Wichita Grand Opera’s 2015 Season Is Here!

October 8, 2014

Wednesday, October 8 2014 1:56 PM

Wichita Grand Opera: The 2015 Season Is Here!


Century II’s Concert Hall comes alive once again in 2015 with glorious music and impeccable singing, as Wichita Grand Opera’s international casts fill the air with the fanciful, the dramatic, the comical, and the graceful. “This year’s season lets our most beautiful instrument – the human voice – shine,” said WGO General Director Parvan Bakardiev. “We have two grand operas by Verdi and Puccini to delight the opera aficionado and novice alike; two grand classical ballets that will sweep you off your feet; a brilliant comic opera that will leave you in stitches, and two very special galas. Whether you’re a loyal patron or a first-time attendee, you’re going to love this year.”


The 2015 season, opening in April and ending in October, is headlined by international stars including Italian diva Annalisa Raspagliosi, Mexican tenor Hector Sandoval, Slovakian conductor Martin Mazik, and Russian prima ballerina Ekaterina Egorova. WGO also continues its series of performances in venues around the state, becoming an opera company for the State of Kansas, performing for the first time in Overland Park’s magnificent Carlsen Center, and returning to the beautiful Stiefel Theater in Salina and the one-and-only McPherson Opera House. “We are excited to bear the torch of Grand Opera across the State of Kansas,” Mr. Bakardiev stated.



2015 Season Schedule
Prokofiev’sCinderellaApril 25, 2015
Tchaikovsky’sSwan LakeMay 3, 2015
Chairmen’s Opera BallCasino RoyaleJune 20, 2015
Opera on the LakeA Night at the OperaJuly 17 & 18, 2015
Puccini’sTurandotAugust 28 & 30, 2015
Verdi’sDon CarloSeptember 25 & 27, 2015
Offenbach’sThe Grand DuchessOctober 10, 16 & 18, 2015

Cinderella by Prokofiev
Russian National Ballet Theatre
Sat., April 25, 2015, 7:00pm – Century II


A timeless rags-to-riches tale set to Prokofiev’s gorgeous music will delight children of all ages, while sly humor and inventive choreography will satisfy even the most devoted ballet fan. Charles Perrault’s fairytale about a girl transformed into a princess by a fairy godmother is best known through Walt Disney’s movie, but Prokofiev’s ballet debuted nearly five years earlier. The Russian National Ballet Theatre is “the real thing,” according to The Washington PostEkaterina Egorova and Konstantin Marikin star as Cinderella and her Prince.

Swan Lake – Tchaikovsky
Russian National Ballet Theatre
Sun., May. 3, 2015, 7:00pm – Century II


A treat for ballet lovers, the Russian National Ballet Theater offers a mini-festival in Wichita: a second production just eight days after their performance of Cinderella. Ballet’s greatest love story and Tchaikovsky’s timeless score make for an unforgettable evening. Swan Lake tells the famous story of a Swan Queen put under a spell by an evil sorcerer, and the Prince whose love for her breaks the curse. The Russian National Ballet Theatre, a “cut above their rivals” according to The Washington Post, is Grand Russian Ballet the way it should be. By popular demand, Maria Sokolnikova and Aydos Zakan return to the stage as the White and Black Swans and the Prince.

Chairmen’s Opera Ball
Sat., June 20, 2015, 6:00pm – TBD


The 2015 edition of WGO’s annual Chairmen’s Opera Ball features another movie theme following 2014’s successful Great Gatsby-themed Ball. This year’s theme is Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale, which has been adapted three times for the screen: in 1954 for CBS starring Peter Lorre; in 1967 as a spy-movie spoof starring David Niven and Peter Sellers; and again in 2006 as a more serious Bond movie starring Daniel Craig. Guests are invited to dress as their favorite spy, villain, or Bond Girl for a night of dancing, dining, casino games, and fun in support of Wichita Grand Opera. Individual ticketsare $200 per person and tables of 10 are $1,500, a portion of which is tax-deductible.

A Night at the Opera
Fri., July 17, 2015, 7:00pm – McPherson Opera House
Sat., July 18, 2015, 8:00pm – Opera on the Lake @ Bradley Fair


Wichita Grand Opera’s annual summer gala returns with two performances in 2015: one at the gorgeous McPherson Opera House and one at Opera on the Lake at Bradley Fair. This year’s event will feature a sneak peek at WGO’s upcoming opera productions, plus a variety of opera and pop favorites covering the full range of comedy, tragedy, and drama. As always, most seating areas at Opera on the Lake are free of charge. There will be an area of Reserved Seating available for $50 per seat for patrons preferring a more leisurely evening, as well as a VIP Dinner and Performance package, including dinner by Newport Grill for those who like to be wined and dined, for $150 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight, a portion of which is tax deductible.

Turandot – Puccini
New Production
Fri., Aug. 28, 2015, 7:00pm – Century II
Sun., Aug. 30, 2015, 3:00pm – Carlsen Center, Overland Park, KS


Puccini’s final opera, Turandot, is also his most daring. Leaving behind the verismo (or “realistic”) subjects of his earlier successes La Bohème and Tosca, Puccini turned to Eastern mythology and larger-than-life characters. In the process, Puccini opened up an incredible new world of musical colors. Puccini died before he could complete the ending of Turandot, but he left behind enough sketches for other composers to finish his work.


Set in China’s Imperial City, Turandot tells the legendary tale of an icy Princess who declares her suitors must answer three riddles to win her hand, but the penalty for failure is death. Hector Sandoval, who brought the house down as Cavaradossi in last season’s Tosca, leads a stellar cast as Prince Calaf, who vows to win Turandot’s heart. The tenor’s heart-stopping aria, “Nessun dorma,” was made famous by Luciano Pavarotti, and became one of the most successful pop crossover hits ever. The production is conducted by WGO Principal Guest Conductor Martin Mazik, of the Slovak National Opera. Stunning pageantry, spine-tingling confrontations, and some of opera’s most passionate music makes Turandot a must-see.

Don Carlo – Verdi
New Production
Fri., Sept. 25, 2015, 7:00pm – Century II
Sun., Sept. 27, 2015, 3:00pm – Century II


Verdi was a controversial figure during his lifetime; his operas frequently dealt with rulers, whether benevolent or cruel, and themes of love, duty, and patriotism. Verdi’s run-ins with state censors were frequent, since much of what is now Italy was under Austrian control. Don Carlo is one of Verdi’s greatest achievements, written just before his most popular opera, Aida. However, unlike the heroic and tragic figures in his other operas, the characters in Don Carloare deeper, more complex, and more realistic, inspiring Verdi to compose some of his greatest music.


Don Carlo centers on a love triangle of epic proportions. To secure peace with France, King Philip II of Spain must marry the beautiful French Princess Elisabeth, even though Elisabeth’s heart belongs to Philip’s son, Don Carlo. All three must set aside their desires in the name of duty, as the chilling Grand Inquisitor imposes his will. Italian diva Annalisa Raspagliosi makes her long-awaited return to Wichita as Elisabeth to lead the star-studded international cast. Fans will remember her as Pavarotti’s co-star in WGO’s inaugural gala in 2002, her Violetta in 2004’s La Traviata, and her 2007 Tosca.

The Grand Duchess – Offenbach
New Production, Sung in English
Sat., Oct. 10, 2015, 7:30pm – McPherson Opera House
Fri., Oct. 16, 2015, 7:00pm – Century II
Sun., Oct. 18, 2015, 3:00pm – Century II


Jacques Offenbach is one of the world’s most popular – and prolific – composers of light comic operas. He is widely known by music aficionados and fans alike for his Orpheus in the Underworld and Tales of Hoffman. Offenbach wrote The Grand Duchess at the height of his popularity; it debuted at the Paris Exposition to an audience including Napoleon III, Tsar Alexander II of Russia, Emperor Franz-Joseph of Austria, and Otto von Bismarck of Prussia. In spite of poking fun at European nobility and their militaries, The Grand Duchess became an instant hit.


A young Duchess with a weakness for men in uniform becomes infatuated with Private Fritz and quickly promotes him to Commander-In-Chief. Unfortunately for his career, Fritz only has eyes for the lovely Wanda. Kaitlyn Costello stars in the title role after stealing the show last season in WGO’s The Barber of Seville. Critics hailed her as “off the charts terrific” last summer as Anita in West Side Story in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is joined by Metropolitan Opera bass William Powers as the blustering General Boum. WGO’s new production is directed by Shawna Lucey, who served as assistant director for Santa Fe Opera’s hit 2013 production of The Grand Duchess, and has served as stage director for productions at San Francisco Opera and the Bolshoi Opera, among others.

Important Information:

Whether you choose the over-the-top irreverence of The Grand Duchesss, gorgeous ballets like Cinderella and Swan Lake, the cold hearted riddle of Turandot, or the majestic production of Don Carlo, we know you’ll have an unforgettable evening. With a host of possibilities to subscribe, getting your favorite seats couldn’t be easier:


Season Subscriptions on sale Now!:BestBetterGood
Plan A – Full Season
(all 5 productions) – Save 25%
Plan B – Pick Four – Save 20%$304$192$128
Plan C – Pick Three – Save 15%$242$153$102
Plan D – Pick Two – Save 10%$171$108$72
Single Tickets:BestBetterGood
Regular Price Tickets
On sale starting March 1, 2015


To purchase tickets call the Wichita Grand Opera Box Office at (316) 262.8054 or go online at www.selectaseat.com.


To purchase tickets for the performances at: the McPherson Opera House, call their box office at (620) 241-1952; the Carlsen Center in Overland Park, call their Box Office at (913) 469-4445; and the Stiefel Theatre in Salina, call their Box Office at (785) 827-1998.


Tickets for “Casino Royale” (Annual Chairmen’s Opera Ball) and “A Night at the Opera” (Opera on the Lake at Bradley Fair) are sold individually, by calling (316) 262-8054.