2024-2025 Season Announcement

Austin Opera announces its 2024-2025 season, including three productions at the Long Center for the Performing Arts and the launch of a new program in celebration of Timothy Myers’ 2023 appointment as the Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director.

The season opens in what is sure to be a politically charged November 2024 with the return of the compelling political thriller The Manchurian Candidate, which delighted a packed house in its one-night-only 2016 Austin Opera debut. February brings the company premiere of Verdi’s Requiem in the launch of a new series, Opera Unleashed: Epic Masterpieces with Timothy Myers, featuring the powerful voices of soprano Leah Crocetto, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, and tenor Limmie Pulliam in their company debuts, alongside returning bass Wei Wu and a supersized chorus. The season closes with the beauty and tragedy of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, presented in a groundbreaking new co-production with Opera San Antonio.

Austin Opera will also welcome composer Jorge Sosa and librettist John de los Santos to workshop a new one-act opera, OFRENDA: A “Día de Muertos” Story as part of the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives.

“The 2024-2025 Season offers a fresh journey for both longtime opera lovers and newcomers to the art form, with performances of one masterpiece composed 150 years ago and another written as recently as 2015, alongside a unique opportunity to experience a new opera as it is being developed. I am especially thrilled to launch our partnership with Opera San Antonio with a co-production of Madame Butterfly that harnesses the artistic resources of both companies, conducted by Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director Timothy Myers and directed by E. Loren Meeker, Opera San Antonio’s General Director.”

Annie Burridge, Austin Opera’s General Director and CEO

The Manchurian Candidate

Austin Opera’s 2024-2025 season opens at the Long Center in November with The Manchurian Candidate, the compelling operatic adaptation of Richard Condon’s 1959 political thriller by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell – the same team that created the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Silent Night. Winner of four Austin Critics Table Awards, this complex and gripping story of patriotism, corruption, political ambition, and eleventh-hour self-sacrifice will make its highly anticipated return to the Long Center stage after its critically acclaimed 2016 Austin debut, which was called “utterly contemporary” with “visceral intensity” by the Austin American Statesman.

Baritone Mark Diamond, last seen in Austin as the love-struck Anthony in Sweeney Todd, stars as Sgt. Raymond Shaw, the U.S. soldier and war hero caught in a web of political intrigue. Unbeknownst to him, at the center of the web of conspiracy is his own mother Eleanor, performed by Metropolitan Opera soprano Mary Dunleavy in her Austin Opera debut. Also caught in the intrigue is Shaw’s former girlfriend Jocelyn, sung by 2024 GRAMMY nominee soprano Rachel Blaustein in her Austin Opera debut, and her father Senator Johnny Iselin, sung by commanding bass-baritone Kyle Albertson.

GRAMMY award-winning tenor Frederick Ballentine, known for his “dramatic and musical heft” (Washington Post), makes his company debut as Captain Ben Marco, Shaw’s war buddy who realizes his friend has been brainwashed into being an unwitting “sleeper assassin.” A role immortalized on film by actors Frank Sinatra and Denzel Washington, Marco leads the thrilling chase to the opera’s conclusion to prevent the assassination of Shaw’s most high-profile target, a presidential candidate.

Director Alison Moritz’s award-winning staging brings Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director Timothy Myers and the Austin Opera Orchestra onto the stage to build the intensity of this dramatic thriller set against the powerfully cinematic backdrop of Greg Emetaz’s visual projections, Vince Herod’s scenic design, and Kathryn Eader’s dramatic lighting.

Opera Unleashed: Verdi's Requiem

In celebration of Timothy Myers’ 2023 appointment as the Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director, Austin Opera is thrilled to announce the launch of a new series: Opera Unleashed: Epic Masterpieces with Timothy Myers. Opera Unleashed will offer a series of company premieres over the coming seasons featuring some of the most historically significant works composed for the operatic voice. First up, is the company premiere of one of the canon’s most thrilling masterpieces, Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem.

Declared an “opera in ecclesiastical costume” at its world premiere in 1874, Verdi’s Requiem is a monumental work for the human voice, that will mark the Austin Opera debuts of three star singers as soloists. Described by The New York Times as possessing an “agile coloratura technique and a feeling for the Italianate style… with warmth, full penetrating sound and tenderness,” American soprano Leah Crocetto continues to astonish audiences.  Critically acclaimed for her interpretation of Verdi’s music, she has previously sung this epic work with Opera Philadelphia, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.

Boasting “the requisite combination of full-throated dramatic vocal power and intimate lyricism,” tenor Limmie Pulliam thrills audiences with his captivating stage presence and sound. The Missouri native made his Metropolitan Opera debut in December 2022 and Carnegie Hall debut in January 2023, completing a career renaissance after a 12-year break from singing.

They join bass Wei Wu, last seen as Kôbun in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs in 2022. The Austin Opera Chorus will team up with the professional members of Chorus Austin to form a 75-voice group under the leadership of Austin Opera Chorus Conductor Cina Crisara.

“Verdi is undoubtedly one of opera’s most popular and revered composers. It is a gift to have an opportunity to explore one of his greatest works that is not only unforgettably powerful in performance, but also gives us greater insight into one of the ‘greats.’ As will be a hallmark of this series, we’re thrilled to showcase the musical might of the Austin Opera Orchestra, Chorus, and world-class soloists, for our beloved city of Austin.”

-Timothy Myers, Austin Opera’s Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director

In addition to serving as the launch for Opera Unleashed, the Austin Opera premiere of Verdi’s Requiem will mark the 150th Anniversary of the work’s premiere and the 60th Anniversary of Chorus Austin. The Opening Night performance will be followed by a festive celebration to commemorate the monumental achievements of Austin’s collaborative arts community.

Madame Butterfly

The final opera of the season spotlights the mesmerizing beauty and heart-rending tragedy of Giacomo Puccini’s poignant Madame Butterfly, presented in a groundbreaking co-production with Opera San Antonio that will debut on April 17, 2025, at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts and then immediately come to the Long Center for three performances from April 25-27, 2025.

In one of opera’s most heartbreaking stories, the young geisha Cio-Cio-San, affectionately known as “Butterfly,” is seduced by the dashing U.S. Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton. After a hasty wedding separating Cio-Cio-San from her family, Pinkerton abandons her to return to America. Cio-Cio-San raises their son with the help of her maid Suzuki and never loses faith in her true love, but when Pinkerton’s ship finally returns to the harbor three years later, her faith is replaced by devastating despair.

Hailed as a “true artist” (Opera News), soprano Raquel González stars as Cio-Cio-San. A winner of the prestigious Sphinx Organization’s Medal of Excellence Award, González was last seen at Austin Opera as Micaëla in Carmen in 2024. Tenor Joseph Dennis, last seen at Austin Opera as Nikolaus Sprink in Silent Night in 2019, takes on the role of Pinkerton. Praised by the New York Times for his “hardy baritone voice and dramatic authority, Malcolm Mackenzie makes his company debut as the US Consul Sharpless. Making her company debut in the role of Suzuki, Butterfly’s only friend and confidante, mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi has been dubbed “a powerhouse in the making” by Opera News. Seen in 2023 as Beppe in Pagliacci, GRAMMY-nominated tenor Rodell Rosel returns as the scheming marriage broker Goro, and returning for his third straight Austin Opera season, after performances in both Fidelio and The Pearl Fishers, is bass Hidenori Inoue.

Conducted by Sarah and Ernest Butler Music Director Timothy Myers and directed by E. Loren Meeker, Opera San Antonio’s General Director, this stunning and traditional production of Madame Butterfly is a groundbreaking partnership between Austin Opera and Opera San Antonio, harnessing the artistic resources of both companies.

Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives

In 2023, Austin Opera announced 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 last season, the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives began providing a unique workshopping space for Latinx composer/librettist teams to advance projects that will ultimately extend the scope of operatic storytelling.

During the 2024-2025 Season, Austin Opera will welcome Mexican-born composer Jorge Sosa and Mexican American librettist John de los Santos to Austin for a ten-day residency to workshop their new one-act opera, OFRENDA: A “DÍa de Muertos” Story.

 

“Including Latinx storytellers is vital in creating an operatic canon more representative of our community, especially here in Austin. OFRENDA offers a unique perspective that features the strength and complexity of family, themes that resonate deeply with me as an immigrant. This residency is a testament to the growing power and visibility of Latinx creatives. I am excited to champion the work of these incredible artists.”

-Claudia Chapa, Austin Opera Curator of Hispanic & Latinx Programming

Known for his “dreamlike and sometimes even nightmarish music” (Crescendo Magazine), Sosa has worked in a wide range of styles and media, covering everything from electronic music to opera, with an eclectic mix of styles and influences that converge to shape an original and personal voice. Opera News described his digital opera Alice in the Pandemic as “wildly imaginative, musically powerful and technically courageous.” Stage director and librettist de los Santos has been called a “brilliant combination of literary insight and choreographic creativity” (D Magazine). He has written two operas with composer Clint Borzoni, When Adonis Calls and The Copper Queen.

OFRENDA: A “Día de Muertos” Story is a multi-generational story about healing, family, kindness, and sacrifice sung in both Spanish and English. Austin Opera will collaborate with the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin to offer invitations to witness the workshopping process during the season.

Subscriptions and Tickets

2024-2025 Season subscriptions are on sale now!

Individual tickets for the season will be available on Thursday, September 5, 2024.