Seattle Opera announced the 2021-2022 season today, which will mark a return to in person performances. Librettist Tazewell Thompson and composer Jeanine Tesori's Blue, an opera about police brutality against African Americans, will open at McCaw Hall next February. The piece features baritone Gordon Hawkins, bass Kenneth Kellogg, and mezzo-soprano Briana Hunter.
Seattle Opera announced the 2020-2021 season today. Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts Don Giovanni with Daniel Okulitch and Jared Bybee sharing the title role. Creative Director of Opera Parallèle Brian Staufenbiel directs Flight, which his company did in 2017.
Many former Adlers and Merolini pepper the casts such as Melody Moore (Santuzza in Cav), Michael Sumuel (Leporello in Don Giovanni), Kenneth Kellogg (Commendatore in Don Giovanni), and Renée Rapier (Minskwoman in Flight).
Seattle Opera announced the 2019-2020 season today.
Seattle Opera announced the 2018-2019 season today. Bay Area conductor Nicole Paiement conducts Mason Bates' Steve Jobs opera.
Seattle Opera announces the 2017-2018 season today.
Seattle Opera announced the 2016-2017 season today. The company goes back down to five operas.
August 8-22 2015: Nabucco
August 21-23 2015: An American Dream
October 7-31 2015: Les pêcheurs de perles
January 16-30 2016: Le Nozze di Figaro
February 27- March 12 2016: Maria Stuarda
May 7-21 2016: Der fliegende Holländer
Seattle Opera announced the 2015-2016 season today, the first for new General Director Aidan Lang. The company returns to full-year programming with six operas, including a world premiere by Jack Perla.
Seattle Opera announced the 2014-2015 season today.
Aidan Lang (pictured left) has been named Seattle Opera's third General Director effective September 1, 2014. He will replace Speight Jenkins, who became General Director in 1983. Beginning immediately, Lang will be included in planning for the 2015-2016 season, working towards his first fully programmed season in 2016-2017.
Seattle Opera announced the 2013-2014 season today. Sarah Coburn and Terri Richter Franklin share the role of Marie in La fille du régiment, while Lawrence Brownlee and Andrew Stenson sing Tonio. William Burden sings Hoffmann, sharing the role with Russell Thomas.
Seattle Opera announced today that the company anticipates a shortfall for the 2011-2012 season. The company has operated without a deficit for 18 of the past 19 seasons, so this is cause for concern. As a result, the International Wagner Competition will replace Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Summer 2014. The Young Artists Program will produce a concert with orchestra instead of a fully-produced opera in the upcoming season, and will go on hiatus for the following season. There will also be operational reductions including leadership salary cuts, lower artist fees, and the net loss of four full-time staff positions.
* Notes *
Orphée et Eurydice (William Burden as Orphée with the Furies pictured left, photograph by Elise Bakketun) opened at Seattle Opera on last night. Jose Maria Condemi's production provided a series of entertaining moments that did not quite cohere, but did not get in the way of the music. Phillip Lienau's set is clean, and the scene changes were smooth and quiet, enhanced by Connie Yun's lighting. The costumes, from Heidi Zamora, had a loose, relaxed look. Yannis Adoniou's choreography was dull, for example, the first ballet consisted of three dancers falling to the floor in unison and the third one was a pantomime foreshadowing the plot. The second ballet was silliest, the 7 dancers were Furies who drew their shirts over their heads. It seemed an untoward combination of Martha Graham's Lamentation (1930) and Merce Cunningham's Antic Meet (1958).
Conductor Gary Thor Wedow kept the orchestra moving, occasionally a bit a head of the singers. There were 2 or 3 minor intonation errors, but for the most part the orchestra had a nice, clear sound. The chorus sang well.
The principals were uniformly strong. Julianne Gearhart looked like she was on her way to Black Rock City as an Amore outfitted with pink ruffles, fairy wings, tall shiny boots, and a glittering cruiser. Her voice has a breathless, girlish quality to it. Davinia Rodríguez's voice is more piercing, and her Eurydice was convincing. Rodríguez pushed a little hard on some of the high notes at the beginning of Act II, Scene 2, but otherwise sounded fine. William Burden made for an incredible Orphée. His voice is sweet and bright, and his singing was quite moving. His "J'ai perdu mon Eurydice" was exquisite.
* Tattling *
Someone unwrapped something in cellophane during the overture. There was some whispering, particularly when no one was singing. No electronic noise was noted. I laughed a great deal during the second ballet, and tried to keep this as silent as possible.
Seattle Opera announced the 2012-2013 season today. Noticed that one of the Bohème casts has Nadine Sierra and Michael Fabiano as Mimì and Rodolfo.
* Notes *
Porgy and Bess (Mary Elizabeth Williams as Serena and Gordon Hawkins as Porgy pictured left, photograph by Elise Bakketun) had a sixth performance at Seattle Opera on Sunday afternoon. Chris Alexander's production is serviceable, though perhaps blunt. The set, from Michael Scott, is attractive, but does not facilitate scene changes. The music was often interrupted by applause, and a fidgety silence predominated during the short breaks between scenes. Christina Giannini's costumes were nice enough, but Bess' initial red dress was not particularly flattering in cut. Duane Schuler's lighting was simple and elegant. Kabby Mitchell III choreography looked wonderful on the dancers, and on most of the singers, especially Michael Redding and Jermaine Smith.
John DeMain held the orchestra together, though there were times when singers and musicians were not precisely together. The soli were all very clear, almost jarringly so. The singers were strong, even the small roles of Strawberry Woman (Ibidunni Ojikutu) and Crab Man (Ashley Faatoalia) were cast perfectly. The chorus sounded fine, and were only occasionally not tightly synchronized. Angel Blue (Clara) sang "Summertime" beautifully, her voice lucid and icy. Gwendolyn Brown's Maria was sympathetic and funny, and her diction is marvelous. Mary Elizabeth Williams was impressive as Serena, her "My Man's Gone Now" was incandescent. A couple of notes were slightly throaty, though this actually fits the aria well.
Michael Redding was a force as Crown, he had a lot of volume, yet good control. Jermaine Smith played Sportin' Life with the right amount of sneaky, greasy charm. He was occasionally overwhelmed by either the chorus or orchestra. Lisa Daltirus was a curious choice for Bess, though one should note that she has sung the role quite a lot. Daltirus is oddly devoid of sensuality, especially in the way she moves, and there were occasional unattractive gasps or catches at the bottom of her voice. She can sound perfectly clarion, and this came through in her reprisal of "Summertime." Gordon Hawkins (Porgy) had a better sense of his own body, and though his voice is perhaps not the richest, he sang well. His speaking voice is quite lovely and effective. Both he and Daltrius contributed to a particularly moving "Bess, You Is My Woman Now."
* Tattling *
The audience seemed unprepared for how long the first half of this opera was. The person next to me in CC 6 was the ideal standee: silent, attentive, and aware of the space around her. The couple standing at CC 8 and 9 were also pretty quiet, and kept their whispering to a minimum. A watch alarm was heard at 3pm, and a person in the last row of the orchestra did check her mobile phone during the pauses between scenes.
I must remember to use the NATO phonetic alphabet when spelling my surname, as there was all sorts of confusion at the box office when I picked up my ticket. Thankfully, the people at the box office are both polite and kind.
Seattle Opera's Annual Meeting was held today at McCaw Hall. The company announced that it achieved a balanced budget (unaudited) for the 2010-2011 season. The Seattle Opera Artists of the Year awards went to Aleksandra Kurzak for singing the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor last October, and to Zandra Rhodes, Costume Designer for The Magic Flute in May.