OPERA MEMPHIS ANNOUNCES 2012-2013 SEASON
HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE FREE “30 DAYS OF OPERA” SERIES,?TWO CLASSIC MASTERWORKS AT GERMANTOWN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, INAUGRUAL MIDTOWN OPERA FESTIVAL
MEMPHIS, TN – Opera Memphis today unveiled its 2012-2013 season, a bold mix of classic masterworks and innovative new programs which will further the company’s tradition of artistic excellence while creatively expanding its audience for the future.
“This season celebrates the diversity of the opera,” says Ned Canty, entering his second year as general director of Opera Memphis. “We’ve got life, death, comedy, tragedy, true love, heartbreak, revenge, and chocolate cake on our city’s most intimate stages and all over the city.”
Opera Memphis’ 2012-2013 season is funded in part by generous support from ArtsMemphis, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Adams Foundation, the Assisi Foundation of Memphis, AutoZone, Downtown Memphis Commission, Evolve Bank & Trust, and Watkins Uiberall.
The season kicks off with 30 Days of Opera Presented by Evolve Bank & Trust, a series of free opera performances and related events happening at events, festivals, parks, and other public venues throughout the Mid-South from September 15 through October 14, 2012. “We’re turning the opera house inside out,” says Canty. “We are grateful to Evolve Bank & Trust for helping us take opera to crowds at Cooper-Young, the Shelby Farms Greenline, the South Main Arts District, college campuses, parks, libraries, churches, and everywhere in between. It’s a fun and casual way to give people a delicious taste of the opera.”
Giacomo Puccini’s classic La Boheme begins the regular season at Germantown Performing Arts Centre, November 9 and 11, 2012. “If you see one opera in your lifetime, make it this one. It’s essentially the perfect opera,” says Canty. “A major part of Opera Memphis’ mission is celebrating the genre’s masterworks. Every society throughout history has had its artists, poets, and bohemians. That’s what makes La Boheme such an enduring and timeless classic.” La Boheme is the inspiration for several successful modernizations, including Baz Luhrmann’s Tony Award-winning 1990 update for Opera Australia and Jonathan Larson’s 1996 Broadway smash, Rent.
La Boheme will feature the first United States performance in seven years by Angela Fout, whom Opera Memphis welcomes back following her seven year tenure as the prima donna of Switzerland’s Theatre St. Gallen. The cast also includes a pair of rising stars, Zulimar Lopez Hernandez and Eric Barry, making their Memphis debuts. Canty will direct the production, conducted by Ari Pelto whose Opera Memphis credits include Barber of Seville and last year’s Don Pasquale.
The season’s second production, also Germantown Performing Arts Centre is Gaetano Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, February 2 and 5, 2013. “At its core, this is one of the most romantic operas ever written,” says Canty. “The agony of not realizing how much you love someone until they have moved on is a universal human experience. At the same time, it has some quintessentially American themes and comic characters, particularly Dr. Dulcamara - the snake oil salesman whose conniving antics set the plot in motion.”
Canty will direct this Old West-themed production, conducted by David Hayes of the Philladelphia Orchestra. Elixir of Love will include the Memphis debuts of Sarah Shafer, fresh from her debut at the Glyndebourne Festival, and Jordan Shanhan, who last delighted local audiences as Figaro in 2011’s Barber of Seville.
The season peaks with the inaugural Midtown Opera Festival at Playhouse on the Square from April 4 – April 7, 2013. Featured operas include Benjamin Britten’s classic The Rape of Lucretia and a special double-feature of Bon Appetit – a one-woman performance about Julia Child baking a cake – and Lee Hoiby’s This Is the Rill Speaking, based on an early work by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson. The productions – all regional premieres – will be joined by parties, micro-operas, public panel discussions, and other surprises to fill Playhouse during throughout the Festival’s four-day run. Area businesses, including Boscos Squared and Yolo, will add special menu items promoting the event and Opera Memphis.
“Playhouse on the Square is acoustically the best venue in the city. Its farthest seat is actually closer to the stage than the front row at the Met. We handpicked these shows for this venue, and we’re excited for opera to be play a significant role in the remarkable rebirth of Overton Square,” says Canty. “This festival is intimate, progressive, and filled with unexpected treasures – just like Midtown.”
Season subscriptions and individual tickets for all events are now on sale through OperaMemphis.org, by calling 901 257 3100 or by visiting the box office at the Clark Opera Memphis Center, 6745 Wolf River Parkway.
“A great city deserves a great opera company,” says Canty. “We know that Opera Memphis must continue to take risks and evolve if we are going to keep meeting the needs of our growing audience. I look forward to the whole city joining us on this journey.”
OPERA MEMPHIS ANNOUNCES?“30 DAYS OF OPERA” PRESENTED BY EVOLVE BANK & TRUST
FREE PUBLIC PERFORMANCE SERIES WILL “TURN THE OPERA HOUSE INSIDE OUT”
MEMPHIS, TN – Opera Memphis today announced the launch of 30 Days of Opera, Presented by Evolve Bank & Trust, a festival of free, short opera performances and related events taking place at neighborhood festivals, parks, and other public venues throughout Memphis and Shelby County. Complete listings and updates for 30 Days of Opera will be available at OperaMemphis.org. Daily updates will be available on Facebook.com/OperaMemphis and Twitter.com/OperaMemphis, as well as sent to mobile phone users who text “OPERA” to 313131.
“We’re turning the opera house inside-out,” says Canty. “Our idea was to come up with a way to perform that is as unexpected, delightful, engaging and memorable as opera itself. We’re showing the city we love exactly what we love about opera. Don’t be surprised if you hear a bit of Carmen some night soon on Beale Street or some Figaro in the parking lot of your grocery store.”
30 Days of Opera begins at the Cooper-Young Festival at 10:00 a.m. on September 15 and concludes with a surprise performance on October 14. In between, 30 Days of Opera will take opera to the Shelby Farms Greenline, the Memphis Zoo, Beale Street, the Downtown Memphis and Memphis Botanic Gardens Farmers Markets, South Main Trolley Tour, Park(ing) Day, the Baddour Center, and many others.
A quartet of young rising talents, all of whom are performing in Memphis for the first time, will perform all of the musical selections during 30 Days of Opera: baritone, Joel Herold; soprano, Maria Lindsey; tenor, Logan Rucke; and mezzo soprano, Caitlin McKechney.
Opera Memphis general director Ned Canty will deliver his popular “Opera Doesn’t Suck” presentation at several libraries and other public venues during the month. Other special events will include “Death By Aria,” a head-to-head singing competition at the University of Memphis’ Rudi E Scheidt School of Music; “The Playground King,” an original opera for kids at Shelby Farms Park Playground; and Opera Family Day at the Clark Opera Memphis Center.
30 Days of Opera is generously supported by Evolve Bank & Trust. “At Evolve, the foundation of our business is based on reaching out to and serving the communities in which we live and work," said Scott Stafford, president and CEO of Evolve Bank & Trust. “Community outreach isn't new to arts groups, but I think Opera Memphis' idea to bring the love and artistry of opera to places where we work, shop and play will make its efforts all the more memorable and successful."
Additional supporters include ArtsMemphis, Tennessee Arts Commission, AutoZone, Watkins-Uiberall, and the Downtown Memphis Commission. All 30 Days of Opera performances and programs are free and open to the public.