CINCINNATI OPERA ANNOUNCES UPDATED CASTING FOR 2012 SUMMER FESTIVAL
CINCINNATI, OH—Cincinnati Opera is pleased to announce further casting details and an updated performance schedule for its 2012 Summer Festival. Cincinnati Opera’s 92nd season will feature four operas, including the company premiere of the Gershwins’ beloved American opera Porgy and Bess.
The 2012 Summer Festival, which will run from June 14 through July 28, will open with a double bill of Italian one-act operas, pairing the tragic verismo of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with the comedic charm of Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi (June 14 & 16). Next, Cincinnati Opera proudly presents its first-ever production of George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (June 28 & 30 and July 6 & 8m). The season will close with a lavish production of Giuseppe Verdi’s heartbreaking romance La Traviata (July 26 & 28).
Cincinnati has won the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host the World Choir Games, an international singing competition that will draw over 20,000 singers from more than 70 countries from July 4 to 14, 2012. In order to accommodate the Games, Cincinnati Opera is making room in its season schedule for concerts to be held at Music Hall. As a result, the 2012 season will include three productions rather than the usual schedule of four.
Pagliacci | Gianni Schicchi
June 14 & 16
The 92nd season opens with a double bill of two very different works, the verismo tragedy Pagliacci and the masterful comedy Gianni Schicchi, presented in an ingenious production from the Opéra de Montréal.
American tenor Frank Porretta leads the cast of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, bringing his “thrilling high notes” (Los Angeles Times) to the role of the cuckolded clown Canio. Porretta last appeared with the company to great acclaim in the title role of Don Carlo (2009). Soprano Kelly Kaduce, who “sings with bell-like purity and silvery sweetness” (Opera News), makes her Cincinnati Opera debut as the duplicitous Nedda. Hailed as an “impressive young baritone” (Cincinnati Enquirer) for his work in Don Carlo (2009), Croatian baritone Ljubomir Puskaric returns to Cincinnati Opera as Silvio, and internationally renowned baritone Roberto de Candia rounds out the cast as the fool, Tonio.
The young lovers of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi will be portrayed by a handsome pair of rising young European singers. Italian soprano Maria Luigia Borsi, who won Cincinnati audiences with her heartbreaking turn as Desdemona in Otello (2010), returns to the Music Hall stage as Lauretta. Her swain, Rinuccio, will be sung by Lithuanian tenor Edgaras Montvidas, who makes his company debut with a “sumptuously lyric tenor” (Le Figaro, Paris). Baritone Roberto de Candia sings the title role, and mezzo-soprano Catherine Keen, last seen as Emilia in Otello (2010), will be featured as the scheming Aunt Zita. Bass-baritone Thomas Hammons returns to the stage as Simone following his scene-stealing turn as Benoit in La Bohème (2010), and mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi brings her “lustrous voice” (The Washington Post) to the role of La Ciesca.
Alain Gauthier, hailed for his skillful work in recent Cincinnati Opera comedies Così Fan Tutte (2007) and L’Étoile (2006), will direct the production. The orchestra will be led by Richard Buckley, who last appeared with Cincinnati Opera for Don Carlo (2009).
Porgy and Bess
June 28 & 30 and July 6 & 8m
For the first time, Cincinnati Opera will present the Gershwins’ great American opera Porgy and Bess on the Music Hall stage. Filled with recognizable tunes, a touching story of perseverance in adversity, and the triumph of love over all obstacles, the company will recreate Catfish Row with a realistic production from Houston Grand Opera. New Zealand-born bass-baritone Jonathan Lemalu, who made his Cincinnati Opera debut in The Marriage of Figaro (2009), brings his “dark, deep, almost other-worldly voice” (The Washington Post) to the role of Porgy. Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman, recognized for “a superb voice capable of just about everything” (Miami Herald), will portray the conflicted Bess. She last appeared with Cincinnati Opera in its 2002 season (Dead Man Walking, Elektra). With “a rich, room-filling baritone” (The Washington Times), Gordon Hawkins, who last impressed Cincinnati audiences as Amonasro in Aida (2007), will be featured as the menacing Crown. Character tenor Steven Cole, a Cincinnati Opera favorite, will portray the smooth-talking Sportin’ Life. Soprano Adrienne Danrich, who recently partnered with Cincinnati Opera to present “This Little Light of Mine” (2011), brings her “fresh liquid-silver” voice (Opera News) to the role of Serena, and rising young soprano Jacqueline Echols is Clara.
Lemuel Wade will direct, and David Charles Abell, who in 2009 conducted a critically-acclaimed tour of Porgy and Bess throughout the United Kingdom for Cape Town Opera, will wield the baton. The production features set design by Kenneth Foy, with costumes by Judy Dearing.
July 26 & 28
The season closes with Verdi’s grand opera La Traviata in a charming production from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. As the fated lovers Alfredo and Violetta, Cincinnati Opera is pleased to bring back the hugely talented American husband-and-wife team of Stephen Costello and Ailyn Pérez. The Associated Press enthuses that Pérez’s “lyric soprano is pure and honeyed in tone, and she deploys it with elegance and tenderness,” and her last-minute debut as Violetta in the Royal Opera House’s Japan tour in September 2010 was hailed as “a triumph…an unalloyed triumph” (Instant Encore). Costello will again charm the audience with his “fresh, Italianate tenor” that is “consistently a joy to hear” (Cincinnati Enquirer). The duo last appeared to great acclaim on the Music Hall stage as Mimì and Rodolfo in La Bohème (2010). Called “one of the great young baritones of our time” (Cincinnati Enquirer), Marco Caria last thrilled audiences as Rodrigo in Don Carlo (2009) and as Marcello in La Bohème (2010); he returns as Alfredo’s concerned father, Germont. Mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi portrays the spirited Flora.
Jose Maria Condemi, who last worked with Cincinnati Opera on 2009’s Ainadamar, will direct. Carlo Montanaro, who has performed the opera at both La Scala and Munich, will make his company debut as conductor. Sets and costumes are by Desmond Heeley.
Cincinnati Opera 2012 Summer Festival
June 14-July 28
Pagliacci | Gianni Schicchi June 14 & 16
Porgy and Bess June 28 & 30 and July 6 & 8m
La Traviata July 26 & 28
Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with matinee performances at 3:00 p.m.
New subscriptions will go on sale in winter 2012, and single tickets go on sale in spring 2012. For additional information, please visit www.cincinnatiopera.org or contact the Cincinnati Opera Box Office at (513) 241-2742.