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General Director Scott Altman Announces Details of Arizona Opera’s 42nd Season, “The Price of Passion”

2012-2013 Season Includes Lavish Productions of Lucia di Lammermoor,

Roméo et JulietteToscaIl Trovatore and The Marriage of Figaro

This season “promises to bring grand opera in a grand style,” says Altman 

Ticket subscriptions go on sale starting today 

Phoenix, AZ (Jan. 18, 2012) — Arizona Opera General Director Scott Altman announced details of the company’s 2012–2013 season in a live webcast Tuesday evening. During the 30-minute conversation with ASU School of Music staffer and former KBAQ personality Katrina Becker, Altman unveiled the 42nd season’s productions and performers, as well as fielded questions and offered insider tidbits to opera lovers from across Arizona. A total of twenty-five performances of five fully-staged opera productions are planned for the new season, including an exciting new production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore in honor of the Italian composer’s birth bicentennial.

“I’m awfully proud of the passionate, thrilling work that Arizona Opera has achieved in the past two years, and I’m extremely excited to unveil our plans for the upcoming 42nd season,” said Altman. “This season, Arizona Opera promises to bring you grand opera in a grand style.”

The 2012-2013 season leads off with Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece, Lucia di Lammermoor. Set in the foggy moors and gloomy castles of 17th-century Scotland, this tragic romance tells the story of a family feud crushing the love and spirit of a fragile young woman to the point of madness. Hailed last month by the New York Times for her “gleaming voice and beguiling grace,” the spellbinding young soprano Lisette Oropesa takes on the demanding title role, including the final “mad scene.” Singing opposite Oropesa as the infatuated Edgardo is tenor Joseph Wolverton (Turiddu in Arizona Opera’s recent production of Cavalleria Rusticana). In addition, baritone Mark Walters (Valentin in last November’s Faust) will return to Arizona Opera to sing the role of Lucia’s scheming brother Enrico. Rising young bass Jordan Bisch plays Raimondo.

Later in the fall, Arizona Opera will follow up the recent success ofFaust with Charles Gounod’s other great operatic masterpiece, Roméo et Juliette. Taking Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers to an even higher level of romance, it will feature Metropolitan Opera lyric soprano Jennifer Black performing as Juliette the opera’s show-stopping aria “Je veux vivre.” Mexican tenor Fernando de la Mora is the production’s Roméo, with a strong supporting cast that includes baritone David Adam Moore as Mercutio and bass-baritone Jamie Offenbach as Capulet.

Italian opera doesn’t get much steamier than the season’s next two productions, Tosca and Il Trovatore. Soprano Jill Gardner, who wowed Arizona audiences last year as Liù in Puccini’s Turandot, will perform the role of the fiery diva Floria Tosca in a production directed by Bernard Uzan.  Tosca also stars veteran tenor Frank Lopardo as Cavaradossi and Arizona Opera favorite Gordon Hawkins as the sinister Scarpia.  Arizona Opera Principal Conductor Joel Revzen will lead the Arizona Opera Orchestra.

Il Trovatore will be presented in March 2013 in time for the Giuseppe Verdi Bicentennial. Packed with everything from swordplay and late-night abductions, to gypsy curses and secret identities, Verdi’s early opera also includes the celebrated “Anvil Chorus” and a wealth of thrilling arias. It returns to Arizona Opera for the first time in nearly 20 years. To mark the occasion, Arizona Opera will present a new production combining dramatic stage elements with richly colored projections.

“I couldn’t think of any better way to honor Verdi’s genius,” said Altman. “And for this particular opera, we have found artists who I believe to be perfect Verdi voices.” Leading the cast is tenor Dongwon Shin as Manrico, soprano Julianna Di Giacomo as Leonora, baritone Malcolm MacKenzie as Count di Luna and mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips as Azucena.

Tragedy turns to comedy with the final opera of the 2012-2013 season, Mozart’s The Marriage of FigaroThis production will mark the exciting Arizona Opera debut of Canadian baritone Daniel Okulitch. The singer’s portrayal of Figaro has been critically acclaimed as “the stuff of greatness” (Vancouver Sun) and “ever lively on stage and a stylish singer” (Los Angeles Times). Arizona Opera favorite Marian Pop (Barber of Seville) is the perfect foil for Okulitch as the Count. The production also includes the superlative talents of soprano Sari Gruber as Susannah and soprano Erin Wall as the Countess. Arizona Opera’s Joel Revzen will conduct.

All Phoenix performances of Arizona Opera’s 2012-2013 season are at Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix, AZ 85004. Tucson performances are at the Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., Tucson, AZ 85701-1614.

Season subscription tickets begin at $102. For ticket information, call the box office in Phoenix at 602.266-7464 or in Tucson at 520-293-4336. Box office hours are from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Queries can also be sent to info@azopera.com.

To learn more about the 2012-2013 season, including cast lists and biographies, visit www.azopera.org.

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Arizona Opera is a professional opera company which produces fully-staged opera performances, concerts, in-school touring productions, educational and outreach programs that reach over 55,000 schoolchildren and adults annually. Founded in 1971, Arizona Opera is one of the few companies in the United States to serve multiple cities.

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