Bold. Brave. Brilliant.

The Ringmaster of Arizona Lady!

Ryan Taylor – October 10, 2015

This blog post is the third and final post from General Director Ryan Taylor, which chronicle the inspiration to bring Arizona Lady to the stages of Tucson and Phoenix this October.

Picture 1

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages,  Stage Director Matthew Ozawa has managed to create a state pride-inducing stage spectacle that is sure to delight our audiences over the next two weekends in Tucson and Phoenix.

We looked high and low for the right stage director to coordinate all the stage business involved in Arizona Lady, as this would be a momentous occasion for Arizona Opera. There is so much heart, beautiful music, and compelling storytelling to unravel in this piece, but there is also much pageantry and theatricality on display.

Picture 2

I knew a bit about Matthew’s work, and watched a truly engaging double-bill that he led at Wolf Trap Opera several summers ago, and then I began to read about his own Chicago-based production company: Mozawa. This organization exists to break down barriers between different types of artistic mediums, and to fuse styles and methods of artistic communication with audiences and artists alike. As Arizona Lady is such a rich blend of musical and dramatic styles, I had a hunch he might be the perfect fit to revive this wonderful operetta.

Those who join us for the piece will see four or five types of dance (featuring Phoenix Ballet), as well as a barbershop quartet, a ranchero ballad, vaudeville numbers, two fantasy horse races, and trick roping!

Picture 3

Bringing Arizona Lady to the Stage 

We’ve not been disappointed with his whimsy or his vision. He even took time on his day off to visit a working ranch in Arizona with Joshua Dennis, who sings the role of Roy Dexter. While on a horseback ride, he even managed to film Joshua singing a song from Arizona Lady!

The result is a breathtaking array of sumptuous extravagance. The storytelling is all at once simple and complex, emotional and cerebral, calm and frenetic, and intimate and grand.

Tonight, Arizona Opera becomes the first Opera Company in the United States to mount this unfairly neglected gem, and we couldn’t be more proud of the team calling the shots. I can’t believe that so much clever can fit in a single theater all at once. I can’t wait for the vaudeville curtain to rise on tonight’s performance!