Opera San Jose Presents IL TROVATORE, 2/9-24
Opera San José continues its 29th season with Giuseppe Verdi's powerful drama, Il trovatore. Set in 15th-century Spain, Verdi's classic has it all: vengeance, war, jealousy, and passion, with an emotional, heart-stopping score. Il trovatore will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Eight performances are scheduled from February 9 through 24 at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San José Box Office, by phone at (408) 437-4450 or online at www.operasj.org. Il trovatore is made possible, in part, by a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José. Il trovatore, with libretto by Salvadore Cammarano, is a mesmerizing story of romance, obsession, and retribution. Verdi mixes together personal vendetta, a doomed love triangle and one gypsy's lifelong obsession for revenge, creating a compelling and dramatic love story. Based on the play El Trovador (The Troubadour) by Spanish playwright Antonio Garcia Gutiérrez, this powerful opera score features breathtakingly beautiful arias and one of the most famous choral melodies ever written, the "Anvil Chorus."
The opera was first performed in Rome in 1853 where it began a successful march throughout the operatic world with eleven productions in six theaters, totaling 190 performances in its first three years. Today, Il trovatore is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire worldwide.
David Rohrbaugh, Opera San José's founding music director and principal conductor, will conduct
Il trovatore. Rohrbaugh has conducted more than 60 productions and 600 performances with Opera
San José, including company premieres of La rondine, Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff, Un ballo in maschera, and Werther. He is a professor emeritus of voice and opera from San José State University, where he taught for 30 years and co-directed the Opera Workshop with Opera San José General Director Irene Dalis. The February 17 and 19 performances will be conducted by Andrew Whitfield, resident chorus master for Opera San José. Whitfield served as assistant conductor for The Pearl Fishers and Pagliacci. Whitfield was also Chorus Master for last season's productions of Idomeneo, Pagliacci, La traviata and Faust. He made his West Coast professional debut conducting Lucia di Lammermoor with Festival Opera.
International stage director Brad Dalton returns to Opera San José to direct Il trovatore. Dalton's previous credits with the company include Faust, Idomeneo, the West Coast premiere of David Carlson's Anna Karenina, Così fan tutte and Madama Butterfly. He has directed productions for opera companies throughout the United States and abroad, including San Francisco Opera, The Metropolitan Opera, Washington Opera, Opera Boston, San Diego Opera, Barbican in London, and the State Opera of South Australia. In 2004, Dalton received the prestigious Helpmann Award for "Best Director of an Opera" in Australia.
Il trovatore features members of Opera San José's resident ensemble in the principal roles. Alternating in the role of Leonora, the lady-in-waiting to the princess in love with the troubadour, are sopranos Cecilia Violetta López and Melody King. They previously shared the role of Léïla in the company's production of The Pearl Fishers and more recently as Eisenstein's wife, Rosalinde, in Die Fledermaus. King made her company debut as Yvette in Opera San José's 2010 production of La rondine. Other roles performed by King include Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), both for Livermore Opera. Recent engagements for López include the title role in Suor Angelica for Opera San Luis Obispo, Micaëla (Carmen) and Gasparina (La Canterina) for UNLV Opera Theatre, and Poppea (L'incoronazione di Poppea) for the Hawaii Performing Arts Festival.
Returning resident tenor Alexander Boyer will perform the role of Manrico, a troubadour and officer in the army of the Prince of Urgel. Boyer is in his fifth year as a resident artist. Previous credits include the title role in Opera San José's company premiere of Idomeneo, Canio in Pagliacci and the title role in Faust. He shares the role with tenor James Callon, who joined the Opera San José resident ensemble this season after concluding his second year as a Studio Artist with Tulsa Opera, where he performed the role of Howard Boucher in the company's debut production of Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking to critical acclaim.
Resident baritones Evan Brummel and Zachary Altman share the role of Count di Luna, a nobleman in the service of the Prince of Aragon. Brummel returns for a second year as a member of the resident ensemble after appearing last season in the roles of Tonio (Pagliacci), Giorgio Germont (La traviata) and Valentin (Faust). Altman recently performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl as Herman Augusts and Second Inquisitor in Bernstein's Candide. He spent three years as a fellow at the Music Academy of the West, where he sang the title role in Don Giovanni, Dr. Miracle in The Tales of Hoffmann, and Breedley in Bolcom's A Wedding.
Resident bass Silas Elash performs the role of Ferrando di Luna's officer. A resident artist with Opera San José since 2008, some of Elash's previous roles with the company include Frank (Die Fledermaus), Méphistophélès (Faust), Dr. Grenville (La traviata), the Voice of Nettuno (Idomeneo), Colline (La bohème), Bartolo (The Barber of Seville) and Scarpia (Tosca). He shares the role with Matthew Anchel who makes his debut with Opera San José. Recent roles for Anchel include Saretski (Eugene Onegin) with Oper Leipzig, Alaska Wolf Joe (The Rise and Fall of Mahagonny), Marchese d'Obigny (La traviata), Harasta (The Cunning Little Vixen), and The Police Inspector (Der Rosenkavalier).
Appearing as Ines, Leonora's confidante, is Tori Grayum. Her previous roles with the company include Ida (Die Fledermaus) and La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi). Alternating in the role of Azucena, a mysterious gypsy, are mezzo-sopranos Nicole Birkland and Rebecca Krouner. They previously shared the role of Prince Orlofsky in the company's production of Die Fledermaus. Birkland joined the Opera San José resident ensemble this season and will also appear as the Principessa (Suor Angelica) and Zita (Gianni Schicchi). Krouner made her company debut last season in La traviata as Annina and appeared as the Monitress in Suor Angelica.
Rounding out the cast is Mete Tasin and Michael Jankosky sharing the role of Manrico's fellow soldier Ruis. Donn Bradley plays the role of an old gypsy and David Zelenka and Hector Naranjo alternate in the role of the messenger.
Opera San José's production of Il trovatore includes set designs by Steven C. Kemp, costumes by Elizabeth Poindexter, lighting design by David Lee Cuthbert, and wig and makeup designs by Jeanna Parham.