Wichita Grand Opera announces 2004 – 2005 Season

August 26, 2004

Thursday, August 26 2004 11:00 PM

Across the Globe


WICHITA – Wichita Grand Opera announces its 2004-2005 season, “Across the Globe.”  The season line-up highlights some of the most beloved operas ever written, including Don Giovanni, The Mikado, Barber of Seville, Aida, and La Boheme.


The season kicks off with Mozart’s dashingly suave international lover, Don Giovannion October 23 & 24 in Century II Concert Hall.  They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and our Latin lover is feeling the burn as he faces down some of his past conquests.  Aided and abetted by his friend Leporello, Don Giovanni seeks to evade the clutches of Donna Anna and Donna Elvira, while trying to add the saucy peasant Zerlina to his little black book.


The next stop on WGO’s tour is Japan for Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular opera, The Mikado.  Sung in English, this laugh out loud comedy is sure to entertain and delight even the most reluctant opera-goer.  Presented in Century II Mary Jane Teall Theater on November 5, 6, & 7, The Mikado follows the adventures of a runaway prince, Nanki-Poo as he connives to win the hand of his beloved, Yum-Yum, despite her previous betrothal.  Throw in a Lord High Executioner ordered to cut off his own head and a devious dowager seeking the prince for herself, and you have a recipe for hilarity.


Sunny Spain is the midpoint of the journey with just enough time for a shave and a haircut from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, February 12 & 13, Century II Concert Hall.  Things get hairy as everyone’s favorite barber, Figaro, schemes to unite Count Almaviva with his love, Rosina, and liberate her from the clutches of her guardian, old Dr. Bartolo, before he can marry her!


The mysteries of the Pharaohs beckon for the grandest of the grand, Verdi’s AidaMarch 11, Century II Concert Hall.  A masterpiece of epic proportions, this incredible love story plays out in exotic Egypt, dazzling the eyes with its spectacle and caressing the ears with some of the most beautiful music ever written.  The Egyptian captain Radames has eyes for the slave Aida.  However, Aida is really an Ethiopian princess.  The drama unfolds as they fall in love, Aida’s identity is revealed, and Radames is accused of treason for helping her escape Egypt.  Aida is produced in cooperation with the acclaimed Opera Verdi Europa.


Finally, it’s springtime in Paris with romance in the air in Puccini’s La Boheme.  Presented in Century II Concert Hall, April 2 & 3, the hopes and dreams of struggling Parisian artists weave an unforgettable tale of life, love, and loss.  This timeless story inspired the Tony Award winning smash musical of the 90’s Rent.  This heartfelt drama has inspired generations for over a century.


A bevy of international stars brilliantly shine in these dramatic and powerful roles.  Stunning sopranos bring life to our heroines, including Argentinean Fabiana Bravo, winner of the Pavarotti International Voice Competition, at home with Washington Opera, Virginia Opera, New York City Opera, and San Francisco Opera, as Donna Anna; Czech Marina Viskvorkina shines as Rosina after appearing with the Prague State Opera, Vienna State Opera, and winning the Dvorak Vocal Competition; prima donna of the Romanian State Opera Silvia-Sorina Munteanu, as Aida; and Wichita’s darling, Italian diva Annalisa Raspagliosi graciously returns from her exploding European career to light up the stage as Mimi.


However, it is the men that steal the spotlight this season with seasoned greats such as the Metropolitan Opera’s Arturo Sergi in the title role of The Mikado and Washington’s favorite tenor Michael Hayes, returning to Wichita as Radames after his dynamic portrayal of Don Jose in last season’s Carmen, performing alongside opera’s fastest rising stars including young American bass Mark McCrory of the Chicago Lyric Opera as Latin lover Don GiovanniItalian Stefano de Peppo, equally at home in the Teatro Argentina of Rome and the Los Angeles Opera,  as Leporello, Mexican tenor Hector Sandoval, renown in Vienna, Mexico, and Germany, as Don Ottavio, American Chad A. Johnson, fresh from the Floriday Grand Opera and Santa Fe, as Nanki-Poo and Metropolitan Opera’s Vladimir Grishko as Rodolfo, who has enthralled New York audiences for the past several seasons.  Add to the mix Nicolai Simonov, as Figaro, and Viacheslav Pochapsky, as Basilio, both from the Bolshoi Opera; and American tenor Benjamin Brecher of the New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Palm Beach Opera, as Count Almaviva; and there is sure to be something for everyone.


Guiding the incredible talents of these performers are some of the world’s most accomplished directors and conductors.  Legendary American soprano Anna Moffo, renown for her nuanced portrayals of opera’s greatest heroines, creates a new production of La Boheme; Giorgio Lalov, acclaimed in Italy, France, Germany, and the United States, will direct Don Giovanni, John Stephens, lauded for his work with Gilbert and Sullivan in England and America, offers his take on The Mikado, distinguished WGO Founder/Artistic Director Margaret Ann Pent shapes Barber of Seville; and Pavel Gerdjikov, regarded throughout Europe for his stage direction, leads Aida.


The conductors are equally distinguished and varied.  Maestro James Lowe of the Houston Grand Opera, bears the baton for The Mikado; young dynamo Martin Mazik, principle conductor for the Slovakian National Opera, will put Don Giovanni through its paces; Italian Federico Cortese, known for his work with the Boston Symphony, Finnish National Opera, and Opera Australia, will conduct Barber of Seville; Nayden Todorov, applauded throughout Europe including Switzerland, Austria, and Israel, conquers the unforgettable Aida; and American Steven White of the New World Symphony, Florida Grand Opera, and New York City Opera will close the season with La Boheme.


The Wichita Grand Opera Resident and Young Artists continue to be vital performers in each production, highlighting the talents of area favorites including Mary Ellen Swords, Chet Carpenter, Jennifer Kerber, Sylvia Stoner, Stacy Stofferahn Uthe, Charleen Ayers, Kevin Eckard, Keith Wallace, Genaro Mendez, Gerold Reeck, Julie Maykowski, Anna McCoy, Denise Knowlton, Mirko D’Angelo, Daryl Handlin, Evereich, Matthew Schloneger, Earl Levine, Kristin Johnston, Rebecca Robbearts, Adam Sattley, Andrea Garritano, Gina Galati, Reginald Pittman, and Hugo Vera.  These artists have the privilege of working with distinguished clinicians including America’s most famous opera composer, Carlisle Floyd; Dean Emeritus Charles Webb, the former head of Indiana University’s Music Department, the foremost opera development program in the nation; and internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Sherrill Milnes.


WGO General Director, Parvan Bakardiev is looking forward to this season’s exciting schedule.  “I am so gratified that the WGO is able to produce the most comprehensive season of opera in the region.  Our artistic staff, under the superb direction of Founder/Artistic Director Margaret Ann Pent will be challenged to reach new heights as we embark on our most ambitious season yet.  The WGO Chorus, Orchestra, and vocal ensemble will continue their tradition of excellence in each production.”


Season subscriptions are available ranging in price from $96 to $300, and single tickets are $30, $50, and $80 for each performance.  An Early Bird Discount of 10% is available on single tickets purchased before September 30, 2004.  Tickets will go on sale Monday, August 9th, and may be purchased with Visa/MasterCard or check by:
Ÿ    WGO Box Office located at Century II, 225 W. Douglas, on the

northwest corner, facing the Kennedy Plaza on Douglas, behind the west fountain.

Ÿ         Box Office Phone at 316.262.8054

Ÿ         Online at www.selectaseat.com

Ÿ         Select – A – Seat Phone at 316.755.SEAT

Ÿ         Dillons Store Outlets in Wichita, Andover, Derby, Newton, El Dorado, and Hutchison.

Ÿ         Mail or fax using the WGO Ticket Order Form which can be printed from the WGO web site, at www.wichitagrandopera.org.


The box office hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM CST.  Parking is available on Douglas Avenue and on the Kennedy Plaza.


2004-2005 Season at a Glance




Don Giovanni

Saturday, October 23, 2004, 8:00pm

Sunday, October 24, 2004, 3:00 pm

Concert Hall at Century II



Gilbert & Sullivan’s


Friday, November 5, 2004, 8:00pm

Saturday, November 6, 2004, 8:00pm

Sunday, November 7, 2004, 3:00pm

Mary Jane Teall Theatre at Century II




Barber of Seville

Saturday, February 12, 2005, 8:00pm

Sunday, February 13, 2005, 3:00pm

Concert Hall at Century II





Friday, March 11, 2005, 8:00pm

Concert Hall at Century II




La Boheme

Saturday, April 2, 2005, 8:00pm

Sunday, April 3, 2005, 3:00pm

Concert Hall at Century II