Sunday, April 18, 2010

This is our 2011 Season

Here it is, the worst kept secret in all of opera - our 2011 season - Turandot, Der Rosenkavalier, Faust and Carmen.

We think it is an excellent one and we hope you do too.

Instead of giving you all the PR and Marketing language which you'll undoubtedly hear over the next 8 or so months, we'll give you our take on the season (still marketing and PR but hopefully filled with our charm or lack thereof).

We like to think of this season as a season of firsts.


The first opera we ever heard and and fell in love with, Turandot, opens the season. This is the same production from 2004 with sets by David Hockney. We've yet to find a better production and Hockney's purples and reds lend to the fairytale setting of Puccini's masterpiece. For those that follow the Metropolitan Opera, you'll know the name Lise Lindstrom - it was Lise who made her Met debut as Turandot with two hours notice and all reviews indicate she nailed it. I look forward to hearing her nail it in person. She's joined by tenor Carlo Ventre and soprano Ermonela Jaho the latter who appeared with us on opening night of Maria Stuarda, replacing a sick Angela Gilbert for that first performance. Emronela chewed up the scenes with just a walkthrough in Maria Stuarda. We can't wait to see what she does as Liu



Der Rosenkavalier turns 100 next year, and we're celebrating with a production based on the original designs of this opera. This opera has two important role debuts - Anja Hateros as Marschallin and Ferruccio Furlanetto as Baron Ochs. This will be the third role Anja will debut with us - she sang her first Violetta with us and her first Amelia here. She's singing Amelia right now at La Scala with Placido Domingo so we expect that she'll take this role around the world once she is done here. For Ferruccio, he has stated the Baron Ochs is the last role in his career that he has always wanted to sing but never has. In singing it, it also makes him the first Italian to ever perform the role in the original German as far as anyone can tell (and please, dear Readers, please look it up and tell us if we are wrong - we can't find any evidence pointing to another Italian bass singing this in German). Not to be overlooked are the House debuts of Anke Vondung, Patrizia Ciofi and German based (but San Diego born) soprano Stephanie Weiss.

Not to date myself, but Faust was my first opera here at San Diego Opera when I saw it in 1989 with my High School Class. It starred Ferruccio Furlanetto and Richard Leech. I told this to Ferruccio one day when he was sitting in my office. "You know," his voice boomed "that made me feel very old." Faust was also the second opera of my first season here as an employee, so I have a certain affection for this opera. It also stars three singers I adore - Stephen Costello and Aylin Perez (Romeo and Juliet from this season) and Greer "Opera God" Grimsley who will continue the tradition of being the best villain everybody loves to hate as Mephistopheles. We're using a new production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago so we're excited to see it.

And then there is Carmen. What can we say about Carmen that hasn't already been said? It's the most popular opera for a reason. And for this one we have Georgian (as in former Soviet Union, not peach) mezzo-soprano Nino Surgurladze (that's not a typo - but I need to catch myself every time because I want to type "Nina"). She's joined by the "fourth tenor" Salvatore Licitra making a Company debut. You'll see him again in a later season. Also exciting to us is the role of Micaela - because we think she's the only sympathetic character in the whole opera - which will be sung by newcomer Talise Trevigne. You'll also see her again as Pip in Moby-Dick in 2012, a role she is creating this very moment over in Dallas for the world premiere.
And that's the 2011 season from the Aria Serious perspective. We'd love to hear what you think of our season so please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Also, we'll be interviewing many of these artists with "10 Questions With..." so if there is a question you've always wanted to ask a singer, here's your chance. Submit your question (it can be general to all artists or specific to a single one) to: blog(at)sdopera(dot)com
Thanks for reading!

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