Opera San José Presents Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi in April
Opera San José continues its 29th season with Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi,
a double-bill of Giacomo Puccini operas with libretti by Giovacchino Forzano. A young nun struggles with despair in an effort to seek redemption in Suor Angelica. In sharp contrast, Gianni Schicchi, a farce based on a single mention in Dante's Inferno, is filled with greed, laughter, and family drama, and includes the beautiful aria "O mio babbino caro." Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Eight performances are scheduled from April 13 through 28 at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José. Tickets are on sale at the Opera San José box office, online at operasj.org or by phone at (408) 437-4450. The Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi production is made possible, in part, by a Cultural Affairs Grant from the City of San José.
Suor Angelica is a dramatic story of motherhood and is the second opera of Puccini's Trittico. The opera chronicles the transformation of its central character, Sister Angelica, who is sent to a convent because she had a child out of wedlock. In contrast, Gianni Schicchi is a hilarious opera that follows the title character who becomes instantly wealthy and finds a way for his daughter to marry the man of her dreams.
Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi premiered as part of Il trittico, which also includes Il tabarro, at the Metropolitan Opera on December 14, 1918. Although originally written to be presented together, it is common today to see only one or two of the three trittico operas performed in an evening.
Joseph Marcheso conducts Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi. Marcheso returns after conducting Opera San José's productions of Faust, La traviata, La bohème, Manon, La Cenerentola, The Elixir of Love and Lucia di Lammermoor. Marcheso has conducted over 30 operas in theaters around the country and recently made his debut with Opera Theater St. Louis. Marcheso is on the conducting staff of San Francisco Opera and is also a conductor and coach for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The April 21 and 23 performances will be conducted by Anthony Quartuccio. Quartuccio has conducted more than 20 operas for Opera San José including the premiere of Mozart's Idomeneo last season and the 2010-11 production of Tosca. Quartuccio is the music director for the South Valley Symphony and the assistant conductor for the San Jose Chamber Orchestra.
Nicolas Aliaga makes his directorial debut and previously served as assistant director for Opera San José's recent productions of The Barber of Seville, Pagliacci, La voix humaine, and La traviata.
Aliaga began his directing career with one-act operas for Pocket Opera in San Francisco. He also directed for the Forest Hills Musical Days Festival and worked as an assistant director for the San Francisco Opera Center.
Suor Angelica features members of Opera San José's resident ensemble in the principal roles. Alternating in the role of Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) are resident sopranos Melody King and Cecilia Violetta López. They recently performed the role of Leonora in Opera San José's Il trovatore, Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) and Léïla (The Pearl Fishers). Resident mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland performs the role of the Principessa, Sister Angelica's aunt. Birkland recently appeared in the company's production of Il trovatore and Die Fledermaus. She shares the role with Patrice Houston who returns to Opera San José as a guest artist. Alternating in the role of Abbess, the mother superior, are mezzo-sopranos Sophia Chew and Rebecca Krouner. Appearing as Monitress are mezzo-sopranos Tori Grayum and Tania Mandzy. Mezzo-sopranos Cathleen Candia and Michelle Rice share the role of Mistress of the Novices. Sopranos Jillian Boye and Elizabeth Russ alternate in the role of Sister Genovieffa. Rounding out the cast are sopranos Claire Myers and Katherine Gunnink playing the role of Sister Osmina and sopranos Heather Clemens and Antonia Tamer in the role of Sister Dolcina.
Opera San José's production of Gianni Schicchi will feature baritones Evan Brummel and Zachary Altman alternating in the role of Gianni Schicchi. Brummel is in his second year as a member of the resident ensemble, while Altman made his resident company debut earlier this season in The Pearl Fishers. Resident sopranos Melody King and Cecilia Violetta López share the role of Schicchi's daughter, Lauretta. Resident mezzo-soprano Nicole Birkland and guest artist Patrice Houston rotate in the role of Zita, Buoso Donati's cousin. Appearing as Rinuccio, Zita's nephew, are resident tenors James Callon and Alexander Boyer. Callon joined the company this season while Boyer is in his fifth year as a resident. Gherardo, Buoso's nephew, is played by tenors James Stahlman and Robert Norman. Sopranos Jillian Boye and Elizabeth Russ alternate in the role of Nella, Gherardo's wife. Baritones Jo Vincent Parks and Rolf Dauz play the role of Buoso's brother-in-law, Betto di Signa. Appearing as Simone, Buoso's cousin, is resident bass Silas Elash. He shares the role with Isaiah Musik-Ayala. Alternating in the role of Simone's son Marco, are baritones Peter Tuff and Krassen Karagiozov. Mezzo-sopranos Tori Grayum and Rebecca Krouner perform the role of Marco's wife, La Ciesca.
Opera San José's production of Suor Angelica & Gianni Schicchi includes set designs by
Charlie Smith, Suor Angelica costumes by Elizabeth Poindexter, Gianni Schicchi costumes by Malabar Limited Toronto, lighting design by Kent Dorsey, and wig and makeup designs by Jeanna Parham.