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Ariadne auf Naxos

Ariadne auf Naxos

Richard Strauss’ tour de force, Ariadne auf Naxos, tells the story of a wealthy man who has assembled two groups of performers in his home – a group of opera singers preparing for a serious opera, and a troupe of comedians scheduled to perform an Italian comedy. As time grows short, the patron demands that the opera and the comedy be performed together, leading to an array of unexpected – and ultimately very satisfying – results.

Celebrated director Francesca Zambello’s production debuted at the Glimmerglass Festival, and re-imagines the playful and passionate tale in a rural barn setting. Glorious music and vocal fireworks from an ensemble cast led by soprano Alexandra LoBianco, tenor Jonathan Burton, soprano Jeni Houser, and mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano bring this romantic tale of backstage hijinks to life.

Cast

Alexandra LoBianco
Prima Donna/Ariadne

Jonathan Burton
Tenor/Bacchus

Jeni Houser
Zerbinetta

Aleksandra Romano
Composer

Robert Faires
Master of the Estate

David Small
Agent

Doug Jones
Dance Captain

Andrew Lovato
Harlekin

Matthew Scollin
Truffaldin

Sara Ann Mitchell
Najade

Claudia Chapa
Dryade

Megan Pachecano
Echo


Production

RICHARD STRAUSS Music

HUGO VON HOFMANNSTAHL Libretto

Richard Buckley Conductor

Jennifer Williams Stage Director

Adapted and Translated by Kelley Rourke

Sung in German and English  dialogue, with English supertitles.

 


Ariadne auf Naxos

A lavish party is being planned at a historic homestead. Zerbinetta and her troupe of burlesque entertainers have been engaged to amuse the guests. In addition, a young composer has been commissioned to provide a new opera for the evening. The composer, appalled to learn that the opera’s premiere will share a bill with the burlesque routine, is momentarily distracted by a glimpse of the lovely Zerbinetta. Both groups of artists are shocked when the manager of the estate enters and demands that the two entertainments be combined.

The operatic artists take the stage first, presenting Ariadne and three nymphs on the isle of Naxos. There, the princess, who has been abandoned by Theseus, waits for Death. Zerbinetta and her troupe try to cheer Ariadne with song and dance, but she is not moved. When the two women are alone, Zerbinetta encourages Ariadne to find a new lover. The princess ignores Zerbinetta; the men of the burlesque troupe join the leader to play comic scene. Ariadne’s attendants announce a visitor to the island. Ariadne believes that Death has finally come for her, but it is Bacchus who appears. Mistaking the god for Theseus, she surrenders to him and is transfigured.

Kathleen Kelly

Carmen

Carmen

Bizet’s sizzlingly hot opera tells the tale of one of the most dynamic characters in all of the operatic canon, Carmen.  It also contains some of its most beloved and well known music, including the Toreador Song and the Habanera.

A new, gritty, and mesmerizing production places the classic story of love, betrayal, and ultimately death, in 1970. Mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy, praised for her “dark, sensuous mezzo and charming stage presence” (Opera Magazine), stars in the provocatively alluring title role alongside tenor Chad Shelton, the naïve soldier who succumbs to her advances to tragic end. Baritone Norman Garrett will storm the stage in his Austin Opera debut as the Toreador.

Cast

Sandra Piques Eddy          
Carmen

Chad Shelton      
Don José

Norman Garrett*    
Escamillo

Heather Phillips*        
Micaela

Christian Zaremba*         
Zuniga

Andrew Lovato           
El Dancaïro

John McVeigh            
El Remendado

Julia Taylor            
Frasquita

Samantha Gossard*           
Mercédès

*Austin Opera debut


Production

GEORGES BIZET Music

HENRY MEILHAC and LUDOVIC HALÉVY Libretto

Richard Buckley Conductor

Michael Cavanaugh Stage Director

Based on the novel of the same name by Prosper Mérimée.

The scenery and costumes for this production were constructed at the Minnesota Opera Shops and are jointly owned by Minnesota Opera and Austin Opera

Sung in French with English  dialogue, with English supertitles.

 


A “Boogie Nights” Carmen

After Franco’s death, a dangerous, intoxicating era of freedom.

In the fall of 1975, Spain was released from 40 years of oppressive rule by the dictator Francisco Franco. There was a great deal of upheaval as Spanish society came to terms with its re-entry into the modern world.  The ascent of King Juan Carlos brought relaxed restrictions on travel, trade, standards of morality and artistic freedom. This was thrilling to some and horrifying to others. There were protests, an increase in crime, and acts of terrorism as many in the population fought to retain the old ways. But there was also a massive outpouring of relief and joy and exhilaration, as an energized people celebrated their newfound liberty.

Setting our production in and around Seville 40-odd years ago is a perfect fit for this beautiful, powerful, and harrowing opera. The mid-70s was the heart of the sexual revolution, when many in the western world were embracing romantic freedoms. Spain, however, was still very much stuck in an era of repressive misogyny. Carmen herself perfectly personifies the new modern Spanish woman, determined to live and love on her own terms in spite of those set against her. Meanwhile, the military and police struggled with losing their grip on civil order. This is paralleled by Don Jose’s spiral into derangement, brought on by his inability to accept the freedom of the woman he professes to love.

Bullfighting and cigarette smoking, both important aspects of the narrative, were still hugely popular in Spain at that time. Smuggling, too, was an enormous part of the flourishing underground economy. It was an era of wonderfully colorful fashion as well, of course, and the clothing styles of the ‘70s; equal parts vibrant, sensual, and over-the-top, are matched by the mix of musical styles in the opera. Much of this opera’s great popularity stems from its combination of light, fun opéra-comique and dark, dangerous verismo.

Thanks to the intense, often gritty films of ‘70s, such as The French Connection and Taxi Driver, and, more recently, the evocations of the same era such as American Hustle and Boogie Nights, we think of the culture of that time in the same way as so many view this opera, as a uniquely powerful combination of kitschy, sexy, and dangerous.

The scenic elements of our production embrace the flavor of the era as well. The architecture is stylized, with clean, spare lines to emphasize the severe psychology of the piece. There are tall towers and curved walls, suggestive of a prison coming apart, the clash of femininity and machismo, the push and pull of order and freedom. As the story progresses, a rough, natural form emerges, hinting at the unpredictable danger to come. And always there is color, with bold statements in deep red, blue, and yellow.

There is a great nostalgia for the 1970’s these days; it seems to have been a time of energy, excitement and possibility. In newly free Spain, particularly, newfound notions of personal freedom were seen as exhilarating, intoxicating, and often scary. Just as in the opera itself, however, while some people embraced their freedoms, some resisted them, and others – tragically – were driven to acts of desperation and horror.

Michael Cavanagh

La Traviata

LaTraviata

Verdi’s tragic heroine takes center stage in one of the most frequently performed operas of all time – La traviata.

Violetta Valery, a courtesan who knows she will soon die, falls in love with the handsome Alfredo, but – as often happens in opera – their happiness cannot last. Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson, who took first place in 2015 in the Metropolitan Opera’s National Council Auditions, takes the stage as Violetta. American tenor René Barbera (who delighted audiences in Austin Opera productions of The Daughter of the Regiment and The Elixir of Love) will make his role debut as Alfredo.  Michael Chioldi performs the pivotal role of Alfredo’s father, Giorgio.

Cast

Marina Costa-Jackson*
Violetta Valéry

René Barbera
Alfredo Germont

Michael Chioldi
Giorgio Germont

Nicholas Nestorak*
Gastone de Letorières

André Courville*     
Baron Douphol

Matthew Treviño   
Doctor Grenville

Andrew Lovato
Marchese d’Obigny

*Austin Opera Debut


Production

GIUSEPPE VERDI Music

FRANCESCO MARIA PIAVE Libretto

Richard Buckley Conductor

David Lefkowich Stage Director

Text based on Alexandre Dumas’ “La Dame aux Camélias”

Sung in Italian, with English supertitles.

 


La tráviata

Act I A salon in Violetta’s house in Paris, around August 1850.

Welcoming her guests to a party, Violetta remarks that pleasure is a drug that makes life bearable. Among the arrivals are Baron Douphol, Violetta’s current lover, who keeps her; Flora Bervoix, a friend of Violetta’s; and Gastone, a young man-about-town. Gastone introduces Alfredo Germont, who has admired Violetta from a distance. To make the tongue-tied young man feel at home, Violetta pours wine, and he responds by proposing a toast (brindisi: Libiamo ne’ lieti calici), in which Violetta and the others join. It is evident from his verses that Alfedo takes love more seriously than Violetta. A dance orchestra strikes up in the next room, and the guests start for the door, but Violetta feels faint and stays behind. Everyone leaves except Alfredo, who tells her he is deeply concerned. She cuts off his declaration (Un difelice, eterea) with frank advice: romance is not for her, and he should look for someone else. When he starts to leave, she hands him a camelia and asks him to visit her when it has wilted—the next day. Overjoyed, he kisses her hand and goes. The other guests return, saying daybreak is near and thanking their hostess. When they have gone, Violetta questions herself about the strange feelings aroused by Alfredo (A’h, fors’è lui): does she dare allow herself a serious affair? After pondering the idea, she rejects it (Sempre Libera) declaring that the giddy whirl must continue—even though Alfredo, outside repeats his words of love.

ACT II A country house near Paris, the following January.

In the five months that have elapsed since the time of Act I, Violetta has gone to live with Alfredo outside the city. Alfredo enters the drawing room and rhapsodizes about his happiness (De’ miei bollenti spiriti). When Annina, Violetta’s maid, returns from a trip to Paris, Alfredo learns that her mission was to sell her mistress’ belongings: life in the country is expensive. The young man resolves to get money of his own to set the situation right (Oh mio rimorso!). He has no sooner left than Violetta appears, asking Annina where he went. The news that he is en route to Paris strikes her as odd, but she is interrupted by the servant Giuseppe, who hands her an invitation to a party at Flora’s that evening. Having renounced her old life, Violetta puts it aside. Giuseppe then announces a gentleman caller, and Violetta, thinking it is someone on business, asks for him to be shown in. The visitor turns out to be Alfredo’s father, who starts to address her harshly, taking her for a common fortune hunter. He is impressed at once, however, by her ladylike manners. To clear up the question of money, she shows him receipts from the sale of her belongings. Aware that he is dealing with a woman of dignity and character, the elder Germont asks rhetorically why her past should condemn her. She replies that her love for Alredo has reemed her, but Germont says he must ask a sacrifice. Because the scandal of the liaison makes it impossible for his daughter to make a respectable marriage (Pure Sicome un angelo), Germont is sympathetic but persists, reminding Violetta that she is young and can still make a life for herself, and that Alfredo will eventually tire of her (Un di, quando le venere). She finally gives in, asking Germont to tell his daughter of the sacrifice made for her sake (duet: Ah! Dite alla giovine). After exchanging farewells with Germont, she decides she can only leave, sending Annina with a note accepting Flora’s invitation. As she writes to Alfredo, however, he suddenly appears. She tries in vain to conceal her agitation, begging Alfredo to love her (Amani, Alfredo) as much as she loves him, then saying good-bye. Only when the gardener appears with Violetta’s farewell note does he realize that she has left him. His father reappears and tries to comfort him, reminding him of their native Provence (Di Provenza il mar). Too distraught to listen, Alfredo believes that Violetta has gone back to Baron Douphol; Germont renews his plea, promising forgiveness if Alfredo returns home (No, non undrai rimproveri). Instead, Alfredo sees Flora’s invitation on the table and rushes to follow her to the party. When Flora, mentions to her protector, the Marquis d’Obigny, that she has invited Alfredo and Violetta, he says that the lovers have separated. Women dressed as Gypsies read fortunes (chorus: Noi siamo zingarelle), and Gastone and group of men dressed as matadors hail the prowess of a bullfighter (È Piquillo un bel gagliardo). Alfredo enters alone and starts gambling with forced nouchalance. When Violetta appears on the arm of the baron, the letter orders her not to speak to Alfredo. Tension builds as Alfredo wins at cards and the Baron challenges him by joining the game (ensemble: Qui desiata giungi).  Aflredo’s winning streak continues until dinner is announced. Violetta stays behind as the others go into the next room; Alfredo appears, in reply to her summons. Warning him of the Baron’s singer, she succeeds only in intensifying his jealousy; Alfredo forces her to say that she loves the Baron. Then he calls the others in to witness the fact that he is repaying Violetta the money she squandered on him (Ogni sun aver tal femmina), throwing his winning at her feet. Germont unexpectedly enters, denouncing his son’s unworthy behavior (Di Sprezzo degno). The Baron challenges Alfredo to a duel, and Violetta, near fainting, tells Alfredo she does not deserve his contempt.

ACT III Violetta’s bedroom in Paris, a month later.

Abandoned by Alfredo, the Baron, and almost out of money, Violetta lies dying of tuberculosis. Only the faithful Annina and a friend, Dr. Grenvil, still attend to her. The doctor tells Annina that her mistress cannot last much longer. Sending Annina out to give a few coins to the poor at Carnival time, she rereads a letter from Germont (Teneste la promessa) saying that Alfredo wounded the Baron and left the country but will return to ask her forgiveness, having leraned the truth about her sacrifice. Looking in a mirror, she sees how changed she is by illness and realizes that it is too late, bidding farewell to her past dreams (Addio del passato). As merrymakers are heard outside, Annina announces that Alfredo is on his way. When he arrives, the lovers dream briefly of a new life away from the city (duet: Parigi, o cara), but Violetta falters and cries out against approaching death (Gran Dio! Morir sì giovine). Annina goes to fetch the doctor, who returns with the repentant Germont. Violetta gives Alfredo a miniature portrait of herself as she once was (Ensemble: Prendi, quest’è l’immagine) and urges him to marry and be happy one day. Then, feeling her pain stop, she rises as if reborn, only to fall dead.

2017 Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction

Austin Opera Guild’s Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction is an evening you don’t want to miss! This year’s elegantly themed “Black & White” event will feature amazing live and silent auctions, a gourmet four-course dinner by Executive Chef Elmar Prambs with wine pairings by Twin Liquors, a special performance by stunning soprano Karen Slack (last year’s Aida), and, back again by popular demand, dancing to the music of Reunion! Harvey Kronberg will be auctioneer, and Austin personality and former newscaster Ron Oliveira will join us as emcee.

SERENATA, An Elegant Evening in Black & White

Four Seasons Hotel Austin
Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Proceeds benefit Austin Opera, ensuring that the tradition of world-class opera continues to thrive in the live music capital of the world.

For invitation recognition, please RSVP by December 9, 2016. 

For additional information or to make your reservation, call 512-610-7668 or email abonnici@austinopera.org.

TABLE SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

UNDERWRITER’S TABLE – $25,000

• One Underwriters’s Table with seating for 10 guests
NEW BENEFIT! A Walk On Role in an Austin Opera production next season — your chance to be part of AO history, surrounded by magnificent singers, musicians and artists in the experience of a lifetime!
• One complimentary room at the Four Seasons Hotel Austin for the night of the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Prominent recognition in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction invitation and program
• Recognition in Austin Opera performance programs and on AustinOpera.org
• A full page listing or advertisement in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction program
• Specially selected wines at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction for you and your guests
• Invitation for 10 guests to attend an exclusive VIP reception with soprano Karen Slack prior to the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Complimentary valet parking for you and your guests
• Recognition on Live Auction screens during the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Verbal acknowledgment and prominent recognition in signage at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction

PREMIER TABLE SPONSOR – $10,000

• One Premier Table with seating for 10 guests
• 
Prominent recognition in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction invitation and program
• Recognition in Austin Opera performance programs and the Austin Opera website
• A half page listing or advertisement in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction program
• Specially selected wines at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction for you and your guests
• Invitation for 10 guests to attend an exclusive VIP reception with soprano Karen Slack prior to the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Complimentary valet parking for you and your guests
• Recognition on Live Auction screens during the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Verbal acknowledgment and prominent recognition in signage at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction

PREMIUM TABLE SPONSOR – $7,500

• One Premium Table with seating for 10 guests
• Recognition in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction invitation and program
• Invitation for 10 guests to attend an exclusive VIP reception with soprano Karen Slack prior to the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Complimentary valet parking for you and your guests
• Recognition on Live Auction screens during the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Verbal acknowledgment and recognition in signage at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction

PRIME TABLE SPONSOR – $5,000

• One Prime Table with seating for 10 guests
• Recognition in the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction invitation and program
• Complimentary valet parking for you and your guests
• Recognition on Live Auction screens during the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Recognition in signage at the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction

INDIVIDUAL TABLE SPONSOR – $3,000

SPECIAL OFFER: Purchase your table by December 31, 2016, and pay $2,500.
• One Individual Table with seating for 10 guests
• Table signage

For invitation recognition, please RSVP by December 9, 2016. 

For additional information or early reservations, call 512-610-7668 or email abonnici@austinopera.org.

INDIVIDUAL TICKET OPPORTUNITIES

For additional information or to make a reservation now, call 512-610-7668 or email abonnici@austinopera.org.

PREMIER RESERVATIONS – $1,000 per person

• Premier Seating
• Invitation to an exclusive VIP reception with soprano Karen Slack prior to the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• 
Recognition on the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction invitation
• Recognition on the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction program
• Complimentary valet parking

PREMIUM RESERVATIONS – $750 per person

• Premium Seating
• Invitation to an exclusive VIP reception with soprano Karen Slack prior to the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction
• Recognition on the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction program
• Complimentary valet parking

PRIME RESERVATIONS – $500 per person

• Prime Seating
• Recognition on the Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction program
• Complimentary valet parking

INDIVIDUAL RESERVATIONS – $300 per person

• Reserved Seating

For invitation recognition, please RSVP by December 9, 2016. 

For additional information or early reservations, call 512.610.7668 or email abonnici@austinopera.org.

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Madame Butterfly


The deepest love, the deepest betrayal. Austin Opera’s 30th Season concludes with what is undoubtedly one of the most beloved operas of all time. Puccini’s heartbreakingly beautiful Madame Butterfly tells the tale of an American naval officer, Pinkerton (Dominick Chenes), who recklessly takes Cio-Cio-San (Yunah Lee) — Butterfly — as his bride, knowing that their time together in Japan will be fleeting.

Cio-Cio-San clings to her love for Pinkerton as she awaits his return to Japan… a return that she refuses to acknowledge may never come. The depth and purity of Cio-Cio-San’s love — and her inevitable and tragic end — is brought into stunning relief against Puccini’s unforgettable score.

Garnett Bruce leads his 10th production of Madame Butterfly, a hallmark opera of his directorial career.

Madame Butterfly features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An opera in two acts, sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Cast

Cio-Cio-San — Yunah Lee*, soprano
Pinkerton — Dominick Chenes, tenor
Sharpless — Michael Chioldi, baritone
Suzuki — Mika Shigematsu*mezzo-soprano

*Austin Opera debut


Production

Composer: Giacomo Puccini | Libretto: Luigi Illica, Giuseppe Giacosa | Sung in Italian, with English supertitles.

Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Garnett Bruce | Chorus Master: Julian Reed


Act I

Japan, early 20th century. Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton of the U.S. Navy inspects a house overlooking Nagasaki harbor that he is leasing from Goro, a marriage broker, who has also arranged his union with Cio-Cio-San, known as Madame Butterfly. The American consul Sharpless arrives for the wedding ceremony and Pinkerton describes to him his philosophy of the fearless Yankee roaming the world in search of experience and pleasure. Sharpless warns him that the girl may view the marriage more seriously.  After the formal introduction, Cio-Cio-San explains that her family was once prominent but lost its position, and she has had to earn her living as a geisha. The Imperial Commissioner reads the marriage agreement, and the relatives congratulate the couple. Butterfly’s uncle, the Bonze (a priest)interrupts the festivities. He curses the girl for rejecting her ancestral religion and the shocked relatives denounce Cio-Cio-San as they swiftly leave the house. Pinkerton tries to console his “Butterfly” as they are left alone on their wedding night.

Act II

Three years have passed, and Cio-Cio-San awaits her husband’s return. Suzuki prays for help, but is berated for believing in Japanese gods rather than in Pinkerton’s promise to return “when the robins  nest again.” Sharpless appears with a letter from Pinkerton, but before he can read it, Goro arrives with the latest potential husband: Prince Yamadori. Butterfly politely insists she is not available for marriage—her American husband has not deserted her. Sharpless attempts to read Pinkerton’s letter but is repeatedly interrupted. Giving up, he asks her what she would do if Pinkerton never returned.  Cio-Cio-San replies she would either become a geisha again, or better, die.  After Cio-Cio-San introduces her son, called Trouble,  Sharpless leaves, promising to tell Pinkerton of the child. A cannon shot is heard in the harbor announcing the arrival of Pinkerton’s ship: the “Abraham Lincoln”. Overjoyed, Cio-Cio-San joins Suzuki in strewing the house with flowers. As night falls, they keep vigil, waiting through the night for Pinkerton.

At dawn, Suzuki insists that Cio-Cio-San get some sleep. Sharpless appears with Pinkerton and Kate, Pinkerton’s new wife. Suzuki realizes who the American woman is and agrees to help break the news. Pinkerton is overcome with guilt and runs from the scene. Cio-Cio-San rushes in hoping to find Pinkerton, but sees Kate instead. After a moment, she grasps the situation. She agrees to give up the child but insists Pinkerton return for him. Once she dismisses everyone, she takes out the dagger with which her father committed suicide, reading the inscription, “It is better to die with honor than live without it.”

The Daughter of the Regiment


High comedy, romance and vocal fireworks. Marie (Rachele Gilmore), the adoptive daughter of 1,500 soldiers of a French army regiment, is the charming tomboy who has fallen in love with the handsome Tonio (René Barbera). Only by joining the regiment can the young local man be deemed fit by Marie’s “fathers” to win her hand.

Meanwhile, the Marquise of Birkenfeld (Cindy Sadler) knows the truth of Marie’s aristocratic birth and seeks to sweep the ingénue away from her regimental family and introduce her to high society and a marriage befitting her rank. Tonio must prevail over his lowly station if he and Marie are to find their way to love, against a backdrop of bel canto pyrotechnics, including Tonio’s famous tenor aria, “A mes amis,” marked by nine perilous high Cs.

The music of Donizetti’s masterpiece will be sung in French, mixed with a sparkling new English dialogue. Rod Caspers directs.

The Daughter of the Regiment features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An opera in two acts, sung in French with English dialogue and English supertitles projected above the stage.

PHOTO GALLERY

Photos by Erich Schlegel

Cast

Marie — Rachele Gilmore, soprano
Tonio — René Barbera, tenor
Sgt. Sulpice — Stefano de Peppo*, bass-baritone
The Marquise of Birkenfeld — Cindy Sadlermezzo-soprano

*Austin Opera debut


Production

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti | Libretto: Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges, Jean-François Bayard | English Dialogue: Rod Caspers, Chan Chandler | Sung in French with English  dialogue, with English supertitles.

Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Rod Caspers | Chorus Master: Julian Reed


Act I

The Tyrolean mountains. On their way to Austria, the terrified Marquise of Berkenfield and her butler, Hortensius, have paused in their journey because they have found the French army blocking their way. When the marquise hears from the villagers that the French troops have at last retreated, she comments on the crude ways of the French people (“Pour une femme de mon nom”). Hortensius asks Sulpice, sergeant of the 21st regiment, to let the marquise continue on. Sulpice is joined by Marie, the mascot, or “daughter,” of the regiment, which adopted her as an orphaned child. When Sulpice questions her about a young man she has been seen with, she explains that he is a local Tyrolean who—though an enemy—once saved her life. Troops of the 21st arrive with a prisoner: this same Tyrolean, Tonio, who says he has been looking for Marie. She steps in to save him, and while he toasts his new friends, Marie sings the regimental song (“Chacun le sait”). Tonio is ordered to follow the soldiers, but he escapes and returns to declare his love to Marie. Sulpice surprises them, and Marie must admit to Tonio that she can only marry a soldier from the 21st.

The Marquise of Berkenfield asks Sulpice for an escort to return her to her castle. When he hears the name Berkenfield, Sulpice remembers a letter he discovered near the young Marie when she was found. The marquise soon admits that she knew the girl’s father and says that Marie is the long-lost daughter of her sister. The child had been left in the care of the marquise, but was lost on a battlefield. Shocked by the girl’s rough manners, the marquise is determined to take her niece to her castle and to give her a proper education. By now, Tonio has enlisted so that he can marry Marie (“Ah, mes amis”), but she has to leave both her regiment and the man she loves (“Il faut partir”).

Act II

The marquise has arranged a marriage between Marie and Scipion, nephew of the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Sulpice has joined the marquise at the Berkenfield castle, recovering from an injury. The marquise hopes he can help with her plans for Marie. The marquise gives Marie a singing lesson, accompanying her at the piano. Encouraged by Sulpice, Marie slips in phrases of the regimental song, and the marquise loses her temper (Trio: “Le jour naissait dans la bocage”). Left alone, Marie thinks about the meaninglessness of money and position (“Par le rang et l’opulence”). She hears soldiers marching in the distance and is delighted when the whole regiment files into the hall. Tonio, Marie, and Sulpice are reunited. Tonio asks for Marie’s hand, declaring that Marie is his whole life (“Pour me rapprocher de Marie”), but the marquise declares her niece engaged to another man and dismisses Tonio. Alone with Sulpice, the marquise confesses the truth: Marie is her own illegitimate daughter whom she abandoned, fearing social disgrace.

Hortensius announces the arrival of the wedding party, headed by the Duchess of Krakenthorp. Marie refuses to leave her room, but when Sulpice tells her that the marquise is her mother, the surprised girl declares that she cannot go against her mother’s wishes and agrees to marry a man that she does not love. As she is about to sign the marriage contract, the soldiers of the 21st regiment, led by Tonio, storm in to rescue their “daughter.” The noble guests are horrified to learn that Marie was a canteen girl, but they change their opinion when she describes her upbringing, telling them that she can never repay the debt she owes the soldiers. The marquise is so moved that she gives her daughter permission to marry Tonio. Everyone joins in a final “Salut à la France.”

The Flying Dutchman


Deliverance through love. Wagner’s powerful romantic opera, The Flying Dutchman, tells the supernatural tale of a captain cursed to navigate a ghost ship for all eternity — a punishment for invoking Satan during a treacherous ocean voyage.

Only once every seven years can the Dutchman (Wayne Tigges) go ashore for a fleeting moment to find the true love that can release him from his never-ending prison at sea. The beautiful Senta (Melody Moore) may be the key to the Dutchman’s salvation, but only if she would abandon her family, friends, and suitor on land.

Rising star Eric Einhorn returns to Austin to direct a powerhouse cast in this story of imagination, filled with lush orchestral writing and soaring vocalism, in its first Austin performances in a decade.

The Flying Dutchman features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An opera in three acts, sung in German with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Cast

The Dutchman — Wayne Tigges, baritone
Senta — Melody Moore*, soprano
Erik — Clay Hilley*, tenor
Daland — Peter Volpe, bass 

*Austin Opera debut


Production

Composer & Librettist: Richard Wagner | Sung in German with English supertitles.

Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Eric Einhorn | Chorus Master: Julian Reed


Act I

A violent storm has driven Daland’s ship several miles from his home on the Norwegian coast. Sending his crew off to rest, he leaves the watch in charge of a young steersman, who falls asleep as he sings a ballad about his girl (“Mit Gewitter und Sturm”). A ghostly schooner drops anchor next to Daland’s ship. Its captain steps ashore and, with increasing despair, reflects on his fate (“Die Frist ist um”): Once every seven years he may leave his ship to find a wife. If she is faithful, she will redeem him from his deathless wandering. If not, he is condemned to sail the ocean until Judgment Day. When Daland discovers the phantom ship, the stranger, who introduces himself as “a Dutchman,” tells him of his plight and offers gold and jewels for a night’s lodging. When he learns that Daland has a daughter, the Dutchman asks for her hand in marriage. Happy to have found a rich son-in-law, Daland agrees and sets sail for home.

Act II

Daland’s young daughter, Senta, is captivated by the portrait of a pale man in black—the Flying Dutchman—while her friends sit spinning under the watchful eye of Mary, Senta’s nurse. The girls tease Senta about her suitor, Erik, who is not a sailor but a hunter. When the superstitious Mary refuses to sing a ballad about the Dutchman, Senta sings it herself (“Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an”). The song reveals that the Dutchman’s curse was put on him for a blasphemous oath. To Mary and the girls’ horror, Senta suddenly declares that she will be the one to save him. Erik enters with news of the sailors’ return, and Mary and the others hurry off. Erik reminds Senta of her father’s intention to find her a husband and asks her to plead his cause, but she remains distant (“Mein Herz, voll Treue bis zum Sterben”). Realizing how much the Dutchman’s picture means to her, he tells her of a frightening dream in which he saw her passionately embrace the Dutchman and sail away on his ship. Senta exclaims that this is what she must do, and the despairing Erik rushes away. A moment later, the Dutchman enters. Senta stands transfixed. Daland quickly follows and asks his daughter to welcome the stranger, whom he has brought to be her husband (“Mögst du, mein Kind”). After he has left, the Dutchman, who is equally moved by the meeting, asks Senta if she will accept him as her husband (Duet: “Wie aus der Ferne”). Unaware that she realizes who he is, he warns her of making a rash decision, but she ecstatically vows to be faithful to him unto death. Daland returns and is overjoyed to learn that his daughter has accepted the suitor.

Act III

At the harbor, the villagers celebrate the sailors’ return with singing and dancing (Chorus: “Steuermann, lass die Wacht!”). Perplexed by the strange silence aboard the Dutchman’s ship, they call out to the crew, inviting them to join the festivities. Suddenly the ghostly sailors are heard, mocking their captain’s quest in hollow chanting. The villagers run away in terror. Quiet returns and Senta enters, followed by the distressed Erik. He pleads with her not to marry the Dutchman, insisting that she has already pledged her love to him (“Willst jenes Tag’s”). The Dutchman, who has overheard them, loses all hope of salvation and goes toward his ship. Senta tries to stop him but he explains that since she has not yet proclaimed her vows before God, she will escape eternal damnation—the fate of those who betray him. His crew prepares to cast off and he declares that he is the Flying Dutchman of legend. Senta ecstatically replies that she knows who he is. As the ship pulls away, she throws herself into the sea, crying that she is faithful unto death, therefore redeeming the Dutchman.

The Manchurian Candidate

Austin Opera opens its 30th Anniversary Season on Sept. 17, 2016, with the one-night-only regional premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winning creators Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s acclaimed adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate.

Cold War intrigue culminates in thrilling suspense in this re-creation of the chilling Richard Condon novel. Sgt. Raymond Shaw (David Adam Moore) is the brainwashed, unknowing accomplice of a secret plot to overthrow the U.S. government through its presidential elections. Only Capt. Ben Marco (John Lindsey) — his fellow POW — stands between Shaw and the destiny crafted for him by a group of dark collaborators.

Semi-staged direction by Alison Moritz and projection design by Greg Emetaz will create a powerful, imaginative dramatization of the paranoiac tale, which will take place with the Austin Opera Orchestra on stage — less than two months before the 2016 presidential elections.

The Manchurian Candidate features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An opera in two acts, sung in English with English supertitles projected above the stage.

Cast

Sgt. Raymond Shaw — David Adam Moore, baritone
Eleanor Iselin — Brenda Harris, soprano
Capt. Ben Marco — John Lindsey*, tenor
Sen. Johnny Iselin — Daniel Sumegi, bass baritone

*Austin Opera debut


Production

Composer: Kevin Puts | Librettist: Mark Campbell | Commissioned by Minnesota Opera. Sung in English with English supertitles.

Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Alison Moritz | Projection Design: Greg Emetaz | Chorus Master: Julian Reed


Act I

Scene One – “The Ladies Garden Club of Northern New Jersey”  Mrs. Lowe introduces five soldiers, Ben Marco, Ed Mavole, Bobby Lembeck, Andrew Hanley and Raymond Shaw to her “garden club.” From the start, it is clear all is not as it should be. In fact, we are inside the brainwashed minds of the soldiers, who believe they are attending a ladies luncheon when in reality they are being displayed before a group of Communist officials. Mrs. Lowe (really Dr. Yen Lo) spotlights Raymond as the perfect assassin, one who can kill without computation or memory of the incident. In a demonstration to the Russian and Chinese audience, Raymond plays solitaire – when he uncovers the Queen of Diamonds, his mind is receptive to commands. Lowe suggests Raymond strangle Ed Mavole, the most popular member of their platoon, and he performs the terrible deed without hesitation. Next, under the same directive, he shoots Bobby Lembeck. The Communists are pleased. Marco is told to recommend Shaw for the Medal of Honor for being “a true American hero.”

Scene Two – the tarmac of Idlewild Airport  Raymond greets his mother, Eleanor Iselin, with contempt. She has arranged a photo opportunity to praise her son’s courage, but also to advance the career of her husband and Raymond’s stepfather, Senator Johnny Iselin. Raymond angrily denounces both as frauds, and discloses that he has accepted a position at a New York newspaper, the Daily Press, hoping to distance himself from them both.

Scene Three – darkness  A McCarthy-esque television speech made by Johnny Iselin morphs into a recap of the garden club meeting. Night after night Captain Marco has had the same recurring dream depicting the deaths of Mavole and Lembeck.

Scene Four – the Army offices   Marco discusses his dream with General Tracy. His superior officer dismisses it as battle fatigue and assigns him to less demanding work as a press representative.

Scene Five – a press conference  Johnny Iselin interrupts the Defense Department’s budgetary press conference, brazenly waving a list of 207 Communists working inside the organization. Claiming this house cleaning is the responsibility of the Senate, he rushes out of the room as flashbulbs go off and television cameras roll. Marco tells the Secretary of Defense that he will manage the problem.

Scene Six – the office of the Daily Press  Raymond’s boss, Holborn Gaines, comments on Johnny’s spectacle and promises to stop him. He is about to have lunch with Senator Thomas Jordan, one of Johnny’s most formidable opponents. Raymond admits he once knew the senator’s daughter, Jocelyn.

Scene Seven – a bucolic setting on Long Island  Raymond recalls the summer he met “Jocie” when she saved him from a snakebite. He learns that her father became the sworn enemy of his mother. Raymond agrees with Senator Jordan’s characterization of Eleanor.

Now in love, Raymond suggests that he and Jocie run away together. Ever belligerent, Eleanor puts an end to the relationship.

Scene Eight – a train car  Captain Marco makes small talk with an attractive, yet mysterious, Rosie Chayney. They agree to meet at her apartment in New York.

Scene Nine – outside Raymond’s apartment  Marco emerges from the shadows and pulls Raymond aside, describing the strange dreams with the gun and the scarf. Not really wanting to discuss it further, Raymond admits he has received a letter from Corporal Hanley admitting exactly the same thing. Marco gives Raymond Rosie’s phone number, where he will be staying while in New York, in case Raymond wishes to discuss it further. As Marco leaves, Raymond’s telephone rings. He answers and then pulls out a deck of playing cards.

Scene Ten – the bedroom of Holborn Gaines  Early in the morning, Raymond shoots and kills his boss Holborn Gaines.

Scene Eleven – the Iselin’s home  Eleanor comments on the headlines reporting Gaines’ murder while Johnny rehearses a speech. She has decided to throw a costume party ostensibly to celebrate the return of Jocelyn Jordan, whose father’s favor she now hopes to garner to enhance their political position.

Scene Twelve – the Army offices  In response to Marco’s query about Corporal Hanley, General Tracy shows him some photographs. Just like Hanley, Marco recognizes Dr. Lo Yen and Berezovo, two people of interest to international security.

Scene Thirteen – the Iselin’s home  At the costume party, Raymond asks after Jocie. Eleanor proposes that he play solitaire until she appears. When the Queen of Diamonds is played, Eleanor (now clearly an agent for the Communists) begins to coach him for another murder, but is interrupted by Johnny, who announces Senator Jordan’s arrival. While Eleanor solicits Jordan’s support in another room, Jocie arrives, attired in a Queen of Diamonds costume. Completely under her spell, Raymond agrees to run away with her. Meanwhile, Jordan repulses Eleanor and declares that he will do everything possible to derail Johnny’s bid for the vice presidential nomination. Returning to the study, Eleanor is furious to discover Raymond has left with Jocie.

Act II

Scene One – Raymond’s apartment  Recently married, Raymond and Jocie revel in their mutual adoration. Marco drops by, learns the happy news, then insists that he speak to Raymond. Now alone, Jocie answers the ringing telephone, but no one is at the other end.

Scene Two – a bar  Marco reveals to Raymond that his Medal of Honor is based on a lie, and that the young sergeant killed both Mavole and Lembeck. Raymond doesn’t remember any of it, and Marco explains that he has been programmed to become a killing machine. Meanwhile, a bartender relays some domestic details to another customer. When she says “Why don’t you pass the time by playing a little game of solitaire,” Raymond instinctively asks for a deck of cards. At the moment the Queen of Diamonds is displayed, an absurd suggestion is made, and to Marco’s astonishment, Raymond dutifully performs the task. Marco begins to decode the master plan.

Scene Three – Raymond’s apartment/Rosie’s apartment  Both Raymond and Rosie watch the political convention on their respective televisions. Raymond receives a phone call and begins to play solitaire while Rosie and Marco share a tender moment, agreeing to marry. Marco suddenly realizes that the Queen of Diamonds is the trigger card.

At the Jordan’s home, Jocie announces her marriage to her father. Raymond slips into the apartment unnoticed. He shoots Jordan and then Jocie.

Scene Four – Raymond’s apartment  Raymond is under Eleanor’s spell. She commands him to assassinate the presidential nominee at the convention to clear the way for her husband’s succession. After she leaves, Marco arrives, determined to deprogram Raymond. Using the playing cards, he intends to learn Raymond’s most recent mission.

Scene Five – a small office near the convention floor  Marco relays what he has learned to the security agents. Rosie arrives unexpectedly, and in spite of his concern for her safety, refuses to leave.

Scene Six – the convention floor  The presidential nominee, his wife and children and the Iselins sit on the platform. While the nominee makes his opening remarks, Eleanor privately savors her accomplishments. A shot rings out and Eleanor falls dead. Another shot takes out Johnny. A third shot rings out as chaos ensues. Marco confesses to Rosie his reprogramming of Raymond’s mind, even if it cost him his own life.

Access Opera – THE BARBER OF SEVILLE Dress Rehearsal

Access Opera

Access Opera offers free tickets to students, parents and teachers to attend Austin Opera dress rehearsals at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. Prior to each rehearsal, TEKS-aligned Study Guides are available to prepare students for the experience of attending the opera. Students see and hear the work with an enhanced appreciation that helps create a deeper relationship for the art form. Access Opera is often the first opportunity for many participants to experience live opera.

Austin Opera docents are available to speak to your school group of 25 or more during the month leading up to each dress rehearsal. Docents talk about attending what it is like to attend the opera, and provide a historical and cultural context for the opera students will see. Click HERE for a transcript of our recent docent lecture for Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet.

For more information about docents or tickets, please contact Erin Horan, Education and Administrative Coordinator, 512-610-7689 or ehoran@AustinOpera.org.

The Barber of Seville Dress Rehearsal
April 21, 2016 – 7:00 PM
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets open to public: March 21, 2016

*Access Opera events are very popular and can sell out quickly. Seating is limited based on availability.*

Access Opera – OF MICE AND MEN Dress Rehearsal

Access Opera

Access Opera offers free tickets to students, parents and teachers to attend Austin Opera dress rehearsals at The Long Center for the Performing Arts. Prior to each rehearsal, TEKS-aligned Study Guides are available to prepare students for the experience of attending the opera. Students see and hear the work with an enhanced appreciation that helps create a deeper relationship for the art form. Access Opera is often the first opportunity for many participants to experience live opera.

Austin Opera docents are available to speak to your school group of 25 or more during the month leading up to each dress rehearsal. Docents talk about attending what it is like to attend the opera, and provide a historical and cultural context for the opera students will see. Click HERE for a transcript of our recent docent lecture for Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet.

For more information about docents or tickets, please contact Erin Horan, Education and Administrative Coordinator, 512-610-7689 or ehoran@AustinOpera.org.

Of Mice and Men Dress Rehearsal
January 21, 2016 – 7:00 PM
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
Tickets open to public: December 7, 2015

*Access Opera events are very popular and can sell out quickly. Seating is limited based on availability.*

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