May 26, 2021—Austin Opera today announces its 2021–2022 Season, featuring its trademark blend of classic grand operas, new pioneering works with contemporary stories, and the use of innovative technology to push the boundaries of the audience experience. The season includes Mozart’s romantic comedy The Marriage of Figaro, a new production premiere of Mason Bates and Mark Campbell’s Grammy Award-winning The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, and a two-part exploration of Beethoven’s only opera: Fidelio: A Celebratory Gala Production at the Opera’s traditional home in the Long Center, plus, in association with Washington National Opera, Beethoven in Virtual Reality: Fidelio, an interactive adventure that can be experienced throughout the season.
“Our next season reinforces the new identity of Austin Opera—we are programming a beautiful production of one of the most beloved and classic operas of all time, premiering a new production of an acclaimed contemporary opera that is particularly relevant to our tech-driven city, and we take a deep dive into a timeless masterpiece with modern political relevance by offering it through both traditional performance means and cutting-edge technology,” says Annie Burridge, General Director & CEO of Austin Opera. “This new season will be a welcome return to normal for our loyal subscribers and attendees who expect their hometown company to continue to break new ground in opera, and it will serve as a beacon for new audiences to discover why Austin Opera is a vital part of Austin’s renowned live music scene. I’m also thrilled for our audiences to hear a full season conducted by Timothy Myers, our Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor, and the incredible casts he and Nathan DePoint, our Senior Director of Artistic Operations, have assembled.”
The Marriage of Figaro
The 2021–2022 Season opens at the Long Center in November with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, presented in an inventive and stylish period production from Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Figaro tells an upstairs/downstairs story of love, lust, seduction, infidelity, and—ultimately—forgiveness, all set to some of the most sublime and memorable music ever written. An all-star cast is led by rising star soprano and Austin native Elena Villalón, who makes her hometown debut as the wily Susanna. The cast also includes Caitlin Lynch in her Austin Opera debut as the Countess, a role she has performed at the Metropolitan Opera; Christian Zaremba, who was last seen in Austin’s 2019 Silent Night, in his role debut as Figaro; Lindsay Metzger as Cherubino and Alissa Anderson as Marcellina in their Austin Opera debuts; and Austin favorites Matthew Treviño as Doctor Bartolo and Kathryn Grumley as Barbarina. The Austin Opera Orchestra will be conducted by Timothy Myers, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor. E. Loren Meeker, the General & Artistic Director of OPERA San Antonio, makes her company debut as the production’s director.
The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs
The season continues at the Long Center in February 2022 with the Texas premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, a new take on the life of Apple pioneer Steve Jobs, featuring the innovative music of Mason Bates and the stirring libretto of Mark Campbell. The recording of the original Santa Fe Opera cast won the 2018 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. A co-production with The Atlanta Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the opera’s inventive production design is designed to travel with ease. “Director Tomer Zvulun’s ingenious concept will enable opera companies and symphonies across the country to cost-effectively program this groundbreaking work,” says Burridge. “I’m thrilled to be part of the consortium giving Jobs a second life through this production.” Zvulun last directed Austin Opera’s 2019 production of Silent Night. The Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus will be led by Timothy Myers, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor. Making their Austin Opera debuts are baritone John Moore, returning to the title role for which he won wide acclaim at Seattle Opera; Sarah Larsen as Laurene Powell Jobs and Bille Bruley as Steve Wozniak, both in their role debuts; and Wei Wu, an original member of the GRAMMY Award-winning cast, who returns to the role of spiritual advisor Kōbun Chino Otogawa. Rounding out the principal cast in the role of Chrisann Brennan is Madison Leonard, who returns to Austin following her triumphant debut as Gilda in 2019’s Rigoletto.
Fidelio: A Celebratory Gala Production and Fidelio in VR
Austin Opera’s season concludes in spring 2022 at the Long Center with Fidelio: A Celebratory Gala Production. Beethoven wrote Fidelio, his only opera, in response to the volatile political situation in Europe during his time, and his themes of social justice, the meaning of freedom, and the power of love and fidelity are still remarkably relevant. This new production stars Alexandra Loutsion as the heroine Leonora, Sean Panikkar as her imprisoned lover Florestan, and Musa Ngqungwana as the jailer Rocco, all in their Austin Opera debuts. The Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus is conducted once again by Timothy Myers, the Sarah and Ernest Butler Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor. Both performances will include events celebrating Austin Opera’s resilience and will raise funds in support of the company’s future in the areas of innovation, impact, and artistic excellence as part of the Austin Opera Forward Campaign. At the first performance on Friday, April 29, 2022, attendees can purchase tickets to a celebratory black-tie gala on the H-E-B Terrace including a pre-show cocktail hour, an elegant, seated dinner, and an exclusive after-party under the tent with the artists. On Sunday, May 1, 2022, attendees can purchase tickets to an exclusive season-ending reception following the performance featuring Fidelio’s principal cast and members of the Austin Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
A new, tech-driven take on Fidelio is Austin Opera’s next installment of Opera ATX, its innovative series offering experimental operatic experiences true to the pioneering spirit of Austin. Through an exciting association with Washington National Opera, Opera ATX presents Beethoven in Virtual Reality: Fidelio, a multisensory experience that brings scenes from Beethoven’s Fidelio to vivid life. Two of opera’s biggest American stars—Tamara Wilson as Leonora and Russell Thomas as Florestan—are joined by the Washington National Opera Orchestra conducted by Evan Rogister, with eye-popping visuals directed by Francesca Zambello, all in their Austin Opera debuts. Fidelio in VR will be offered on special VR headsets at site-specific installations throughout the season. More details about the new Virtual Reality program—including a complete technical guide to ensure a smooth VR experience—are coming soon.
“The safety of Austin Opera’s artists, musicians, and technical crews—as well as our audiences—remains our top priority,” says Senior Director of Marketing and Communications Melysa Rogen. “We expect the Long Center to be operating at full capacity this fall, and we will be working closely with them to implement strategies aimed at reducing any remaining COVID-19 risks. Our Reopening Task Force, which includes local medical experts, will continue to monitor the latest health and safety protocols.”
Current subscribers will receive renewal forms in the mail starting May 26 to secure their seats for the complete 2021–2022 Season, or can renew online using their Austin Opera ticketing account.