Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Arizona Opera Announces 2016-17 Season

Thursday, January 28, 2016

(Phoenix, Tucson, Ariz.) General Director Ryan Taylor and Arizona Opera announce its 45th Anniversary Season with classics and the first fully-commissioned world premiere in the company's history.  This season marks a major step for the company's Arizona Bold artistic initiative as it announces the creation of a new piece, Riders of the Purple Sage to be performed in the spring of 2017.  

"Milestone anniversary seasons are the perfect time to celebrate the glorious history and exciting future of any important arts institution," says Taylor. "Our team has assembled a diverse season featuring important new debuts, the return of local favorites, timeless classics and our company's first-ever world premiere. I can't imagine a better opportunity for first-time opera goers and passionate enthusiasts alike to experience everything that Arizona Opera offers our community!"

Performances will be held at Symphony Hall at 75 N. 2nd St in Phoenix and at the Tucson Music Hall at 260 S. Church in Tucson.

Ticket packages for the full season or a select-your-own mini pack of three shows are on sale now at or by calling (602) 266-7464 (Phoenix) or (520) 293-4336 (Tucson).  

with Frederica von Stade
The Greatest Hits of Verdi, Puccini and Mozart
TUC: October 9 at 2:00 pm in Tucson Music Hall
PHX: October 15 at 7:30 pm; October 16 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall

Thrill as the full orchestra, chorus and soloists join international superstar Frederica von Stade perform in this star-studded, sparkling celebration. Wear your brightest blue as the theater becomes a multi-faceted, glimmering jewel of sights and sounds.  The 45th Anniversary also celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio and will feature alumni returning to Arizona to perform opera's "greatest hits."


Frederica Von Stade 

Laquita Mitchell

Andrew Stenson


by Antonín Dvorák
PHX: November 11 & 12 at 7:30 pm; November 13 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall
TUC: November 19 at 7:30 pm; November 20 at 2:00 pm in Tucson Music Hall

When the water nymph Rusalka wants to be a part of our world, she sacrifices everything for the chance at true love. You think you know the story of this little mermaid, but the fairytale doesn't break the surface. Based on Hans Christian Andersen's original story, Rusalka features dark forests, woodland sprites, and the glorious aria, "Song To The Moon." Sara Gartland, who is "enchanting, with an expanse of surging sound," (Opera Today) returns to take the title role.

Rusalka is part of the Arizona Bold Artistic Initiative.

Sara Gartland
as Rusalka

Kevin Ray 
as The Prince 

Daveda Karanas

as Jezibaba


by Giacomo Puccini
TUC:  January 28 at 7:30 pm; January 29 at 2:00 pm in Tucson Music Hall
PHX:  February 3 & 4 at 7:30 pm; February 5 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall

With tender duets and the most breathtaking arias of all-time, Madama Butterfly encompasses a lifetime of hope and anticipation, betrayal and despair. Set in the idyllic village of Nagasaki, Japan, an innocent geisha's love for an American naval officer leads to the ultimate heartbreak and tragedy. Considered Puccini's greatest masterpiece, Madama Butterfly takes audiences to the pinnacles and depths of human emotion, rightfully securing its place in the heavens.


Sandra Lopez

as Cio-Cio San

Daniel Montenegro
as Pinkerton

Levi Hernandez

as Sharpless



by Craig Bohmler & Steven Mark Kohn

Scenery by Ed Mell

Billie Jo and Judd Herberger, Executive Producers
TUC:  February 25 at 7:30 pm; February 26 at 2:00 pm in Tucson Music Hall

PHX:  March 3 & 4 at 7:30 pm; March 5 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall


Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage will be the first world premiere produced by Arizona Opera. Follow this Wild West adventure through the sweeping vistas and massive canyons of the Southwest, brought to life by the vibrant work of world-renowned Arizona artist, Ed Mell.

Riders of the Purple Sage is part of the Arizona Bold Artistic Initiative.

Craig Bohmler


Steven Mark Kohn


Ed Mell

Scenic Designer

Fenlon Lamb

Stage Director

Karen Wolverton

as Jane Withersteen

Morgan Smith

as Lassiter



by Gioachino Rossini


TUC:  April 1 at 7:30 pm; April 2 at 2:00 pm in Tucson Music Hall

PHX:  April 7 & 8 at 7:30 pm; April 9 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall


Soaring arias and outlandish hijinks abound in this delightful version of the classic story. Angelina is forced to serve her stepfather, Don Magnifico, and his two ridiculous daughters. With help from the prince's tutor and a pair of beautiful bracelets, Angelina navigates the precarious court of Prince Ramiro, hoping to win his heart. Real-life sweethearts Daniela Mack (Carmen, 2016) and Alek Shrader bring this fun, vibrant fairytale to life.

Daniela Mack

as Angelina

Alek Shrader

as Ramiro

Stefano de Peppo

as Don Magnifico



45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration

The Greatest Hits of Verdi, Puccini and Mozart

Conductor - Ari Pelto

Stage Director - Joshua Borths
Master of Ceremonies - Frederica Von Stade, mezzo-soprano
Laquita Mitchell, soprano
Marie Lenormand, mezzo-soprano

Andrew Stenson, tenor
Craig Verm, baritone
Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio Artists

Arizona Opera Chorus
Arizona Opera Orchestra



Conductor - Steven White

Stage Director- Joshua Borths
Rusalka - Sara Gartland/Melinda Whittington
The Prince - Kevin Ray

Vodnik - Richard Paul Fink
Jezibaba - Daveda Karanas
The Foreign Princess - Alexandra Loutsion
1st Wood Sprite - Katrina Galka
2nd Wood Sprite - Lacy Sauter
Gamekeeper - Joseph Lattanzi
Turnspit/Kitchen Boy - Alyssa Martin


Madama Butterfly 

Conductor - Craig Kier
Stage Director - Matthew Ozawa
Cio Cio San - Sandra Lopez/Rena Harms

Pinkerton- Daniel Montenegro/Marco Cammarota

Suzuki - Deborah Nansteel
Sharpless - Levi Hernandez
Bonze - Zach Owen

Yamadori-Joseph Lattanzi
Kate Pinkerton - Alyssa Martin


Riders of the Purple Sage 

Composer - Craig Bohmler
Librettist - Steven Mark Kohn
Scenic Designer - Ed Mell
Stage Director - Fenlon Lamb
Conductor - Keitaro Harada
Jane Withersteen - Karin Wolverton/Laura Wilde
Lassiter - Morgan Smith/Joshua Jeremiah
Bern Venters - Joshua Dennis
Bess- Amanda Opuszynski
Bishop Dyer - Kris Irmiter
Elder Tull - Keith Phares



(La Cenerentola) 

Conductor - Dean Williamson
Stage Director - Crystal Manich
Angelina - Daniela Mack/Alyssa Martin
Don Ramiro - Alek Shrader
Dandini - Joseph Lattanzi
Don Magnifico - Stefano de Peppo
Clorinda - Katrina Galka
Alidoro- Zach Owen



About Arizona Opera
Founded in 1971, Arizona Opera is our state's only professional opera company that produces fully-staged opera performances as well as in-school touring productions, and outreach programs to reach over 70,000 schoolchildren and adults annually. Since its inception, Arizona Opera has produced over 200 fully-staged operatic masterpieces and concerts including Richard Wagner's complete Ring Cycle; and in 2014 the company embarked on a new artistic initiative, Arizona Bold, which incorporates new repertoire into each season, works that celebrate the rich cultural fabric that makes up our diverse state.