Welcome to the start of the Academy of Vocal Arts' 2017/2018 Opera season! To kick off this season, let's peel back the curtain and take an inside look at the stories that we can expect to see on the AVA stage in the coming months...
First up, Il trovatore!
Gypsies, mysterious troubadours and hidden identities are just a few of the treats that this Verdi work offers up. Count di Luna is infatuated with the beautiful Leonora, who does not return his affections. Instead, she falls in love with the Count's rival, a troubadour who serenades Leonora and keeps his identity a secret. This rivalry sets in place a plot full of murder, mystery, and of course, tragic love.
Angela Meade performed Leonora at the Metropolitan Opera in February 2016. Luis Ledesma sang the role of Count di Luna at Teatro de Bellas Artes in 2013. Indra Thomas as Leonora with the Arizona Opera and Austin Lyric Opera.
This production of Il trovatore will be conducted by Maestro Christofer Macatsoris and staged by Michael Scarola, who previously staged an AVA production of Anna Bolena.
Now that you are sufficiently enticed, come check out Il trovatore, opening on November 4th and running through the 28th! Performances in Center City, Buck's County (November 21 at Central Bucks South High School), and Haverford (November 28 at the Haverford School's Centennial Hall).
Next up is the Wagner's iconic Das Rheingold!
Since it's 1869 premiere, Wagner's Ring Cycle has been widely acknowledged as one of the greatest operatic works every composed. Join the crowd of Wagner enthusiasts that will descend upon the Helen Corning Warden Theatre in January 2018 to see this masterpiece!
A story of gods, dwarfs, and Rhine maidens, Das Rheingold is a cautionary tale about the price of too much power. Rumored to have influenced J.R.R Tolkien's massive franchise The Lord of the Rings, Wagner's opera paints a picture of a dwarf named Alberich, who manages to come into possession of the Rhine gold, a ring that enables it's bearer to rule the world, but at a terrible cost.
Many AVA Alumni have performed Das Rheingold over years, such as:
Nicole Piccolomini has performed the roles of Flosshilde, and Erda at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Oper Leipzig, respectively. Michael Fabiano has performed the role of Froh.
Luke Housner will accompany the Resident Artists on piano.
Opening in February 2018 is Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss!
This Strauss favorite tells the story of two troupes of musicians who arrive at a dinner party to be told that they must perform each of their acts simultaneously. The result is a colorful and mystical tale of Ariadne and how she meets and falls in love with the god Bacchus.
Conductor David Aronson will be making his Philadelphia debut conducting the AVA Opera Orchestra in February and March of 2018! The last AVA Performance of Ariadne auf Naxos was during the 1992-1993 season, however many AVA Alumni have performed these roles throughout the years! Joyce DiDonato sang the role of Composer at the Metropolitan Opera in 2011. Richard Troxell performed as the Wig Master/Brighella. Daniel Mobbs has performed the role of Harlequin.
Prepare your wine glasses for the arrival of Ariadne auf Naxos in February 2018!
Closing out our AVA season will be Verdi's La traviata!
Running from April 21-May 1, 2018, La traviata has endured the years as an opera classic. Plagued by sickness, Violetta finds love in Alfredo, but before long they are torn apart by betrayal. A "fallen woman", she is forced to abandon her lover, until the truth comes out and they are reunited, if only for a moment.
This season Jeffrey Marc Buchman will return as stage director with Maestro Christofer Macatsoris leading the AVA Opera Orchestra. You may remember Mr. Buchman from his direction of recent AVA productions such as Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte.
AVA Alumni are no stranger to these roles...
Stephen Costello and Michael Fabiano have sung Alfredo in productions at the Metropolitan opera.
Daniel Mobbs sang the role of Baron Doupol in the 2015 Opera Philadelphia production, with current AVA Resident Artist Roy Hage.
Eric Dubin sang Il barone Doupohol in the Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2010 production.
AVA's season also includes annual favorites, such as the Giargiari Bel Canto competition, Russian Romances and Jubilate!
There you have it, folks! AVA has a wonderful season lined up, so if you haven't already subscribed, what are you waiting for? Subscriptions are available now, and single tickets will be on sale starting Tuesday, September 5th! We look forward to seeing you at the opera!
About the author: Caitlin McCarthy is the Administrative Associate at the Academy of Vocal Arts.