop program. A video greeting from The Scarlet Ibis stars or indie-rock singers,” says Nancy Baym, a principal cast member Quinn Middleman, introducing researcher with Microsoft Research and the author of us to her cat Clementine. Scott Gryder, COT’s Playing to the Crowd, an analysis of musicians’ use of social audience services manager, lip-syncing to media. “There’s nothing that screams, ‘This is a highWhitney Houston while waving culture activity.’” a container of cupcakes. In the view of Jill Walker Rettberg, leader Clockwise from top left: What you won’t find: any of the Digital Culture Research Group at Lidiya Yankovskaya, music director of Chicago Opera Theater direct pitch to ticket buyers. Norway’s University of Bergen, the face (@chicagooperatheater); The text accompanying the images directs that opera presents on Instagram reflects a drawing made by a student in Chicago Opera Theater’s Opera viewers to COT’s website — with a few a broader cultural shift in the relationship for All program clicks, you’ll eventually reach a sales page — between performers and audiences. “In (@chicagooperatheater); but that’s hardly the main focus. “It’s about the 20th century, celebrities — especially Houston Grand Opera’s managing director, Perryn Leech, and chorus the connection between the pictures and performers standing onstage — were master, Richard Bado the audience,” says Laura Smalley, the COT distant figures,” she says. “Now, there’s (@hougrandopera); marketing and communications associate an expectation that you can get to know Met harpist Emmanuel Ceysson (@emmanuel_ceysson); who oversees the feed. “We want them to be them a bit more. You see them behind the Anthony Roth Costanzo hosts the connected to us first.” scenes. They respond to what fans think. Met’s live HD transmission of Marnie In the nine years since Instagram’s That reciprocity is important.” Citing the (@arcostanzo); introduction, the social media platform has “direct connection between musicians Anna Netrebko at the become an international phenomenon, with and their fans and patrons” depicted in Vienna Opera Ball (@anna_netrebko_yusi_tiago). a user base now estimated at one billion. Its the film Amadeus, Rettberg argues that the mash-up of pictures and videos have proved approachability of Instagram is returning a stunningly effective means of image-building and fan classical music to an older mode of audience interaction. cultivation that works not just for sports stars, pop singers “It’s not a new idea that part of being a good artist is being and actors, but also for opera companies and performers. an interesting person,” says Anthony Roth Costanzo (8,100 Opera feeds don’t generate followers in the same numbers followers). “Instagram is just the modern-day extension as those of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo (157 million) or of that.” The countertenor’s feed includes music videos pop diva Selena Gomez (148 million), but they can still from his Glass/Handel album, any number of backstage attract significant Instagram attention. The 437,000 selfies with notable visitors (pop star Sam Smith, ballet people following Anna Netrebko track the Russian diva’s dancer David Hallberg, kabuki performer Ebizo Ichikawa), 34  O P E R A A M E R I C A

and videos of his flamboyant end-of-run curtain call for English National Opera’s Akhnaten (#diva) and of the fullbody waxing he had to endure for the production. Since users sometimes share their favorite content, Costanzo’s posts reach people who may have had no previous awareness of him. “It shows you what your friends like,” he says. “If you have no idea of who I am, but you see a video someone has shared in a feed, you may think, ‘I wonder who’s singing?’” The platform allows Costanzo not just to get his message out, but to maintain a form of personal contact with his fans. When they send direct messages, he responds. “It doesn’t feel as onerous as answering 500 e-mails,” he says. “Because of the informality of Instagram, it’s not like you have to write ‘Dear so-and-so, all the best.’ It’s an accepted practice to respond with just a heart. If I’m in a hurry and I have 10 messages in my inbox, I can go through them in 45 seconds.” “For me, Instagram is about communication with my fan base,” says mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton (13,900 followers). “They say a picture is worth a thousand words — and I’ve probably got a thousand pictures up. I get comments from people who were at a particular show, as well as people who’ve never been to an opera but found me through searching hashtags.” Barton, who came out as bisexual five years ago, regularly gets Instagram messages on the topic. “I’ve been impassioned about being visible, and I get a lot of people writing to me and thanking me,” she says. “My visibility has influenced them to feel more present and more proud of who they are. These messages make my day in a way I can’t even describe.” One aspect of the platform that Barton finds appealing is its egalitarianism. Within it, fledgling performers keep company with the likes of Renée Fleming and Joyce DiDonato. “I know a lot of young artists, and I get to follow their stories right along with the top dogs of the field,” Barton says. “It allows access for everyone, which is really important in a field that has traditionally been elitist. I believe very much that the future of opera is inclusivity, and Instagram provides a platform for that.” Instagram allows its users to post stories: images that pop up for a day, then disappear. Their ephemeral nature makes them even less formal than permanent content. Ideally, a story will seem like an unselfconscious product of impulse: a further means of erasing barriers between users and their audience. “I’m becoming a big fan of stories,” says Beth Stewart, a publicist who advises clients like Barton on their Instagram use. “They’re quick and impermanent. I’m not a fan of over-curated: I want to see a human being.” For opera companies, continually seeking to offset the graying of their audiences, Instagram provides an opportunity to reach a younger demographic: 68 percent of users are under 35. In comparison to its corporate parent, Facebook, it transmits a feeling of youth. “Instagram is a fun social gathering where you might feel something exciting,” says Stewart. “Facebook is like listening to your uncles arguing about politics in the living room.” Savvy opera companies work to maintain a sense of fun in their feeds. In general, the production photos you might find on a company’s website make a weaker Instagram statement than behind-the-scenes glimpses

that convey an element of the unexpected. Dale Edwards, Houston Grand Opera’s director of marketing and communications, points to a magazine item about Pearl Fishers designer Zandra Rhodes that the company reposted on its Instagram account. “Would we normally do that for an article?” he says. “No, but she’s a fashion designer and she has hot pink hair.” One common Instagram tactic is the takeover, in which a company hands over its feed to an outside party. The Met, promoting the U.S. premiere of Marnie, handed its feed over to Costanzo, who donned one of Arianne Phillips’ mid-century-chic costumes and tried to pass as a member of the “Marnettes”: the doppelgangers who shadow the title character throughout the opera. The creators of HGO’s takeovers have included its Studio Artists and Pearl Fishers star Lawrence Brownlee. “Larry was able to log on as he saw fit,” Edwards reports. “He showed what goes on in a singer’s life: coffee in the morning, warm-ups, rehearsals. He’s a guy who likes to have fun, and he has fun doing his job, which is singing opera. It helps break down misconceptions of who opera singers are, and of what we do.” Brownlee’s takeover boosted the number of HGO’s followers. “Does that mean that those people would come and buy a ticket? Probably not,” says Edwards. “But he’s got followers all over the world who became aware of HGO. It puts us in a better light.” HGO makes further use of Instagram by identifying local social media influencers — users who, through their feeds, purportedly exert significant influence on their peers — and inviting them to the opera. The company looks for people with a notable number of followers, especially those who highlight trendy events. The aim is to position opera as a date-night option for young people. The Santa Fe Opera has in recent seasons brought together local influencers for “InstaMeets” at dress rehearsals, where they sit in a special section of the house with unrestricted views of the stage. They’re encouraged to take pictures — and, most importantly, post them. On two occasions last summer, the company hosted a contingent of 20 “macro-influencers” for a full evening of events, including behind-the-scenes tours and champagne dinners. A photo contest in conjunction with the InstaMeets generated 938 photo submissions, with a chance to photograph a performance from the wings as the grand prize. The program was specifically put in place to attract young and first-time operagoers, and to broaden the company’s social media footprint. “They wanted to cultivate an audience for the future, but it wasn’t in their budget,” says Caitlin E. Jenkins, co-founder of Simply Social Media, the consulting firm that runs the events. The resulting photo blasts have swelled the number of Santa Fe Opera followers on Instagram (from 8,992 to 9,939 over the summer 2018 season) and on Facebook, as well (22,961 to 24,810). It is not clear that these numbers have resulted in an uptick in either box-office sales or new ticket-buyers. But Instagram advocates are quick to point out that a sales metric may be well beside the point. In the words of Dale Edwards: “Instagram is not for selling; it’s for engaging.” “It’s a powerful tool,” says Nancy Baym. “Especially if you throw in some cats with incredible green eyes.” S P R I N G 2 0 1 9   35





Diverse Participants, Universal Goals

he 16 opera administrators who gathered in February at the National Opera Center for OPERA America’s 2019 Leadership Intensive represented a diverse range of professional specialties, including marketing, development, education, finance and artistic administration, as well as geographies — from Toronto, Ontario, to Santiago, Chile, with many American cities in between. What united them was a drive to obtain the universal leadership skills that any opera professional needs to advance his or her career. During a week of concentrated sessions and seminars at the Opera Center, the group worked not only on practical skills, such as public speaking, financial management and dining etiquette, but also examined the personal qualities that go into making a true leader. The program, which has been supported by American Express since its inception in 2012, is also designed to introduce the participants to a network of peers that they can rely on for guidance and support in the years ahead. This year’s class will come together again at Opera Conference 2019, from June 12 to 16 in San Francisco, where they will join alumni of past Intensives for roundtable discussions. T H E C L A S S O F 2 019 Daniel Benavent General Manager, Theatre Aspen

Gloria Larenas Artistic Director, Teatro del Lago

Vincent Covatto Senior Manager, Organizational Membership, OPERA America

Anh Le Acting Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

Priti Gandhi Chief Artistic Officer, Minnesota Opera


Matthew Gray Producing Director, American Opera Projects Rebecca Hass Director of Community Engagement, Pacific Opera Victoria Jeila Irdmusa Marketing and Communications Manager, Boston Lyric Opera Ben Jewell-Plocher Director of Education, Sarasota Opera

art direction / design / branding and the occasional ad

Erik Johnson Senior Financial Analyst, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Jaime Martino Executive Director, Tapestry Opera Daniel Moss Senior Director of Institutional Partnerships, Lyric Opera of Chicago Mariel O’Connell Associate Producer, Beth Morrison Projects Chidi Ozieh Managing and Media Director, Ardea Arts Paulina Ricciardi Administrative Coordinator, Ópera Latinoamérica Sneja Tomassian Chief Advancement Officer, Cincinnati Opera

2019-20 SEASON

NOVEMBER 1 & 3, 2019


Conductor Joseph Rescigno | Director Leslie Swackhamer FEBRUARY 7 & 9, 2020

THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO (Die Entführung aus dem Serail) Mozart

Conductor Gary Wedow | Director Alison Moritz MARCH 25, 27 & 29 & APRIL 4 & 5, 2020

ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST (San Giovanni Battista) Stradella

Conductor Stephen Stubbs | Director Christopher Alden APRIL 3 & 5, 2020

THE CAPULETS AND THE MONTAGUES (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) Bellini

Conductor Christopher Allen | Director James Darrah


W I N T E R 2 0 1 9   37



Civic Practice: An OA Primer

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s EmpowerYouth!, a recipient of an OPERA America Civic Practice Grant


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Earlier this year, OA gave out its first-ever Civic Practice Grants. Seven companies received a total of $180,000, supporting their efforts to develop relationships with community partners. Supported by OA’s Opera Fund endowment, these grants will be awarded every two years. Learn more at operaamerica.org/Grants.

Chicago Opera Theater will expand its partnerships with refugee service organizations, enabling refugees to attend performances. Houston Grand Opera will engage teaching artists to help refugee families communicate with each other and their new neighbors through storytelling workshops, family-friendly performances and the creation of original works of art. Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League have partnered to present EmpowerYouth!, a multidisciplinary afterschool program for African American high school students that will culminate in the performance of a fully staged, youthcentric opera. Minnesota Opera will engage the local Hmong-American community through a conversation series, with the goal of understanding that community’s needs and finding possible opportunities for support. Opera Omaha will build upon its Holland Community Opera Fellowship, launched with support from a 2017 OA Innovation Grant. The program recruits singers from across the country to work as citizen-artists in the community. San Francisco Opera will expand its partnership with two local organizations for the homeless, integrating their programs and services with SFO’s communityconnections programs. The Santa Fe Opera will institute an annual event during its festival seasons that features the culture of the Native American tribes of New Mexico. The company will build upon relationships developed through its 45-year-old Pueblo Opera Program and the work of three local Pueblos, whose members came together to perform a sacred Corn Dance during the 2018 run of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic.

Todd Rosenberg

ivic practice” is a term that recently has become part of the lexicon for arts practitioners. At OPERA America, the concept of civic practice is the focus of conferences and meetings, task forces of experts, and even a new granting program. But what exactly does it mean? A newly launched page on OA’s website (operaamerica.org/CivicPractice) helps define the term for the field of opera. The webpage hosts an extensive primer, “Introduction to Civic Practice,” that begins with the following guideline: “Civic practice draws on the art form’s authentic creative assets to address public priorities and community needs.” The author of “Introduction to Civic Practice,” consultant Leah D. Barto, drew on meetings of OA’s Civic Action Group: a two-year learning cohort, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, that brought together opera companies with extensive experience in this area. The primer outlines key strategies for pursuing civic practice within a community — creating a sense of belonging, leading with one’s artistic assets, building cultural competence, and focusing on the benefits to the organization’s community partners (rather than to the organization itself). OA will be delving into topics like these at Opera Conference 2019 this June in San Francisco, where civic practice will be one of three key conference themes and the subject of a panel discussion moderated by Jane Chu, former chair of the NEA. With continued NEA support, OA is also hosting a series of regional Civic Practice Workshops, bringing together opera company representatives to examine how they have integrated civic practice into their organizational operations, and how they have created and sustained community partnerships. In February, Austin Opera hosted the first workshop; additional workshops will be held this year in Orlando, Memphis and Omaha.

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photo: BBC Radio 3

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Also Also from from Schott Schott | EAM: | EAM: Also Also from from Schott Schott | EAM: | EAM: Douglas Douglas J. J. Cuomo, Cuomo, Arjuna’s Arjuna’s Dilemma Dilemma Dallas Dallas Opera, Opera, OPERA America Conference, Conference, May May 2017 2017 Douglas Douglas J.OPERA Cuomo, J. America Cuomo, Arjuna’s Arjuna’s Dilemma Dilemma DallasDallas Opera, Opera, OPERA OPERA America America Conference, Conference, May 2017 May 2017 Bernard Bernard Rands, Rands, Vincent Vincent Indiana Indiana University, University, Jacobs Jacobs School School of Music, of Music, April April 2011 2011 Bernard Bernard Rands, Rands, Vincent Vincent Indiana Indiana University, University, Jacobs Jacobs School School of Music, of Music, April 2011 April 2011 Ryan Ryan Wigglesworth, Wigglesworth, The The Winter’s Winter’s Tale Tale English English National National Opera, Opera, February February 2017 2017 Ryan Ryan Wigglesworth, Wigglesworth, The The Winter’s Winter’s TaleTale English English National National Opera, Opera, February February 2017 2017 Georg Georg Friedrich Friedrich Haas, Haas, Morgen Morgen und und Abend Abend Royal Royal Opera Opera House, House, November November 2015 2015 Georg Georg Friedrich Friedrich Haas, Haas, Morgen Morgen undund Abend Abend RoyalRoyal OperaOpera House, House, November November 2015 2015

Photo: Mark Photo: Allen Mark Allen

Schott Schott Music Music Corporation Corporation & European & European American American Music Music Distributors Distributors Company Company 254 West 31st 31st Street, Street, Floor Floor 15 |15 New | New York, York, NY Company NY 10001 10001 Schott Schott MusicMusic Corporation Corporation & 254 European &West European American American Music Music Distributors Distributors Company www.schott-music.com ∙ www.schott-music.com ∙ www.eamdc.com ny@schott-music.com ny@schott-music.com 254 West 254 ∙West 31st Street, 31st Street, Floor Floor 15 | New 15∙ |www.eamdc.com York, New York, NY 10001 NY 10001 ∙ www.schott-music.com ∙ www.schott-music.com ∙ www.eamdc.com ∙ www.eamdc.com ny@schott-music.com ny@schott-music.com W I N T E R 2 0 1 9   39



Privilege and Connection


hat does it mean for an opera company overseen and run by predominantly white male leadership to take civic action in a multicultural, economically diverse community? The question came up during “Building a Company’s Civic Practice,” a February 21 discussion during OPERA America’s 2019 National Trustee Forum. The event featured a panel of seasoned administrators: Ned Canty, general director of Opera Memphis; Charles MacKay, retired general director of The Santa Fe Opera; Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America; and James Wright, retired general director of Vancouver Opera. They addressed the challenges and rewards of inviting community members outside of the company’s core demographic into the opera experience. Wright discussed Vancouver Opera’s production of The Magic Flute, initially

staged in 2007, with members of British Columbia’s First Nations population participating as creators and performers (see “Cross-Cultural Hybrids,” p. 6). The adaptation occasioned an eye-opening cultural exchange for the First Nations community and the opera company alike. Similarly, MacKay described the experience of fostering dialogue between The Santa Fe Opera and its Pueblo neighbors, on whose ancestral land the opera house stands. Centered on the company’s 2018 production of Adams’ Doctor Atomic, the exchanges between neighbors engendered a rich, meaningful discussion about their complicated shared history. Canty described the ongoing success of Opera Memphis’ 30 Days of Opera initiative, which brings the opera experience to underserved neighborhoods throughout Memphis. Toward the end of the session, an

audience member asked the four panelists how they could reconcile their status as white men with the need to spearhead equity, diversity and inclusivity. Canty responded by stressing the importance of making space for more diversity in opera, while acknowledging his privilege and power as a white man. “My privilege gives me access to rooms and to people that others may not have,” he said. “That means I have an obligation to help dismantle these systems of power from the inside, as well as from the outside, so that if I were to get hit by a bus, the people interviewed to replace me would not all look like me.” All the panelists argued that the measure of successful civic engagement and advocacy is not the number of tickets sold, but the relationships that a company builds and maintains within the community. By drawing in new, more diverse voices, these relationships can enact change that travels beyond the footlights and into the streets. “It’s not about extracting value out of a community partner,” said Scorca. “It’s about building a long-term relationship that reflects mutual investment.”

Photos courtesy of Bunn Hill Photo

Grand Opera Splendor for any Budget

barber of seville


Tri-Cities Opera Company builds and maintains its own stock of 23 full sets, 28 costume plots, and 20 full orchestra parts available for rental. All sets designed and built for the Forum Theater in Binghamton, NY with ability to fit in other venues. The Forum has a 38' wide proscenium, 29'6" height and 36' depth. Full fly space. All sets (except Don Giovanni) can be transported in one 53' truck. Discount available when set and costumes are rented together. More information (including pictures, pricing, list of furniture/props and other expenses) can be found on our website, http://www.tricitiesopera.com/set-costume-rentals or by email at Rentals@tricitiesopera.org.


From the award-winning

Mind The Art Entertainment

SEVEN TWISTED OPERETTAS Based on the Seven Deadly Sins

For more information or booking opportunities visit




Encouragement for Creators of Color IDEA Opera Grants (denoting “Inclusion, Equity, Diversity and Access”). The program is intended to nurture the work of emerging opera creators of color, providing grants of up to $12,500 to help composerlibrettists teams advance their works through workshops, readings or other developmental activities. In addition, the grant will provide a videography team to create high-quality promotional videos of the works in progress, valued at $12,500 apiece. The project is designed to introduce the industry to the work of these early-career creators through presentations at OA’s New Works Forum and annual conference, via OA’s social media channels, and in the pages of Opera America. “The ultimate goal is to get more composers and librettists of color into the field, working in opera however they interpret it and not feeling like it’s

Cerise Jacobs

a white person’s art form,” says Jacobs. To apply for IDEA Opera Grants, visit operaamerica.org/Grants. Letters of intent must be submitted by July 2019, with full applications due in late August 2019. These grants are open to all librettists and composers who identify as ALAANA (African, Latinx, Arab, Asian or Native American).

James Daniel


adame White Snake’s 2010 premiere was a gratifying experience for Cerise Jacobs, the former lawyer who conceived of the project and wrote its libretto. The piece won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for its composer, Zhou Long. But in her first operatic venture, Jacobs noted that in its creators, the field was hardly more diverse than the law profession. “I looked around and it was astonishing to me how few people writing operas were people of color,” says Jacobs. “As the years when on, it became obvious to me that I had to do something. We have to stop being afraid of the musical language of people from diverse backgrounds.” Jacobs took a major step in that direction earlier this year when, working through the Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation, she funded OPERA America’s new

New, original productions for small and large stages.

LA TRAVIATA “Lavish and beautiful …costumes were detailed and extravagant …the elaborate set worked splendidly as the party ballroom/boudoir, the country manor, and Violetta’s deathbed.” Schmopera

A fresh, new interpretation of a favourite classic. Inspired by the 1920s Paris music hall milieu, this production evokes the sophisticated, glamorous jazz era and the cabaret divas who were both celebrated and marginalized. A co-production with:

Pantone 1575

BARBER OF SEVILLE “Whimsical period costumes … jaw-dropping set inspired by the organic architecture of Antoni Gaudi … a fantastic confection, both modern and timeless … a work of art.” Times Colonist

Pacific Opera Victoria 925 Balmoral Road Victoria, BC | Canada | V8T 1A7

Pantone 7549

Pantone Bright Red

MADAMA BUTTERFLY “… set showed a traditional Japanese house with layers of shoji screens, a blooming cherry tree in the garden against a backdrop of Nagasaki harbor.” Review Vancouver “A gorgeous antique fantasy, and intoxicating dream that engages all our senses” Times Colonist

For further information contact Ereca Hassell, Director of Production & Artistic Administration 250.382.1641 or ehassell@pov.bc.ca



Honors for Trustees Across the Spectrum

Timothy O’Leary, Marc A. Scorca, Stacey Hunt Spier, Elizabeth Hernandez, Charlie Schaffler, Maryanne Tagney, Robert Tancer and Carol Lazier

Sara Pozzi, Julia Donovan Darlow, Wayne S. Brown and Deborah Wolstenholme

44  O P E R A A M E R I C A

received awards: Maryanne Tagney of Seattle Opera, Robert Tancer of Arizona Opera, Charlie Schaffler of Opera Memphis and Stacey Hunt Spier of El Paso Opera. The event, supported by Bank of America, featured excerpts from operas by composer Héctor Armienta, founder of Opera Cultura, performed by soprano Kerriann Otaño, tenor Andres Acosta and pianist José Meléndez, as well as performances by three members of the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program: soprano Gabriella Reyes, tenor Arseny Yakovlev and pianist Nate Raskin. The evening was the highlight of OA’s February 20–23 National Trustee Weekend. During those four days, attendees of the National Trustee Forum, a peer learning group of opera company board members, delved into topics such as how to maintain healthy board-staff relationships, create a learning board and build a company’s civic practice (see “Privilege and Connection,” p. 40). Members of OA’s own Board of Directors, its National Opera Center Board of Overseers and its philanthropic Patron Circle joined

Gabriella Reyes

the trustees for outings around the city, including La fille du régiment at the Met (when the audience stopped the show to demand an encore of “Ah! Mes amis” from Javier Camerena), Kiss Me, Kate on Broadway, and at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust, a program of new works from Beth Morrison Project’s BMP Next Generation program, which was funded by an OA Innovation Grant.

Anne-Michèle Mallory


hen Elizabeth Hernandez, a trustee of Opera Cultura, received one of OPERA America’s 2019 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards, she became the first such honoree from a Budget 5 company, the OA category composed of member companies that operate on $250,000 or less per year. (The Budget 5 category was established three years ago in response to the burgeoning number of small U.S. opera companies.) A celebratory dinner on February 22 recognized the exceptional leadership of Hernandez and four other trustees, representing Budgets 1 through 4, who


June 22 | 26 | 28 | 30 The Barns at Wolf Trap




THE EMPEROR OF ATLANTIS Geoffrey McDonald | Conductor Richard Gammon | Director Joshua Blue Ben Edquist Megan Esther Grey Shannon Jennings Niru Liu Conor McDonald Daniel Noyola Anthony Robin Schneider

July 19 | 21 | 24 | 27 The Barns at Wolf Trap Strauss

ARIADNE AUF NAXOS Emily Senturia | Conductor Tara Faircloth | Director Lindsay Kate Brown Joshua Conyers Ian Koziara Ian McEuen Alexandra Nowakowski Alexandria Shiner

June 22 National Orchestral Institute + Festival The Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts

August 9 Filene Center Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts



L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE Ward Stare | Conductor Emily Cuk | Director Joshua Conyers Calvin Griffin Joshua Lovell Ian Koziara Taylor Raven

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE Lidiya Yankovskaya | Conductor Joan Font | Director Christopher Bozeka Calvin Griffin Patrick Guetti Niru Liu Johnathan McCullough Taylor Raven Photo: Angelina Namkung



Female Composers Take Center Stage


he seven women receiving Discovery Grants this year through OA’s Opera Grants for Female Composers (OGFC) program join the ranks of some of the most successful composers of recent years. Just within the past year, Laura Kaminsky’s As One, developed with support from an inaugural Discovery Grant, received six productions; it is currently the mostproduced opera by a living composer in North America. Kaminsky’s latest opera, Today It Rains, bowed at Opera Parallèle at the end of March, thanks in part to a 2017 OGFC Commissioning Grant. Stinney: An American Execution, which earned its composer, Frances Pollock, a 2017 Discovery Grant, got a first look during January’s PROTOTYPE Festival, when it was presented in concert as a work-in-progress. And in February, Opera Columbus and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra premiered Korine Fujiwara’s The Flood, which had garnered a 2016 Commissioning Grant. This year’s grantees received a total of $100,000. Funded by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the Opera Grants for Female Composers program has, since 2013, given nearly $1 million in Discovery Grants, which go directly to composers, and Commissioning Grants, which provide companies with funds to commission works by women. To date, the program has aided in the development of 68 operas. The aim of the grant program is not just to fund new works, but also to raise the visibility of female composers among stakeholders in the field. To that end, OPERA America is providing support for the grant recipients to attend Opera Conference 2019 this June in San Francisco, where they will have the opportunity to share information about their works with attendees and meet potential producers. The next round of Commissioning Grants will be awarded in May. Information about applying for the next round of Discovery Grants will be available at operaamerica.org/Grants this summer. 46  O P E R A A M E R I C A

2 019 D I S C OV E R Y G R A N T R E C I P I E N T S

Sarah Taylor Ellis

The Trojan Women Libretto by Ellen McLaughlin

Based on the tragedy by Euripides, this chamber opera cuts between ancient times and the present day to portray the plight and the strength of women ripped from their war-torn homes.

Donia Jarrar

Seamstress Libretto by the composer

Weaving together oral-history interviews with women from different generations and social sectors in Palestine, this multimedia opera creates a portrait of love, strength and resistance in the face of war and injustice.

Gina Leishman

Bird of the Inner Eye Libretto by Joan Schirle

The correspondence of Morris Graves (1910–2001), the Pacific Northwest painter known for his spiritual, symbolic renderings of the natural world, gets a chamber-opera treatment.

Carla Lucero

Juana Libretto by Alicia Gaspar de Alba and the composer

The opera chronicles and the life of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the 17th-century Mexican nun who is often considered the first great poet of the Americas.

Kristin Norderval

The Sailmaker’s Wife Libretto by Julian Crouch

Based on a Japanese folktale, this chamber opera tells the story of a man’s kindness to an injured crane, who then returns to him in the form of a woman and becomes his wife.

Niloufar Nourbakhsh

We the Innumerable Libretto by Lisa Flanagan

In this politically charged opera, a husband and wife participate in nationwide protests against Iran’s 2009 presidential election result and become targets of state persecution.

Celka Ojakangas

Mirror Game Libretto by Amy Punt

Gender bias is the theme of this multimedia opera, which tracks the journey of a female video game designer who decides to confront the gaming industry’s sexism.


ELLEN WEST Music by Ricky Ian Gordon Libretto & Poem by Frank Bidart June 30, July 6 & 12, 2019 (World Premiere) Co-produced & presented by Opera Saratoga Jan 9–18, 2020 (New York City Premiere) Presented by PROTOTYPE Festival •

ACQUANETTA Music by Michael Gordon Libretto by Deborah Artman July 11–21, 2019 Presented by Bard SummerScape •

ANGEL’S BONE Music by Du Yun Libretto by Royce Vavrek May 1 & 3, 2020 (West Coast Premiere) Presented by LA Opera Off Grand •

PLACE Music by Ted Hearne Libretto by Saul Williams & Ted Hearne Co-created by Ted Hearne, Patricia McGregor & Saul Williams March 24, 2020 Presented & Co-produced by LA Phil •

AGING MAGICIAN Music by Paola Prestini Libretto by Rinde Eckert Co-created by Paola Prestini, Rinde Eckert & Julian Crouch March 13–15, 2020 (West Coast Premiere) Presented by San Diego Opera •

SOLDIER SONGS Music & Text by David T. Little May 2020 Presented by Chicago Opera Theater •

BLOOD MOON Music by Garrett Fisher Libretto by Ellen McLaughlin January 9–18, 2020 (World Premiere) Presented by PROTOTYPE Festival •

PROTOTYPE January 9–18, 2020

For more information, please contact INFO@BETHMORRISONPROJECTS.ORG


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For over 17 years, Onstage Publications has been providing free program books to the performing arts industry. From printed program books to mobile program books and now digital signage, Onstage Publications takes away the frustration, time and money to create and manage your shows content. From start to finish, we do it all. Best of all it’s totally free!

Get Started Today. Contact Norm Orlowski, 866-503-1966.


48  O P E R A A M E R I C A


Staff Shifts at OA

PERA America made significant changes to its organizational structure this winter, involving a number of promotions and new hires. Dan Cooperman, formerly director of development, is now chief advancement officer, overseeing the newly instituted advancement department, which incorporates development, membership, and marketing and communications. Laura Lee Everett, director of artistic services, was promoted to chief programs officer, taking charge of artistic services, learning and leadership, grantmaking, and the annual Opera Conference. The restructuring responds to the need to engender greater cross-departmental collaboration, identified with the assistance of an executive coach and team-building consultants. Two coincidental staff departures streamlined the restructuring. Patricia Kiernan Johnson, OA’s longtime director of marketing and communications, left at the end of January to head up communications and marketing at the Curtis Institute of Music. Kurt Howard, OA’s director of programs and services, will leave at the conclusion of Opera Conference 2019 in June to become Opera Omaha’s producing director. (See “Transitions,” p. 12.) Rolando G. Reyes Mir, who has worked in marketing at American Express and Nickelodeon Magazine Group, recently joined OA as its new director of marketing and communications. Vincent Covatto was promoted to senior manager of organizational membership and will take responsibility for coordinating many of the activities for OA’s 50th anniversary. He will oversee a soon-to-be-hired coordinator. Rounding out the advancement department will be a digital marketing manager, Emma Storm, who is currently finishing her studies at Temple University while working as a part-time marketing associate at Opera Philadelphia. “I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to provide well-deserved opportunities for advancement to long-serving staff members, as well as welcome new hires who will increase OPERA America’s capacity to carry out its mission,” says Marc A. Scorca. “Our staff has always been highly collaborative, but the new structuring only further breaks down barriers between departments and encourages us, as an entire staff, to think holistically about how we can best serve the field.”

Sam Reiss (Cooperman); Jessica Osber (Everett)

Free Digital Signage


GERDA LISSNER FOUNDATION YoungArtist Vocal Institute Concert Series


Established to continue assisting and mentoring young artists with the financial support they need to pursue their craft and excel in the world of opera. The Concert Series is being presented in lieu of the International Vocal Competition 2019. Concerts by invitation only. Series hosted by Midge Woolsey Friday, MARCH 29 Featuring:

Friday, APRIL 26 Featuring:

Friday, SEPTEMBER 27 Featuring:

Timothy Renner, baritone Academy of Vocal Arts

Ethan Simpson, baritone Academy of Vocal Arts

Mackenzie Gotcher, tenor Academy of Vocal Arts

Vartan Gabrielian, bass-baritone Curtis Institute of Music

Siena Miller, mezzo soprano   Curtis Institute of Music

Ashley Robillard, soprano Curtis Institute of Music

Meghan Kasanders, soprano The Juilliard School

Katerina Burton, soprano The Juilliard School

James Ley, tenor The Juilliard School

Xiaotong Cao, soprano Manhattan School of Music

Joseph Tancredi, tenor Manhattan School of Music

Carolina Lopez Moreno, soprano Manhattan School of Music

Michael Pitocchi, bass-baritone College of Performing Arts, Mannes School of Music The New School

Cloe San Antonio Bialecki, mezzo soprano College of Performing Arts, Mannes School of Music The New School

Jang Ho Lee, tenor College of Performing Arts, Mannes School of Music The New School



Pianist: JONATHAN KELLY* *appears courtesy the Metropolitan Opera

The Gerda Lissner Foundation, 15 East 65th Street, NY, NY 10065

Tel: 212.826.6100 Fax: 212.826.0366



Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak’s Designs for Opera and Ballet

By Liam Doona, Rachel Federman, Avi Steinberg and Christopher Mattaliano Prestel

This exhibition catalogue from the Morgan Library and Museum surveys more than 125 preliminary sketches, watercolors and cardboard models created by Maurice Sendak for productions including The Magic Flute, The Cunning Little Vixen, The Love for Three Oranges and Oliver Knussen’s Where the Wild Things Are, based on Sendak’s famous children’s book.

Opera in the Tropics: Music and Theater in Early Modern Brazil By Rogerio Budasz Oxford University Press

Surveying the 16th through 19th centuries, the author delves into the practices of the actors, singers, poets and composers who created and performed opera during Brazil’s colonial period. The territory includes Jesuit moral plays, Spanish comedias, Portuguese vernacular operas and entremezes, and the Italian operas that were presented to celebrate the country’s independence in 1822. 50  O P E R A A M E R I C A

A View from the Podium By Eve Queler Xlibris

Conductor Eve Queler traces the trajectory of her life in music, from humble beginnings as a gifted piano student in the Bronx to five decades of star-studded performances of rarely heard operas as founder and artistic director of the Opera Orchestra of New York. She recounts the challenges she faced upon entering the maledominated conducting world in the 1960s and how she overcame those hurdles to build a career as an international guest conductor.

Dreaming with Open Eyes: Opera, Aesthetics and Perception in Arcadian Rome By Ayana O. Smith University of California Press

This volume examines late 17th-century Italian opera through the lens of visual symbolism. Using philosophical and literary sources to provide context, the author offers close readings of Alessandro Scarlatti’s La Statira and Carlo Francesco Pollarolo’s La forza della virtù.

Handel in London: The Making of a Genius

Peggy Glanville-Hicks: Composer and Critic

Jane Glover, who has conducted Handel’s works around the world, details the composer’s extraordinarily prolific career in London: four decades yielding dozens of oratorios and operas. She discusses music-making in the context of the era’s politics, artistic rivalries and cultural movements.

Drawing on interviews, archival research and 54 years of pocket diaries, the author details the life of Australianborn Peggy Glanville-Hicks, who composed the operas Nausicaa, The Transposed Heads and Sappho and, as a critic, shaped professional and public opinion on mid-20th-century American music.

By Jane Glover Pegasus Books

By Suzanne Robinson University of Illinois Press



Composer of The Face on the Barroom Floor Upcoming World Premiere of Moses commissioned by the LA Opera

FOR MORE INFO AND RECORDINGS: https://henrymollicone.com/operasbyhenry/ Composer: crinomusica@gmail.com www.henrymollicone.com

March 22nd and 23rd, 2019, 7:30 p.m. Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, Los Angeles

Libretto by William Luce Based on inspiring true events in the life of freed slave Clara Brown (2 hrs).

Coyote Tales

Libretto by Sheldon Harnick (Fiddler on the Roof) Based on Native American stories about the human condition (2.5 hrs).

2 ob/eh, 2 cl/bass cl, 2 bsn, 3 hn, 2 tpt, 3 tbn, 3 perc, pno/cel/synth, hp, strings

Hotel Eden

Libretto by Judie Fein Three Biblical love stories—acts may be performed separately (2 hrs).

“...glitzy, hip, sometimes tender, often tuneful piece of musical theater...”– OPERA NEWS “Well, well—at last we’ve found a bona fide composer of comedy...Unorthodox. Sexy. Sassy. Jazzy. Exuberant...” – SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

“...his richly colored music is engaging—but never relentless...master of massive scenes” – THE DAILY CAMERA “...a solid score, skillfully evoking moods and shaping characters.” – THE DENVER POST Principal Roles: mezzo, tenor Smaller Roles: 2 sop, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, bari, bass-bari Black supporting roles: 3 sop, 1 bari, chorus 2 fl/picc, 1 ob/eng hn, 2 cl/bass cl, 1 bsn, 2hn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, 2 perc, hp, pno, strings


“...not since he wrote lyrics to Fiddler on the Roof has Harnick collaborated with a composer of such freshness and substance...” – THE PLAIN DEALER “...influenced by jazzy musical-theater idioms ...sassy syncopation and brightly lit orchestration... orchestral magic...”– OPERA NEWS 3 sop, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, bass-bari, chorus • 2 fl/picc,

O N E -A C T O P E R A S

The Face on the Barroom Floor

Libretto by John S. Bowman Romantic tale of how a mysterious painting came to be (25 mins).


“Mollicone’s musical language is a musical grab-bag. He knows how to write...to entertain.” – THE GUARDIAN, LONDON “...Mollicone...can’t seem to write a note that doesn’t sing.” — NEWSWEEK 1 sop, 1 tenor, 1 bari • fl/picc, vcl, pno

Emperor Norton

Libretto by John S. Bowman Story of San Francisco’s colorful, controversial street character (55 mins).

2 sop, 2 mezzos, 2 tenors, 2 bari • fl/picc, cl, hn, vcl, bass/electric bass, pno/synth, perc


Gabriel’s Daughter

F U L L- L E N G T H O P E R A S

“Norton...shows Mollicone’s mastery of the difficult form of the one-act opera” – THE WASHINGTON POST “...Mollicone manages, by his expert, assured craftsmanship, to produce... several touching scenes... powerfully worked out in a Straussian vein of soaring lyricism.” – OPERA NEWS sop, mezzo, tenor, bari • pno, vln, vcl

Lady Bird: First Lady of the Land

Libretto by Sheldon Harnick Follows Lady Bird Johnson’s emotional journey as First Lady (1 hr).

“Mollicone’s delightfully variegated score...tuneful...vivid... harmonically piquant...Harnick’s libretto is ...filled with wit and provocative imagery.” – CLASSICAL VOICE NORTH AMERICA 3 sop, mezzo, tenor, bari, chorus • Full Orchestration:

fl/picc, ob, cl, bsn, 2/hn, c-tpt, pno, 1 perc, strings Chamber Orchestration: 6 players: fl/picc, c-tpt, vln, vcl, pno, perc


Libretto by Kate Pogue A dog, a cat, and a donkey are thrown out of their homes—a spaceship appears with a magical prisoner—Starbird—chaos ensues (46 mins).

“...a lively libretto by Kate Pogue is funny for both children and adults...Mollicone is an operatic talent...an infallible sense of dramatic pace and tension.” – THE GUARDIAN LONDON “...Mollicone...can’t seem to write a note that doesn’t sing.” — NEWSWEEK

Starbird, animals and robots: lyric sop, mezzo, tenor, 2 bari, bass-bari • fl/picc, cl, hn, vln, vcl, bass, pno, 2 perc

Children of the Sun

Libretto by William Luce Legendary story of Juan Diego’s vision of the Virgin Mary (ca 58 mins).

“A beautiful melodic version of the mystical Guadalupe story.” – audience member Principal Voices: sop, mezzo, tenor, bari. Several small roles cast from chorus • piano accompaniment only

New New Operas Operas from from New New Operas Operas from from New NewOperas Operasfrom from

ROBERT ROBERT PATERSON PATERSON ROBERT ROBERT PATERSON PATERSON ROBERT ROBERTPATERSON PATERSON For Forlarge largeororsmall smallstages stages For Forlarge largeororsmall smallstages stages Designed Designed toor to be beperformed performed asa aset, set,paired, paired, For For large large or small small stages stages as Designed Designedtotobebeperformed performed asasa aset, set,paired, paired, or or as as stand-alone stand-alone works works Designed Designed totobebeperformed performed set,paired, paired, ororasasstand-alone stand-alone works worksasasa aset, Versions Versions for forchamber chamber ensemble ensembleororpiano piano or or as as stand-alone stand-alone works works Versions Versionsfor forchamber chamberensemble ensembleororpiano piano Versions Versionsfor forchamber chamberensemble ensembleororpiano piano


Photo: Photo: Anthony Anthony Popolo Popolo Photo: Photo: Anthony Anthony Popolo Popolo


Photo: Photo: Anthony Anthony Popolo Popolo

Libretto Libretto byby David David Cote Cote Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote 2 2 sopranos, sopranos, 2 2 mezzo-sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenor, tenor, Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote 2 2 sopranos, sopranos, 22 mezzo-sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenor, tenor, countertenor, countertenor, baritone, baritone, bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 50’] 50’] 2 2 sopranos, sopranos, 22 mezzo-sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, tenor, tenor, countertenor, countertenor, baritone, baritone, bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 50’] 50’] countertenor, countertenor, baritone, baritone, bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 50’] 50’]

Photo: Photo: Lisa-Marie Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Mazzucco Photo: Photo: Lisa-Marie Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Mazzucco Photo: Photo: Lisa-Marie Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Mazzucco

Libretto Libretto byby David David Cote Cote Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote [ca. soprano, soprano, tenor, tenor, baritone baritone [ca. 45’] 45’] Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote [ca. soprano, soprano, tenor, tenor, baritone baritone [ca. 45’] 45’] soprano, soprano, tenor, tenor, baritone baritone [ca. [ca. 45’] 45’]

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Libretto Libretto byby David David Cote Cote Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, Libretto Libretto by by David David Cote Cote mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’] mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’] bass-baritone bass-baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’]


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Photo: Photo: Anthony Anthony Popolo Popolo Photo: Photo: Anthony Anthony Popolo Popolo

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THE THE WHOLE WHOLE TRUTH TRUTH THE THE WHOLE WHOLE TRUTH TRUTH THE THEWHOLE WHOLETRUTH TRUTH Libretto Libretto byby Mark Mark Campbell Campbell Libretto Libretto bybaritone by Mark Mark Campbell Campbell soprano, soprano, mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’] Libretto Libretto bybaritone by Mark Mark Campbell Campbell soprano, soprano, mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’] soprano, soprano, mezzo-soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone baritone [ca. [ca. 30’] 30’]

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Boson Early Music Fesival Join us in Boston this June as GRAMMY Award-winning Musical Directors Paul O’Dette and StePhen StubbS and acclaimed Stage Director Gilbert blin lead two gorgeous opera productions as part of North America’s premier festival of Early Music!

Order TOday!

BEMF.org | 617-661-1812

June 9–16, 2019


Fully Staged North American Premiere!

PoRtRAit oF A RoYAl DoMAiN

Lully  Charpentier  Lalande

Chamber Opera

CenTerpieCe Opera

n June 9, 12, 14 & 16, 2019 | Boston

n June 15, 2019 | Boston n June 21 & 22, 2019 | the Berkshires

AUGUST 3 - 25, 2019




by Michael Ching

Sherrill Milnes, Artistic Director Maria Zouves, Executive Director

Dialogues of the Carmelites by Francis Poulenc


The Little Prince by Rachel Portman

Bon Appétit! by Lee Hoiby






O PE R A A M E R I C A A N N UA L SU PP O R T OPERA America is grateful for generous annual support from individuals and institutions that provides the essential foundation for strengthening the opera field. LEADERSHIP CIRCLE

Jill and William Steinberg T


Gregory Carpenter

$100,000 or more

Robert S. and Shoshana B. Tancer T

B E N E FA C T O R ($2,500 or more)

Joyce Castle

The Amphion Foundation

Patrick Corrigan

Bank of America

William T. Weyerhaeuser and Gail T. Weyerhaeuser T

C. Graham Berwind III/ Spring Point Partners T

Carole J. Yaley T

Booth Ferris Foundation

$5,000 or more

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Boosey & Hawkes

National Endowment for the Arts

The Aaron Copland Fund for Music

American Express Foundation Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn T

Susan F. and William C. Morris T New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

Robert B. Downing T Thomas Dreeze and Evans Mirageas

Nathan Leventhal T

Lawrence Edelson and Kevin Kotcher

Pensacola Opera

Michael Egel Kenneth R. Feinberg T

Pamela Rigg

Joan Faber Garry and Louise Frederickson T Catherine French

Jacqueline Sale and Christos Thrappas

Anthony Freud and Colin Ure Margaret Genovese

Marc A. Scorca

Jeanne Goffi-Fynn

Mira J. Spektor Eva and Marc Stern Thomas E. Terry

Jane A. Gross T

Todd Gordon and Susan Feder


Julian Grant and Peter Lighte


Joanna and Peter Townsend

Carol and Warner Henry T

Stephen and Jenny Trampe

The Hyde and Watson Foundation

The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund

Perryn Leech

Annie and Ian Sale

Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts

Frayda B. and George L. Lindemann T

David B. Devan and David A. Dubbeldam

Dr. and Mrs. Joseph S. DeLeese

Richard Russell

Louise Gaylord

Barbara and Robert Glauber

Jake Heggie and Curt Branom

Ricordi New York

Scott H. and Margee M. Filstrup T

Emilie Roy Corey Carol E. and David A. Domina T

Sherwin M. Goldman T

Karin Eames





James E. Johnson and Lucy Rosenberry Jones Sylvia and Paul Lorton Jr. T

A MBASSADOR ($1,000 or more)

$10,000 or more

Beth Madison T

Carla J. Alvarado T

John and Astrid Baumgardner

Michael J. McGinley S

Council for Canadian American Relations

Rick Miners and Jeri Sedlar Missouri Arts Council

Mrs. Margery C. Armstrong, Campbell-Avery Fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation

Ruth Orth and Rick Harper T Mr. and Mrs. E. Lee Perry T

Virginia and Nix Lauridsen T Carol Lazier T Jeanette Lerman-Neubauer T

Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis

Susan Graf Marineau T

The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation

Noémi and Michael Neidorff T

Idee German Schoenheimer

John Nesholm

Marc S. Solomon Family T


Jackie Pyke and Evan Hazell

Barbara Augusta Teichert T

Jane A. and Morton J. Robinson

Melissa A. Young Anonymous

Any and Michael Barr Daniel Biaggi and David Espinosa Susan Bienkowski T Willa and Taylor Bodman T Jim and Phyllis Bratt

Gene and Jean Stark T

New York State Council on the Arts


Denyce Graves-Montgomery, in honor of Ella Christopher Hahn Elba Haid T

John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer T

Beth W. Glynn

Joel Dean Foundation Robert Paul Dean T

Meredith Hathorn Penick T

James A. Feldman



Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman T

Henry Cox and Michael D. Kunkel

Elizabeth and Jean-Marie Eveillard T

$25,000 or more

Wayne C. Davis T

Terry and Catherine Ferguson

Holly and Tom Mayer


Terry Eder and Gene Kaufman T

PRESIDENT’S CIRCLE Jane Bernstein and Bob Ellis

Carol Franc Buck Foundation T

Judith-Ann Corrente

Howard Gilman Foundation

Susan T. Danis

Tassio and Milene Carvalho

The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, on behalf of Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman T

$50,000 or more

Edgar Foster Daniels Foundation T

Drs. Robert N. Braun and Joan A. Friedman T

Jim and Nancy Barton T

The Wallace Foundation

Gordon Mark and Sandra J. Cramolini T

Mr. Kenneth S. Brand T

Charles and Cerise Jacobs Charitable Foundation

Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation

Gus and Mary Blanchard T Larry and Coren Bomback


Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation

Chautauqua Opera

Murray Bring and Kay Delaney T Doris and Michael Bronson Wayne S. Brown and Brenda E. Kee Elaine Budin Anne Burridge and Paul Richichi

Jane Hartley T Mrs. Patricia G. Hecker T, Hecker Family Charitable Foundation of the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation Bruce Hyman and Simone Quarré T Barbara Lynne Jamison Franklin P. Johnson Jr. T JPMorgan Chase Foundation Plato and Dorothy Karayanis T Younghee Kim-Wait/Alexandra William Foundation Dr. Walter L. Kirchner and Mrs. Josephine Gilmore-Kirchner T Joseph H. Kluger and Susan E. Lewis Lori Laitman and Bruce Rosenblum

Lisa Bury 54  O P E R A A M E R I C A

S – Contributed to the Patricia Scimeca Fund for Emerging Artists

T – Trustee at an OPERA America Professional Opera Company

Jay Lesenger and Hudson Talbott

Rhonda and Donald Sweeney T

Rita Elizabeth Horiguchi T

James and Deborah Reda

Mont and Karen Levy

Ryan Taylor

Joel Revzen

Mr. and Mrs. Terrence A. Tobias T

Robert Hull and Myra Barker Hull T J. Peter Hunt

Merrill Rose T

Sally Levy T

Dona D. Vaughn and Ron Raines

Bernice Lindstrom T Ms. Jacqueline Lockwood Joan Lovell and Waldron Kraemer T Jim McCoy T Steve McFarland and Beth Schneider S James A. Merritt

H. Bernt von Ohlen


Mitra Walter and Greg Swinehart

Barbara Bolling Jackson T

Riska Platt Wanago

Michael Jonson

Roger Weitz

Laura Kaminsky and Rebecca Allan

Fang Tao Jiang

Martin, Sara and Samantha Widzer, Seniel Ostrow Foundation


Joe Illick

Robert Kaplan T

Allan S. Reynold Jr. Norman D. Ryan, Schott Music T Sue Ann Sarpy T Kate and Matthew Shilvock Reed W. Smith and Judy Berry Linda P. Spuck T Jane and Dick Stewart Gus and Janet Stuhlreyer

Leonard Michaels

Wilma B. Wilcox

James M. Kendrick, Attorney at Law T

Ronald Michalak and Barbara Frankel, in honor of Wayne Brown T

Lydia Wingate T

Arthur J. Kerr Jr. T

Dr. Judith G. Wolf T

Peter Knell

Chip and Jean Wood

Joel and Sharon Koppelman

Sharon and Fillmore Wood

Karen J. Kubin T

Diane B. Wilsey

James W. Wright

Laurie Lam and Larry Desrochers

Kathleen Wilson T Keith A. Wolfe

Sharon Landis T

Anonymous (2)

Robert Milne T Dr. R. Ranney Mize T Gillian Moran T David Morris and Evelyn Krache Morris Patty Morrison and Gary Tiesenga T Alan E. Muraoka Dr. and Mrs. Eugene Myers T Esther L. Nelson Theodore F. Newlin III


Boyce and Peggy Nute T Timothy O’Leary Nicole Paiement Gloria M. Portela T Dr. Steve and Rochelle Prystowsky Stanley Rabinowitz Carey Ramos and Catrina Bentley T

Bruce Munro Wright Margaret and Angus Wurtele


Francesca Zambello and Faith Gay

A D VO C AT E ($500 or more)

Nina Abrams Fund Cathy Adams T Alan Agle Robin Angly T Susan Shiplett Ashbaker Diane Balfour and Carl Adkins Betsy Shack Barbanell Roger and Julie Baskes T Patricia K. Beggs David Bennett

Nancy and Ed Rosenthal T

Dabby Blatt T

Chandra and Michael Rudd

David J. Bolger T

Nicholas G. Russell

Matthew Buckman

Ian Rye

Todd L. Calvin T

Deborah Sandler

Melia Tourangeau Bradley Vernatter Elisabeth J. Waltz T Gae Whitener

Joan M. Leiman David and Lucy Levy T


Lynn J. Loacker T


Peter Leone T

Phyllis Lusskin Raymond and Nancy Lutz T Judith and Leon Major Susan Malott Raulee Marcus T William Mason Christopher Mattaliano Lynn McBee, in honor of Holly Mayer T David S. McIntosh Paul Meecham Erie Mills and Thomas Rescigno

Domoney Artists Management Dean Artists Management Stingray Classica IATSE Local 210 Opera de Montreal

INSTITUTIONS Azrieli Foundation

Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts Council

Karl and Kristen Mills T

I N D I V I D UA L S $500 or more

Carlos A. Mollura T

Richard Cook

Ned Canty

Colonel David and Clemmer Montague

Larry Desrochers

Olin Sansbury and Mary Ann Claud

Ellie Caulkins T

Andrew Morgan

Marshall J. Cohen T

Alice Ames Morison and Dr. Oakley Hewitt T

Ian Rye

Melody and Warren Schubert T

Nelson Claytor T

Jeanette Jung Segel T Susan and Jeremy Shamos T John Shannon and Jan Serr T Marilyn Shapiro T Yuval Sharon Cherie and Bob Shreck T

Jamie and Bob Craft T Don Dagenais Bruce Donnell Anne C. Ewers Jill and Charles Fischer Foundation T

Zizi Mueller and John LaCava Patrick Mühlen-Schulte Lee Anne Myslewski Karen Kriendler Nelson David and Sheila Ormesher T Bill Palant, Étude Arts

Simon Charitable Foundation/ Eve and Fred Simon

Henry A. Garrity T

Pelham G. Pearce Jr. Frederick W. Peters T

Kathryn Smith

Susan and Mark Geyer T David Gockley

Judy and Jim Pohlman

Robert and Dorothy Haley T

William Powers and Sari Gruber

Dr. Robert and Suzanne Hasl T

Elkhanah Pulitzer

Eugenie Havemeyer

Rajika and Anupam Puri

Whit and Gretchen Smith T Brett A. Stover Steve Suellentrop T

Christina Loewen

Up to $499 Kim Gaynor Margaret Genovese Cheryl Hickman Ha Neul Kim Michael Morres Alexander Neef Robert Vineberg James W. Wright Tom Wright Tim Yakimec Anonymous

These listings acknowledge all contributions made to OPERA America during the 12-month period from March 1, 2018, to February 28, 2019. If your name has been omitted or misprinted, kindly notify Dan Cooperman, director of development and membership, at S P R I N G 2 0 1 9   55 DCooperman@operaamerica.org or 646.699.5266.

6TH ANNUAL VOCAL COMPETITION JUNE 14-15, 2019 Join us at the JTVA Competition to hear some of the world’s most talented young singers as they compete for the top prize Holy Names University Oakland, CA

Tickets & info: www.jamestolandvocalarts.org


Benjamin BRITTEN

Myfanwy PIPER


may 9-12, 2019 visit lotny.org

OwenWingrave_OperaAmerica_� pg horiz_v2_FINAL.indd 1












3/1/19 9:13 AM
















“27” by Gordon & Vavrek Witty Contemporary Opera April 25, 26, 28 & May 2,4,5 L’elsir d’Amore Cockroach Theatre Donizetti’s Comic Delight June 7 and 9 Judy Bayley Theatre





















OPERA America’s Business Members serve the North American opera field by providing key resources and services to artists, administrators and trustees. Business Members invite inquiries at the contact information provided. A D M I N I S T R AT I V E SERVICES AGMA Health and Retirement Funds agmaretirement-health.org 212.765.3664 DCM, Telemarketing and Telefundraising for the Arts dcmtm.com 718.488.5577 The Opera Stage theoperastage.com +46.738777631 SD&A Teleservices Inc. sdats.com 310.693.2900 A R T I S T M A N AG E M E N T ADA Artist Management ada-artists.com 212.567.7670 Athlone Artists athloneartists.com 617.331.9369 Barrett Artists barrettartists.com 212.245.3530 Bel Canto Global Arts, LLC belcantoglobalarts.com 718.772.4024 Black Tea Music blackteamusic.com 917.363.9501 Cadenza Artists cadenzaartists.com 310.896.8527 Cameral Music Management cameralmusic.com 617.285.0448 Columbia Artists columbia-artists.com 212.841.9680 58  O P E R A A M E R I C A

Étude Arts etudearts.com 929.777.0775 Fletcher Artist Management fletcherartists.com 347.875.7146 Guy Barzilay Artists, Inc. guybarzilayartists.com 212.741.6118 H&K Arts Management Associates handkarts.com 917.679.0690 IMG Artists, LLC imgartists.com 212.994.3500 Insignia Artists Management insigniaartists.com 917.525.2011 Jeffrey James Arts Consulting jamesarts.com 516.586.3433 Ken Benson Artists kenbensonartists.com 212.280.2796 L2 Artists LLC l2artists.com 646.926.0522 Matthew Laifer Artists Management laiferart.com 212.580.9426 Mirshak Artists Management mirshakartists.com 917.282.0687 Opus 3 Artists opus3artists.com 212.584.7500 Pinnacle Arts Management, Inc. pinnaclearts.com 212.397.7915 Quarterline Artist Management quarterlineartists.com 802.638.9064 Randsman Artists Management randsman.com 212.244.5874

Robert Gilder and Co. International Artist Management robert-gilder.com +44 (0)20.8286.6218 Schwalbe & Partners schwalbeandpartners.com 212.935.5650 Stratagem Artists stratagemartists.com 646.847.9924 Uzan International Artists uzanartists.com 212.969.1797 Vocal Artists Management vocalartistsmgmt.com 925.954.8164

Keys to Success keystosuccessnyc.com 718.614.4842 Libero Canto Singing, LLC liberocanto.org 212.375.9682 Manhattan Concert Productions mcp.us 212.279.1147 ext. 21 NYIOP International nyiop.com 646.319.9486 Silver Music silvermusic.org 212.600.0212


Studio D’Ottavio studiodottavio.com 856.305.9140

American Guild of Musical Artists musicalartists.org 212.265.3687

United Scenic Artists, Local 829 usa829.org 212.581.0300

Balance Arts Center balanceartscenter.com 646.526.6515

The Voice Studio Atlanta thevoicestudioatlanta.com 404.556.5612

Byrd Hoffman Water Mill Foundation watermillcenter.org 212.253.7484 City Strings & Piano citystrings.com 646.580.9099 Connect the Arts connectthearts.com 530.604.1431 DEA Music and Art Studio deamusicandart.com 718.370.7733 DictionBuddy LLC dictionbuddy.com 914.310.2967 Dreambridge Entertainment dreambridgeinc.com 646.413.5061 Flute Center of New York flutes4sale.com 212.307.9737 Gledhill Arts Collective gledhillartscollective.com 917.378.3464

CO N S U LT I N G Arts Consulting Group artsconsulting.com 888.234.4236 Blueprint Advancement blueprintadvancement.com 312.757.5934 BSPOKE Brand Consultancy bspokebranding.com 650.315.7513 Capes Coaching capesco.com 212.777.2270 Catherine French Group catherinefrenchgroup.com 202.965.0999 Fisher Dachs Associates Inc. (FDA) fda-online.com 212.691.3020 Genovese Vanderhoof & Associates genovesevanderhoof.com 416.340.2762

Robert F. Mahoney & Associates rfma.com 303.443.2213 The Rome Group theromegroup.com 314.533.0930 The TAI Group thetaigroup.com 212.924.8888 TRG Arts trgarts.com 719.433.0359 I T/S O F T WA R E SERVICES InstantEncore instantencore.com 858.366.4586 PatronManager patronmanager.com 212.271.4328 Tessitura Network tessituranetwork.com 888.643.5778 Vatic vatic.tech 469.688.0162 MUSIC PUBLISHING Boosey & Hawkes Inc. boosey.com 203.247.1349

C.F. Peters Corporation edition-peters.com 718.416.7822

Dallas Stage Scenery Inc. dallasstage.com 214.821.0002

Soundmirror Inc. soundmirror.com 617.522.1412

ECS Publishing ecspublishing.com 800.647.2117

G&W Entertainment LLC gandwllc.com 917.563.9830

G. Schirmer, Inc./Associated Music Publishers/Music Sales Classical musicsalesclassical.com 212.254.2100

JAGS Consulting Ltd. jagsconsulting.com 310.454.2834

Stivanello Costume Company, Inc. stivanello.com 718.651.7715

Peermusic Classical peermusicclassical.com 212.265.3910 ext. 116 Ricordi New York umpgclassical.com 212.461.6950 Schott Music Corp. & European American Music Dist. Co. schott-music.com eamdc.com 212.461.6940 Theodore Presser Company presser.com 610.592.1222 PRODUCTION SERVICES Adirondack Studios adkstudios.com 518.638.8000 Cirque du Soleil cirquedusoleil.com

Malabar Costumes malabar.net 416.534.0466 MidAmerica Productions midamerica-music.com 212.239.0205 Opera Titles by Sonya Friedman operatitles.net 917.804.1870 Ravenswood Studio Inc. ravenswoodstudio.com 847.679.2800 Reel Captivation LLC reelcaptivation.com 630.636.0464 Riverstreet Entertainment Corporation 403.540.7791 Schuler Shook schulershook.com showHive, Inc. showhive.com 212.365.4154

Threshold Acoustics thresholdacoustics.com 312.386.1400 Work Light Productions worklightparoductions.com 908.739.0510 T R AV E L A N D T O U R I S M Act 1 Tours act1tours.com 646.918.7401 The Offstage Group theoffstagegroup.com 212.878.3620 OTHER McClure Productions, Inc. artforbrains.com 585.243.0324 YOGAVOICE theyogavoice.com 484.832.3002 Listing current as of March 1, 2019. For information on becoming a Business Member of OPERA America, visit operaamerica.org/Business or call 646.699.5237.

S P R I N G 2 0 1 9   59

Opera Memphis Production Rentals World-class design to fit any budget Full Productions Madama Butterfly The Magic Flute The Mikado

Costumes La Bohème Pirates of Penzance Don Giovanni The Marriage of Figaro Rigoletto Pagliacci And more!

Check out the full inventory at www.operamemphis.org/production-rentals

Sean Panikkar as Tamino and Chelsea Miller as The Queen of the Night Photo Credit: Joey Miller

2019-20 season

The Marriage of Figaro All is Calm The Daughter of the Regiment Die Fledermaus The Very Last Green Thing






October 2019

December 2019

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

New Look



Same Mission


Supporting, Recognizing & Advocating for Opera Volunteerism Join Us! OperaVolunteers.org


Featuring 50+ sessions and presentations on artistic trends, civic practice, fundraising strategy, governance practices, audience research, diversity and equity initiatives, and more. Plus 3 mainstage performances at San Francisco Opera and a variety of special networking events.



OPER A AMERICA STAFF PRESIDENT’S OFFICE Marc A. Scorca, President/CEO Kurt Howard, Director of Programs and Services Meghan Taylor, Executive Assistant


PROGR AMS Laura Lee Everett, Chief Programs Officer Claire Gohorel, Grantmaking Manager Gina Hays, Artistic Services Manager Brenda Huggins, Learning and Leadership Manager Jamelah Rimawi, Events Manager

SEASON Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s


JAN 26 – FEB 9 Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s

A DVA N C E M E N T Dan Cooperman, Chief Advancement Officer Peiharn Chen, Development Coordinator Fred Cohn, Editor, Opera America Vincent Covatto, Senior Manager, Organizational Membership Kevin O’Hora, Institutional Giving Manager Rolando G. Reyes Mir, Director of Marketing and Communications Emma Storm, Digital Marketing Manager Melissa Walters, Individual Giving and Membership Manager Nicholas Wise, Communications and Publications Manager


MAR 16 – 30 Jules Massenet’s


APR 27 – MAY 11

G OV E R N M E N T A F FA I R S Brandon Gryde, Director of Government Affairs and EDI Officer I N FO R M AT I O N T E C H N O L O G Y AND RESEARCH Kevin M. Sobczyk, CIO Alex Ganes, Research Manager Luis Flores, Technical Support Manager F I N A N C E A N D O PE R AT I O N S Michael Mandic, Director of Finance and Operations Susan Schultz, Controller N AT I O N A L O PE R A C E N T E R Christian De Gré, Director, Opera Center Robert Colon, Customer Service Supervisor Noelle Deutsch, Opera Center Manager Karen Lackey, Customer Service Supervisor Brian Mextorf, Opera Center Booking Coordinator Jude Thomas, Assistant Facilities and Technical Manager Matthew Wilson, Opera Center Facilities and Technical Manager CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSOCIATES: Sydney Anderson, Lisa Barone, Angela Candela, Preston Grover, Celeste Morales, Katia Shevel, Amber Treadway, Jenna Zhu



800.741.1010 MON - FRI, 10AM TO 4PM

62  O P E1R A A M E R I C A 2018-19_SeasonAd_OM.indd

12/5/18 6:11 PM

American Lyric Theater 8 American Opera Projects 12, 22, 36 Annapolis Opera Company 12 Ardea Arts 36 Arizona Opera 44 Austin Opera 38 Beth Morrison Projects 36, 44 Boston Lyric Opera 29, 36 Charlottesville Opera 12 Chicago Opera Theater 12, 34, 38 Cincinnati Opera 12, 22, 36 The Dallas Opera 13 El Paso Opera 44 Experiments in Opera 12 Festival Opera 12 Florentine Opera Company 12 Florida Grand Opera 22

Fort Worth Opera 22 The Glimmerglass Opera 29 Heartbeat Opera 29 Houston Grand Opera 12, 13, 35, 38 Kentucky Opera 12 Los Angeles Opera 22, 20 Lyric Opera of Chicago 14, 22, 36, 38 The Metropolitan Opera 8, 12, 13, 14, 34, 44 Minnesota Opera 14, 20, 36, 38 Nashville Opera 22 Opera Columbus 46 Opera Cultura 44 Opera Memphis 40, 44 Opera Naples 12 Opera North 13 Opera Omaha 12, 38 Opera Parallèle 46 Opera Philadelphia 23

Opera Roanoke 12 Opera Saratoga 12 Opera Theatre of Saint Louis 8, 12, 30, 36 Pacific Opera Victoria 36 Pittsburgh Festival Opera 12 PROTOTYPE 22, 46 San Francisco Opera 12, 14, 38 The Santa Fe Opera 12, 14, 35, 38, 40 Sarasota Opera 36 Seattle Opera 8, 12, 44 Shreveport Opera 22 Tapestry Opera 36 Tri-Cities Opera 14 Utah Symphony | Utah Opera 8 Vancouver Opera 6, 40 Washington National Opera 29 Wichita Grand Opera 12




Eve Queler


started playing the Mason and Hamlin baby grand piano in the living room of our Bronx apartment as soon as my arms were long enough to reach the keyboard. My father would play the Chinese Dance from The Nutcracker, and I would sit next to him and do the two-note figure in the bass line. Eventually, I moved on to Beethoven sonatas and Chopin nocturnes. My father had a Caruso record, but opera wasn’t really a part of our lives. Still, I fell in love with the singing voice early on. At a school assembly when I was in the fifth grade, a girl from the class ahead of me sang a song called “Waiting.” I was thunderstruck: This was a voice! Her name was Roberta Peterman, and I brought her home to sing for my mother, accompanying her myself. My mother started to cry, and told her, “Someday you’ll sing at the Metropolitan Opera!” She was right: My schoolmate dropped the “man” from her last name and, as Roberta Peters, made her Met debut just 10 years later. She already had her grown-up voice when she was 10. When I was 12, I auditioned for the great piano teacher Isabelle Vengerova. She agreed to take me as a student, but only if I moved to Philadelphia and studied with her at the Curtis Institute. My mother wouldn’t let me go, which is why I 64  O P E R A A M E R I C A

ended up attending the High School of Music and Art — now LaGuardia High School — in Manhattan. I was bitterly disappointed, but I can see now that it was a blessing in disguise. I would not have followed my path to conducting if I had trained with Madame Vengerova; instead, I would have ended up teaching piano somewhere. All the pianists at Music and Art had to learn how to play an orchestral instrument, and I chose the French horn. I learned so much from that. A note on a piano, no matter what you do, will fade after you hit it. The horn is more like the human voice: You can sustain a note and change its color. I was third horn in the school orchestra, which gave me a real sense of what playing in an orchestra is like. When I conduct, I probably favor the horn section: I give them a lot of love. We were a Wagner and Brahms school. Our school song was set to Brahms’ first symphony; our graduation march was the Meistersinger overture. That’s why I chose Tristan und Isolde as my first opera, with Melchior and Traubel at the Met. I became hooked, sometimes watching from standing room, and sometimes listening from a score desk, which Music and Art students could do for free. You couldn’t see the stage, but you could see the conductor and follow along with the score. We had been taught to look down on Italian opera as just so much oompah-pah, but when I first heard La traviata, I realized, “This is also beautiful.” I ended up making bel canto one of my specialties as a conductor. I started listening to the Saturday afternoon broadcasts religiously. One afternoon my high school boyfriend came by to listen to Carmen with me, but he didn’t understand that “listen,” not talk, was what I intended to do. He stormed out of the apartment, shouting, “Give this up and marry me!” Needless to say, I decided otherwise. I eventually went to City College of New York, where I met Stanley Queler the very first day of freshman year. I married him in 1951 and for six wonderful decades he gave me love and supported my career, every step of the way. Throughout everything, I’ve retained my passion for the singing voice. In the first years of Opera Orchestra of New York, I worked with Nicolai Gedda, Richard Tucker, Plácido Domingo and Montserrat Caballé — all of them, voices. I had the same reaction when I first heard Renée Fleming and Aprile Millo and, more recently, the young Serbian bass Sava Vemic. Listening to Sava, I had the same sensation I had with Roberta Peterman 75 years before. I know when I’m hearing a voice¸ and every time, I just go ape. Eve Queler is the founder and artistic director of Opera Orchestra of New York. She has just published her memoir A View from the Podium (see p. 50).



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Photo: Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Rusalka/Todd Rosenberg.

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