Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

Arizona Opera Announces the Casts and Creative Teams for its 2023/24 Season Productions

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

This season’s line-up includes classic operas featuring star-crossed lovers, mistaken identities, and salacious escapades, plus a World Premiere based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein


PHOENIX and TUCSON, Arizona (Aug. 16, 2023) -- Today, Arizona Opera announced the casts and creatives for the McDougall RED Series and the Main Stage Series performances of its 2023/24 Season, featuring four fully-staged opera productions – including a World Premiere in Phoenix and Tucson. Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Season programming includes something for everyone, from tried-and-true opera lovers to school-aged children and everyone in between.

“We are eager to continue connecting communities across Arizona through the power and beauty of opera, celebrating great operas from the classic repertoire while also investing in the future of the art form,” said Joseph Specter, Arizona Opera’s President and General Director.

“Our upcoming season brings iconic titles of passion, obsession, and stolen identities – timely universal themes that are resonant for both seasoned patrons and newcomers alike.”



Frankenstein (World Premiere)
Gregg Kallor, Composer and Librettist
Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley
Phoenix: October 13-15, 2023 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson: October 21-22, 2023 – The Temple of Music and Art

Arizona Opera’s eagerly awaited third World Premiere, based on Mary Shelley’s iconic novel by the same name, comes to the stage to open the 2023/24 Season in the McDougall RED Series.


Gregg Kallor, composer and librettist of FrankensteinWith a riveting, cinematic score and libretto by Gregg Kallor, the living, feeling Creature is brought to life only to be forsaken by its creator, Victor Frankenstein. Embracing Shelley’s original text—regarded by many as the first science fiction novel—Frankenstein gives poignant voice to The Creature’s struggle and lays bare the horror of alienation and “otherness” with exquisite nuance. At the core of this heartbreaking tale lies a passionately wrought plea to look deeper within ourselves to find commonality and uphold our responsibility to one another.


Edward Parks, baritoneFrankenstein will mark Arizona Opera’s third World Premiere, following the successes of Riders of the Purple Sage and The Copper Queen, the latter of which was released in fall 2021 as a feature-length film. The Creature will be played by Grammy Award-winning baritone Edward Parks. Parks made his Metropolitan Opera debut in the 2009/10 Season and has maintained his artistic relationship there in subsequent seasons, won the 2019 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording as Steve Jobs in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs and has earned recent acclaim as Jack Torrance in the operatic adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining.

Parks is hailed by The New York Times as having a “...robust, earthy voice.” Recent career highlights include a mix of traditional and contemporary repertoire, including performances of Steve Jobs in The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs with Santa Fe Opera, the Count in The Marriage of Figaro with Hawaii Opera Theatre, Audebert in Silent Night at Minnesota Opera, Escamillo in Carmen with the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival in Japan and Atlanta Opera, and Valentin in Faust with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Portland Opera, and Opera San Antonio.


Terrence Chin-Loy, tenorAmerican tenor Terrence Chin-Loy returns to Arizona Opera to play the role of Victor in Frankenstein. Chin-Loy's “beautiful lyric tenor voice” (Opera News) pairs passionate performance with a full, sweet sound. In the 2020/21 Season, Chin-Loy sang a series of concerts with Arizona Opera as a Resident Artist of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio and joined the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Twin Stars, a piece by Daniel Bernard Roumain about the shooting of Philando Castile. Chin-Loy opened the 2021/22 Season in his solo debut at The Metropolitan Opera in Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He returned to Arizona Opera for his second and final season as a Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artist where he performed Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Ferrando in Così fan tutte and Benny Paret Jr. in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Champion. In the 2022/23 Season, Chin-Loy's roles included Tamino in The Magic Flute with the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan as well as at Arizona Opera, Don José in Carmen with MasterVoices at Lincoln Center, Old Head 2 and Charlie in the World Premiere of Factotum with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Acis in Acis and Galatea with Eugene Opera, and joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera to cover the role of Arbace in Idomeneo.


Katherine Beck, mezzo-sopranoThe role of Elizabeth will be played by former Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artist Katherine Beck, praised by The Boston Globe for her “balmy-voiced mezzo” and her “uniformly excellent” interpretations. Beck is a current member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center where she sung her first performances of Wellgunde in Twilight: Gods, the company’s sold-out presentation based on the Ring Cycle. Beck has sung several roles at Arizona Opera, including Dorabella in Così fan tutte and Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, among others. Beck made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Karolka in Jenůfa, joined Opera Buffs in Los Angeles as Angelina in La Cenerentola, and with Opera Colorado created the role of Lisette in the premiere of Steal a Pencil for Me. Beck is a two-time Vocal Arts fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, where she premiered Gandolfini’s In America and sang recitals of French chanson.


Clinton Smith, conductorClinton Smith returns to Arizona Opera to conduct the world premiere of Frankenstein after conducting the orchestral workshop in the 2022/23 Season. Previous engagements with Arizona Opera include conducting Charlie Parker’s Yardbird in the inaugural season of the McDougall RED Series. Smith’s 2022/23 Season includes a return to Dayton Opera to conduct Charlie Parker’s Yardbird with the Dayton Philharmonic in the pit and conducting members of the Atlanta Symphony at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for their annual presentation of Messiah. On the orchestral stage, Smith will make his guest conducting debut with the Georgia Philharmonic, leading two subscription concerts. Smith recently concluded a collective nine years as music and artistic director of both Orchestra Seattle/Seattle Chamber Singers and the St. Cloud Symphony, conducting over 60 orchestral, oratorio, chamber, pops, educational, and holiday concert performances.


Sara Ina Meyers, stage directorLeading the production of the world premiere of Frankenstein and making her Arizona Opera debut will be New York-based stage director Sarah Ina Meyers. On the directing staff of The Metropolitan Opera since 2006, Meyers’ directorial work has brought her to companies across the United States, including Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, and San Francisco Opera. In 2018, Meyers directed the premiere presentation of Kallor’s Dramatic Sketches from Frankenstein as part of the new performance series The Angel’s Share at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. It was at this performance that Arizona Opera President and General Director Joseph Specter first heard Gregg Kallor’s work and determined that the company should pursue it further. Operawire described the New York performance as “riveting … an extraordinary experience” and Limelight extolled Meyers’s direction as “perfectly finessed…. powerful and meticulous.”


Cori Ellison, dramaturgCori Ellison has served as Dramaturg for Frankenstein. Ellison is a prominent figure in the opera world, having worked as a Dramaturg at various prestigious venues such as Santa Fe Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, and New York City Opera. Ellison is deeply involved in contemporary opera, having been part of the Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater. Ellison has contributed to the development of new operatic works for several companies, including Glyndebourne, Icelandic Opera, Canadian Opera, and more. Additionally, Ellison teaches at The Juilliard School and leads Opera Lab, a practical training program. Ellison is also involved in coaching and judging various vocal competitions and has written for The New York Times, among other accomplishments.


Bretta Gerecke, sets, costumes, & projection designerBretta Gerecke will serve as Sets, Costumes, & Project Designer for Frankenstein. Gerecke is a lighting, set, costume, and projection designer for theatre, circus, opera, film, and installation art. She is the resident designer at Catalyst Theatre in Canada. Gerecke also designs for Cirque du Soleil, the RSC, the National Arts Centre in Ontario, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, among many others. Gerecke is the recipient of over 25 awards. Gerecke represented Canada in Prague at the Scenography Quadrennial and her costume designs have been exhibited in Moscow, Beijing, and Taipei. Recent designs include: Richard II (Stratford Festival), Stabat Mater (Edmonton Opera), The Invisible (Catalyst Theatre), and American (tele)visions (New York Theatre Workshop).


Tláloc Lopez-Watermann, lighting designer & video/media implementationTláloc Lopez-Watermann will serve as Lighting Designer & Video/Media Implementation for Frankenstein. Lopez-Watermann’s designs have been seen at In-Series, Salisbury University, Opera Omaha, Alabama University, Opera Columbus, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Lakes Area Festival, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, The Castleton Festival, Tri-Cities Opera, North Carolina Opera, Toledo Opera, Utah Opera, Opera Roanoke, Amarillo Opera, Guerrilla Opera (Boston, Mass.), Crested Butte Music Festival, DiCapo Opera (NYC), Brevard Music Festival, and many others. Lopez-Watermann is the owner of Light Conversations LLC, and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts and a Master of Fine Arts in design from NYU/Tisch. Lopez-Watermann was the 2002 Allen Lee Hughes Lighting Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington, DC.


For a listing of full cast and creatives visit



The Barber of Seville, Roméo & Juliette, Don Giovanni

Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Season will feature three Main Stage Series productions, including the company’s new Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Family Series, presented in winter/spring at Symphony Hall in Phoenix and The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in Tucson.

This season’s Main Stage Series is comprised of powerhouse opera classics, including Gioachino Rossini’s comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville; Charles Gounod’s Roméo & Juliette featuring the famed star-crossed lovers, and Mozart’s dark comedy, Don Giovanni.


The Barber of Seville
Composer: Gioachino Rossini | Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Phoenix: January 27-28, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: February 3-4, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall

Bring the entire family to experience a day out-on-the-town at the opera with The Barber of Seville, the premiere production in the Allan-Stallard Family Opera Series. Love, mistaken identity, and humor are woven throughout Rossini’s masterpiece, considered one of the greatest comic operas of all time, maintaining its popularity for over two hundred years for good reason.

In a charming and hilarious story appropriate for all ages, Count Almaviva falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful Rosina, the young ward of a grumpy and elderly Bartolo who intends to marry her and claim her dowry. Dressed in disguise, Almaviva tries to earn Rosina’s affection for who he truly is as a person, rather than for his money and status. Almaviva assumes multiple identities, including a poor student, a drunken soldier, and a singing tutor and priest. With the help of his companion Figaro, Almaviva stops at nothing as he pursues Rosina through a series of comical hijinks and bait-and-switch facades. Eventually revealing his true identity, Almaviva manages to win Rosina’s heart and the pair evade the disgruntled Bartolo, with love and laughter triumphing in the end.


Figaro will be played by baritones Alexander Birch Elliott (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Schyler Vargas (Jan. 28.)


Alexander Birch Elliott, baritonePraised for his “heated intensity and beguiling timbre of mahogany” (The New York Times). Elliott has had major debuts in recent seasons including at both The Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera singing the role of Zurga in The Pearl Fishers. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra for Elgar’s The Kingdom, as well as with New York’s PROTOTYPE Festival as Lucifer in Rev 23, directed by James Darrah and conducted by Daniela Candillari. Elliott also returned to Tulsa Opera for performances of Escamillo in Carmen, as well as to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for Don Fernando in Fidelio.


Schyler Vargas, baritoneVargas, Mexican American baritone, is a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio and is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Noted as a “distinguished” (Washington Classical Review) and “powerful baritone,” (The Washington Post), Vargas' recent work in the new dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and commissioned by UrbanArias, has been featured on PBS News Hour and NPR, among other publications. Vargas, most recently seen on the Arizona Opera as Papageno in last season’s The Magic Flute, received his Master of Music degree from the renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of William McGraw and his Bachelor of Music degree with a minor in Business Administration from Colorado State University.


Rosina will be played by sopranos Elizabeth Sutphen (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Véronique Filloux (Jan. 28).


Elizabeth Sutphen, sopranoSutphen, who has performed leading roles in houses around the world, including Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Glyndebourne Festival, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with both the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Oper Frankfurt, and Faustina in Tarik O’Regan and John Caird’s The Phoenix with Houston Grand Opera. Most recently, Sutphen was praised by Schmopera for her “impeccable comedic delivery” and “ability to sing flawlessly…with dexterity and finesse” for her Des Moines Metro Opera debut as the delightfully zany La Folie in Rameau’s Platée. Sutphen’s 2022/23 Season included a return to the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at the Salzburger Landestheater and a company debut with Detroit Opera as Atalante in Handel’s Xerxes.


Véronique Filloux, sopranoFilloux, praised for her "expressive, lovingly shaded soprano" and "dazzling coloratura and lithe stage presence [used] to piquant comedic effect" (Opera News), spent the 2022/23 Season with Arizona Opera making several exciting role debuts including Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Liesl (The Sound of Music), and Pamina (The Magic Flute). Filloux also joined Washington Concert Opera as Miss Ellen (Lakmé) and Pacific Opera Project as Martesia in the United States premiere of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l Termodonte. She spent her 2023 summer with Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist, singing Iris (Semele) on Steve Blier's recital "Night and Day, USA," and giving a Parlor Recital. In the 2023/24 Season, Filloux looks forward to debuts with companies including Berkshire Opera Festival as Musetta (La Bohème), and Livermore Valley Opera as Curley’s Wife (Of Mice and Men), as well as two returns to Arizona Opera as Rosina (The Barber of Seville) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni).


Tenors Santiago Ballerini (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Brian Wallin (Jan. 28) share responsibilities for the role of Count Almaviva.


Santiago Ballerini, tenorThe Argentinian tenor Ballerini, last seen in Arizona Opera’s orchestral concert series Arizona Arias during the 2020/21 Reimagined Season, is recognized as one of the leading tenors in the Bel Canto repertoire. Ballerini has performed at many of the major opera houses throughout North and South America from Opera Nacional de Chile, Teatro Colón, Canadian Opera Company, as well as alongside leading international orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra in DC, Porto Symphony Orchestra in Portugal, and more. This past season, Ballerini’s engagements included La Traviata at Opera Nacional de Chile, Roméo & Juliette at Opera Naples, and Rigoletto with the Pacific Symphony. Ballerini reprised the role of Ernesto in Don Pasquale for his triumphant debut at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in September 2022.


Brian Wallin, tenorWallin has been praised for his “finely focused and well-mannered” voice (Dallas Morning News) and has “proven [to be] another gifted tenor...who took the stage with flair and commitment” (Opera Today). The 2022/23 Season included performances with Arizona Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos), Annapolis Opera (The Marriage of Figaro), and Pacific Opera Project (Pirates of Penzance). Appearances in the 2023/24 Season include Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with An Opera Theatre, L’Abate de Chazeuil in Adriana Lecouvreur with Opera Baltimore, and as Tamino in The Magic Flute with Opéra de Montréal.


Aubrey Allicock, bass-baritoneAubrey Allicock, hailed by The New York Times as "sturdy," "dynamic," and "excellent," will play the role of Bartolo. Allicock, a Tucson native, continues to make his mark among important opera companies and symphonies both at home and abroad. A Grammy nominee for his participation in John Adams's Doctor Atomic as General Groves at Virginia Opera, Allicock adds to that nominee list a BBC Music Magazine Award for Opera. Allicock made his role debut as Yusef Salaam with Portland Opera in Central Park Five and made his debut with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as Tiridate in Handel's Radamisto. This past season, Allicock was the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance with Virginia Opera, Alberich with Dayton Opera's Das Rheingold, and a role debut of Dick Hallorann in The Shining with Lyric Opera Kansas City. Allicock makes his Atlanta Opera debut in 2023 reprising the role of Dick Hallorann along with recording The Shining with Lyric Opera Kansas City. This production of The Barber of Seville marks Allicock’s company debut.


Roberto Kalb, conductorMexican born Conductor Roberto Kalb is the newly appointed Music Director of Detroit Opera. Kalb made multiple debuts in the 2022/23 Season, including with the San Francisco Opera, Compañía Nacional de Ópera at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, San Diego Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. In 2019, Kalb concluded his five-season tenure as Resident Conductor and Head of Music at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis with a critically acclaimed run of Rigoletto in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which Opera News lauded: “The orchestra sounded sublime under the baton of Roberto Kalb, whose buoyant conducting simultaneously led and followed the singers.”


Joshua Borths, stage directorJoshua Borths is a Stage Director, writer, educator, and arts administrator with over twelve years of experience in the opera industry. Borths, who directed Arizona Opera’s beloved production of The Barber of Seville in 2018, has led dozens of professional productions, given over five hundred public lectures, and written more than eight children's operas that have introduced hundreds of thousands of young audiences to opera across the country. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Borths is currently the Resident Scholar of Virginia Opera and a member of the stage directing staff of Des Moines Metro Opera. Borths came to Virginia after having served as the Director of Opera and Musical Theater and Professor of Music History at Capital University in Columbus, OH and as Director of Education and Resident Stage Director at Arizona Opera.


Barry Steele, production designerBarry Steele will serve as Production Designer for all three of Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Main Stage Series productions. Steele has created designs for opera, dance, and music productions in 56 countries over three decades. Notable engagements include San Francisco Opera Center, Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Ballet Stars of Moscow, Carnegie Hall and New York City Opera. New operas such as Vincent, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat as well as rarities like The Fall of the House of Usher, and La voix humaine complement Steele’s considerable list of standard opera repertory gained from designing over one hundred productions as Resident Lighting Designer for Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and New Jersey Opera.


For a listing of full cast and creatives visit


Roméo & Juliette
Composer: Charles Gounod | Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré
Phoenix: March 2-3, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: March 9-10, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall

Gounod's romantic and rapturous music sets the stage for this tale of star-crossed lovers, based on Shakespeare’s timeless play about the power of love, set amidst the feuding of the Montague and Capulet families in Verona.

Roméo Montague and his friend Mercutio don masks to sneak into the Capulet’s ball, where Juliette Capulet has been presented to the party guests. Roméo falls instantly in love with Juliette, who fervently loves him back despite being pledged to marry Count Parîs. Juliette’s cousin Tybalt recognizes Roméo as he shares a tender moment with Juliette but is prevented from attacking as Roméo and his friends flee.

Roméo and Juliette affirm their forever love in the iconic balcony scene. Outside the Capulet palace, Roméo breaks up a fight between Mercutio and Tybalt, asking him to forgive the feud between families. With nothing but scorn, Tybalt kills Mercutio and Roméo stabs Tybalt. Knowing their families will never get along, Roméo and Juliette plan to fake their deaths in a desperate attempt to be together, culminating in an ending for these lovers that is as tragic as it is heartbreakingly beautiful.


Playing the role of Juliette are sopranos Jacqueline Echols (Mar. 2, 9, & 10) and Caitlin Gotimer (Mar. 3).


Jacqueline Echols, sopranoEchols, who has been praised for her “dynamic range and vocal acrobatics” (Classical Voice) in theaters across the United States. This past season, Echols’ appearances have included Julie at Los Angeles Opera in the new work, Omar; Clara in Porgy and Bess in her debut with Des Moines Metro Opera - a role which she has also performed recently at The Metropolitan Opera; her debut with the Cleveland Orchestra for their annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Concert, and her return to Cincinnati Opera for a special performance alongside Morris Robinson in Morris and Friends; and Juliette in Roméo & Juliette with Opera San Antonio.


Caitlin Gotimer, sopranoPraised for her "full, focused soprano," Gotimer, originally from Malverne, NY, is an alumna of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. Most recently seen on Arizona Opera’s stage in the title role of last season’s Tosca, Gotimer’s previous performances with the company include Micaela in Bizet's Carmen, Mrs. Anderssen in Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and Fiordiligi in Mozart's Così fan tutte. Gotimer performed a variety of scenes and arias during Arizona Opera's Reimagined 2020/21 Season, including highlights from Madame Butterfly, La Rondine, and Pagliacci.


Playing the role of Roméo are tenors Mario Chang (Mar. 2, 9, & 10) and Terrence Chin-Loy (Mar 3).


Mario Chang, tenorNamed “a born bel canto tenor” by The New York Times, Chang’s 2022/23 Season saw his debut with Hong Kong Opera as Alfredo in La Traviata, as well as debuts at Ópera de Oviedo as the title role in Ernani and his role debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca with Teatro de la Maestranza. The Guatemalan tenor’s additional engagements included Verdi’s Requiem with the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl - conducted by music director Gustavo Dudamel, along with the South Florida Master Chorale. Chang was a member of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at Metropolitan Opera and holds an Advanced Diploma in Opera Studies program at The Juilliard School.


Terrence Chin-Loy, tenorChin-Loy returns to Arizona Opera to play the role of for his second assignment in the 2023/24 Season, having opened the year as Victor in the company’s World Premiere of Frankenstein. Chin-Loy's “beautiful lyric tenor voice” (Opera News) pairs passionate performance with a full, sweet sound. In the 2020/21 Season, Chin-Loy sang a series of concerts with Arizona Opera as a Resident Artist of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. Chin-Loy opened the 2021/22 Season in his solo debut at Metropolitan Opera in Terence Blanchard's Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He returned to Arizona Opera for his second and final season as a Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artist where he performed Henrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Ferrando in Così fan tutte. In the 2022/23 Season, Chin-Loy's roles included Tamino in The Magic Flute with the National Taichung Theater in Taiwan as well as at Arizona Opera.


Stephanie Rhodes Russell, conductorConducting Roméo & Juliette is Stephanie Rhodes Russell. Rhodes Russell is an alum of the Dallas Opera’s Institute for Women Conductors, the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and San Francisco’s Merola Opera Program. Rhodes Russell was a Conducting Fellow with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra from 2019-2021, where she appeared regularly with the ensemble leading education, family, and community concerts while serving as Cover Conductor for the symphonic subscription series. Rhodes Russell’s 2022/23 Season included company debuts with Austin Opera (The Barber of Seville) and Utah Opera (La fille du régiment), as well as a return to Madison Opera (The Marriage of Figaro). During the summer of 2023, Rhodes Russell makes her Cincinnati Opera debut conducting performances of The Knock.


Patricia Racette, stage directorPatricia Racette will serve as Stage Director for Roméo & Juliette. One of our generation’s most celebrated sopranos, Racette returns to Arizona Opera following her debut last season on stage as Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Racette has appeared in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Paris Opera, Theater an der Wien, Gran Teatro del Liceu, and the Bayerische Staatsoper. Established as a great interpreter of Janáček and Puccini, Racette has gained particular acclaim for her portrayals of the title roles of Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Jenůfa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three lead soprano roles in Il Trittico, among others. She made her directorial debut with a new production of La Traviata at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the summer of 2018. Racette planned to direct Susannah at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and a production of La voix humaine starring herself at the Dallas Opera in the spring of 2020, but they were unfortunately cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.


For a listing of full cast and creatives visit


Don Giovanni
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Phoenix: April 20-21, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: April 27-28, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall

Mozart’s Don Giovanni, regarded by many as one of the greatest operas of all time, tells the centuries-old story of the libertine Don Juan.

Don Giovanni tries to seduce Donna Anna, which goes awry, and he ends up killing her father, the Commendatore, unbeknownst to her. Donna Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death. The opera follows Don Giovanni’s salacious escapades, aided, and abetted by his servant Leporello. Giovanni makes his rounds seducing and duping numerous characters, bragging along the way, and escaping accountability by obscuring his identity. In a cemetery, Giovanni meets the Commendatore’s statue, who forebodingly warns him that he will laugh no longer. When offered the chance to change his ways, will Don Giovanni repent?


The title role of Don Giovanni will be shared by Richard Ollarsaba (Apr. 20 & 27) and Joseph Lattanzi (Apr. 21 & 28)


Richard Ollarsaba, bass-baritoneBass-baritone Ollarsaba makes his Arizona Opera debut with this production. Praised by The Washington Post for his “meltingly smooth bass-baritone” and for “evoking a young Ruggero Raimondi in looks and manner,” represented the United States in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, was a member of the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago for three seasons, and a grand finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the 2023/24 Season, Ollarsaba debuts with The Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Portland Opera as Escamillo in their respective productions of Bizet’s Carmen. Ollarsaba will also debut with Chicago Opera Theater in the World Premiere opera The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing composed by Justine F. Chen and will return to the role of the Count in The Marriage of Figaro with Knoxville Opera.


Joseph Lattanzi, baritonePraise for Lattanzi's performances include The New York Times “Joseph Lattanzi was splendid as Hawk, his buttery baritone luxuriant and robust” and Opera News describing him as a “confident, handsome presence, and a resonant baritone suggesting wells of feeling that the character might prefer to leave untapped.” In the 2022/23 Season, Lattanzi once again joined Metropolitan Opera for their productions of Peter Grimes and Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk before returning to the role he created in Fellow Travelers with Virginia Opera. An alum of the Pullin Opera Studio, Lattanzi also made his debut with the Sacramento Choral Society as the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana. Recent career highlights include Lattanzi’s return to Cincinnati Opera as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Silvio in Pagliacci with Atlanta Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Virginia Opera, and the title role in Don Giovanni with the Jacksonville Symphony.


Donna Anna will be shared by sopranos Vanessa Vasquez (Apr. 20 & 27) and Lydia Grindatto (Apr. 21 & 28).


Vanessa Vasquez, sopranoThe Colombian American soprano Vasquez, a native of Scottsdale and an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts, was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage as Michaëla in the 2021/22 Season production of Carmen. Vasquez has been awarded top prize in many renowned vocal competitions including 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Richard Tucker Foundation’s 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant, and The Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition among others. Recently Vasquez completed a four-year residency at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where she could be heard as Mimì in La Bohème, Gilda in Rigoletto, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Violetta in La Traviata.


Lydia Grindatto, sopranoGrindatto, who makes her Arizona Opera debut as Donna Anna, has been praised for her “Lorengar-like shimmer” and “high-octane emotionalism” (Parterre). Grindatto is a Resident Artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts where she recently appeared in the roles of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Violetta (La Traviata), and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin). Grindatto has recently received awards such as First Prize in AVA’s Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, District Winner in Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and is a current Finalist in the Loren. L. Zachary Competition. In 2023, Grindatto will make her debut at the Santa Fe Opera as Second Sprite and cover the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka.


Sopranos Toni Marie Palmertree (Apr. 20 & 27) and Mary-Hollis Hundley (Apr. 21 & 28) will take on the role of Donna Elvira.


Toni Marie Palmertree, sopranoPalmertree, who makes her Arizona Opera debut as Donna Elvira, is rapidly becoming recognized as one of America’s most riveting performers of Puccini and Verdi heroines. Palmertree has recently been heard on the stage of San Francisco Opera in the title role of Madame Butterfly; of her performance, Janos Gereben from San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “The young soprano not only met the challenge, but she claimed her place among the finest vocal interpreters of the role heard here recently.” In the 2022/23 Season, Palmertree performed the role of Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly at Palm Beach Opera and sang the title role of Tosca at Florida Grand Opera. At Metropolitan Opera, Palmertree performed the role of Voce dal ciel and covered the role of Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo and covered the title role of Cherubini’s Medea.


Mary-Hollis Hundley, sopranoHundley was last seen as Frau Schmidt in Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Season production of The Sound of Music. Hundley recently appeared at The Glimmerglass Festival as a Guest Artist, where she sang Kayla in Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents as well as Frau Schmidt in Francesca Zambello’s production of The Sound of Music. Other recent season highlights include Gertrud in Hansel and Gretel at Detroit Opera, Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul with Bronx Opera, Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Virginia Opera, and as a cover for Christine Brewer’s Ariadne auf Naxos at Kentucky Opera. Hundley’s other roles include Meg Page (Vaughan William’s Sir John in Love), Mother (Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors), Female Chorus (Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia), Governess (Britten’s The Turn of the Screw), and the title roles in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.


Zachary Nelson, baritoneZachary Nelson, a native of Annapolis, MD, will portray Leporello in Arizona Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. Nelson was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage in the 2018/19 Season as the Count in The Marriage of Figaro. The 2023/24 Season will feature a return to Atlanta Opera as Marcello in La Bohème and performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, as well as excerpts as the title role of Berg’s Wozzeck with Utah Symphony. Recent and career highlights include his role debut as Alberich in Das Rheingold with Atlanta Opera; Marcello in La Bohème with Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in The Marriage of Figaro, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Marcello in La Bohème all with Santa Fe Opera; the title role in Sweeney Todd with Des Moines Metro Opera; and Escamillo in Carmen with Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Canadian Opera Company, and San Francisco Opera.


Daniela Candillari, conductor of Don GiovanniDon Giovanni will be conducted by Daniela Candillari, who made her Arizona Opera debut conducting Fellow Travelers followed by a triumphant return to conduct The Copper Queen Film. Candillari’s 2023/24 Season opens with the World Premiere of composer Rene Orth and librettist Hannah Moscovitch’s 10 Days in a Madhouse at Opera Philadelphia, where she makes her company debut. Immediately following, Candillari conducts the World Premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded with Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. Possessing a “fine combination of fire and attention to detail” (KDHX), Candillari’s season continues with her return to Arizona Opera for Don Giovanni and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for Julius Caesar and Center Stage. In the previous season, Candillari debuted with Deutsche Oper Berlin for performances of Lakmé, and conducted Hansel and Gretel at New Orleans Opera, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Arizona Opera; Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at The Juilliard School, plus the World Premiere of Arkhipov by Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.


Tara Faircloth, stage director of Don GiovanniAn Arizona Opera favorite, Tara Faircloth will serve as Stage Director for Don Giovanni. Faircloth’s work was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage for The Magic Flute in the 2022/23 Season. Critics hailed Faircloth’s recent directorial debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago, a “wickedly funny, elegantly sung, cleverly directed production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.” In recent seasons, Faircloth created new productions of The Little Prince (Utah Opera), Ariadne auf Naxos (Wolf Trap Opera), Il re pastore (Merola Opera), Agrippina (Ars Lyrica Houston), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Boston Baroque). The 2021/22 Season found Faircloth working on several new productions, including Emmeline with Tulsa Opera, La Traviata at Opera Santa Barbara, and The Merry Wives of Windsor with The Juilliard School, as well as a program with Ars Lyrica Houston entitled “Eternity and the Underworld” which paired Jonathan Dove’s The Other Euridice and Bach’s Ich habe genug.


For a listing of full cast and creatives visit



Frankenstein and the New Works Festival are part of the McDougall RED Series.

The Barber of Seville is part of the Scott Stallard and Marlu Allan Family Series.




Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Opening Night RED Party is sponsored in part by Lewis Roca, Peggy Reiley and Richard Sheaff, in honor of Dana Sheaff, Bankers Trust, and GymGuyz. 


Frankenstein is part of the McDougall RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Ron and Kay McDougall, Karen Wadman, Dr. Herschel Rosenzweig, Carol Franc Buck Foundation, Susan Esco Chandler, Richard P Stahl Charitable Trust, Michael and Beth Kasser, Lewis Roca, Peggy Reiley and Richard Sheaff, in honor of Dana Sheaff, Bankers Trust, and GymGuyz. The company debut of Sarah Ina Meyers was partially supported by OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors, generously funded by the Marineau Family Foundation. 


New Works Festival

Part of the McDougall RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Ron and Kay McDougall, Carol Franc Buck Foundation, and Michael and Beth Kasser. 

The Barber of Seville 

Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series and the Scott Stallard and Marlu Allan Family Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Tucson Foundations, and Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard. The appearance of Aubrey Allicock is supported, in part, by Tucson Desert Song Festival. 

Roméo & Juliette

Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from SRP, Barbara Molotsky, Marlene Rausch, Morton Munk, and Rio Nuevo.   


Don Giovanni

Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard