2023-2024 Season Announcement
Austin Opera today announces its 2023-2024 season, including three operas at the Long Center for the Performing Arts, an Opera ATX offering at the new Austin PBS Media Center, and the launch of the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives, an initiative to support the development of new operatic works. “We are thrilled about the artistic and organizational growth exemplified in our upcoming season,” said Annie Burridge, Austin Opera General Director and CEO. “The 2023-2024 Season was designed to delight our current attendees and welcome new audiences with fresh rediscoveries of cherished works, a new production of a poignant contemporary work, and some of the most exciting voices working in opera today. Thanks to national and international collaborations, we will be able to bring an unprecedented level of artistic offerings to Austin at the Long Center and beyond.”
Austin Opera’s 2023-2024 season opens at the Long Center in November with Pagliacci, in which composer Ruggero Leoncavallo creates not the usual love triangle, but a love quadrangle, with three men all fighting for the love and attention of one woman. Using the classic ‘play within a play’ format, the composer sets up the real lives of his characters as a mirror to their parts in the play, with the two stories coming together in one final explosion of manipulation, jealousy, violence, and ultimately, of death.
Sad-faced and sad-hearted clown, Canio, is sung by tenor Jonathan Burton, returning to Austin Opera after his 2018 visit as Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos. Making her role debut as Nedda, the target of so much welcome and unwelcome attention, is soprano Hailey Clark, last seen at the Long Center in 2019 as Anna Sørensen in Silent Night. Troublemaker Tonio is sung by baritone Anthony Clark Evans, and Nedda’s lover Silvio is sung by baritone Ben Taylor, both making their Austin Opera debuts, as is character tenor Rodell Rosel, who also makes his role debut as Beppe. Austin Opera’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director, Timothy Myers, will conduct this powerful heartbreaker, collaborating with director Tara Faircloth who returns to Austin Opera after her last visit for Rigoletto in 2019. Scenic design is by Laura Fine Hawkes, with lighting design by Kathryn Eader.
Cruzar la Cara de la Luna
The season continues in February with the world’s first-ever Mariachi opera, José ‘Pepe’ Martínez and Leonard Foglia’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna (Crossing the Face of the Moon), in a new co-production by Austin Opera and Minnesota Opera directed by David Radamés Toro with scenic and costume design by Tony Award nominee Arnulfo Maldonado. In a new orchestration by David Hanlon commissioned by Austin Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Houston Grand Opera, Cruzar marks the next phase of the significant, ongoing cultural collaboration between Austin Opera and Ópera de Bellas Artes, the national opera company of Mexico. This production of Cruzar is also the first opera at the Long Center supported by the new Butler Fund for Spanish Programming, created in 2022 with a donation of $3.3 million from Austin philanthropists Sarah and Ernest Butler to expand Spanish language programming at Austin Opera.
The cast for Cruzar will include vocalists from the Ópera de Bellas Artes Studio performing alongside U.S-based artists, the Austin Opera Orchestra, and the Mariachi musicians of Trío Chapultepec. The Trío comprises three much sought-after musicians from San Antonio—Vincent Pequeño, Israel Alcala, and William Carlton Galvez. Trío Chapultepec and the members of the Ópera de Bellas Artes Studio will also perform together in Austin Opera’s forthcoming Bella Noche de Música concert at Waterloo Park in April 2023.
The final Long Center opera of the season features arguably opera’s sexiest role in Georges Bizet’s lush and emotionally charged tragedy, Carmen. Carmen is a beautiful, free-spirited woman and yet, she despises any man who falls for her, including soldier, Don José. She rejects José to take up with a famous bullfighter. José spurns his childhood sweetheart, Micaëla, and as his love degenerates into morbid obsession, it is only a matter of time before he will make Carmen face the consequences of her desire for freedom.
Georges Bizet’s score creates a lush and emotionally charged setting for this tragic story, which includes two of opera’s most iconic and instantly recognizable arias, in the Habanera and the Toreador’s March. Sadly, Bizet died within three months of Carmen’s 1875 premiere—meaning he never knew that he had written what would become one of the most popular operas in the repertoire.
Seville’s ultimate temptress will be sung by Virginie Verrez. Flashy bullfighter, Escamillo, will be sung by bass-baritone Seth Carico, making his house and role debut in a rare return to the US from his base in Germany. The tragedy is led by three artists making Austin Opera debuts. Austin Opera’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director, Timothy Myers, will conduct.
Opera ATX: Ryan Speedo Green in Concert
Austin Opera continues its practice of extending its programming beyond the Long Center by welcoming back internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, Ryan Speedo Green, for a concert at the new Austin PBS Media Center. Presented in partnership with Austin PBS, the concert will build on the hugely successful 2021 An All-Star Concert—in which Ryan Speedo Green also performed—which has aired on more than fifty PBS stations around the US, with an audience reach of 113 million. The concert will be recorded live for national distribution on public television.
In high demand at the world’s leading opera houses, Ryan Speedo Green has received praise for his featured roles at the Metropolitan Opera in Terrence Blanchard’s Fire Shut up in my Bones and in Gerswhin’s Porgy and Bess, an opera for which he won a Grammy Award. He also served as the Texas Opera Alliance’s first-ever Artist in Residence in the 2021-22 season.
Ryan Speedo Green will be joined by pianist Adam Nielsen in this one-night-only concert underwritten by Jeff and Gail Kodosky.
Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives
Today Austin Opera also announces the latest development for Opera ATX – the company’s boundary-pushing series championing innovative operatic experiences and the artists and creative teams that bring them to life. Beginning in the 2023-2024 Season, the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives will provide a unique workshopping space for Latinx composer/librettist teams to advance projects that will ultimately extend the scope of operatic storytelling.
The residency will provide a composer and librettist team a 10-day residency in Austin to advance a new work or an existing work in progress through workshops with the Austin Opera artistic team, members of the Austin Opera Orchestra, the Austin Opera Teaching Artists, and members of the Austin Opera Chorus.
In addition to the workshopping resources and use of the Opera’s digital media studio, the composer and librettist will each be provided with a $5,000 stipend and all travel/housing expenses for the Austin residency. Applications will be made available on March 1.
Subscriptions and Tickets
Austin Opera recognizes that many of life’s expenses have increased lately and is offering renewing and new subscribers the opportunity to purchase this exciting lineup of season tickets at last year’s prices. While producing opera remains a formidable endeavor dependent on the generosity of the community, the company wants to ensure all of its loyal subscribers can keep the joy of opera in their lives.
2023-2024 Season subscriptions are on sale now.
Individual tickets for the season will be available on September 7, 2023.