Wedow, Abell, Polianichko and Allen to Conduct Lyric Opera of Kansas City's 2015-16 Season

Wedow, Abell, Polianichko and Allen to Conduct Lyric Opera of Kansas City's 2015-16 Season

Lyric Opera of Kansas City General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler today announced the four conductors for the 2015-2016 season in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Gary Thor Wedow (pictured, left, Mozart's Don Giovanni), and David Charles Abell (Bizet's Carmen) will be returning to the Lyric Opera. Alexander Polianichko (Dvorák's Rusalka) and Christopher Allen (Donizetti's The Elixir of Love) will be making their Lyric Opera debut.

Four spectacular works, including Mozart's haunting Don Giovanni, Dvorák's mesmerizing tale Rusalka, the delightful romp of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, and finally Bizet's sweeping masterpiece Carmen will comprise the 58th season.

"We wanted this season to encompass a variety of opera styles and musical periods and bring the best conductor talent to the Lyric Opera to showcase this classic yet unexpected season. These four conductors are highly regarded in the industry and we are thrilled to include them," said Sandler.

Conductor Gary Thor Wedow has established an enviable reputation for dramatically exciting and historically informed performances with opera companies, orchestras and festivals throughout North America. Maestro Wedow last appeared with Lyric Opera of Kansas City conducting the critically acclaimed The Magic Flute.

He debuted with the New York Philharmonic in 2012 conducting Messiah and returned in December of 2014 for the same work. A frequent guest of Seattle Opera, some of his recent successes there include Handel's Semele, the double bill of Poulenc's La voix humaine and Puccini's Suor Angelica, Gluck's Orphée, and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni. Maestro Wedow was closely associated with New York City Opera for many years where he led their Don Giovanni in the Christopher Alden production and in May 2012 conducted the New York premiere of Telemann's Orpheus.

In addition to Lyric Opera of Kansas City's upcoming production of Don Giovanni, his schedule for the 2015-2016 season includes Le nozze di Figaro for Seattle Opera and Utah Opera, La Calisto for Carnegie Mellon, concerts with the Alabama Symphony and the Dvorak Requiem with the Berkshire Choral Festival.

Born in La Porte, Indiana and now a resident of New York City, he has been a member of the Juilliard School faculty since 1994. He has helmed performances there of Le nozze di Figaro, L'incoronazione di Poppea, La finta giardiniera, Ariodante and Don Giovanni and recently led Bach's Matthäus-Passion on tour with the Juilliard 415 Historical Performance Ensemble culminating with a performance in Alice Tully Hall. Wedow has prepared several performing editions of baroque works in collaboration with countertenor Lawrence Lipnik and his long association with director Stephen Wadsworth has included productions of Handel's Xerxes, Ariodante and Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride. Maestro Wedow studied with piano virtuoso Jorge Bolet at the Indiana University School of Music and received his Masters of Music Degree from Boston's New England Conservatory of Music.

Wedow has been a frequent guest of Wolf Trap Opera, Merola Opera, Arizona Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Glimmerglass Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Opera Saratoga, Amherst Early Music Festival and Pittsburgh Opera among others. In Philadelphia, he conducted the world premiere of Paul Richards and Wendy Steiner's Biennale at the Barnes Foundation. The choral masterpieces and symphonic repertoire have taken him to the podiums of the Seattle Symphony, Orchestra London - Ontario, Phoenix Symphony, The Berkshire Choral Festival, Edmonton Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Portland Baroque Orchestra, and Boston's Handel and Haydn Society where he was, for many years, Associate Conductor.

Making his Lyric Opera debut conducting Rusalka, Alexander Polianichko was formerly a violinist in the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Philharmonic Orchestra under Evgeny Mravinsky, Mr. Polianichko studied conducting at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire with Prof. Iliya Musin. In 1988, he was awarded first prize in the Sixth All-Union Conducting Competition. He has been a House Conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1989 and has toured with the Company to Europe, Asia, and the United States.

In 1994, Polianichko made his London debut conducting English National Opera's production of Eugene Onegin. Performances with the Royal Ballet at Covent Garden lead to his conducting two productions of Tchaikovsky's operas with the Royal Opera; a revival of Queen of Spades with Placido Domingo, and a new production by Francesca Zambello of Cherevichki (The Tsarina's Slippers). He has appeared with many of the world's leading opera companies including Bolshoi Theatre, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Gothenburg Opera, La Scala Milan, Nationale Reisopera, Norwegian Opera, Opera Australia, Opera Colorado, Opéra de Lyon, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Paris, Royal Danish Opera, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Welsh National Opera and Zurich Opera. In 1996 he was invited to take the Opera National de Paris to New York for their appearances at the MET.

Polianichko is also a distinguished symphonic conductor. Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the Byelorussian State Chamber Orchestra (1986-1989), the Bournemouth Sinfonietta (1996-1999), he collaborates with many prestigious symphony orchestras in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and US (including Chicago Symphony Orchestra).

He is a sought-after adjudicator for several voice competitions, including BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2011, and also participated among others in Edinburg, Cheltenham, Aldeburgh, Bergen, Savonlinna Festivals; White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, and Gold Mask Festival in Moscow.

Christopher Allen will be making his Kansas City debut conducting The Elixir of Love. Recently named The John L. Magro Resident Conductor for Cincinnati Opera, Allen made his Cincinnati Opera debut conducting Ricky Ian Gordon's world premiere production of Morning Star and led the Cincinnati Symphony in Cincinnati Opera's Washington Park Concert.

Also in the 2015 - 2016 season, he makes his UK debut conducting The Barber of Seville at the English National Opera. He will also conduct Opera in the Park, the annual free concert in Washington Park that opens the Opera's summer season. He was nominated as a finalist for 2015 International Opera awards in London in the "Newcomer" category. Allen made his Los Angeles Opera conducting debut in Patrick Morganelli's Hercules vs. Vampires. He also returned to the company as Associate Conductor in La traviata with Plácido Domingo as Germont and in The Ghosts of Versailles with James Conlon.

He made his debut with Opera Santa Barbara in Rigoletto in the fall of 2014 and returned to Intermountain Opera in Bozeman, MT to conduct a double-bill of Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica. Allen made his Asian debut conducting Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Daegu Opera House in the spring of 2014. Since 2011, Allen has maintained a close relationship with the Atlanta Symphony working with Music Director Robert Spano and Principal Guest Conductor Donald Runnicles. He was on the music staff of Cincinnati Opera as assistant conductor, a position he has held for the past three years.

He has been a recipient of numerous piano awards, including a Bruno Walter Award, which have led to debuts in venues such as Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Juilliard School and the Tenri Cultural Institute. While a student at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, his production of Benjamin Britten's Turn of the Screw was awarded a National Opera Association prize.

David Charles Abell will be returning to Kansas City to conduct the 2015-16 season final production of Carmen, after having received critical acclaim for his appearance conducting the 2015 production of Lyric Opera of Kansas City's Silent Night.

Born in North Carolina, Abell gained degrees from Yale University and the Juilliard School. He went on to study and work with Leonard Bernstein and attended the Conservatoire Américain in Fontainebleau, France. He made his operatic debut at age 25 conducting Britten's The Turn of the Screw at The Washington Opera. Since then, he has conducted for many North American opera companies including the New York City Opera, Opera Pacific, the Edmonton Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre. He conducted two American national tours: Carmen for the San Francisco Opera and Il barbiere di Siviglia for the New York City Opera. In the United Kingdom, his home for the past nineteen years, he has conducted opera at English National Opera, Opera North, and the Royal Albert Hall.

He has conducted many of the top British orchestras including the London Symphony, London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and Hallé. Internationally, he has appeared with the Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Hong Kong Philharmonic, West Australian, Atlanta and Cincinnati Symphonies, Philly Pops and New York Pops orchestras, among many others.

Abell conceived and conducted the Stephen Sondheim 80th birthday celebration at the BBC Proms, and has given the French premieres of four Sondheim musicals: Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George, and Into the Woods at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris and Follies at Opéra de Toulon. His London credits include the 10th and 25th Anniversary concerts of LES MISERABLES and the world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies.

Abell's recent engagements include Sweeney Todd, starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel, at English National Opera, Fiddler on the Roof, also with Terfel, at Grange Park Opera and the BBC Proms, and Porgy and Bess at Cincinnati Opera and on tour with Cape Town Opera.

All performances will be held in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. All performances will be accompanied by members of the Kansas City Symphony. Subscribers have access to the best seats at the best prices, with savings of up to 49% over single ticket prices. They also receive the first opportunity to either keep their original seats or secure new seats before the general public.

Season ticket prices range from $79 to $499. Single tickets start at only $39 and are on sale now. For ticket information, go to, contact Lyric Opera Ticketing & Patron Services at (816) 471-7344, toll free at 1-877-OPERAKC (673-7252), or visit Lyric Opera Ticketing & Patron Services at 1725 Holmes Street in downtown Kansas City.

The Lyric Opera of Kansas City was founded in 1958; it is one of the nation's premier regional opera companies and brings high-quality live operatic performances to the people of the Kansas City area and a five-state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performances of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas. Under the leadership of General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler, the company mounts productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession. The Lyric Opera offers innovative and award-winning programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community, serving more than 8,000 students and educators each year.

2015-2016 Season at a Glance:


Don Giovanni

W.A. Mozart 1787

Sung in Italian with English and Italian titles

Saturday, September 26, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Friday, October 2, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 4, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Director: Kristine McIntyre

Conductor: Gary Thor Wedow

Set and Costume Designer: R. Keith Brumley

Don Giovanni: Daniel Okulitch

Donna Anna: Rachelle Durkin

Donna Elvira: Elizabeth Caballero

Leporello: Joshua Bloom

Don Ottavio: Matthew Plenk



Antonín Dvorák 1901

Sung in Czech with English and Czech titles

Saturday, November 7, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Friday, November 13, 2015 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, November 15, 2015 2:00 p.m.

Director: Eric Simonson

Conductor: Alexander Polyanichko

Production Designer: Erhard Rom

Rusalka: Ellie Dehn

Ježibaba: Nancy Maultsby

Vodnik: Robert Pomakov

Foreign Princess: Kirsten Chambers

The Elixir of Love

Gaetano Donizetti 1832

Sung in Italian with English and Italian titles

Saturday, March 12, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 18, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, March 20, 2016 2:00 p.m.

Director: James Robinson

Conductor: Christopher Allen

Adina: Susannah Biller

Nemorino: Norman Reinhardt

Dulcamara: Patrick Carfizzi

Belcore: Elliot Madore


Georges Bizet 1875

Sung in French with English and French titles

Saturday, April 23, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Friday, April 29, 2016 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 1, 2016 2:00 p.m.

Director: Jose Maria Condemi

Conductor: David Charles Abell

Production Designer: R. Keith Brumley

Carmen: Zanda Šv?de

Don Jose: Rafael Davila

Escamillo: Corey Crider

Micaëla: Janai Brugger

Zuniga: Jeffrey Beruan

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