Austin Opera Updates
The latest news, season information, and announcements from Austin Opera’s General Director and CEO, Annie Burridge.
July 31, 2020 - Austin Opera announces new performance updates for 2020 and 2021, building on its successful programming pivot at the start of the pandemic
Austin Opera today announces a slate of new performances and partnerships as it continues to explore new ways to bring opera to Austin audiences during the pandemic and beyond. In a new partnership with the Blue Starlite Drive-In, the company will present a series of operas and concerts filmed for the screen to movie theaters in East Austin and Round Rock, beginning this fall. Austin Opera’s new season at the Long Center begins in January 2021 with An All-Star Concert. Puccini’s Tosca will be presented in April/May 2021, followed by Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in November 2021. Both An All-Star Concert and Tosca will be captured live and available for digital streaming for patrons and subscribers unable to attend. Finally, Live from Indy Terrace, Austin Opera’s innovative digital recital series born of the pandemic, will continue as part of the company’s regular programming with new cycles of digital and live recitals.
“We have planned a dozen different season scenarios in recent months, trying to keep pace with the latest health and medical advice and the directives from our local leaders. We are hopeful these new plans announced today will allow our artists and audiences to once again gather safely so we can continue with our core mission of bringing thrilling live music to Austin,” says Annie Burridge, Austin Opera General Director & CEO. “The digital aspect of our new performance schedule reveals how nimble an opera company must be in this uncertain age about maintaining its creative edge and reminding our passionate supporters that we are still in the business of making exceptionally moving art.”
Austin Opera launches a new partnership of its Opera ATX initiative with the Blue Starlite Drive-In to present a series of operas and original concerts filmed especially for the screen. The series begins in October.
The Blue Starlite Drive-In, with locations in East Austin and Round Rock, opened in 2010 and is the world’s first and only urban boutique drive-in movie theater. This intimate, one-of-a-kind venue is the passion project of owner Josh Frank. When approached by Burridge with the need to innovate opera programming for the fall and provide unique experiences to Austin Opera’s loyal fans, Frank thought the company was a natural partner for his screens. As it happens, Frank’s mother was an opera singer who studied with Walter Ducloux at the University of Texas and performed with Houston Grand Opera.
“Blue Starlite and Austin Opera are both striving to provide discerning Austin audiences with a unique communal live experience,” says Frank. “I’m excited to add opera to the rich mix of programming here at the Blue Starlite.”
The new opera-on-film series at the Blue Starlite Drive-In will include subscriber and patron screenings, as well as offerings for the general public. Titles in the Drive-In series will be made available for at-home viewing later in the season. Complete details on programming, dates, and tickets will be announced shortly.
Austin Opera opens its season at the Long Center with An All-Star Concert, bringing the beauty of live opera back to Austin while focusing on the safety of the artists and the audience. Artistic Advisor Timothy Myers returns to conduct these star-studded concerts—January 30 and 31, 2021—to help ring in the new year and to celebrate the uplifting and joyous power of live opera. Austin Opera’s subscribers will be invited to help curate the program by submitting their favorite arias and duets for consideration. Audiences will be seated in a socially distanced hall following the guidelines put forth by the State of Texas and created in collaboration with the Long Center. An All-Star Concert takes the place of the previously announced new production premiere of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs by Mason Bates and Mark Campbell, which has been rescheduled for January 2022 in coordination with co-producers Atlanta Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of the arts in creating both beauty and community, and also has proven that there is truly no replacement for the miracle of live performance,” says Myers. “After an achingly long intermission, I am excited to join a superb cast of renowned singers and our beloved Austin Opera Orchestra in creating these concerts. All members of the company look forward to expressing our love and gratitude to the city of Austin, as well as hearing from our supporters with their input about the program we will perform.”
Burridge adds, “This concert is essentially a love letter to our loyal subscribers, who we know are just as eager to hear live opera again as we are. The concert is being designed to create socially distanced, safe working conditions for all the singers and orchestra musicians, as well as our audiences. I’m so glad to be able to offer a streaming option that will ensure that all our loyal patrons can participate in what is sure to be a momentous artistic occasion for our company.”
Headliners for An All-Star Concert are currently being finalized and will be announced later this fall.
The 2021 Long Center Season continues in April and May with Puccini’s Tosca, the tale of a strong-willed diva who makes the ultimate leap of faith in pursuit of love. Heading the cast in the title role is American soprano Leah Crocetto in her Austin Opera debut. Crocetto, an internationally acclaimed artist who has sung leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, and other major houses, takes on one of Puccini’s most famous arias “Vissi d’arte,” in which she reflects on art, love, and faith. Joining her on stage are Adam Smith as Cavaradossi and Aleksey Bogdanov as Scarpia, both in their Austin Opera debuts. Conductor Timothy Myers and director David Lefkowich bring the passions of Rome to vivid life.
For the Long Center production of An All-Star Concert, Austin Opera will provide a one-time digital at-home streaming option for subscribers who are either reluctant or unable to return to the theater. It will be filmed by an expert three-camera crew and a professional sound design team. A patron services representative will contact subscribers prior to the start of each production to explain the in-person and at-home choices.
Austin Opera concludes its 2021 Season in November with Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, which was originally set to appear in November 2020. This inventive and stylish period production from Lyric Opera of Kansas City 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. The cast is led by four principals who are each singing their roles for the very first time on stage. The cast includes rising stars Will Liverman in his Austin Opera debut as the Count and Christian Zaremba, so memorable in 2017’s Carmen and 2019’s Silent Night, in his role debut as Figaro. Director E. Loren Meeker, the new General & Artistic Director of Opera San Antonio, makes her Austin Opera debut.
“We are so grateful for our patrons’ support and encouragement through the many adjustments to our programming in response to the pandemic. We are optimistic that our new season can proceed as outlined, but our audiences should rest assured that we have additional back-up plans should circumstances change yet again,” says Burridge.
Live from Indy Terrace, Austin Opera’s new digital recital series developed in response to the pandemic, will continue throughout the rest of 2020 and into 2021. These digital videos will be presented as programming cycles throughout the season, with deep dives into each Long Center production, including pre-show lectures and recitals by cast members; explorations of musical styles such as Zarzuela, the Great American Songbook, and musical theater that broaden the musical landscape of Austin Opera; and celebrations of the classical voice repertoire, with series featuring art songs, song cycles, and new operatic works. A summer recital series in 2021 will culminate in a live outdoor performance at an iconic Austin locale. Further details on future Live from Indy Terrace programming will be announced soon.
Austin Opera subscribers who have renewed for the previously announced 2020–2021 Season will be automatically ticketed for the 2021 Long Center Season. Subscribers’ seats will be the same as previous seasons for Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro. Subscribers will be reseated for An All-Star Concert to accommodate the latest social distancing requirements; seats will be as close to their original locations as possible. Once all current subscribers have been seated, additional 2021 Long Center Season subscriptions will be available for sale—quantities will be limited based on seating capacity. New subscriptions for the winter and spring 2022 productions, including the rescheduled performances of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, will go on sale in the spring of 2021. More information is at austinopera.org/subscriptions or 512-472-5992.
Similarly, single tickets for An All-Star Concert may be made available once all subscribers have been seated—stay tuned for an on-sale date. Single tickets for Tosca will go on sale February 1, 2021.