LA CENERENTOLA Comes to The Atlanta Opera

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The Atlanta Opera opens its 2019-20 Mainstage season with Rossini's bubbly take on the Cinderella fairy tale, La Cenerentola.

Well known to audiences of all ages, La Cenerentola tells the story a kind-hearted young girl, abused by her step-sisters, who meets, falls in love with, and marries the handsome prince. In this production, audiences will be treated to a fanciful re-telling, with whipped cream wigs and a colorful, toybox-like setting, a perfect companion to Rossini's frothy score.

Santiago Ballerini, an alumnus of the Atlanta Opera Studio program and fast becoming one of the most recognized tenors in the Bel Canto repertoire, will sing the role of the charming Prince Ramiro in his first return to Atlanta since February 2018's production of The Daughter of the Regiment.

The Atlanta Opera presents La Cenerentola on November 2, 5, 8 and 10 at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets start at $45 and can be purchased at atlantaopera.org or by calling 404-881-8885. The opera will be performed in Italian with English surtitles.

"Musically, La Cenerentola is full of fireworks, acrobatic vocal lines and witty, musical surprises by Rossini. We are bringing to Atlanta a well-traveled, world-class production by a Spanish directing team led by Joan Font," said Tomer Zvulun, Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General and Artistic Director at The Atlanta Opera.

"A great Bel Canto opera is never complete without an outstanding cast of singers and that's exactly what we have in store: Atlanta favorite and our studio alumnus Santiago Ballerini returns, as well as his colleagues from the inaugural studio class Alan Higgs and Bryn Holdsworth. Prominent mezzo-soprano Emily Fons returns to star in the title role after her successful debut in Atlanta in Faust. Baritone Thomas Glass, a brilliant young graduate of the HGO studio artist program is making his debut as Dandini and Maestro Dean Williamson is finally making his conducting debut at The Opera."

La Cenerentola will be presented under the baton of Dean Williamson, music director of the Nashville Opera. Williamson is widely known throughout the United States for his perceptive and commanding conducting. The Washington Post says "a brilliantly directed, beautifully sung and endlessly funny Barber of Seville...the orchestra, which played the sparkling overture and the vivid storm music with grace and color under the expert baton of Dean Williamson." The Seattle Times says "Williamson keeps a sure, steady hand on the singers and the orchestra...realizing the shimmering and otherworldly textures of the score."

Spanish director Joan Font, who created this production of La Cenerentola for Houston Grand Opera in 2007, is the founder of Els Comediants, a Spanish artists' collective formed by actors, musicians and artists, and he has participated in the creation of more than 30 stage productions spread over five continents including projects for Festival d'Avignon, Venice's Biennale and the closing ceremonies of the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympic games.

Hailed by Opera News as one of opera's rising stars, American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons will sing the role of Angelina (Cenerentola). Ms. Fons has been lauded for her virtuosic abilities in baroque and Bel Canto repertoire, her winning portrayals of opera's traditional "trouser roles and the dramatic commitment and musicality she brings to modern works including a Grammy nomination for her work on Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain. Fons was last seen at The Atlanta Opera as Siébel in Faust (2014).

After being a pianist for nine years, Ballerini switched to singing and made his United States debut in 2015 at the Caramoor Festival in New York to rave reviews. He made his European debut in 2017 at the National Opera du Bordeaux, France with Mrs. Joyce El-Khoury. Ballerini was a member of the 2016-17 class of The Atlanta Opera Studio, the company's artist-in-residence program.

Baritone Thomas Glass is making his Atlanta Opera and role debut as Dandini. The Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Glass is a recent alum of the Houston Grand Opera Studio. In the 2019/20 season he returns to Houston Grand Opera for a role debut as Papageno in Barrie Kosky's acclaimed production of The Magic Flute, under the baton of Jane Glover. He makes house and role debut at Arizona Opera as John Lassiter in Riders of the Purple Sage. On the concert stage, he joins Ars Lyrica Houston for a program of Bach and presents a solo recital with the Nantucket Musical Arts Society.

Praised as a "superb" bass-baritone (New York Arts) and well regarded for his basso buffo performances, Dale Travis makes his Atlanta Opera debut as Don Magnifico. With a repertoire encompassing 50 roles over 25 years in a wide variety of styles from Mozart, Donizetti and Rossini to Strauss, Puccini and Wagner, Mr. Travis has been a frequent guest artist at the most prestigious opera companies in the world.

American bass-baritone Alan Higgs will sing the role of Alidoro. Higgs has enjoyed considerable success as a young artist. He is the recipient of the 2016-17 Sullivan Foundation Award and was a semifinalist in the 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Higgs is an alumnus of The Atlanta Opera Studio's inaugural 2016-17 class and a recent graduate of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.




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