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Tulsa Opera's BASEBALL RIGOLETTO Available For Streaming On Demand This Month

Starting Thursday, November 12 At 6:00 P.M. CT.

Tulsa Opera's BASEBALL RIGOLETTO Available For Streaming On Demand This Month

Tulsa Opera's 'baseball Rigoletto,' filmed before a live, in-person audience at local baseball stadium ONEOK Field, will premiere as a free, on-demand streaming experience for viewers around the world starting Thursday, November 12 at 6:00 p.m. CT.

This performance, which originally took place on Friday, October 9, was the first staged grand opera production in the United States since the coronavirus outbreak. The film will be available on YouTube and at TulsaOpera.com.

For this season-opening performance, Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker-acclaimed composer of works for the Metropolitan Opera, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, and San Francisco Opera, among many other leading companies and ensembles-re-envisioned Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto to run 85-90 minutes without intermission. He invited Tulsa native James Robinson to direct the production in his company debut-taking the baseball diamond as his stage, with the court jester Rigoletto cast as a lowly team mascot, the Duke of Mantua depicted as a cocky star pitcher, and the hired killer, Sparafucile, as the umpire. For the live show, this ballpark setting allowed Tulsa Opera to accommodate a larger audience than the opera house and in safer, open-air conditions with rigorous health protocols in place (click here for details about the safety guidelines). The film is directed by Emmy-winning director / producer Frank Zamacona, whose credits include more than 250 specials and series distributed by PBS, ABC, The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and more.

In advance of the film's premiere, on Tuesday, November 10 at 7:30 p.m. CT, Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker welcomes stage director James Robinson as a guest on the company's virtual conversation series Tulsa Opera LIVE. Together, they offer behind-the-scenes background on their 10 years as collaborators and a sneak peek at the upcoming film. To join the conversation via Zoom, register at TulsaOpera.com/Live.

Mr. Picker said, "Our 'baseball' Rigoletto makes history as the first Rigoletto set in baseball AND on a baseball field, and it made history as the first grand opera to be performed live before a live audience by an American opera company since COVID-19 shut down the performing arts last spring. It also taps into the fascinating, but little-known history of the cultural intersection between baseball and opera in the USA going back to the MET's epic performances throughout the country's baseball stadiums in the early 20th century. It was extremely gratifying to see an audience of 1,800-far in excess of our usual numbers, and half of those seeing an opera for the first time! I myself was as excited by watching this production from the dugout as I was sitting in my box at the MET for the premiere of my opera there in 2005. This beautiful film directed by Frank Zamacona documents an achievement the Tulsa Opera can be proud of for all time."

Ahead of the performance last month, Tulsa Opera General Director & CEO Ken McConnell said:

"Challenging times call for creative solutions. As difficult as it's proving for orchestras to return to the concert hall, those of us in the opera world must contend with the fact that the core of our art form-singing-has become one of the most complex activities to undertake safely as our society tries to contain COVID-19. We have nevertheless found a way to open the season safely and on schedule, while also offering an utterly unique operatic experience, and we are delighted to be partnering with ONEOK Field and the Tulsa Drillers Management as we present this first opera of our 2020-21 season."

This production was the first since the coronavirus outbreak to be directed by James Robinson, one of America's most inventive and sought-after stage directors. Mr. Robinson has previously directed productions at companies including the Dallas, Houston Grand, Metropolitan, and San Francisco Operas. Among his recent highlights is a widely acclaimed production of Porgy and Bess created for the Metropolitan Opera; Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam; and English National Opera.

For more information, visit TulsaOpera.com.


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