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Opera Orlando Launches 2020-21 Opera on the Town Series With World Premiere Production of DEATH OF IVAN ILYCH

Death of Ivan Ilych is a one-act chamber opera composed by John Young with a libretto by Alan Olejniczak.

Opera Orlando Launches 2020-21 Opera on the Town Series With World Premiere Production of DEATH OF IVAN ILYCH

On the heels of two successful and safe in-person MainStage productions this past December and January, Opera Orlando is launching its 2020-21 Opera on the Town series next week with a world premiere production of Death of Ivan Ilych. Based on Tolstoy's novella of the same name, Death of Ivan Ilych is a one-act chamber opera composed by John Young with a libretto by Alan Olejniczak. The opera is produced in partnership with Thompson Street Opera Company, and it will be performed in the Orlando Museum of Art Grand Gallery Hall, featuring musicians from the Alterity Chamber Orchestra.

Death of Ivan Ilych is considered a masterpiece of short fiction, and its themes of mortality, regret, spiritual reconciliation, and human frailty are ripe for operatic treatment, but, for the composer, the inspiration to write the piece was personal. In 2010, John Young was diagnosed with cancer. Once a promising opera tenor, Mr. Young lost his singing voice as a side effect of the cancer treatments. Thankfully, his treatment was ultimately successful, and he continues to be cancer free, but it did cause a huge shift in his career. He became a composer rather than a singer, and this, his first opera, was written as a response to his battle with cancer and his confrontation with death.

The opera begins at the end of the story as family and friends gather for Ivan Ilych's wake. It then tracks backwards to chronicle Ivan's steady but slow decline to his death. It is a poignant and heartbreaking meditation on life and its eventual end, with baritone Sean Christopher Stork in the title role and soprano Adriana Nieves as his wife Praskovya. Both Mr. Stork and Ms. Nieves were studio artists at Opera Orlando last season when this piece was originally slated to be performed at the Orlando International Fringe Festival. They are joined by fellow current studio artist, tenor Brent Doucette, singing the role of Ivan's faithful servant Gerasim, baritone Jose-Manuel Lopez as both Pyotr and the Priest, bass Stephen Mumbert as the Doctor, and Opera Orlando Youth Company member Jurrien Mejeur as Ivan's son Vladimir. Maestro Deniz Uz conducts the chamber orchestra consisting of strings, oboe, and piano with stage direction by Opera Orlando artistic director Grant Preisser.


Death of Ivan Ilych a?? WORLD PREMIERE
Friday | February 19, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday | February 21, 2021 at 5 p.m.
Orlando Museum of Art | 2416 N. Mills Avenue | Orlando, FL 32803

Tickets: $75 (+ processing fees) through Opera Orlando's website

The performance will be in English, running approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Tickets include pre-show drinks and light appetizers, as well as a post-show dessert reception and talk-back with the production's creative team and cast. In consideration of COVID-19, seating is limited to 75 audience members, and protocols will be in place to ensure the safety of all in attendance.

Opera Orlando has been continuously monitoring the development of the virus and is taking a conservative and considered approach to producing live theater for the season. For the "Opera on the Town" series, Opera Orlando is coordinating with each venue directly to implement comprehensive and appropriate procedures. CDC recommendations, local official guidance, and input from Company partner Orlando Health have all been incorporated into a robust plan, with the goal of protecting and reducing the risk of infection for audience members, cast and production teams, staff, and volunteers.

Stay up to date with Opera Orlando's season at, and get your tickets for the Opera on the MainStage productions at Dr. Phillips Center's Bill & Mary Darden Box Office (445 S. Magnolia Avenue, Orlando), online at, or by calling (407) 839-0119, ext. 0. All "On the Town" tickets are available for sale through the Opera's website: "Like" or "follow" Opera Orlando's Facebook page for event schedules and updates, and subscribe to Opera Orlando's YouTube channel for all online content.

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