Arizona Opera Announces its 2022/23 Season
The season includes a moving story of military service and sacrifice, popular classics from Strauss to Puccini to Mozart, and a family-friendly musical theater favorite
PHOENIX and TUCSON, Arizona (Feb. 14, 2022) – Today, Arizona Opera proudly announced its 2022/23 Season, which will feature an exciting array of programs, ranging from beloved classics to new works, including five in-theater productions in Phoenix and Tucson. Beyond the stage, Arizona Opera will continue its Production Apprentice and Marion Roose Pullin Studio training programs, welcome the return of in-person music education programs, and offer established and newly developed community programs as part of the company’s NextGen Initiative, which positively touch the lives of tens of thousands of people each year.
The company also announced its newest world premiere commission, Frankenstein, which will be produced in the 2023/24 Season. Based on the novel by Mary Shelley, and with score and libretto by Gregg Kallor, Frankenstein will be the company’s third world premiere, following the company’s first two premieres, Riders of the Purple Sage and The Copper Queen—the latter of which was released in fall 2021 as a feature-length film.
Please note: Information about 2022/23 Season casting and creative teams will be released early next month.
“Arizona Opera has continually evolved over the past two years through the pandemic, and while we are still navigating the trials of this chapter, we recognize that the world needs art now more than ever. We are committed to serving the needs of our community as fully as possible through our art form in spite of these historic challenges,” said Arizona Opera’s President and General Director, Joseph Specter. “We are deeply grateful for the dedication of our patrons and the leadership of our board and staff, which have allowed us the privilege to continue our work. In that spirit, Arizona Opera is thrilled to offer a 2022/23 Season that will serve Arizona with a mix of vibrant programming designed for our whole community, both on and off the stage.”
The 2022/23 Season will also rekindle the Connection Lab, which features unique virtual engagement opportunities initially created during the onset of the pandemic as a way for the community to stay connected and enjoy opera-based discussions from home. Virtual classes and conversations will unfold online through innovative video series like Arizona Opera’s UnMic’d, an opportunity to peek behind the curtain and enjoy dynamic conversations between opera professionals and professionals from seemingly unrelated fields. Other Arizona Opera Connection Lab presentations include Behind-the Scenes: A Podcast!, and the video series LOUD! (Living Opera, Understanding Diversity).
“Through the challenges due to the impact of COVID-19, Arizona Opera has continued to not just survive, but thrive through all of our initiatives - from our first feature length film to virtual music education offerings to partnering with The Met for our Arizona Opera Film Festival. Arizona Opera will continue to offer multiple ways on multiple platforms to engage new and existing audiences,” said Dr. Stephen Munk, Board Chair of Arizona Opera.
The McDougall RED Series
The Falling and the Rising, Ariadne auf Naxos
Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Season will feature two McDougall RED Series productions presented in fall 2022 at the Herberger Theater in Phoenix and at the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson.
Included in the new season’s McDougall RED Series will be the regional premiere of a new opera co-commissioned by Arizona Opera, The Falling and the Rising, and the return of a long-awaited Strauss masterpiece, Ariadne auf Naxos.
The Falling and the Rising
Music by Zach Redler | Libretto by Jerre Dye
Phoenix – October 14-16, 2022 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson – October 22-23, 2022 – Temple of Music and Art
The Falling and the Rising is an operatic story of service and sacrifice, which traces the inner journey of a soldier who enters a coma after she suffers a roadside attack. As the soldier moves through her unconscious dreamscape, the audience will serve as both companion and witness, sharing powerful encounters with fellow service members along the way.
This opera centers around a strong female hero known only as “Soldier.” After sending a video message home on the eve of her daughter’s thirteenth birthday, Soldier is severely wounded by a roadside bomb. As she experiences a medically-induced coma, she sees visions of other soldiers’ stories, each on their journey toward healing and home.
Based on real-life interviews with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital, this Soldier’s odyssey was created to honor the indomitable spirit of our U.S. Military veterans. By shedding light on the inspirational power of their stories, Arizona Opera hopes to knit the civilian and veteran/military populations together through this story of family, service, sacrifice, and hope.
THE FALLING AND THE RISING was conceived by Sergeant First Class Benjamin Hilgert. THE FALLING AND THE RISING was originally commissioned by the US Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus, Opera Memphis, Seattle Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, and TCU. THE FALLING AND THE RISING was originally workshopped at Seagle Music Colony. Special thanks go to Garnett Brooks for producing the New York premiere at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater in January, 2018.
Part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series.
Ariadne auf Naxos
Composer: Richard Strauss | Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Phoenix – December 2-4, 2022 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson – December 10-11, 2022 – Temple of Music and Art
Arizona Opera is delighted to at last present this Strauss masterpiece, which comes to the stage after its planned performances in Spring 2020, which were delayed due to the pandemic. Ariadne auf Naxos is an opera within an opera - a satirical farce that combines sublime music with hilarious antics.
A wealthy gentleman in Vienna commissions two pieces of entertainment as an after dinner treat for his guests, to be performed by two separate group of artists: a dramatic opera and a lighted hearted theatrical comedy. Unfortunately, the dinner is running late, and the two ensembles are forced to perform on stage together, at the same time. Ariadne, who has been abandoned by Theseus, laments her lost love and yearns for death. Zerbinetta and her four companions from the commedia dell’arte troupe attempt to cheer on Ariadne by singing and dancing, but without success. Zerbinetta insists that the best way to cure a broken heart is to find another love. Meanwhile, each of the four commedia men pursues Zerbinetta.
Naiad, Dryad, and Echo announce the arrival of a stranger. Ariadne assumes it is the messenger of death. Soon these misapprehensions are resolved and the two are united in the mystery of love. As Dorante steals away with Dorimene, Zerbinetta has the last word: another man always comes along.
Main Stage Series
Tosca, The Sound of Music, The Magic Flute
Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Season will feature three Main Stage Series productions presented in winter/spring 2023 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix and at the Tucson Music Hall. Among the beloved classics to be featured are the return Giacomo Puccini’s dramatic Tosca, and a production of Mozart’s timeless fairytale, The Magic Flute. Rounding out the Main Stage will be the Arizona Opera company premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s treasured musical, The Sound of Music, presented in the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series.
Composer: Giacomo Puccini | Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica
Phoenix – January 20-22, 2023 – Symphony Hall
Tucson – January 28-29, 2023 – Tucson Music Hall
A political thriller, set in Rome in June 1800, Tosca tells a story of passionate, yet tender love, jealousy, betrayal, lust, and self-sacrifice. Tosca’s action takes place over a span of less than 24 hours during the Napoleonic wars and amidst great political unrest, making it one of the most dramatic thrill rides in opera.
The plot centers around three main characters: Rome’s diva Floria Tosca, her lover Mario Cavaradossi, and the corrupt Chief of Police, Baron Scarpia. Scarpia has long lusted after Tosca, and when he suspects Cavaradossi of assisting an escaped political prisoner, he seizes the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. He will manipulate Tosca into revealing the prisoner’s hiding place and Cavaradossi’s involvement, so he can have Tosca for himself.
When Cavaradossi is captured, Scarpia offers Tosca a horrific bargain – she must give herself to Scarpia, or her lover is killed. What will she choose, and who will survive?
Production made possible, in part, by a gift from Marlys A. Beider.
The Sound of Music
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Phoenix – March 3-5, 2023 – Symphony Hall
Tucson – March 11-12, 2023 – Tucson Music Hall
Fall in love all over again with this timeless classic! A wonderful opportunity to bring the entire family to Arizona Opera and experience familiar favorites and beloved characters. This treasured musical is based on the 1949 memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, and set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938. The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family while she decides whether to become a nun.
Maria falls in love with the children, and eventually their widower father, Captain von Trapp. He is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis. Captain von Trapp and Maria decide on a daring plan to flee Austria with the children, with everything at stake. Many songs from the musical have become family classics, including "Edelweiss," "My Favorite Things," "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Do-Re-Mi," and the title song, "The Sound of Music."
Part of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series.
The Magic Flute
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder
Phoenix – April 7-9, 2023 – Symphony Hall
Tucson – April 15-16, 2023 – Tucson Music Hall
Mozart’s beloved classic, The Magic Flute, is a fairytale of darkness and light, which explores the journey in search of truth and reason, love and enlightenment.
As the action unfolds, Tamino, a prince lost in a foreign land, is pursued by a terrifying monster. He is rescued by three mysterious ladies, who kill the monster and give Tamino a picture of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, with whom he falls instantly in love. They tell him that Pamina has been captured by the powerful and evil Sarastro, and Tamino vows to rescue her.
With the gift of a magic flute and magic bells, as well as the light-hearted assistance of the bird-catcher, Papageno, Tamino sets off on his dangerous quest. However, he soon discovers that nothing, not even Day and Night, is quite as it first appears.
Production made possible, in part, by a gift from Marlys A. Beider.
Arizona Opera Programs Off the Main Stage and in the Community
Orchestral Workshop of Frankenstein by Gregg Kallor
Arizona Opera’s third world premiere, Frankenstein, follows in the footsteps of Riders of the Purple Sage and The Copper Queen, the latter of which was released as Arizona Opera’s first film in 2021. As part of the development of the opera, which will receive its official stage premiere in the 2023/24 Season, there will be a workshop of the piece with orchestra in December 2022 at the Arizona Opera Center. This will be the opera’s second workshop, following a successful first piano workshop in New York City at OPERA America in September 2021 with piano accompaniment.
“I believe that telling this story of a being that is vilified for its otherness is both vital and universal,” said Kallor. “My goal is to allow the humanity of Mary Shelley’s text, published 200 years ago, to speak through the music. I want the audience to be as moved as I am at this tale.”
Told from the Creature’s perspective, the opera is a deeply moving story that will focus on the horror of alienation and remind us of the urgent need for empathy in our society.
“The timelessness of Shelley’s novel, combined with Gregg’s compelling score and libretto, will create an impactful opportunity for the opera art form to connect with both long-time devotees and newcomers alike. Frankenstein is a story that is as meaningful now as it was when it was published in 1818, and we believe this opera will become an important addition to the contemporary operatic canon,” said Specter.
Audiences can track the progress of the creation of the opera and be amongst the first to be placed on the tickets waitlist by visiting https://azopera.org/performances/frankenstein.
This commission is funded, in part, by a gift from Linda and Stuart Nelson.
Arizona Opera’s NextGen Initiative
While the pandemic has brought both progress and setbacks, Arizona Opera continues to demonstrate its commitment to community and artistic impact through its NextGen Initiative, which includes community and training programs, including the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio and Production Apprentice programs, K-12 Education Programs, as well as its LOUD! (Living Opera, Understanding Diversity) and UnMic’d digital offerings. The programing exemplifies Arizona Opera’s commitment to engaging, inspiring, and including people of all ages, backgrounds, and races.
In-Person and Virtual Community Engagement
In addition to its on-stage programming, Arizona Opera will present a wide range of community and special events during its 2022/23 Season. Such programming includes pre- and post-show lecture series; a partnership with Arizona State University, “Coffee at Kerr,” which offers free, informal presentations previewing each production of the season and featuring Arizona Opera’s performers and guest musicians; a new monthly series, “Opera for Lunch,” which invites the public to step away from their desks to experience world-class singing during a 30-minute lunchtime recital featuring Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artists; and public design classes at Arizona Opera’s Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Costume Artisan Workshop. Many of the offerings are free or low-cost and designed to welcome newcomers and more diverse audiences.
Arizona Opera will continue to produce episodes of its well-received digital offerings that premiered during the Reimagined 2020/21 Season through its Connection Lab initiative, such as UnMic’d, Behind-the Scenes: A Podcast!, and LOUD! Arizona Opera also launched its first-ever diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiative in January 2021, making an important and timely decision to search deeply within itself and take the time to listen and learn how to be a better, more inclusive organization. Through this initiative and a newly formed DEI team, the intent is for Arizona Opera to be a civic institution that serves the marginalized communities across all aspects of the organization.
“My approach to this work will be through a lens that centers (BIPOC) Black, Indigenous, and other PoC (People of Color), whose perspectives and authentic stories have historically been under-represented in Opera,” said Courtney Clark, Director of Community Alliances. “We believe that a deepened and detailed level of equity work will be the cornerstone of our organization and will richly enhance our ability to develop meaningful community partnerships, increase audience participation, and cultivate future patrons who find value in both our art form and our social impact. Over time, we will continue to serve those devoted to the art form while also creating vast opportunities to engage with individuals and communities that we have not successfully reached in the past. This work is ongoing and crucial to Arizona Opera’s ability to fulfill its role as a civic institution and is also key to our sustainability in the long term. I am very passionate about this work and bring dedication and intentionality to create racial equity in the arts as I continue to strive to create a more socially just world through the lens of music and the practice of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” she added.
K-12 Education Programs
After pivoting its K-12 Education programs to offer digital and virtual programs in the state of Arizona for nearly two years, due to COVID-19 safety reasons and school restrictions, Arizona Opera is thrilled to bring back the Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity in-school touring program this spring and reintroduce “Student Night at the Opera,” which offers special discounted tickets for students to attend the final dress rehearsal performance of every mainstage opera. Combined, OperaTunity and Student Night at the Opera help to share the artform with nearly 50,000 students across the state. Many students who experience the OperaTunity program have limited to no arts exposure in school, and more than 70 percent of the audience for Arizona Opera’s K-12 Education Programs identify as black, indigenous, and other people of color.
“For 21 months, Arizona Opera’s education programs have existed in a digital or virtual world through Zoom masterclasses, ‘Virtual Storytimes,’ and our ‘Opera in a Dropbox’ program,” said Cassie Robel, Director of Education. “Moving into 2022, I am excited for the Arlyn M. Brewster OperaTunity Troupe to get on the road again touring Cinderella and Who Wants to be an Opera Star. Cinderella was actively being performed in Phoenix when the pandemic first started, and I cannot wait to get our work back on the road. The joy that the Brewster OperaTunity program brings to students is unmatched and witnessing their energy as they walk into their cafeteria that has been transformed into an opera hall is inspiring. The teachers often tell me how their students ask for these performances year after year, and how they practice their opera voices for weeks after each performance,” she added.
Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist Program
Designed to help foster the careers of the next generation of operatic singers, pianists, and stage directors, the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio provides well-rounded, personalized instruction that propels each artist to the next level throughout the course of the season. The Pullin Opera Studio Program is one of the most competitive training programs of its kind in the country, helping young artists to bridge the gap between their academic studies and a professional career. Pullin Studio Artists play a key part in Arizona Opera’s season, including portraying various leading roles on the main stage, in addition to serving as ambassadors for both the company and the art form throughout the community.
For its 2022/23 Season, Arizona Opera welcomes seven talented performers to the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio: Brad Bickhardt (tenor), Tiffany Choe (soprano), Lauren Cook (mezzo-soprano), Vèronique Filloux (soprano), Kihwa Kim (pianist), Mario Pacheco (stage director) and Schyler Vargas (baritone).
Production Apprentice Program
Similar to the Pullin Opera Studio, Arizona Opera’s Production Apprentice Program bridges the divide between academic studies and a professional career, and is geared toward up-and-coming theater technicians in order to learn the skills and gain the experience necessary to take the next step.
“Arizona Opera’s Production Apprentice Program gives budding, young theater technicians an opportunity to acquire professional experience in all aspects of producing quality performances, from working one-on-one with our professional designers, directors, and conductors to cross-discipline training, network opportunities, masterclasses, and portfolio reviews; our apprentices leave the program feeling more prepared to enter the theater trade,” said Kathleen Trott, Arizona Opera’s Marlu Alan and Scott Stallard Costume Artisan Workshop Manager. “It’s an honor to witness their progress and development and is also very rewarding for us, as an organization, to know we are helping to shape these theater artisans’ careers and the theater production industry as a whole.”
Collaboration with the Phoenix Art Museum and the Tucson Museum of Art
Among a wide array of community partnerships, Arizona Opera is particularly grateful this season to be working in collaboration with the Phoenix Art Museum and the Tucson Museum of Art, who have generously provided much of the visual art used in material for Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 from their respective collections.
Season Subscriptions for Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Season will go on sale beginning February 23. Ticket purchasing access and priority seating will be given to current season subscribers. New subscribers will be able to purchase tickets beginning April 18. For more information, visit azopera.org.
About Arizona Opera
Arizona Opera entered its 50th Anniversary Season in fall of 2021, and produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each year, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company's artistic history is rich with a blend of opera’s traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.
2022/23 Season Sponsors
The Falling and the Rising is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series.
Ariadne auf Naxos is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series.
Tosca is made possible, in part, by a gift from Marlys A. Beider.
The Sound of Music is part of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series.
The Magic Flute is made possible, in part, by a gift from Marlys A. Beider.
Frankenstein is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Commission funded, in part, by a gift from Linda and Stuart* Nelson.