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The Florentine Opera to Premiere SISTER CARRIE This Fall


Milwaukee, WI -- The Florentine continues to craft its seasons with a blend of imaginatively staged classic operas and important new American works. The nation's sixth oldest opera company will launch the 83rd Season with the world premiere of SISTER CARRIE, a new work by the two-time Grammy Award-winning creators of Elmer Gantry. This project is made possible through a grant from NEA Artworks, support in the creation of this work from OPERAAmerica, and funding from state, county, local and individual donors.

With two recordings and three Grammy Awards to its credit, the Florentine Opera, under the leadership of General Director William Florescu, has made an international name for itself in the genre of new American Opera. Milwaukee opera-goers (both first timers and long time alike) have risen to their feet with applause that would rival any concert or roadshow across the nation for the Florentine's 'new classics'.

Support for this project includes:

- The NEA Art Works award of $35,000 to The Florentine Opera will support the world premiere production and professional recording of the new American opera SISTER CARRIE by the Grammy Award-winning composer Robert Aldridge and librettist Herschel Garfein.

- 2014 OPERA America support for repertory development including a Florentine Opera workshop and concert staged performance in the same calendar year

- An 83rd Season opening-night sponsorship from Lloyd Gerlach in memory of his late wife Mary Ann Gerlach. Mary Ann's love of new opera, experienced all over the world in her travels with Lloyd has fostered his desire to share new work with Milwaukee. Lloyd Gerlach's tribute to new works will help make the October world premiere possible.

- A title artist sponsorship from Nita Soref of Adriana Zabala in the role of Caroline Meeber

- Marie Z. Uihlein Artist fund support for Keith Phares in the role of Hurstwood

- Season support from the United Performing Arts Fund, Wisconsin Arts Board with support from NEA Artworks, Milwaukee County CAMPAC

Based on the novel by Theodore Dreiser, the opera follows the rise of Carrie Meeber, a young woman from rural Wisconsin (Waukesha), at the turn of the 20th century, who moves to the big city and ultimately, becomes a Broadway star. The artistic and creative team includes conductor William Boggs (the two-time Grammy Award-winning recording and Midwest premiere of Elmer Gantry 2010, Julius Caesar 2014), mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala (The Marriage of Figaro 2013, Julius Caesar 2014, SISTER CARRIE workshops and public concert staging 2014), baritone Keith Phares (Elmer Gantry 2010, Three Decembers 2016), soprano Alisa Jordheim (Carmen 2012, Albert Herring 2013, The Marriage of Figaro 2013, Elmer Gantry 2015), tenor Matt Morgan (Elmer Gantry 2015, Madama Butterfly, 2015), stage director William Florescu, scenic designer Kris Stone (Don Giovanni 2006, Elmer Gantry 2010), and lighting designer Noele Stollmack.

Performances will be held in Uihlein Hall at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, on October 7 & 9, 2016. Additional World-premiere audiences will be reached through a commercial recording to be released on the Naxos label. Tickets are available for purchase online at and by calling 1800 32 OPERA.

The Florentine Opera Midwest premiere production of Elmer Gantry (commercial recording released in July, 2011) was recorded at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in 2010 and took home two Grammy awards (of its three nominations) in February, 2012, as well as accolades from the New York Times, Opera News (NY) and Opera Now (London, GB.)

The Florentine Opera world premiere produc­tion of Rio De Sangre (commercial recording released early winter of 2011) was recorded at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in late 2010 and took home one Grammy award in February, 2013.

In recent years, the Florentine has continued this tradition with a concert and premiere professional recording of NEA honoree and 'Dean of American Opera' Carlisle Floyd's operatic interpretation of Wuthering Heights (to be released in 2016 on the Reference Records label). Additional projects in 2016 include inviting famed American composer, Jake Heggie, to attend the Florentine premiere of Heggie's chamber opera Three Decembers, March 11-20, at the Marcus Center's new Wilson Theater at Vogel Hall and the NEA Artworks supported, fully-staged Florentine production of SISTER CARRIE, October 7 and 9, at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

Florentine Opera General Director William Florescu commented "The Florentine Opera Company is honored to be a part of the creation of a new American Opera, SISTER CARRIE. We are grateful for the local, regional and national support, which makes SISTER CARRIE possible (not only the production of the world premiere, but also the recording and commercial release of the opera). Support and encouragement in the creation of new opera is vital to the future of the art form in the United States, and the Florentine is proud to be a part of this initiative".

The three-time Grammy Award-winning Florentine Opera Company's productions and recordings reflect the highest musical and theatrical standards, while supporting community and educational programs. As a leader in Wisconsin's art community and the nation's sixth-oldest opera company, the Florentine Opera seeks to establish a significant presence in the cultural, educational and civic life of the state of Wisconsin and beyond. Audiences enjoy beautiful main stage productions that include first-rate vocal artistry brought to life by established and emerging international, national and local opera stars. With a foundation of fiscal responsibility, the company continues to grow its artistic and educational programs. Through its community engagement and in-school educational programming, the Florentine provides vital arts education experiences for children, nurtures new audiences, and expands cultural horizons for the next generation. The Florentine Opera is a cornerstone member organization of the United Performing Arts Fund and receives funds from Milwaukee County the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as support from corporations, foundations and individuals. The Florentine Opera Company is an organizational member of OPERA America.

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