Wichita Grand Opera 05-06 Season Revealed

September 5, 2005

Monday, September 5 2005 11:00 PM



Wichita Grand Opera’s 2005-2006 Season “Revealed”


WICHITA – Wichita Grand Opera announces its 2005-2006 Season, “Fall in Love with Opera!”  The new season promises more glorious music, drama, comedy, and colorful pageantry to titillate the senses.  Each of the five world-class productions will be performed in the beautiful Concert Hall of Century II.


Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (The Bat) – Friday, November 11, 2005

Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucy of Lammermoor) Saturday, January 21, 2006

Mozart’s Die Zauberflőte (The Magic Flute) – Saturday, February 11, 2006

Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci (The Clowns) – Saturday, March 18, 2006

Encore Gala  – Saturday, June 3, 2006

Un Ballo in Maschera  – Saturday, June 24, 2006


WGO audiences have come to expect shining international stars, outstanding Kansas singers, dynamic stage directors, and international conductors, leading the Wichita Grand Opera productions – orchestra, soloists and choruses.  Now in its fourth season, WGO has far exceeded expectations, and this season promises even more.


Season Tickets Go on Sale Tuesday, September 6th

There are three Season Ticket Subscriptions available and each has three price categories, Best, Better, and Good.  Plan A offers all 5 productions with a 25% savings off the regular single ticket price for $300, $188, and $113.  Plan B offers a choice of 4 productions with a 20% savings for $256, $160, and $96.  Plan C offers a choice of 3 productions at a 15% savings for $204, $128, and $77.   Regular single tickets are $80, $50, and $30.  Early Bird single tickets purchased before October 15, 2005 are available with a 10% savings for $72, $45, and $27.  Single tickets are available for groups of 10 or more with a 15% savings for $68, $43, and $26.  Seniors, students, and military with I.D. are offered a 10% savings on single tickets.


Tickets will go on sale Tuesday, September 6 at 10 AM, and may be purchased with Visa/MasterCard or check.  To purchase tickets (1) call the WGO Box Office at (316) 262.8054, (2) visit the WGO Box Office at Century II, M-F 10 AM to 4 PM. (3) on the internet at www.selectaseat.com, or (4) at Dillons stores in Wichita, Andover, Derby, Newton, El Dorado, and Hutchinson. To receive a Season Brochure and Ticket Order Form call 316.683.3444.

Die Fledermaus

The season opens in grand style on Friday, November 11 at 7:30 PM with the cunningly comedic Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss, a co-production with the Czech Opera Prague, performed in German with English surtitles.   Composed in 1874 by the Viennese “king of waltz”, Die Fledermaus is the most popular and performed work of Johann Strauss.  This co-production features principal soloists of the Prague State Opera, and the WGO Resident Artist’s.  Back by popular demand, WGO brings Maestro Martin Mazik, chief conductor of the Slovakia National Opera, who conducted magnificently last season’s opening production of Don Giovanni and the season finale of La Boheme.  With more than 500 performances under his baton in Europe, Maestro Mazik was invited to the United States by Parvan Bakardiev to make his symphonic debut with the Palm Beach Symphony in 2000, and his U.S opera debut with Wichita Grand Opera in 2004.


Starring in Die Fledermaus is Jan Jezek as Gabriel Von Eisenstein, Jitka Svobodova as Rosalinde, Oldrich Kriz as Frank, Anna Janotova as Adele, and Marian Rehor as Dr. Falke.  The Stage Director is Martin Otava, from the Prague State Opera, and co-founder of the annual Opera Festival in Prague’s Lichtenstein Palace. His directing credits include opera companies in Japan, Germany, Spain, and Austria.  Wichita Grand Opera soloists featured in the production are David Camp as the Italian tenor, Charleen Ayers as the Kansas Prima

Donna, Earl Levine as Froshe, and Rachel Priest-O’Hara as Ida.  The audience will also enjoy spotting their favorite local celebrities as cameos in the ball scene.

 Lucia di Lammermoor

The curtain goes up on Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti on January 21, 2006 at 7:30 PM.  Donizetti’s poignant tale of love and life lost is one of the greatest and most difficult operas in the “bel canto” tradition.  Lyrical, emotional, and hauntingly beautiful, the voices are truly the focal point of this grand opera, brought to exquisite life by WGO’s production of distinguished stars and Resident Artists.  Russian Coloratura Soprano Larisa Yudina makes her Wichita Grand Opera debut singing the title role of Lucia.  She is leading soprano of the Kirov Opera (renamed recently to Mariinsky Opera), and has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, and Covent Garden, among many others.  Returning from last season’s triumphant debut as Rodolfo in WGO’s production of La Boheme is Russian tenor Evgeny Akimov who will sing the pivotal role of Edgardo.  Mr. Akimov is at home in St. Petersburg and leading tenor at Kirov Opera.  He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, and Los Angeles Philharmonic and has recorded on several labels.  WGO Resident Artist Evereich Sutter, who sang the role of Colline in last season’s La Boheme, will sing the role of Raimondo.  American Maestro Steven White, highly regarded for his work in opera, will conduct WGO’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor. He has conducted extensively at New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, New Orleans Opera, and Vancouver Opera, to name a few.  Italian director Guido Torlonia will stage this production.  A native of Rome’s aristocracy, his productions have been the highlight of the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy.

Die Zauberflőte

Magic is in the air when WGO celebrates Mozart’s 250th birthday with the charming fairy tale The Magic Flute on February 11, 2006 at 7:30 PM.  An opera enjoyed by all ages, The Magic Flute has long been in the top 10 most popular operas in the modern repertoire.  This star-studded production will be sung in German with English surtitles, and promises to dazzle the senses with its fantastical sets and costumes.  Led by German conductor Ekhart Wycik, who is making his U.S. and WGO debut, he is conductor with the Kaiserslautern Opera in Germany and has made guest appearances as conductor in opera houses in Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Germany.  American stage director Jonathan Field who has become one of America’s most versatile directors having directed over 75 productions in all four corners of the U.S., will be staging this WGO production.  He has directed for Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera and the Arizona Opera, among many others.  His stagings for Lyric Opera of Chicago were so successful that they were repeated at the Illinois Festival.  Starring in the production are Russian coloratura soprano Svetlana Trifonova from Mariinsky Theater, as Queen of the Night; Italian baritone Stefano de Peppo returning to WGO after his polarizing 2004 debut in the role of Leporello,as Papageno; Christina Martos and Amanda Squitieri, both from the Washington National Opera, singing the roles of Pamina and Papagena respectively, and Rodney Miller, WGO Resident Artist and Dean of Fine Arts at Wichita State University, as the Speaker.

I Pagliacci

The powerful drama of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci takes the stage on March 18, 2006 at 7:30 PM.  This WGO new production will showcase the extended version of this popular verismo opera.  I Pagliacci offers the unique perspective of a play within a play.  Each character struggles to define the line between reality and fantasy in this epic story of love, jealousy, and vengeance.


Renowned Italian conductor/composer Alessio Vlad will conduct I Pagliacci.  This will be his debut as an orchestra conductor in the United States.  Maestro Vlad has conducted and recorded with the orchestras of Bologna, Rome, Palermo Opera, the Toscanini Orchestra, RAI Orchestra in Turin, and the Dresden Philharmonic.  He composed the soundtrack for Franco Zeffirelli’s film Six Characters in Search of an Author, Jane Eyre, Tea with Mussolini, Callas Forever, and he won the 1999 Golden Globe Award for composing the best Italian soundtrack for Bernardo Bertolucci’s film, “Besieged.”  From 1999 to 2002 he was Artistic Director for Carlo Felice Theatre in Genoa.  He is currently Artistic Director of Teatro delle Muse of Ancona.  Renowned Italian movie and opera director Luca Verdone will stage this WGO production. Among his most celebrated movies are The Last Days of Caravaggio, Seven Kilos in Seven Days, and The Pleasure of Pleasure. One of his most celebrated opera stagings was The Barber of Seville at the Arena of Carcalla in Rome.  This will mark Luca Verdone’s U.S. opera debut.  The set designer is WGO Artistic Director, Margaret Ann Pent, who designed and directed the innovative production of Carmen on the Lake at Bradley Fair.


Rising Italian star Tiziana Bellavista will make her U.S. and WGO debut singing the role of Nedda.  She is the winner of the prestigious international competitions of Voci Verdiane in Busseto (the birthplace of Verdi), and Voci Liriche di Sanremo in 1996.  She has debuted in Guglielmo Ratclif by Mascagni (role of Maria) under the direction of Giancarlo Del Monaco, and Manon Lescaut by Puccini under the baton of Maestro Gustav Kuhn.  She appeared in Falstaff in the role of Elise Ford, opposite Renato Bruson and under the baton of Maestro Donato Renzetti.  She frequently makes guest appearances in German and Italian opera houses.

Encore Gala

The season closes on June 3, 2006 with a trilogy, Encore Gala.  Exciting special guest stars and WGO Resident Artists, Orchestra, Chorus, and Children’s Chorus, will present highlights from the season.  All the greatest moments will return in this unforgettable evening.


The season concludes with the fabulous annual opera ball.  This year’s event “Un Ballo in Maschera” will be a dramatic masquerade ball in the tradition of the Venice Carnivale.  The opera ball will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2006 beginning at 6:00 PM.  Delectable dining and dancing will fill the hours until the unmasking at midnight.  Inhibitions will be swept away as all of society delights in the anonymity of a secret identity for the evening.  Tickets for this event will go on sale March 1, 2006.


For further information call the Wichita Grand Opera at 316.683.3444.