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Posted by on Apr 15, 2014 in new articles, News | 0 comments

Fort Worth Opera Announces 2015 Season

Fort Worth Opera Announces 2015 Season

FORT WORTH, TX – Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) announced today details of the company’s bold and compelling repertoire selections scheduled for the 2015 season,  running April 24 – May 10, 2015. Featuring a well-known Italian favorite and two regional premieres, the 2015 Fort Worth Opera Festival will come to life in three productions pulled from the pages of great literary works. Main stage productions include Verdi’s beloved La Traviata, returning to the FWOpera stage for its first production since the 2005-2006 season. The company will also produce the spellbinding regional premiere of Ambroise Thomas’ grand opera Hamlet, based on Shakespeare’s iconic play. Building on the success of the first year of FWOpera’s Opera of the Americas initiative, the company will bring audiences the regional premiere of the riveting Dog Days—based on the short story by Judith Budnitz—by acclaimed creative team David T. Little and Royce Vavrek and will usher in the third year of its pioneering new works showcase, Frontiers.

“The 2015 Festival lineup is one I am proud to bring to our North Texas patrons and to offer to the larger opera community world-wide,” stated General Director Darren K. Woods. “This season marks a bold step forward with three provocative works that challenge the human experience – from sacrificial love to testing the limits of one’s own humanity. From the traditional to the contemporary, each work is vivid and spectacular, showcasing exceptional singers,
exquisite sets, brilliant staging, and a one-of-a-kind musical experience.”  Woods continued, “Art is a valuable method used to challenge the thoughts and ideas of our community. This season will take this challenge to the next level.” 

Fort Worth Opera will emphasize its commitment to contemporary works by launching the 2015 season with the revolutionary new opera Dog Days, by David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, in the intimate setting of the Scott Theatre at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center (1300 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, Texas). Based on the powerful short story of the same name by Judith Budnitz, the opera depicts the harrowing saga of an American family in a post-apocalyptic
world. Facing imminent starvation and struggling to retain their dignity, the family is put to the ultimate test of humanity when a man appears at their home dressed as a dog and begging for scraps. Sure to be one of the most raw and affecting pieces to ever take the Fort Worth Opera stage, Dog Days has been described as “a punch in the stomach,” and “one of the most exciting operas in recent years” by The Wall Street Journal.

Having made its world premiere in 2012, FWOpera, in partnership with Beth Morrison Projects, will present this pivotal work with its original cast, set, and orchestra including Laura Worsham as Lisa, John Kelly as the Dog, and David T. Little’s very own new music ensemble NEWSPEAK, in its first mounting since the opera’s world premiere.

Robert Woodruff will direct the production with conductor Alan Pierson leading NEWSPEAK through Little’s riveting and tuneful score. Set and video designer Jim Findlay, costume designer Victoria “Vita” Tzykun, and lighting designer Christopher Kuhl complete the creative team. The production was originally commissioned and produced by Peak Performances at Monclair (NJ) in association with Beth Morrison Projects.  The 2015 remount is produced by Beth Morrison Projects and presented by Fort Worth Opera.

Opening the Bass Hall season will be Verdi’s masterpiece La Traviata. Based on La Dame aux camellias by Alexander Dumas, fis, and renowned for its unforgettable melodies, this timeless love story will play out against Verdi’s rich orchestration and features a cast of fresh faces all making their FWOpera debuts in this traditionally staged production. Although deeply in love, the beautiful but frail Violetta Valéry—sung by Australian rising star Rachelle Durkin—resigns her passionate affair with Alfredo Germont – portrayed by Patrick O’Halloran—to maintain his family’s respected name. Rounding out the leading roles is Nicholas Pallesen as Alfredo’s father, Giorgo Germont.

FWOpera favorite David Gately (Ariadne auf Naxos and Così fan tutte) will direct, while FWOpera’s Music Director Joe Illick conducts the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. La Traviata will also include lighting design by Fort Worth native Chad R. Jung and set and costumes by Desmond Heeley, originally designed for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The 2015 Bass Hall series concludes with the regional premiere of Ambroise Thomas’ riveting retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. From the moment guests enter Bass Hall, they will be catapulted into the haunting world of intrigue and vengeance with a set recalling images of a stark Soviet-era city. This mesmerizing production will welcome baritone Wes Mason (Before Night Falls and La Bohème) back to FWOpera in the title role, while Rod Nelman (Tosca, The
Marriage of Figaro, and The Daughter of the Regiment) will portray the lecherous Claudius. Robynne Redmon (Dead Man Walking and Madama Butterfly) will appear as Gertrude, and Talise Trevigne will take on the challenging role of Ophelia in her FWOpera debut, following her success in Jake Heggie’s monumental Moby Dick with the Dallas Opera.

Conductor Joe Illick will return to the podium to lead the orchestra through Thomas’ emotive score, and acclaimed director Thaddeus Strassberger will make his Festival debut. Lighting designer Chad R. Jung, and costume designer Mary Traylor round out the creative team.

The final week of the 2015 Festival will feature Frontiers, the company’s showcase for new works. Six to eight selected composers will be in residence at the Festival during the last week and their works will be presented in 20-minute performances sung by young artists of the 2015 Opera Festival and accompanied by piano on May 7 – May 8, 2015. Each composer will attend the showcase and participate in an enlightening post-performance discussion. Composers will
receive feedback on their work through private meetings with the Frontiers jury panel. In addition, the workshops will be recorded, so the composers can subsequently study the recording to assist in the completion of the compositional process. Final performances will be offered in two separate showcases of four works each on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at 6:00 pm, and Friday, May 8, 2015, at 6:00 pm.

The 2015 Fort Worth Opera Festival
April 24—May 10, 2015

Dog Days
Music by David T. Little; libretto by Royce Vavrek

April 24, 26m, 28, 29, May 1, 2m, 2015 (m=matinee)
Regional Premiere; part of Opera of the Americas initiative and Opera Unbound series
Scott Theatre, Fort Worth Community Arts Center (1300 Gendy Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107)
Sung in English (no supertitles)

Laura Worsham* (Lisa)
James Bobick* (Howard)
Marnie Breckenridge* (Mother)
John Kelly* (Prince—the Dog)
Cherry Duke* (Captain)
Michael Marcotte* (Elliott)
Peter Tantsits* (Pat)

Beth Morrison, creative producer
Alan Pierson*, conductor
Robert Woodruff*, director
Jim Findlay*, scenic and video designer; Christopher Kuhl*, lighting designer; Victoria “Vita” Tzykun*,
costume designer; NEWSPEAK*, musical ensemble
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects
Set courtesy of Peak Performances @ Montclair State (NJ)

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season


La Traviata

Music by Giuseppe Verdi; libretto by Francesco Maria Piave.
April 25, May 3m, 9, 2015 (m=matinee)

Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
In Italian with supertitles in English and Spanish
First performance by FWOpera since the 2005-2006 season.

Rachelle Durkin* (Violetta Valéry)
Patrick O’Halloran* (Alfredo Germont)
Nicholas Pallesen* (Giorgio Germont)

Joe Illick, conductor
David Gately, director
Desmond Heeley*, set and costume design Set and costumes courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season



Music by Ambroise Thomas; libretto by Michel Carré and Jules Barbier.
May 2, 10m, 2015 (m=matinee)

Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
In French with supertitles in English and Spanish
Regional premiere; first performance in FWOpera history

Wes Mason (Hamlet)
Talise Trevigne* (Ophelia)
Rod Nelman (Claudius)
Robynne Redmon (Gertrude)

Joe Illick, conductor
Thaddeus Strassberger*, director and set designer
Chad R. Jung, lighting design; costume design, Mary Traylor
Set courtesy of Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Washington National Opera

*denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season


Two separate showcases of four works each on Thursday, May 7, 2015, at 6:00 p.m., and Friday, May 8, 2015, at 6:00 p.m.


TICKETS: Tickets for the 2015 Festival can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the Fort Worth Opera Customer Service Office inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center at  1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76107. Season subscriptions range from $26 to $379 while single tickets range from $17 to $195 (prices subject to change). Subscriptions are available now and single tickets go on sale August 1, 2014. For more information, please visit or call 817.731.0726 or toll-free at 1.877.396.7372. To purchase tickets online, go to


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