Lyric Opera of Kansas City Presents IL TROVATORE, Now thru 11/11

After a 29-year absence from the Lyric Opera of Kansas City repertoire, the Company presents Verdi's Il Trovatore tonight, November 3 and November 7, 9 & 11, 2012 at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts.

"Verdi's opera of lust, love, power and vengeance has thrilled audiences since its premiere," notes Lyric Opera General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler. "We have assembled a talented artistic team which is integrating new theatrical technologies into this popular work. This production will be a memorable reintroduction of Verdi's masterpiece to Kansas City audiences."

This traditional production of Il Trovatore will combine new technologies with customary scenic design to present the story in a manner which could not have been realized before the Company moved its productions to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This production will utilize front and rear projections inspired by the Spanish painter El Greco and created especially for this Lyric Opera production.

"Our Il Trovatore will be opera presented in a grand way. The projections will heighten the deep emotional torment felt by the opera's characters as opposed to showing literal scene locations." notes R. Keith Brumley, Lyric Opera Director of Design and Technical Production. Mr. Brumley is working closely with the stage director to create this new interpretation while preserving the traditional nature of the opera.

Visionary stage director Kathleen Smith Belcher will return to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City to direct this production, having last directed La Traviata with the Company in 2009. Ms. Belcher is in her 11th year as a member of the directing staff at The Metropolitan Opera and is a resident of Liberty, Missouri. She has worked extensively with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the San Diego Opera. Ms. Belcher assisted Peter Sellars on the world premiere of John Adams' Dr. Atomic in San Francisco and has worked with acclaimed directors Woody Allen, Anthony Minghella, Bartlett Sher and Julie Taymor.

Guest Conductor John Keenan will make his Company debut and international production debut conducting Il Trovatore with this production. Mr. Keenan has a long – standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, having made his debut with that company at 26 years old. Recent credits with The Metropolitan Opera include Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Das Rheingold with James Morris and Gotterdämmerüng with Deborah Voigt.

"It was with thoughtful consideration that we engaged guest conductor John Keenan," noted Artistic Director Ward Holmquist. "John's incredible skills as a conductor are suited perfectly to this work – a composition that includes the singular greatest string of memorable opera melodies Verdi composed."

Mr. Keenan is a frequent guest conductor at the prestigious Kirov Opera (Mariinsky Theatre) in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also has conducted with the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Montréal, Los Angeles Opera, New Zealand Symphony, and Santa Fe Opera, among many others.

Russian baritone Roman Burdenko will sing the role of Count di Luna. Mr. Burdenko makes his Lyric Opera debut with this role, and his appearance with the Company marks his second engagement within the United States. He has sung in houses across Europe and Asia, including at Opera de Strasbourg and Teatro Calderon Valladolid. Mr. Burdenko placed third in Placido Domingo's Operalia competition in Beijing, China this year and has covered roles at The Metropolitan Opera, and will perform at the Glyndebourne Festival, Komische Oper Berlin, and Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in upcoming seasons.<

The role of Manrico will be sung by tenor Rafael Davila, who returns to the Lyric Opera having previously sung in the Company's productions of Tosca (2009) and Norma (2010). Mr. Davila has sung with the opera companies of Fort Worth, Austin, and New Jersey in the United States, and internationally at Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Opera de Puerto Rico, and will make his debut in Bilbao, Spain this season. Additionally, he makes his Washington National Opera debut this year reprising the role he originated in our Company's production of Norma.

Soprano Michele Capalbo will make her Lyric Opera debut in Il Trovatore singing the role of Leonora. Ms. Capalbo has sung at Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Canadian Opera Company, and many others. Opera Canada raved her performance of Leonora stating that she is "a rising superstar whose particularly luminous Leonora nearly stopped the show with her soaring bel canto aria 'D'amor sull'ali rosee…' enthralling the audience with her impeccable control and feather-light pianissimo."

Native Kansan and mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby will make her Lyric Opera debut singing the role of Azucena. A regular singer at The Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Maultsby also has sung with Lyric Opera Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. She also appeared in the recent Stephen Wadsworth Ring cycle for Seattle Opera, singing the role of Erda in Das Rheingold and Siegfried and the role of Waltraute in Götterdämmerung.

Principal Cast
Count di Luna: Roman Brudenko*
Manrico: Rafael Davila
Leonora: Michele Capalbo*
Azucena: Nancy Maultsby*
Ferrando: Kirk Eichelberger*
Ruiz: Benjamin Cleveland +*
Inez: Tara Curtis+*

Artistic Staff:
Director: Kathleen Belcher
Conductor: John Keenan
Set: Opera Carolina
Projections: Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Costumes: Seattle Opera Costume Shop
Costume Designer: John Conklin
Lighting Designer: Michael Baumgarten
Wig and Make-Up Designer: JoAnne Middleton Weaver
Chorus Master: Mark Ferrell
Props Master: Deborah Morgan
Stage Manager: Erin Thompson-Janszen

About Il Trovatore: Nobility, gypsies, murders, curses, kidnappings, a suicide, and a love triangle all combined with a sensationAl Verdi score no – wonder this opera has been bringing audiences to their feet since its premiere. This opera is filled with show-stopping music including the legendary "Anvil Chorus".

Il Trovatore will be sung in Italian with English titles visible on personal monitors mounted on each audience member's seatback in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. This production will be performed in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, located at 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, MO 64108.

Performance dates are as follows:
Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 9, 2012 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 11, 2012 2:00 p.m.

Ticket availability varies by performance. To purchase tickets, call Patron Services (816) 471-7344 or 1-800-OPERAKC (673-7252). Patrons can select their own seat and print their tickets at home by visiting A limited number of student rush tickets are available for $15 one hour prior the performances. Students must present a valid student ID and pay in cash at the Kauffman Center ticket office.