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San Diego Opera’s new season—2016-17—has been expanded to five operas and will open with a solo recital by superstar tenor Piotr Beczala on September 17, 2016, at the Balboa Theatre. The new season was unveiled by General Director David Bennett at the company’s opening night production of Madama Butterfly at Civic Theatre on Saturday, April 16.

Piotr Beczala [photo courtesy of San Diego Opera]

Piotr Beczala [photo courtesy of San Diego Opera]

Beczala, in demand internationally for his incomparable command of the great Verdi and Puccini tenor roles, inspired San Diego Opera audiences in the spring of 2014 with his commanding lead as Gustav III, King of Sweden, in Verdi’s A Masked Ball and as the tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem. To present a tenor of Beczala’s stature is indeed a coup for San Diego Opera.

Final scene with Piotr Beczala center [photo (c) Ken Howard]

San Diego Opera’s A Masked Ball with Piotr Beczala center [photo (c) Ken Howard]

Upholding the tradition of presenting mainstage opera from the established repertory, the company will offer Rossini’s dramma giocoso La Cenerentola, opening on October 22, 2016, at Civic Theatre; Verdi’s only comic opera Falstaff, opening on February 18, 2017, at Civic Theatre, and Verdi’s tragic La traviata, opening April 22, 2017, also at Civic Theatre.

Breaking new ground, San Diego Opera will present two more recent chamber operas at the Balboa Theatre: David T. Little’s 2006 Soldier Songs (a West Coast premiere) opening on November 11, 2016, and Peter Brook’s 1981 La tragèdie de Carmen, opening on March 10, 2017.

Based on the original French fairy tale of Cinderella by Charles Perrault, La Cenerentola will feature mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese in the title role and tenor David Portillo as Don Ramiro, the handsome prince who seeks out Cinderella after the ball. The production is from Germany’s Leipzig Opera.

Baritone David Adam Moore takes the role of Everyman Soldier in Soldier Songs, a multi-media presentation that “explores the perceptions versus the realities of the Soldier, the exploration of loss and exploitation of innocence, and the difficulty of expressing the truth of war.” Moore sang Mercrutio in San Diego Opera’s 2010 Romeo and Juliet and Silvio in the 2014 Pagliacci. The work will be conducted by UC San Diego’s Steven Schick, Music Director of the La Jolla Symphony and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players who also served as music director of the 2015 Ojai Music Festival.

Falstaff will feature Italian baritone Roberto de Candia making his San Diego debut in the title role, and soprano Ellie Dehn as Alice Ford. Dehn is fondly remembered for her impressive Donna Anna in the company’s well-received 2015 Don Giovanni production, which was conducted by Daniele Callegari, who returns to conduct this Falstaff. The production is from Lyric Opera of Chicago..

Peter Brook’s 1981 La tragèdie de Carmen presents American mezzo-soprano Peabody Southwell and stage director James Darrah, each in their local debut.

In Verdi’s La traviata, we will hear American soprano Corinne Winters in the title role, a role she has sung for both English National Opera and Opera Hong Kong. Her Alfredo will be sung by Joshua Guerrero, also making his local debut. He recently sang Greenhorn in Los Angeles Opera’s 2014 production of Moby-Dick. This Traviata production comes from Los Angeles Opera and will be directed by Marta Domingo.

Ken Herman

Ken Herman

Ken Herman, a classically trained pianist and organist, has covered music for the San Diego Union, the Los Angeles Times' San Diego Edition, and for sandiego.com. He has won numerous awards, including first place for Live Performance and Opera Reviews in the 2017, the 2018, and the 2019 Excellence in Journalism Awards competition held by the San Diego Press Club. A Chicago native, he came to San Diego to pursue a graduate degree and stayed.Read more…

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