Opera Company of Philadelphia 2012-2013 Season Features Five New Productions

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The Opera Company of Philadelphia announces five new productions in the 2012-2013 Season featuring La Boheme, Silent Night and The Magic Flute at the Academy of Music, and the Aurora Series at the Perelman Theater productions of OCP's Powder Her Face and Curtis Opera Theater's Owen Wingrave.

Tenor William Burden in SILENT NIGHT

Tenor William Burden returns in the Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2013 East Coast Premiere of SILENT NIGHT, a new opera by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell. (Photo by Michal Daniel for Minnesota Opera)

The 2012-2013 Season features a carefully-planned blend of classics along with important works that will be new to many of our audiences.

Season Highlights:

Corrado Rovaris, OCP's Jack Mulroney Music Director, renews contract through 2016.

Opera at The Academy Series:

New, art-inspired La Boheme opens the season featuring the returns of Norah Amsellem, Leah Partridge, and Troy Cook, with Bryan Hymel in his OCP debut.

OCP American Repertoire Program features East Coast Premiere of Silent Night by Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell in a new co-production with the Minnesota Opera starring William Burden, Kelly Kaduce, Troy Cook, Liam Bonner, and Craig Irvin.

A New Production of The Magic Flute from Director Robert B. Driver starring Antonio Lozano, Elizabeth Zharoff, Mark Stone, and the OCP debut of Rachele Gilmore.

Aurora Series for Chamber OPERA AT THE PERELMAN SERIES:

Curtis Opera Theatre’s new production of OWEN WINGRAVE in association with OCP and Kimmel Center Presents

The OCP Premiere of POWDER HER FACE by Thomas Adès in a new production starring Nancy Gustafson as Margaret, Duchess of Argyll

Philadelphia, PA: General Director David B. Devan is pleased to announce the Opera Company’s 38th Season, featuring five new productions at the Academy of Music and the Perelman Theater and a cast of much-anticipated debuts and returning star voices.

“The 2012-2013 Season features a carefully-planned blend of classics along with important works that will be new to many of our audiences,” Devan shared. “We are especially thrilled to be able to realize five new productions in the upcoming season, allowing us to produce masterpieces like La bohème and The Magic Flute in imaginative and beautiful settings that honor the opera while providing a fresh and innovative look at them.”

The Opera at the Academy season opens with director Davide Livermore’s romantic La bohème, inspired by the impressionist art at the turn of the 20th Century, and in spring 2013, director Robert B. Driver directs The Magic Flute in a lush and contemporary rainforest setting.

Devan is also moving forward with recently announced artistic initiatives aimed at broadening the scope of new and rarely-performed works in Philadelphia. “In 2011, we launched the American Repertoire Program, our commitment to produce an American opera in each of the next 10 seasons starting with this June’s Dark Sisters. Next season, we are proud to be producing the East Coast Premiere of Silent Night, an exciting new American work by composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell, in a magnificent co-production with the Minnesota Opera. It’s a moving story, and really offers the finest in opera and theater for today’s audiences.”

Other works already announced as part of the American Repertoire Program include Theodore Morrison’s Oscar, planned for 2015, and Cold Mountain by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon in 2016, both co-commissioned and co-produced with The Santa Fe Opera.

Further supporting its commitment to new works, the Opera Company’s Composer In Residence Program, in collaboration with New York’s Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, will move into its next phase with the selection of a second composer in summer 2012. Current Composer In Residence Lembit Beecher is in his first year of the three-year residency, and produced a concert of his works in New York during January 2012.

The popular Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater returns with two contemporary British works – Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave produced by the Curtis Opera Theatre in association with OCP and Kimmel Center Presents, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia premiere of Powder Her Face by Thomas Adès.

Devan also shared the renewal of Maestro Corrado Rovaris’s contract as music director. Rovaris, who was appointed as the company’s Jack Mulroney Music Director in 2004, has extended his commitment through the 2015-2016 Season. “Corrado has been pivotal to the success that the Opera Company of Philadelphia is experiencing. He embraces cutting-edge repertoire selections, and his international career allows him to identify artists and collaborators for us to engage here in Philadelphia. We are thrilled that our very talented orchestra and chorus will continue to develop under his leadership through 2016.”


by Giacomo Puccini
September 28, 30m, October 3, 5 & 7m, 2012
Sung in Italian with English translations

What better way to open the season than with an inspired new production of Puccini's ultra-romantic blockbuster, La bohème? The timeless story of a shy seamstress and a passionate poet who chance upon each other on a snowy Parisian evening, La bohème is known for its poignant melodies and characters that touch the very heart of our humanity. With sweeping orchestral and choral music, this original production from Italian director Davide Livermore (Cinderella, ’06) shines a spotlight on the true bohemian influences at the turn of the 20th century by showcasing the intensely moving impressionist art created at that time.

Soprano Norah Amsellem, who received audience and critical acclaim as Desdemona in Otello in 2010 and who frequently performs in Paris, London, and Vienna, returns to sing the role of Mimì. Academy of Vocal Arts alumnus-turned-international tenor Bryan Hymel makes his company debut as Rodolfo, following a season where he made his debut as Don José in Carmen at La Scala and sang the title role in Faust with The Santa Fe Opera. Returning to the OCP stage as the tumultuous couple, Marcello and Musetta, are two Philadelphia favorites, baritone Troy Cook and soprano Leah Partridge. Cook, who returns to OCP in April as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, recently sang the role of Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Royal Opera, and created the role of Father Palmer in the World Premiere of Silent Night at the Minnesota Opera. Partridge’s recent performances include Violetta in La traviata with OCP and in Dresden, Germany. This season, she adds Leïla in The Pearl Fishers to her leading roles with Pittsburgh Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre. Music Director Corrado Rovaris conducts Puccini’s captivating score.

American Repertoire Program
A NEW CO-PRODUCTION with the Minnesota Opera
February 8, 10m, 13, 15 & 17m, 2013
Music by Kevin Puts     Libretto by Mark Campbell
Sung in English, German, French, Italian, and Latin with English translations

The critically-acclaimed new opera Silent Night recounts a miraculous moment of peace during one of the bloodiest wars in human history. On World War I’s Western Front, weapons are laid down when Scottish, French and German officers defy their superiors and negotiate a Christmas Eve truce. Enemies become brothers as they come together to share Christmas and bury their dead in a moving dramatic work that features soaring, lyrical melodies and a stellar cast of stars.

Composer Kevin Puts, known for his orchestral repertoire, makes his operatic debut with this piece. Opera News said of the Minnesota Opera World Premiere, “The opening night ovation for Silent Night was long and clamorous, the loudest acclaim fittingly reserved for composer Kevin Puts …With this remarkable debut, Puts assumes a central place in the American opera firmament. Much will be expected from him."

Several Opera Company of Philadelphia favorites return as part of the original cast for this new work, with acclaimed tenor William Burden starring as the drafted opera singer whose voice inspires peace among adversaries, and soprano Kelly Kaduce as his love interest, Anna Sørenson. Burden has performed an array of new and rarely performed works in recent seasons, including the role of Daniel Hill in San Francisco Opera’s Heart of a Soldier and Hippolyt in OCP’s Phaedra, and he sings the role of Peter in San Francisco’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene in 2013. Kaduce, who was last seen in Philadelphia as Princess Lan in Tan Dun’s Tea: A Mirror of Soul in 2010, has current performance credits in the title role of Madama Butterfly with The Santa Fe Opera, Portland, and the Minnesota Opera, and sang the title role in Rusalka in Montreal last fall. Also returning in his second production of the season is baritone Troy Cook, as Father Palmer, the Scottish priest who provides spiritual guidance.

A host of important OCP debuts are in store, including baritone Liam Bonner as Lieutenant Audebert, the conflicted French commander. Bonner’s performance credits include the title role in Pelléas et Mélisande with Opera Theatre of St. Louis and Sid in Los Angeles Opera’s Albert Herring. Bass-baritone Craig Irvin, a frequent guest artist with Wolf Trap Opera, makes his OCP debut as Lieutenant Horstmayer, the German commanding officer, with tenor Gabriel Preisser making his debut as Lieutenant Gordon, a role he created at the Minnesota Opera World Premiere.

Tony-nominated director and playwright Eric Simonson, with frequent productions at Steppenwolf Theater and on Broadway, stages this new production with scenic design by Francis O’Connor, costume design by Kärin Kopischke, lighting design by Marcus Dilliard, and projection design by Andrzej Goulding. Maestro Michael Christie, newly appointed to the role of music director for the Minnesota Opera and long-standing music director at Colorado Music Festival and the Phoenix Symphony, makes his company debut at the orchestra podium.

Silent Night is based on the screenplay for Joyeux Noël by Christian Carion for the motion picture produced by Nord-Ouest Production, and was built by the Minnesota Opera and jointly owned by Minnesota Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia.

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
April 19, 21m, 24, 26 & 28m, 2013
Sung in German with English translations

Mozart’s fabled tale returns to OCP, ushering in the spring with a vivid, new production. We meet the noble Tamino, an impassioned, contemporary adventurer whose search for enlightenment amid a series of daunting trials ultimately leads him to find his one true love. The Magic Flute is an opera that delights both seasoned opera buffs and novices, from the famously dazzling "Queen of the Night" aria, to Papageno's melodies, replete with humorous, bucolic whimsy.

This new production from director Robert B. Driver and designer Guia Buzzi transports audiences to the lush rainforests of Brazil, marrying the beauty and wonder of our natural resources to Tamino’s quest to protect that which is right and good. Sets and costumes are co-produced with Festival Amazonas de Ópera in Brazil.

The rising cadre of starring artists includes Spanish tenor Antonio Lozano as Tamino, who makes his OCP debut in 2012 as Belmonte in The Abduction from the Seraglio on the heels of performances as Lindoro in The Italian Girl in Algiers in Oveido, Spain. Soprano Elizabeth Zharoff, a Curtis Institute alumna who also stars as Konstanze in Abduction, returns in the role of Pamina. Baritone Mark Stone, well-loved in Philadelphia as well as leading opera houses throughout Europe, returns following his recent success in the title role of Don Giovanni in Berlin, as Papageno, the comical sidekick with a keen eye for birds. The Queen of the Night is sung by Rachele Gilmore in her company debut. Gilmore made her debut at La Scala this season as Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann, a role she also sang at the Metropolitan Opera. Jack Mulroney Music Director Corrado Rovaris leads the Opera Company Orchestra.

Underwritten by the Wyncote Foundation

This season, the Aurora Series brings us two sharply contrasting contemporary British works, produced in the intimate and highly theatrical setting of the Perelman Theater. From Benjamin Britten’s haunting rendition of a short story by Henry James, to an operatic take on the lascivious story of a noble woman and her much-publicized sexual appetite by Thomas Adès, this Aurora Series pairing provides two rare and unforgettable performance experiences!

Curtis Opera Theatre's
In association with OCP and Kimmel Center Presents
By Benjamin Britten
March 13, 15 & 17, 2013
Sung in English

From the heart and mind of famed composer Benjamin Britten emerges a stirringly beautiful chamber opera based on a short story by Henry James. The opera, which premiered in 1970, introduces us to Owen Wingrave, a committed pacifist born into a renowned military family. Met with a torrent of disapproval over his beliefs yet desperate to keep the love of his would-be bride, Owen is determined to prove his inner strength – even if it leads to his own mysterious end.

The gifted young voices of the Curtis Opera Theatre, under Artistic Director Mikael Eliasen, star in this highly-anticipated production. Britten’s orchestral music, by turns spellbinding and terrifying, will be brought to life by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra.

Further details of the creative team will be announced later in the spring of 2012.

By Thomas Adès Libretto by Philip Hensher
June 7, 9m & 12, 2013
Sung in English

This bawdy British romp is based on the real life of Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, whose famously scandalous divorce in the 1960s would have provided weeks’ worth of fodder for today's 24-hour news cycle. As intimate details of her sexual proclivities and lurid tales of trysts with potentially-famous partners became public, she earned herself the dubious nickname of "The Dirty Duchess."

Contemporary British composer Thomas Adès creates a chamber opera with a story both comic and tragic, as groundbreaking in its subject matter as its eclectic musical style, which draws on everything from big band and swing to Strauss and Schubert for inspiration. The New York Times said "’Powder Her Face’ is a delightful entertainment ... we have a distinctive composer among us."

Celebrated soprano Nancy Gustafson, renowned for leading performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden and La Scala, among others, makes her Opera Company of Philadelphia debut in the title role. Bass Ben Wager, an Academy of Vocal Arts alumnus with a host of leading role credits in Berlin, returns to OCP as the Hotel Manager, with tenor Christopher Tiesi, a Curtis Institute alumnus who made his OCP debut as Gastone in La traviata in 2010, as the Electrician. Soprano Ashley Emerson, a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Program who has performed the role of Papagena in The Magic Flute with the Met and Flora in Opera Theatre of St. Louis’s Turn of the Screw, is featured as the Maid. Maestro Corrado Rovaris leads this Aurora Series chamber work.

Please be advised that Powder Her Face features explicit sexual content and adult situations which are inappropriate for young audiences.


by Giacomo Puccini
September 28, 30m, October 3, 5 & 7m, 2012
Sung in Italian with English translations

Conductor:            Corrado Rovaris
Director & Designer:    Davide Livermore
Lighting Design:        Drew Billiau

Rodolfo:        Bryan Hymel*            
Mimì    :        Norah Amsellem        
Musetta:        Leah Partridge            
Marcello:        Troy Cook
Schaunard:    Craig Verm*
Colline:        Jeremy Milner
Benoit/Alcindoro:    Kevin Glavin

Music by Kevin Puts    
Libretto by Mark Campbell
American Repertoire Program
A NEW CO-PRODUCTION with the Minnesota Opera
February 8, 10m, 13, 15 & 17m, 2013
Sung in English, German, French, Italian and Latin with English translations

Conductor:                        Michael Christie*
Director:                    Eric Simonson*
Set Design:                 Francis O’Conner*
Costume Design:             Kärin Kopischke*
Lighting Design:                Marcus Dilliard*
Projection Design:         Andrzej Goulding*

Nikolaus Sprink:        William Burden            
Anna Sorenson:        Kelly Kaduce            
Lt. Audebert:        Liam Bonner*            
Lt. Horstmayer:        Craig Irvin            
Lt. Gordon    :            Gabriel Preisser*        
Father Palmer:        Troy Cook            
Ponchel:            Andrew Wilkowske*
Jonathan Dale:        Zach Borichevsky*        
William Dale:        Brandon Cedel            
Kronprinz:                Albert J. Glueckert*                 
French General:        Harold Wilson*            
Madeleine Audebert:    Angela Mortellaro*        

Scenery and costumes for this production were constructed at The Minnesota Opera Shops and are jointly owned by The Minnesota Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia.

by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
April 19, 21m, 24, 26 & 28m, 2013
Sung in German with English translations

Conductor:        Corrado Rovaris
Director:            Robert B. Driver
Set & Costume Design:    Guia Buzzi
Lighting Design:        Drew Billiau

Tamino:            Antonio Lozano            
Pamina:            Elizabeth Zharoff        
Queen of the Night:     Rachele Gilmore*        
Sarastro:                 Jordan Bisch*            
Papageno:                Mark Stone
Papagena:                Sarah Shafer*
Sprecher:                Ben Wager
First Lady:                 Devon Guthrie*            
Second Lady:        Tammy Coil
Third Lady:        Katherine Pracht*
Monostatos:        Joseph Gaines*            

A co-production with Festival Amazonas de Ópera

Music by Thomas Adès
Libretto by Philip Hensher
June 7, 9m & 12, 2013
Sung in English

Conductor:        Corrado Rovaris

Duchess:        Nancy Gustafson*        
Hotel Manager:    Ben Wager
Maid:        Ashley Emerson*
Electrician:    Christopher Tiesi

*Opera Company of Philadelphia debut


La bohème, Silent Night and The Magic Flute are performed at The Academy of Music, Broad and Locust Streets. Curtis Opera Theatre’s Owen Wingrave and OCP’s Powder Her Face are performed at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce Streets.

Performance times: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.

Full season subscriptions to Opera at the Academy or the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater are available beginning February 9th at noon at operaphila.org. Phone hours are Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 215-732-8400. Remaining single tickets will go on sale in August 2012 with Ticket Philadelphia.


The Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater is generously underwritten by Wyncote Foundation. US Airways is the official airline of the Opera Company. YAMAHA is the official piano of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. Hyatt at the Bellevue is the official hotel of the Opera Company. Burdumy Motors Incorporated is the official automotive dealership of the Opera Company. Macy’s is the sponsor of Opera Overtures pre-opera talks before each performance. The Opera Company of Philadelphia is supported by major grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Jacob Burns Foundation, Inc., The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The William Penn Foundation and Wyncote Foundation. Additional support is provided by Beneficia Foundation, Independence Foundation, and OPERA America’s Opera Fund. The Opera Company of Philadelphia receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. General operating support is provided, in part, by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.


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