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What to expect in 2015/16

Caitie Quick – May 18, 2015

Next season, we're presenting five operas, and three of them have never been seen before on Arizona Opera's stage. Whether you're a seasoned pro, or ready to start your first season with us, here are some things to know about the 2015/16 Season.

Arizona Lady

  • Arizona Lady is sung in English with dialogue in English and Spanish.
  • Composer Emmerich Kálmán fled Nazi Germany and traveled to the Southwest. He fell in love with the Arizona landscape, prompting him to write Arizona Lady as a love letter to the state.
  • Arizona Lady is a horse raised in Tucson who goes on to win the Kentucky Derby in 1925.
  • When Arizona Lady takes the stage in October, it will be the first time a major opera house performs the operetta.
  • Arizona Lady is a great comedy, filled with dancing and singing in the tradition of Lehár or Gilbert and Sullivan.

Florencia en el Amazonas

  • Florencia en el Amazonas was written by the amazing Mexican composer Daniel Catan and premiered in Houston in 1996. It is considered a masterpiece of Spanish language opera.
  • It is loosely based on the magical realism of Columbian novelist and poet Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel-Prize winning author of Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • When listening to Florencia en el Amazonas, it sounds like you're listening to Puccini, Debussy, Ravel... or all three put together.
  • The opera takes place over an exotic cruise through the heart of the jungle, as Florencia searches for her husband who disappeared in the Amazon long ago.
  • As the boat journeys deeper into the forest, the passengers encounter strange mythological creatures and must face their fears, both from the mysterious jungle and within their hearts.


  • One of the most popular operas ever written, Carmen is the sultry gypsy who ensnares every man she meets.
  • The cigarette factory in the opera was based off a working factory in Seville.
  • During the June 3, 1875 performance, Carmen (performed by Célestine Galli-Marié) felt uneasy during the Act IV reading of the tarot cards. The act calls for Carmen to read "Death" in the cards, foretelling her fate. While performing this, Célestine was overcome by fear and dread, and fled the stage. She said that during that time, she could actually feel Death near her. Later that evening, it was announced that composer George Bizet had passed away.
  • Set in Seville Spain, this production features Daniella Mack in the title role (1/30 2/5 & 2/7, Beth Lytwenec on 1/31 7 2/6). Daniella sang Carmen last year at the prestigious Santa Fe Opera. Beth, who has received great acclaim for her appearances with Arizona Opera as a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, will make her role debut.

Five Legendary stage productions in Phoenix and TuCSOn

Don Giovanni

  • The story of the infamous Don Juan comes to life in this seductive opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
  • Librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte lived a life similar to Don Giovanni. He was notorious for his womanizing and deceit. Da Ponte was eventually exiled to the United States for war profiteering.
  • Don Giovanni was the first opera to feature a trombone.
  • Baritone Morgan Smith takes on the title role. Smith is known for "inhabiting the role the way James Bond fills a tux, radiating saturnine power, dark magnetism and cruel charm. His ample, cognac-smooth voice has just enough snarl to give it bite."
  • Set in Seville with lush costumes and sets meant to evoke 17th century Spain.


  • Shakespeare’s comedy is set to music by the greatest Italian opera composer, Giuseppe Verdi.
  • Falstaff was Verdi's final opera. He had retired some years prior and enjoyed the life of a simple farmer, until his music publisher and librettist coaxed him back to the stage.
  • The scenic design for Falstaff is a replica of Shakespeare's Old Globe theater in London.
  • Comedic baritone Craig Colclough (last seen in the title role of Don Pasquale in 2014) has made a name for himself as the hilarious buffoon, and audiences will roar with laughter as he attempts to trick the Merry Wives of Windsor.
  • Verdi "Out-Shakespeared Shakespeare" with Falstaff. The third opera Verdi wrote using the stories of Shakespeare, Falstaff is warm, funny and heartfelt.