Wichita Grand Opera Unveils 2011-2012 Season

July 31, 2011

Sunday, July 31 2011 11:00 PM

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Wichita Grand Opera Announces 2011-12 Season

2011-12 Season Opens With New Production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore

(WICHITA, KS – July 19, 2011) – Following a spectacular celebration of the 10th anniversary of its founding, Wichita Grand Opera unveils its tenth mainstage season, featuring all new productions. Subscriptions go on sale August 15, 2011. General Director Parvan Bakardiev says, “I’m immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve in our first decade of existence, and we’re looking forward to many more years of thrilling performances. All three operas are new productions this season: Verdi’s masterwork, Il Trovatore; the greatest of all operettas, Die Fledermaus (The Bat); and one of Donizetti’s best-loved comedies, Don PasqualeGiselle has been called the most perfect Romantic ballet, and our annual “Opera On The Lake” concert is an excellent way to start the summer. If you haven’t been to the opera before, this is the year to start.”
• Il Trovatore (In Italian) by Verdi – February 4, 2012, CII Concert Hall
• The Bat (Die Fledermaus) (In English) by Strauss, Jr. – March 17, 2012, CII Concert Hall
• Don Pasquale (In English) by Donizetti – April 21 & 22, 2012, CII MJT Theater
• Giselle (Ballet) by Adam – May 2, 2012, CII Concert Hall
• Opera on the Lake – May 19, 2012, Bradley Fair

Verdi’s Il Trovatore
February 4, 2012, 7pm
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

Il Trovatore is a searing epic of love and vengeance, set in 15th century Spain. The story focuses on the struggle between the young Count di Luna and the rebel Manrico, the girl Leonora, who loves Manrico but is desired by the Count, and the gypsy Azucena, who has vowed vengeance against the Count’s father. Nine years ago, Trovatore was Wichita Grand Opera’s first full opera production, and a co-production with Russian State Opera. Now, to open our tenth mainstage season, the WGO unveils an all-new production with a world-class cast.

Enrico Caruso once famously remarked that “all you need for a successful Trovatore is the four greatest singers in the world.” Leading the cast as Manrico the “troubadour” is Australian tenor Julian Gavin in his WGO debut. A star tenor at the most prestigious international houses, including Royal Opera Covent Garden, Berlin State Opera, and Madrid’s Teatro Real, Mr. Gavin is one of the busiest dramatic tenors in the world.

Performing the role of Leonora is Metropolitan Opera soprano Zvetelina Vassileva in her return to the WGO stage. Renowned internationally as a Verdi specialist, her Wichita debut in 2007’s A Masked Ball met with thunderous applause. London critics agreed, calling her recent Aida “exquisite”. Ms. Vassileva’s other recent appearances in the United States have included Leonora at The Met and Desdemona in Otello at San Francisco Opera.

Baritone Michael Nansel returns in the role of the Count di Luna after receiving glowing reviews last season as Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Sergeant Sulpice in Daughter of the Regiment, and leading man Count Danilo in The Merry Widow. Contralto Suzanne Hendrix makes her role debut as Azucena the Gypsy. She recently debuted with San Francisco Opera as Schwerleite in Wagner’s Die Walküre. Conducting the performance is maestro Steven Mercurio, who led the WGO orchestra in last season’s phenomenal 10th Anniversary Gala. Maestro Mercurio has appeared on live television with Andrea Bocelli, the Three Tenors, and Sting with the Royal Philharmonic.


J.Strauss’s The Bat (Die Fledermaus)
March 17, 2012, 7pm
Performed in English

On the heels of last year’s smash hit The Merry Widow, Wichita Grand Opera presents another operetta on a grand scale: Johann Strauss’s quintessentially Viennese Die Fledermaus. In this best-known of all operettas, the womanizing Gabriel von Eisenstein becomes the victim of an elaborate practical joke by his friend Dr. Falke. Performed in a witty English translation, this new production features an all-star cast including renowned American tenor Michael Hayes as Eisenstein. Among the many highlights of Mr. Hayes’ international career is the role of Count Danilo in PBS’ original Live from Lincoln Center production of The Merry Widow at New York City Opera, which was the inspiration for WGO’s re-created production last season. He also starred in WGO’s 2003 production of “Carmen on the Lake.” Joining him as Adele is American soprano Emily Truckenbrod, who last appeared with the WGO as Adina in The Elixir of Love.


Donizetti’s Don Pasquale 
April 21, 2012, 7pm and April 22, 2012, 3pm
Performed in English

Acclaimed director/performer John Stephens returns to Wichita Grand Opera for the company premiere of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. In Donizetti’s sparkling comedy, composed in an eleven-day burst of inspiration, the elderly bachelor Pasquale forbids his nephew Ernesto to marry the penniless Norina, but the young couple hatches a hilarious plot to change his mind. Mr. Stephens draws double-duty again this season in the title role and as stage director. John Stephens, a frequent guest artist in major opera houses all over the U.S., including the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera and Houston Grand Opera among others, also directed and performed in WGO’s 2008 HMS Pinafore, and appeared as the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance. Don Pasquale’s trusted advisor (and the young couple’s co-conspirator) Dr. Malatesta will be sung by baritone Michael Nansel.


Adam’s Giselle 
May 2, 2012, 7pm
Performed by the Moscow Festival Ballet

The Moscow Festival Ballet, under the direction of renowned Director / Choreographer Sergei Radchenko, returns to Wichita following their successful 2010 performance of Coppelia. The peasant girl Giselle, following her premature death, returns as a ghost to protect her lover from vengeful spirits. Gorgeous music and an engaging story have made Giselle a perennial favorite. The title role is performed by Maria Sokolnikova, a winner of the Diaghilev Medal at Russia’s prestigious Serge Lifar Competition. She is internationally sought as an interpreter of the roles of Giselle, Odette (Swan Lake), and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet).


Opera on the Lake
May 19, 2012, 6:30pm
A Gala Concert for Everyone

The grand finale of our regular season takes place May 19thunder the stars at Bradley Fair. All WGO’s artistic forces will assemble under the stars to create an operatic spectacle in a setting like no other in the US. Opera on the Lake has been a crowd favorite since the very beginning with 2003’s Carmen on the Lake, and this year’s production will be just as spectacular.


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316.262.8054 or go online at www.selectaseat.com
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