San Diego Opera Announces LA BOHEME, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE and More in 2020-2021 Season
San Diego Opera has announced its 2020-2021 season, after the premature ending of the Company's previous season this winter in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. San Diego Opera hopes its decision to announce its upcoming season at this time serves a beacon of hope for a future when the community can once again safely come together in a celebration of song. San Diego Opera continues to closely monitor the recommendations of public health and government officials and is prepared to make adjustments to its season in consideration of the health and well-being of our patrons, artists, and staff.
"I'm very excited by the dynamic lineup we've put together for next season, both in terms of repertoire and world-class artists. Most of this season was planned before covid-19 affected all of us, and we are working diligently to find ways to bring these Wonderful Productions to our audiences in ways that will preserve their health and safety and the health and safety of our artists and staff, while following the recommendations of public health officials," shares San Diego Opera General Director, David Bennett. "We also are able to reschedule two of the three postponed productions from our spring 2020 next season, thereby honoring our commitments to our community and to these amazing artists."
The season begins on October 24, 2020 with Puccini's masterpiece La bohème presented at the San Diego Civic Theatre in a production new to San Diego audiences. La bohème is a fitting opera to mark the Company's return to the stage; it was the first opera San Diego Opera produced in 1965, and it was the opera that marked the rebirth of the Company in 2015 with the appointment of David Bennett as the Company's new General Director. The Main Stage season continues February 13, 2021 with a double-bill of one act Puccini operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. These are the first Company performances of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi has not been seen on the San Diego Opera stage since 1972. The Main Stage season will continue with Rossini's The Barber of Seville which opens April 24, 2021, rescheduled from the 2020 season with nearly all of the original casting intact.
The Company's dētour Series will open on November 18, 2020 with its annual One Amazing Night. San Diego Opera will be announcing the featured artist shortly, who will be appearing in concert with the San Diego Symphony. The series continues on December 4, 2020 at The Balboa Theatre with the return of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, a telling of the Christmas Truce of WWI and a celebration of the greatness we can achieve no matter how great the odds provided we work together. The series closes with the West Coast premiere of Aging Magician, a hybrid opera-theatre work that is a profound mediation on mortality and the legacy we leave behind. Aging Magician opens on Friday, March 26, 2021 at the Balboa Theatre and is produced by Beth Morrison Projects. Aging Magician was originally announced as part of the 2019-2020 season.
San Diego Opera's ongoing commitment to presenting exceptional vocal talent continues with appearances by some of today's most exciting singers including sopranos Angel Blue, Marina Costa-Jackson, and Andrea Carroll; mezzo-sopranos Stephanie Blythe and Emily Fons; bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi; baritone David Pershall and tenors Joshua Guerrero and Piotr Buszewski.
Conductors for the season include San Diego Opera's Principal Guest Conductor, Yves Abel, Valerio Galli, and Bruce Stasyna. Stage directors include Paul Curran, Keturah Stickann, and Jimmy Featherstone Marcheso.
The Main Stage season opens on Saturday, October 24, 2020 at 7:30 PM at the San Diego Civic Theatre with Giacomo Puccini's La bohème. La bohème tells the story of young friends in Paris and the poet Rodolfo's love affair with the sick and ailing seamstress Mimì. Considered to be the "perfect" opera, it is one of the most popular operas ever written and served as the basis of the musical Rent. This is a new production, owned by the Company, originally created for Opéra de Montréal. These performances of La bohème mark the return of soprano Angel Blue as Mimì, a role she has sung at major houses including the Metropolitan Opera, English National Opera, Palau de Les Arts in Valencia, Vienna State Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, and Semperoper Dresden. Ms. Blue made her acclaimed Company debut as Liú in 2018's Turandot. She is joined by tenor Joshua Guerrero, star of last season's One Amazing Night and the Bel Canto Trio, as Rodolfo. They will be joined by soprano Andrea Carroll as Musetta and baritone Alexander Elliott as Marcello in their Company debuts. These performances will be conducted by Valerio Galli, who made his Company debut leading performances of Turandot in 2018. The director is Keturah Stickann, who last directed 2018's Turandot for the Company. La bohème will be sung in Italian with English translations above the stage. Additional performances are October 27 and 30, both at 7:30 PM, and November 1 at 2 PM, 2020.
The Company's wildly popular dētour Series kicks off on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 at 7:30 PM at the Balboa Theatre with "One Amazing Night" a special one-night-only recital. The Company will be announcing this artist shortly who will appear in concert with the San Diego Symphony.
The dētour Series continues on Friday, December 4, 2020 at 7:30 PM the Balboa Theatre with All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 which has become a local holiday tradition in recent years with an annual collaboration between San Diego Opera, Bodhi Tree Concerts, and SACRA/PROFANA. This choral opera tells the story of the unofficial Christmas truce of WWI when soldiers entered no-man's land to celebrate the holidays. This family-friendly production is told through Christmas carols, patriotic songs, and letters from soldiers and is a celebration of unity over adversity. All is Calm will feature singers from the San Diego Opera Chorus and will be conducted by Bruce Stasyna and directed by Alan Hicks. Additional performances are December 5 at 7:30 PM and December 6 at 2 PM.
The season continues on Saturday, February 13, 2021 at 7:30 PM at the San Diego Civic Theatre with a double-bill of one act operas by Giacomo Puccini, Suor Angelica, which has never been performed by the Company, and Gianni Schicchi, which was last performed here in 1972. Suor Angelica tells the story of a woman who bears a child out of wedlock and is sent to a convent for penance. After seven years, she is visited by her aunt, The Princess, who brings tragic news of her son, which set in motion a series of dire actions that ultimately result in tragedy, forgiveness, and peace. The comic-opera Gianni Schicchi begins with the death of wealthy Florentine Buoso Donati, and his distraught family who are upset about being forgotten in his will. So they enlist the help of fixer Gianni Schicchi who helps turn the tables, but not in the way they expect. Considered a comic masterpiece, this is a dark satire based on a real story mentioned in Dante's Inferno and includes the famous aria "O mio babbino caro." Making a welcome return for these performances is mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who will sing the role of the Principessa in Suor Angelica, and will take on the title role of Gianni Schicchi, a role traditionally sung by a baritone. "I started thinking about singing the role the last time I sang in Il Trittico at the Metropolitan Opera," shares Stephanie Blythe. "I have sung in that show so many times, that I can sing most of the roles from memory. I just found myself singing a lot of Schicchi's music, and it gave me an idea. I originally thought that it would be very interesting to make Schicchi a mother, and sing it in my own octave, but I have been thinking so much about gender roles in opera that I decided it would be interesting to play the role as a man and sing an octave down in the baritone register. I am intrigued and inspired by the idea of doing such a thing in opera, especially since in opera, we are not only defined by gender, but also by voice type. I have tried to eschew the idea of voice category my entire career, and been grateful to sing a myriad of roles that are on the very edges of the definition of a mezzo-soprano. In singing Schicchi as a man, I am not only exploring gender, but also using a part of my voice that has developed more and more as I grow in age and experience." She will be joined by soprano Marina Costa-Jackson who will sing the title role of Suor Angelica and Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi in her Company debut.
Gianni Schicchi welcomes tenor Piotr Buszewski as Rinuccio and Carolyn Sproule as La Ciesca in Company debuts. San Diego Opera's Principal Guest Conductor Yves Abel returns to lead these performances and Stage Director Paul Curran makes his Company debut to stage the action. This production is a new San Diego Opera production, built and owned by the Company, and will be sung in Italian with Italian text above the stage. Additional performances are February 16 and 19, both at 7:30 PM, and 21 at 2 PM, 2021.
The season continues with the West Coast Premiere of Aging Magician, a hybrid opera-theatre piece - part opera, play, and puppet show - as part of the Company's dētour Series on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 7:30 PM. Rescheduled from last season, this opera was composed by Paola Prestini with libretto by Rinde Eckert, and is produced by Beth Morrison Projects, who is creating some of the most innovative and exciting theatrical opera experiences today. Aging Magician tells the story of Harold, an eccentric and aging clockmaker who is nearing the end of his life. He has been working on a children's book, called "The Aging Magician," and is at a critical point in his story. Should Harold kill off the magician? Should he allow him to live? As Harold ponders these decisions he finds himself transported to a magical place where fiction and reality collide. Aging Magician stars Rinde Eckert as Harold and features the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The director is Julian Crouch. Additional performances are Saturday March 27, 2021 with a matinee and evening performance.
The final main stage season opera is Rossini's comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville which opens Saturday, April 24, 2021 at the San Diego Civic Theatre. The Company is especially excited to present this beloved work which was postponed from last season, with nearly all of the original casting intact. The Barber of Seville tells the story of Figaro and his attempts to play matchmaker between Count Almaviva and the beautiful Rosina, but not everything is as it seems to be and hilarity ensues through the course of a single day. The opera also includes some of the most recognizable music in the operatic repertoire with its famous overture, the baritone patter song "Largo al factotum" and the coloratura aria "Una voce poco fa." Making an important Company debut in this production is baritone David Pershall as Figaro. Returning singers include bass-baritone Patrick Carfizzi, last heard as Major-General Stanley in 2017's The Pirates of Penzance, as Dr. Bartolo and mezzo-soprano Emily Fons, last heard locally as Cherubino in 2018's The Marriage of Figaro, as Rosina. The roles of Count Almaviva and Don Basilio will be announced shortly. The conductor is Bruce Stasyna. This production is new to San Diego Opera audiences and was originally conceived by Michael Shell. It will be directed by Jimmy Featherstone Marcheso. The Barber of Seville will be performed in Italian with English translations above the stage. Additional performances for The Barber of Seville are April 27, 30 and May 1, 2021.
Only subscriptions to the 2020-2021 season are now on sale. A subscription for the three Main Stage operas begins at a low $105. A subscription for the three dētour Series events starts at $75. Subscriptions start at $180 for a full series including the Main Stage operas (La bohème, Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi, and The Barber of Seville), and the dētour Series (One Amazing Night, All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, and Aging Magician) and goes up to $1,320 for a full-season of prime orchestra level seating on Saturday nights, the Company's most popular day. Single tickets will go on sale later in the summer. Casts, repertoire, and scheduling are subject to change.
Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.
Military discounts (active and retired) of 50% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Military discounts of 50% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.
Puccini's beloved masterpiece of friends in Paris and the poet Rodolfo's love affair with the sick and ailing seamstress Mimì. Soprano Angel Blue sings Mimì with tenor Joshua Guerrero as Rodolfo
October 24, 27, 30, and November 1 (matinee), 2020
(Main Stage Series at the San Diego Civic Theatre)
One Amazing Night
Artist to be announced shortly
November 18, 2020
(dētour Series at The Balboa Theatre)
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
The story of the WWI Christmas Truce as told through trench songs, patriotic tunes, and Christmas carols returns in an uplifting performance of hope, humanity, and unity
December 4, 5, and 6 (matinee), 2020
(dētour Series at The Balboa Theatre)
Suor Angelica/Gianni Schicchi
Two one-act operas by Puccini. Suor Angelica will be performed by the Company for the first time, and Gianni Schicchi has not been heard locally since 1972. Starring Stephanie Blythe in a gender role reversal as Gianni Schicchi and joined by Marina Costa Jackson
February 13, 16, 19 and 21 (matinee), 2021
(Main Stage Series at the San Diego Civic Theatre)
West Coast Premiere of this hybrid theatrical/operatic work about an aging clockmaker whose passion project - a book he is writing about an aging magician - is stuck at a crucial point, and reality and fiction blur as he tries to complete his story. Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and featuring The Brooklyn Youth Chorus
March 26 and 27 (matinee and evening), 2021
(dētour Series at the San Diego Civic Theatre)
The Barber of Seville
Gioachino Rossini's comic masterpiece about love and money and the means one will go through to get both. Featuring some of the most recognizable music ever composed.
April 24, 27, 30 and May 1, 2021
(Main Stage Series at the San Diego Civic Theatre)
Full-Season Subscriptions Start at $180