Events Archive



Austin Opera culminates its 2015-16 Season with one of Gioachino Rossini’s perennial favorite, The Barber of Seville, foundational support provided by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation.

Rossini’s beloved comic opera returns to the repertoire with a cast that is sure-to-please. Ginger Costa-Jackson as Rosina, Troy Cook as Figaro, and Patrick Carfizzi as Dr. Bartolo will charm and dazzle you with their Rossinian vocal fireworks. And we’re thrilled to welcome back Jamie Offenbach as Don Basilio, following his wonderful performance as Mephistopheles in Faust. Rossini’s musical wit glints through every scene of this delightful comedy, one of the most playful and popular ever written!

Stage director Alain Gauthier has found success with his recent production of Dead Man Walking at l’Opera de Montréal where he won the Opus Award for the “Event of the Year”. Gauthier will bring his artistic and directorial strengths to the Long Center stage to emphasize the opera’s beautiful music and hilarious comic timing.

The Barber of Seville features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An Opera in two acts, sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Learn more about the artists, production team, and the synopsis.

Watch as Debut Artist Troy Cook performs a “Largo al factotum” from Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (starting at 5:05). Austin Opera is proud to bring the talents of Mr. Cook whose rich vocal inflections will surely enhance this beloved opera classic.


Count Almaviva – Juan José de León*
Figaro – Troy Cook*
Dr. Bartolo – Patrick Carfizzi*
Rosina – Ginger Costa-Jackson*
Don Basilio – Jamie Offenbach
Berta – Lisa Alexander

* Austin Opera debut


Composer: Gioachino Rossini | Libretto: Cesare Sterbini| Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Alain Gauthier | Chorus Master: Julian Reed | Scenic Designer: Peter Dean Beck | Costume Designer: Susan Memmott Allred | Lighting Designer: Kathryn Eader

More about our Principal Artists:

Troy Cook.small

Troy Cook, baritone singing Figaro – American baritone Troy Cook recently debuted with the Hamburgische Staatsoper as Marcello in La bohème, where he also performed his first Ford in Falstaff in the spring of 2010, and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte.  His first  recording was just released by the Opera Rara Label, singing the role of Lusignano in Donizetti’s Caterina Cornaro to rave reviews.

Recent appearances include performances as Paolo in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera, Riccardo in Boston Lyric Opera’s I puritani, Marcello in La bohème with Pittsburgh Opera and North Carolina Opera, and the Marquis de la Force in Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites with Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Mr. Cook also appeared in concert this season with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and Winston Salem Symphony. Future seasons include performances with Opera Philadelphia, San Diego Opera, and Dallas Opera.


Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Les pêcheurs de perles– “But the opera belonged to Cook, whose Zurga seemed like the only human being onstage. His resplendent baritone is always a pleasure, but beyond that you really believed in the complexity of his character. Most of all, his simple act of sacrifice becomes the agent of sanity in this insane but oddly rewarding piece of musical theater, and in his bracing final aria you realized that “Pearl Fishers” is really just a love triangle in which somebody had to give in for sake of friendship.”  – Paul Horsley, The Kansas City Star

Central City Opera, Show Boat – “Cook is a commanding presence as the flawed romantic lead, gambler Gaylord Ravenal, capable of switching quickly from high comedy to heartrending pathos and again to suave romance. Gorgeously presenting several signature songs, including “Make Believe,” Cook is always the center when onstage.”  – Kelly Dean Hansen, The Daily Camera

Ginger Costa-Jackson

Ginger Costa-Jackson, mezzo-soprano singing Rosina – Sicillian-born mezzo-soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson recently “created a woman whose joie de vivre could destroy any man in her path.” Recent highlights of the past two seasons include Metropolitan Opera performances as Smaragdi in Francesca da Rimini and Mercedes in Carmen. This past summer Ginger represented The Metropolitan Opera in Russia during a cultural exchange concert series with venues that included Volgograd Opera, Bolshoi Opera, and Catherine’s Palace in St Petersburg. Ginger was also a featured artist in the beloved NYC parks Metropolitan Opera’s Summer Recital Series. Future engagements include a Vancouver Opera debut in the title role of Carmen, a reprise of El Gato con botas with Gotham Chamber Opera, Grand Rapids Opera debut as Carmen, Metropolitan Opera roles of Mercedes in Carmen and Lola in Cavelleria Rusticana (HD production).

In past seasons Ginger has performed internationally with accolades in various roles. Her mainstage debut at the Metropoliton was as Rosette at the tender age of 21 in Massenet’s Manon. Her European debut was as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Ginger can be seen on DVD in Metropolitan Opera HD productions including: Rosette, Manon in Opening Night Gala starring Rene Fleming; Myrtale, Thaïs; Nancy T’sang, First Secretary, Nixon in China; Rosette, Manon; Smaragdi, Francesca da Rimini.


Washington Chorus, Carmen – “The Carmen was Ginger Costa-Jackson, a ravishing mezzo-soprano from Italy…who easily conveyed the allure and willful recklessness of Bizet’s Gypsy temptress. Her voice has dark, rich colorings and considerable body.” – Anthony Tomasini, The New York Times

Glimmerglass Festival, King for a Day – “The star of the show is Ginger Costa-Jackson’s Marchesa. In one moment she is a rich heiress, in the next a fragile lover, in all a salty, fierce and hilarious character with an extraordinarily rich and vibrant mezzo.” – Joseph E. Morgan, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Juan Jose de Leon

Juan José de León, tenor singing Count Almaviva- Juan José de León is capturing the attention of audiences and critics alike. Hailed for his “big voice,” and “versatility,” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review) the young tenor is rapidly-bursting onto the operatic scene. In the 2012-13 season Mr. de León completed his residency with the Pittsburgh Opera where he appeared as Matteo Borsa in Rigoletto, Paolino in Il Matrimonio Segreto, and Don Ramiro in La Cenerentola.

Mr. de León also joined The Wolf Trap Opera in the summer of 2013 where he performed the roles of Count Libenskof in Il Viaggio a Reims and Dr. Caius in Falstaff. Concert work this season includes the I Sing Beijing American Debut at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center accompanied by The New York City Orchestra as well as the tenor soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Erie Philharmonic.

He opened the 2013-14 season making his Metropolitan Opera company debut with the American premiere of Nico Muhly’s new work, Two Boys (American Congressman).


Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, The Magic Flute – Juan José de León sang a wonderful Tamino. The tenor has already shown a big voice and versatility as one of Pittsburgh Opera’s resident artists. His Mozart was stylishly heroic as well as tender of heart” –Mark Kanny, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:

Act I
Seville. Count Almaviva comes in disguise to the house of Doctor Bartolo and serenades Rosina, whom Bartolo keeps confined to the house, beneath her balcony window. Figaro the barber, who knows all the town’s secrets and scandals, arrives. He explains to Almaviva that Rosina is Bartolo’s ward, not his daughter, and that the doctor intends to marry her. Figaro devises a plan: the count will disguise himself as a drunken soldier with orders to be quartered at Bartolo’s house so that he may gain access to the girl. Almaviva is excited and Figaro looks forward to a nice cash pay-off.

Rosina reflects on the voice that has enchanted her and resolves to use her considerable wiles to meet its owner, whom the count leads her to believe is a poor student named Lindoro. Bartolo appears with Rosina’s music master, Don Basilio. Basilio warns Bartolo that Count Almaviva, who has made known his admiration for Rosina, has been seen in Seville. Bartolo decides to marry Rosina immediately. Figaro, who has overheard the plot, warns Rosina and promises to deliver a note from her to Lindoro. Bartolo suspects that Rosina has indeed written a letter, but she outwits him at every turn. Angry at her defiance, Bartolo warns her not to trifle with him.

Almaviva arrives, creating a ruckus in his disguise as a drunken soldier, and secretly passes Rosina his own note. Bartolo is infuriated by the stranger’s behavior and noisily claims that he has an official exemption from billeting soldiers. Figaro announces that a crowd has gathered in the street, curious about the argument they hear coming from inside the house. The civil guard bursts in to arrest Almaviva but when he secretly reveals his true identity to the captain he is instantly released. Everyone except Figaro is amazed by this turn of events.

Act II
Bartolo suspects that the “soldier” was a spy planted by Almaviva. The count returns, this time disguised as Don Alonso, a music teacher and student of Don Basilio. He announces he will give Rosina her music lesson in place of Basilio, who, he says, is ill at home. “Don Alonso” tells Bartolo that he is staying at the same inn as Almaviva and has found a letter from Rosina. He offers to tell her that it was given to him by another woman, seemingly to prove that Lindoro is toying with Rosina on Almaviva’s behalf. This convinces Bartolo that “Don Alonso” is indeed a student of the scheming Basilio, and he allows him to give Rosina her music lesson. She sings an aria, and, with Bartolo dozing off, Almaviva and Rosina express their love.

Figaro arrives to give Bartolo his shave and manages to snatch the key that opens the doors to Rosina’s balcony. Suddenly Basilio shows up looking perfectly healthy. Almaviva, Rosina, and Figaro convince him with a quick bribe that he is sick with scarlet fever and must go home at once. While Bartolo gets his shave, Almaviva plots with Rosina to elope that night. But the doctor overhears them and furiously realizes he has been tricked again. Everyone disperses.

Bartolo summons Basilio, telling him to bring a notary so Bartolo can marry Rosina that very night. Bartolo then shows Rosina her letter to Lindoro, as proof that he is in league with Almaviva. Heartbroken and convinced that she has been deceived, she agrees to marry Bartolo. A thunderstorm rages. Figaro and the count climb a ladder to Rosina’s balcony and let themselves in with the key. Rosina appears and confronts Lindoro, who finally reveals his true identity as Almaviva. Basilio shows up with the notary. Bribed and threatened, he agrees to be a witness to the marriage of Rosina and Almaviva. Bartolo arrives with soldiers, but it is too late. Almaviva explains to Bartolo that it is useless to protest and Bartolo accepts that he has been beaten. Figaro, Rosina, and the count celebrate their good fortune.


For Season Ticket renewals, please contact Patron Services Manager, Dianne Van Hulle, at 512.610.7684.






Austin Opera continues its long-standing commitment to American and English-language opera with Carlisle Floyd’s operatic rendition of John Steinbeck’s iconic novella, Of Mice and Men, foundational support provided by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation.

Based on John Steinbeck’s novella “Of Mice and Men,” this riveting American opera is a faithful retelling of one of America’s most celebrated works of literature. Carlisle  Floyd vividly captures the lives of the characters, the feel of the era, the bunkhouse, the depressed economy, and Lennie’s tragic story.

Stage director Kristine McIntyre, known for her visually stunning and emotionally rich productions, has directed more than 50 operas throughout the United States at The Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Arizona Opera, Dallas Opera, and many others. McIntyre’s “canny ability to meld visual and musical elements” will seamlessly allow Floyd’s score and libretto full voice to clearly communicate the work’s central theme — that personal relationship, however tenuous, is far superior to solitary existence.

Of Mice and Men is an important work of theater, literature, film and, of course, opera. Its plea for compassion and hope is as timely now as when John Steinbeck wrote the novella on which the opera is based. Visit our OF MICE AND MEN – COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS page for a complete list of Austin Opera educational activities surrounding this iconic work in partnership with local cultural organizations including the University of Texas Humanities Institute, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin ISD, Round Rock ISD, Austin Public Library Foundation, and the Paramount Theatre. Each partner event will provide a different perspective on Steinbeck’s classic work, and explore its relevance today.

Of Mice and Men features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An Opera in three acts, sung in English with lyrics projected above the stage.

Learn more about the artists, production team, and the synopsis.

By arrangement with Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. publisher and copyright owner.

Watch as Stage Director Kristine McIntyre describes her experience with new American Opera and directing Of Mice & Men. Austin Opera is proud to welcome back Ms. McIntyre to the Long Center stage, where she will no doubt bring Of Mice and Men and it’s rich history to a dramatic and beautiful crescendo.


Lennie Small – Corey Bix*
George Milton – Matthew Burns
Curley – Ryan MacPherson*
Candy – Thomas Hammons
Curely’s wife – Sara Gartland
Slim – Andrew Lovato*
Carlson – Brent Turner*
A Ballad Singer – Daniel Shirley*

* Austin Opera debut


Composer: Carlisle Floyd | Libretto: Carlisle Floyd | Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Kristine McIntyre | Chorus Master: Julian Reed | Scenic Designer: Vicki Davis | Costume Designer: Susan Memmott Allred | Lighting Designer: Nicholas Cavallaro

More about our Principal Artists:

Corey Bix.small

Corey Bix, tenor singing Lennie Small-  praised for his “clear sense of drama and self-possession, exhibiting sturdy, unwavering control, flinty resonance and confident high notes” Bix makes his Austin Opera debut in this familiar role, as he recently completed Of Mice and Men with the Tulsa Opera. Future engagements include his debut with Virginia Opera as Erik in Der fliegende Holländer, and a return to San Francisco Opera for Augustin Moser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Last season, he sang Sir Edgar Aubry in Der Vampyr with New Orleans Opera, returned to The Glimmerglass Festival for Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos as well as to the role of Erik in Der fliegende Holländer with Arizona Opera.

Mr. Bix is the 2008 winner of the Robert Lauch Memorial Grant from the Wagner Society of New York and the 2007 winner of the George London/Kirsten Flagstad Award for a singer with potential for a Wagnerian career as well as the foundation’s prestigious Vienna Prize. Additionally, he has been a prizewinner in both the New England and Southeast regions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is a former member of the apprentice programs of the Santa Fe Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera and earned a Master of Music from New England Conservatory and his Bachelor of Music from Simpson College.


Tulsa Opera, Of Mice and Men – “[Bix] conveys this character’s vulnerability in the way he can send high notes floating, in the bright openness of the duet extolling how he and George will “live off the fat of the land,” in the way he transitions from mournful to panicked in the aria that follows his accidental killing of Curley’s Wife.”  -James D. Watts, Jr., Tulsa World

American Symphony Orchestra, Notre Dame – “Corey Bix, whose sturdy tenor immediately took on a correspondingly brighter coloration when Esmeralda appeared, revealed an impressive range — a baritonal strength in his lower register, plus ringing, sweet-spot high notes in the love music.”  -Joshua Rosenblum, Opera News

Matthew Burns

Matthew Burns, bass-baritone singing George Milton- Declared as “having a beautiful bass-baritone voice” by the New York Times, Matthew Burns is a dynamic performer known for his unique portrayals of opera’s most acclaimed bass-baritone roles spanning the repertoire from dramatic roles to buffo roles, and everything in between. Last season, Mr. Burns delighted audiences in the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni. He will also appear as Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Fargo Moorehead Opera, he will perform in Wuthering Heights at Florentine Opera, and sing Rambaldo in La rondine at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In concert, he’ll sing the baritone solo in Händel’s Messiah with Rhode Island Philharmonic and appear in American Opera Projects’ Composers & The Voice series.

Mr. Burns is recipient of the Richard F. Gold Career Grant for Singers from the Shoshana Foundation and a 2006 Richard Gold Career Grant from New York City Opera, presented to an artist whose performance demonstrates great promise in the opera world. He is featured as the bass soloist on a recording of Kirke Mecham’s The King’s Contest with the Commonwealth Singers of Richmond, Virginia.


Utah Opera, Of Mice and Men: “Bass-baritone Matthew Burns gives the opera its moral center with his portrayal of George. He sings with power and assurance from the top to the bottom of his vocal range, and he invests the character with intelligence and integrity while traversing an equally impressive emotional range.” –Catherine Reese Newton, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Le nozze di Figaro, Virginia Opera: “Matthew Burns’ Figaro retains the former barber’s sunny character and adaptable wit, lightening even the heaviest scenes he blunders into…. Better yet, Mr. Burns’ flexible bass-baritone seems to wrap itself deftly around the mood of each scene as he alternates moments of great vocal bravado to mocking bars of falsetto when he’s joking about one of the female character’s latest moves.” –Washington Times

Ryan MacPherson.small

Ryan MacPherson, tenor singing Curely- MacPherson, one of the most highly sought tenors of his generation,  is well known for his captivating stage presence, as well as his expertise in modern and contemporary music. His 2014-15 season engagements included a return to Portland Opera as Alfred in Die Fledermaus, singing Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance for Pensacola Opera. He makes his company and role debut as Gérald in Lakmé with Baltimore Opera and Delaware Concert Opera, followed by a return to Colorado’s Central City Opera as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata. This year’s concerts include performances with the Delaware Symphony, the Cleveland Pops, and Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra.

Recent highlights include Alfred in his Virginia Opera debut; a return to Long Beach Opera and his Chicago Opera Theater debut as Roderick Usher in their co-production of Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher; his debut in the United Kingdom as Wilhelm in Ambroise Thomas’ Mignon; Alfred (Fledermaus) with Opera Memphis, Alfredo (La Traviata) Opera Santa Barbara and Opera Tampa; Curley in Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men in a return to Utah Opera.  His contributions to New York City Opera, which include Così fan tutte, Vanessa, Little Women and the world premier of  Haroun and the Sea of Stories, were recognized when he received the Richard F. Gold Career Award.


Portland Opera, Turn of the Screw – Ryan MacPherson’s pure, yearning tenor brings a much-needed sensuality to the role of Peter Quint, and it’s a pleasure to hear. He especially shines on the melismatas in Act I, when he calls out to Miles.-John Minervini, Willamette Weekly

Pensacola Opera, The Pirates of Penzance  “Ryan MacPherson plays opposite Mabel as Frederick, that ever-so-earnest ‘Slave of Duty.’ He has the tenor voice and frightfully sincere demeanor to more than make this character work. He and [Mabel] shine brightly on the duet ‘Stay, Frederick, Stay’ … I did not want them to stop singing!” –Andy Metzger, Pensacola News Journal


Sara Gartland, soprano singing Curely’s wife – Sara Gartland earned rave reviews for her portrayal of Violetta in La Traviata with Utah Opera. The Daily Utah Chronicle exclaimed, “Sara Gartland…shines in every way possible…Her beautiful ability to transform the emotions this tragic story contains into her music leaves the audience clutching to every word.”

Ms. Gartland returns to the Long Center stage, having sang the role of Adina in The Elixir of Love with Austin Opera. Other appearances include Josephine in HMS Pinafore with Arizona Opera, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel with Opera San Jose, and Juliette in Romeo et Juliette with Des Moines Metro Opera. In 2014–15, she performs Musetta in La Bohème with San Diego Opera,  Marzelline in Fidelio with Opera Omaha, and Rosalba in Florencia en el Amazonas with Arizona Opera. Additionally, she has performed Curley’s Wife in Of Mice and Men with Utah Opera, and Elisabeth Bennet in the world premiere of Pride and Prejudice with The Ohio Light Opera.


Utah Opera, Of Mice and Men – Floyd, in Salt Lake City to observe final preparations and attend opening night, made some minor revisions to the score, including the addition of string glissandos when Curley’s wife, played with glittering coloratura and astute restraint by soprano Sara Gartland, allowed Lennie to stroke her hair. – Robert Coleman, Opera News

Austin Opera, The Elixir of Love  “Gartland and Barbera are stars. You just don’t know about them yet. The beautiful Gartland is a joy to watch as Adina. There’s a power and intensity behind her soprano voice at times and a gentility to it at others. Her versatility as a performer extends to her acting abilities. Her Adina is playful, independent, and sometimes willful, but always believable.” – Jeff DavisBWW Opera World

the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:

Of Mice and Men is based on John Steinbeck’s tragic tale of two migrant ranch workers in pursuit of a simple dream: to own a small house and farm of their own.

George and his traveling companion Lennie, who has the physique and strength of a giant, a child’s mind, and a love for soft things he can stroke and pet, have constant problems with their employers, as Lennie unknowingly creates difficulties for George and himself. George is frequently exasperated, but forgives Lennie and is sustained by their dream.

Hired by contentious ranch-owner Curley, who is frequently at jealous odds with his wife, George and Lennie are joined in their plans for a home by the old ranch hand Candy, whose savings bring them near their goal. Suddenly, however, they lose all prospects: Curley’s wife invites Lennie to stroke her soft hair, but when he does not stop she begins to scream in terror. Fearing he will get into trouble again, Lennie tries to stifle her screams and unwittingly kills her. George, while placating Lennie with thoughts of their long-held dreams, shoots his friend to save him from a brutal lynching.


For Season Ticket renewals, please contact Patron Services Manager, Dianne Van Hulle, at 512.610.7684.





Austin Opera launches its 2015-16 season with the masterful grand opera of Verdi’s Aida, foundational support provided by the Georgia B. Lucas Foundation.

Famous for its Triumphal March and soaring arias, Verdi’s Aida is an intimate story of a love triangle between enemies during the times of war between Egypt and Ethiopia. Graced with some of Verdi’s greatest music, it’s a tour de force of choral scenes, dance, massive sets, and vocal power. Issachah Savage and Karen Slack will make their Austin Opera debuts in this beloved story of ill-fated love and betrayal.

Stage director Brian Deedrick, former Artistic Director of the Edmonton Opera, will bring Verdi’s spectacular opera to life with powerful vocals, themes of patriotism and betrayal, and sets dominated by a looming Sphinx-like stone face that changes from blood-red at sunset to a ghostly shadow peering from the gloom of the final duet.

The key to the staying power of “Aida” for more than 140 years since its premier has been the human story under it all. At the heart of this opera is the story of an Ethiopian slave and secret princess Aida, her powerful Egyptian mistress, Princess Amneris, and their shared love for the ambitious soldier Ramades. Their love story, wrapped in complex themes of loyalty, longing, nation and regret, is told in four acts using some of the most intricate and complicated music that Guiseppe Verdi ever wrote, with voices blending like ribbons of sound.

Aida features the Austin Opera Chorus and the Austin Opera Orchestra.

An Opera in four acts with intermissions after Act II and Act III, sung in Italian with English translation projected above the stage.

Learn more about the artists, production team, and the synopsis.

Watch as Debut Artist Karen Slack performs a “Dear Husband” from Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave. Austin Opera is proud to welcome Ms. Slack whose lustrous voice will surely astonish and amaze Austin audiences with it’s extraordinary beauty and artistry of great dramatic depth.

Cast (in order of vocal appearance):

Ramfis – Peter Volpe
Radames – Issachah Savage*
Amneris –  Tuija Knihtilä*
Aida – Karen Slack*
The King of Egypt – Tom McNichols*
Messenger – Soonchan Kwon*
Priestess – Mela Dailey
Amonasro – Donnie Ray Albert

* Austin Opera debut


Composer: Giuseppe Verdi | Libretto:  Antonio Ghislanzoni| Conductor: Richard Buckley | Stage Director: Brian Deedrick | Chorus Master: Julian Reed | Scenic Designer: Robert Oswald | Costume Designer: Annibal Lapiz | Lighting Designer: Michael Baumgarten

More about our Principal Artists:

Karen Slack.small

Karen Slack, soprano singing Aida – Hailed for possessing a voice of extraordinary beauty, a seamless legato and great dramatic depth, young American soprano Karen Slack was most recently heard in the title role of Tosca and as Leonora in Il trovatore with Arizona Opera, Mahler Symphony No. 2 with The Latvian National Symphony, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with Alabama Symphony, as Aida with West Bay Opera,  and her featured role in Tyler Perry’s movie and soundtrack “For Colored Girls” as the Opera Diva.

Ms. Slack made her Carnegie Hall debut as Agnes Sorel in Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans, a role she also performed with the San Francisco Opera, and has sung the title role in Aida with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.  She made her Metropolitan Opera and international radio broadcast debuts in the title role of Verdi’s Luisa Miller.  Last season saw her as Sister Rose in Dead Man Walking with Madison Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera. Engagements for the 2014-2015 season include company debuts as Serena in Porgy and Bess with Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Quad City Symphony, and Tosca with the New Philharmonic. Future seasons will see her return to Arizona Opera. Additionally, she will make her debut with Opera Parallèle, and join the Lexington Philharmonic and the Back Bay Chorale.


West Bay Opera, Aida – “Karen Slack’s deeply felt AIDA seemed modeled on Leontyne Price’s glorious assumption – dramatic in tone, generous in volume, flexible in tempo and luminous on top. Slack paid great attention to the meanings of words, accenting them with an emotional commitment that made her character’s passions believable.”  -Jason Victor Serinus, Opera News

Arizona Opera, Il Trovatore – “Karen Slack who sang the role of Leonora, the much sought after heroine, has a voluptuous soprano voice with silvery top notes and a formidable chest register. She seemed to throw care to the winds as she successfully navigated her music’s many pitfalls. The result was an exciting performance of this difficult role.”  -Maria Nocklin, Opera Today

Issachah Savage

Issachah Savage, tenor singing Radames – Praised for his “impressive natural instrument” with “trumpet-like, clear, open-throated, powerful” singing, Mr. Savage is the winner of the 2012 grand prize with the Marcello Giordani International Competition and the 2014 Seattle International Wagner Competition earning the main prize, audience favorite prize, orchestra favorite prize, and a special honor by Speight Jenkins.

Mr. Savage made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Don Riccardo in Verdi’s Ernani under James Levine and covers Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Canadian Opera Company in the 2014 – 2015 season. In the 2013 – 2014, season, Issachah Savage made his Houston Grand Opera debut as Radames in Aida opposite Liudmyla Monastyrksa and Dolora Zajick. In the summer of 2013, Mr. Savage participated in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program for gifted young singers singing the finale to Wagner’s Lohengrin at the Merola Grand Finale concert.


Washington Chorus, The Essential Wagner – “There was an extra thrill in the final selection, most of the last two scenes of ‘Meistersinger,’ with tenor Issachah Savage singing the famous Prize Song….I wasn’t prepared for the easy, rich, warm sound that poured out of him in one of the most beautiful arias in the repertory.” -Anne Midgette, The Washington Post

Canadian Opera Company, Die Walküre: “When Savage sang the opening line of yesterday’s Die Walküre, we immediately knew that we were in store for something quite different. Instead of the usual tenor with baritone colouration and vocal heft, we had a lyric, unforced dramatic tenor, lighter in colour and yet powerful. Savage was careful to pace the first two acts in which he appears – building from strength-to-strength…The roaring ovation that greeted him when he walked out on stage for his curtain call was of a quality and pitch usually reserved for only the greatest of singers.” -Neil CroryMusical Toronto

TuijaTuija Knihtilä, mezzo-soprano singing Amneris – Finnish mezzo-soprano Tuija Knihtilä is, with lightning speed, gaining a worldwide following. Of her Amneris in Aida, Thomas Michelsen exclaimed “It was first and foremost an experience at the international level, nothing less, to hear Finnish mezzo, Tuija Knihtilä. What a voice! What control!”

In recent seasons Ms. Knihtilä’s performed Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos and Venus in Tannhäuser,  both with Oslo Opera; made her debut as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde in Weimar and participated in the world premiere of Kimmo Hakola’s opera La Fenice. After her return to Oslo as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, she made her Italian debut at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice, in a production of Myung Whun Chung. Further highlights of the recent past include her debut as Brangäne in Chemnitz and performances as Amneris in Sao Paulo and Venus in Copenhagen. Her stunning interpretation of Ortrud in Lohengrin in Savonlinna in summer of 2013 received great acclaim from public and critics alike.

Tuija Knihtilä is also a sought-after concert singer. She has worked with Leif Segerstam, Esa Pekka Salonen, Mikko Franck and many leading Scandinavian and European orchestras, including the Helsinki, Tampere and Turku philharmonic orchestras, the Malmö, Lohja and Kuopio symphony orchestras, Kymi and Västerås sinfoniettas, Finnish Baroque Orchestra, Orchestra of the Finnish National Opera, and the State Orchestra Darmstadt (Germany), among others.


Malmö Opera, Aida – “With a wonderfully clear and strong voice, Tuija Knihtilä combines the naturally superior attitude of the Princess Amneris with the uncertainty of a woman in love. In a priceless scene, she has twenty-some dresses to choose from but annoyed she rejects one after the other.” -Bo Löfvendal, Svenska Dagbladet

Malmö Opera, Aida – “The most interesting protagonist is Amneris. Finnish mezzo, Tuija Knihtilä, makes a magnificent portrait of the initially stubborn and cold princess. In one of the more elaborately directed scenes, Ameneris arrogantly picks and chooses from twenty-four different, shiny gold dresses brought forth by twenty-four slaves in identical pale green cotton dresses. Soon, however, Amneris’ feelings and understanding deepen. The tragic becomes palpable as we watch her compromise herself in desperate love for Radames. Knihtilä is impressive in the role. Her dramatic mezzo is passionately effective and immensely focused.” -Åsa Mälhammar, Sydsvenskan

Peter Volpe in Romeo and Juliet

Peter Volpe, bass singing Ramfis – American bass Peter Volpe is a consummate artist of today’s operatic world whose acclaimed vocal and acting ability captivates audiences and critics across four continents. Mr. Volpe’s inspired style and interpretive skill enlivens his repertoire of more than 100 roles in six languages, including signature roles of Don Giovanni, Mephistopheles, and Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin. Of a recent portrayal as Prince Gremin, Opera News wrote that he “managed to create in his single aria and scene of impressive dignity. His full-bodied bass and great candor of tone, together with his intelligent interpretation, won him a well-deserved ovation”

Recent highlights of Mr. Volpe’s career include three broadcasts for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series: Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (with Il tabarro and Suor Angelica), Rossini’s Armida, and Verdi’s La Traviata, the Verdi Requiem at the Chichester Festival in Chichester, England, and the popular French grand opera Les Huguenots in the role of Marcel at the Bard Festival; the first time the opera was staged in America since the Metropolitan Opera’s production 95 years earlier


Vancouver Opera, Faust – Bass Peter Volpe, proved to be an excellent Mephistopheles, both vocally and dramatically, shining from his first big moment – Le veau d’or est toujours debout – onward. Volpe balanced the demonic and comic elements of his character, and the audience responded to his sardonic wit with outbursts of laughter.” -The Globe & Mail

Portland Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor – “The best solo singing, strong and beautiful, came from bass Peter Volpe as a compassionate Raimondo who seemed to foresee events. When Raimondo sorrowfully reported the murder and madness, Volpe joined with Portland Opera’s outstanding chorus in a scene that was richly sung indeed.” –David Stabler, The Oregonian

the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:
the piercing power of Byers made for a spectacular conclusion that provoked a well-deserved standing ovation from the audience. – See more at:

Act I
Egypt, during the reign of the pharaohs. At the royal palace in Memphis, the high priest Ramfis tells the warrior Radamès that Ethiopia is preparing another attack against Egypt. Radamès hopes to command his army. He is in love with Aida, the Ethiopian slave of Princess Amneris, the king’s daughter, and he believes that victory in the war would enable him to free her and marry her. But Amneris loves Radamès, and when the three meet, she jealously senses his feelings for Aida. A messenger tells the king of Egypt and the assembled priests and soldiers that the Ethiopians are advancing. The king names Radamès to lead the army, and all join in a patriotic anthem. Left alone, Aida is torn between her love for Radamès and loyalty to her native country, where her father, Amonasro, is king. She prays to the gods for mercy.

In the temple of Vulcan, the priests consecrate Radamès to the service of the god. Ramfis orders him to protect the homeland.

Act II
Ethiopia has been defeated, and Amneris waits for the triumphant return of Radamès. When Aida approaches, the princess sends away her other attendants so that she can learn her slave’s private feelings. She first pretends that Radamès has fallen in battle, then says he is still alive. Aida’s reactions leave no doubt that she loves Radamès. Amneris, certain she will be victorious over her rival, leaves for the triumphal procession.

At the city gates the king and Amneris observe the celebrations and crown Radamès with a victor’s wreath. Captured Ethiopians are led in. Among them is Amonasro, Aida’s father, who signals his daughter not to reveal his identity as king. Radamès is impressed by Amonasro’s eloquent plea for mercy and asks for the death sentence on the prisoners to be overruled and for them to be freed. The king grants his request but keeps Amonasro in custody. The king declares that as a victor’s reward, Radamès will have Amneris’s hand in marriage.

On the eve of Amneris’s wedding, Ramfis and Amneris enter a temple on the banks of the Nile to pray. Aida, who is waiting for Radamès, is lost in thoughts of her homeland. Amonasro suddenly appears. Invoking Aida’s sense of duty, he makes her agree to find out from Radamès which route the Egyptian army will take to invade Ethiopia. Amonasro hides as Radamès arrives and assures Aida of his love. They dream about their future life together, and Radamès agrees to run away with her. Aida asks him about his army’s route, and just as he reveals the secret, Amonasro emerges from his hiding place. When he realizes that Amonasro is the Ethiopian king, Radamès is horrified by what he has done. While Aida and Amonasro try to calm him, Ramfis and Amneris step out of the temple. Father and daughter are able to escape, but Radamès surrenders to the priests.

Act IV
Radamès awaits trial as a traitor, believing Aida to be dead. Even after he learns that she has survived, he rejects an offer by Amneris to save him if he renounces Aida. When he is brought before the priests, he refuses to answer their accusations and is condemned to be buried alive. Amneris begs for mercy, but the judges will not change their verdict. She curses the priests.
Aida has hidden in the vault to share Radamès’s fate. They express their love for the last time while Amneris, in the temple above, prays for Radamès’s soul.


For Season Ticket renewals, please contact Patron Services Manager, Dianne Van Hulle, at 512.610.7684.




Opera Preview – Don Giovanni


You’re invited to experience an exclusive Opera Preview for Don Giovanni!

Please join us for an informative discussion exploring Mozart’s greatest opera, Don Giovanni, with the Director of the Butler Opera Center, Dr. Robert DeSimone. These lively events give attendees the opportunity to learn about the upcoming opera while mingling with other opera enthusiasts. Austin Opera is committed to fostering a deeper connection with the community through programs that entertain as they educate.

Dr. Robert DeSimone combines an active career as Stage Director, Pianist, Coach, and Administrator. Originally a pianist, he received his musical education in Switzerland, Italy, University of Southern California, Manhattan School of Music, and Music Academy of the West. He studied piano with Emanuel Bay, Paul Stoye and John Crown. A protégé of Nora Quarrie, Sadler Wells Theatre in London, he spent four years training in the tradition of England’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. His opera studies include work with stage directors Hans Zimmerman, Herbert Graf, coach/conductor Luigi Ricci, Sergius Kagen and Hans Willi-Hausselein.

He has worked with major theatres in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Brazil, and Panama.  His work has been seen at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles Music Center, Lincoln Center and opera companies throughout the States.

Arts administration posts include: Administrative Director- Music Center Opera Association Los Angeles, Director-City of the Angels Opera, Executive Director- Visual Arts Center of Alaska, Co-Director-Academia Vocale di Lucca in Italy, Artistic Director- Opera Panama.

A recipient of awards from the Adolph’s Foundation, National Thespian Society, Italian Government, National Association of Piano Teachers, Austin Circle of Theatres, he received  special commendation from the National Association of  Teachers of Singing for his work in contemporary opera. Host for the cablevision series “Encore”.  He is an active lecturer and presents  Master Classes in Opera.

Dr. DeSimone is Director of the Sarah and Ernest Butler Opera Center and Associate Director for External Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Bring a friend and enjoy a night of food, fun and enlightening presentations!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Cocktail Reception at 6:30 pm
Lecture begins at 7:00 pm

Chez Zee American Bistro
5406 Balcones Dr.
Austin, Texas 78731
Click HERE for a map

Opera Previews are $20 a person

For tickets, please contact Dianne Van Hulle, Patron Services Manager, at 512.610.7684 or at

For information about additional Austin Opera educational and community outreach programs visit our Education & Community Program Page or Contact Erin Horan, Education & Administrative Coordinator, at 512.610.7689 or at
Still need tickets for Don Giovanni, April 25, 30, and May 3?
It’s not too late to get great seats. Tickets start at just $24, with student tickets at $15.


An Intimate Affair

Austin Opera is thrilled to partner with KLRU to present an unforgettable night of opera and modern classics on April 13, 2015. This extraordinary evening will feature David Miller, starring tenor of the 26-time platinum selling opera crossover group Il Divo, singing alongside his multi-talented wife, Sarah Joy Miller, star of New York City Opera’s Anna Nicole, based on the life of Anna Nicole Smith. David and Sarah Joy Miller will be joined on stage by pianist Audrey Saint-Gil, assistant conductor of Los Angeles Opera.

The program will feature music from West Side StoryLa BohèmeLes MisérablesFaustMy Fair LadyThe Music Man, among others.

Studio 6A, an Austin landmark known for housing the illustrious Austin City Limits television program from 1976-2010, will serve as the perfect backdrop for this special event.

Tickets start at $75. There are a limited number of premium $250 tickets available which include complimentary valet and an opportunity to attend an exclusive after-party with the artists. Seating will be based on a first-come, first-served basis.

For additional information, please contact Brittney Snyder, Director of Development at Austin Opera at or by phone at 512.610.7672.


Opera Preview – Romeo & Juliet



You’re invited to experience an exclusive Opera Preview for Romeo & Juliet!

Austin Opera is committed to fostering a deeper connection with our community through programs that entertain as they educate. Please join us for a fun, informative discussion of Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet featuring Ann Ciccolella, Artistic Director of Austin Shakespeare and Richard Buckley, Artistic Director & Principal Conductor of Austin Opera.

This lively discussion about Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet will explore the adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays to the opera stage. Dramatic and musical performances from both companies will spark your imagination and deepen your enjoyment of this classic tale.

Bring a friend and enjoy a night of food, fun and enlightening presentations!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Cocktail Reception at 6:30 pm
Lecture begins at 7:00 pm

Chez Zee American Bistro
5406 Balcones Dr.
Austin, Texas 78731
Click HERE for a map

Opera Previews are $20 a person

For tickets, please contact Dianne Van Hulle, Patron Services Manager, at 512.610.7684 or at

Save the Dates:

After this event, there is only one more Opera Preview date for the 2014-15 season. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity!

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Opera Preview – Wednesday, April 8, 2015

For information about additional Austin Opera educational and community outreach programs visit our Education & Community Program Page or Contact Erin Horan, Education & Administrative Coordinator, at 512.610.7689 or at
Still need tickets for Romeo & Juliet, January 24, 29, & February 1? It’s not too late to get great seats. Tickets start at just $24, with student tickets at $15.

2016 Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction



Please check back for further information as the date for the 2016 Serenata Wine Dinner & Auction approaches. For information, please contact Angie Bonnici at 512.610.7668.


Christopher H. Cheever

Amelia Bullock & Bill Krumpack – Eva & Marvin Womack
Wendi & Brian Kushner
Marcy & John Melanson
Cornelia & John Wood

Polly & Steve Barbaro

Lindsay Blumenthal & Steve Kuhn
Patty & Mike Erspamer


Opera Preview – A Masked Ball

What’s more exciting than political intrigue and thwarted romance?  Giuseppe Verdi’s A Masked Ball tells just such a tale, in this beautiful Austin Opera production. One of the world’s most frequently performed operas, A Masked Ball is cherished for its dynamic love triangle, struggles to remain in power and inevitable tragic demise.

Join us at Opera Preview for an sneak peek into A Masked Ball and learn more about Giuseppe Verdi, who composed this masterfully rich yet cunning drama. Furthermore, Austin Opera continues to expand its partnership with the University of Texas this year, as world renowned projection artist, Wendall Harrington, collaborates with UT Theatre and Dance students to create an unparalleled set based on light, illusion and projected imagery. Artistic Director and Principal Conductor, Maestro Richard Buckley will lead our discussion.

Bring a friend and enjoy a night of food, fun and enlightening presentations!

Please note: 6:30 p.m. Appetizers and Cash Bar, 7:00 p.m. Presentation


Still need tickets for A Masked Ball, November 8-16? It’s not too late to get great seats. Tickets start at just $24, with student tickets at $15.

Summer Arias: AUG 3 at Umlauf Family Days

Summer Arias header image

Our Summer Arias continue! Join us for a series of solo and duet performances at Austin festivals, family days and more.

ALO Summer Arias
Umlauf Family Day
Sunday, August 3
2:00 – 2:30 pm


More information about Umlauf Family Day here

Come hear soprano Natalie Cummings and Baritone Brett Barnes sing selections from A Masked Ball, Don Giovanni and more, accompanied by Nyle Matsuoka.

Natalie Cummings

Natalie Cummings

Brett J. Barnes

Brett J. Barnes

Cummings has been a Houston District winner in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions for two consecutive years. She’s been heralded for her  “lush, full-bodied and beautiful tone,” and has sung on stages across the country.

Barnes is an Austin favorite, performing with Texas Early Music Project, Conspirare and frequently on the Long Center stage with Austin Lyric Opera. In fact, Barnes will perform in ALO’s January production of  Romeo & Juliet.

Come for the opera, stay for the gorgeous setting of Umlauf, and bring the whole family!


Austin Opera Patron Services
512-610-7684; Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm

Long Center Box Office Hours
Monday-Friday:10 am – 6 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 4 pm
Sunday: open during scheduled performances