With its 2016-17 season, Atlanta Opera will feature four mainstage productions for the first time in six years. Its Discoveries Series enters its third season with two productions that “provide fresh takes on rare operatic gems.”
All mainstage operas are performed at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Discoveries Series locations will be announced later. Here’s a closer look at what comes our way from early October through early May.
The Abduction From the Seraglio | OCT. 8, 11, 14 & 16. Mozart’s romantic farce features bass Kevin Burdette (the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance in March) as Osmin, the ill-tempered overseer of his master’s Turkish harem. Soprano Amanda Woodbury and tenor Ben Bliss play the lovers Konstanze and Belmonte. This piece was last seen in Atlanta in 2006. Music director Arthur Fagen will conduct.
Silent Night | NOV. 5, 8, 11 & 13. Atlanta premiere. A retelling of the famous spontaneous Christmas truce between French, Scottish and German soldiers during World War I. Baritone Matthew Worth (Soldier Songs) plays Lieutenant Audebert as he did at at Wexford Festival Opera. Craig Irvin (Lieutenant Horstmayer), Troy Cook (Father Palmer) and Andrew Wilkowske (Ponchel), all baritones, return from the world premiere of Silent Night at Minnesota Opera. Tomer Zvulun, CEO and general & artistic director, will conduct.
The opera, composed by Kevin Puts, is a co-production with the Wexford Festival and Glimmerglass Opera. It won numerous awards including a 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The Pulitzer citation called it “a stirring opera … displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart.”
Don Pasquale | MARCH 25, 28, 31 and APRIL 2, 2017. Atlanta premiere. Donizetti’s comic opera moves from early 19th-century Rome to 1950s Hollywood, during the transition from black-and-white to color movies. Bass-baritone Burak Bilgili, last seen in Atlanta in Italian Girl in Algiers (2013) returns in the title role; tenor Ji-Min Park plays Pasquale’s nephew, Ernesto. Director Chuck Hudson, who apprenticed under Marcel Marceau, brings his physical pantomime style to the production.
Turandot | APRIL 29 and MAY 2, 5 & 7, 2017. The Puccini epic centers around a proud Chinese princess whose riddles doom every suitor but one. Italian tenor Gianluca Terranova, (Rodolfo in this season’s La bohème) makes his role debut as Calaf; soprano Marcy Stonikas has the title role.
This co-production with the Minnesota, Cincinnati, Utah and Seattle operas was named one of the best shows of 2015 by Seen and Heard International, a website for concert, opera and ballet reviews. Atlanta audiences last saw it in 2007 when it opened the Cobb Energy Centre. Fagen conducts.
The Discoveries Series, emphasizing new work, new ideas and fresh perspectives, debuted two seasons ago. Specific dates and locations will come later for 2016-17’s duo:
Maria de Buenos Aires. Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla’s sexy piece follows a young prostitute who falls in love with tango dancing. Expect plenty of tango, surreal adventure and a setting amid the steamy clubs of Argentina.
The Secret Gardener. Mozart was 18 when he wrote this tale of love, madness and redemption that unfolds in a lush garden. Atlanta Opera partners with New York’s On Site Opera, now in its fifth season, to stage this piece at a site-specific location. Expect more details as the collaboration develops.