Dallas Opera Announces Cast Change for NORMA 5/7

Dallas Opera Announces Cast Change for NORMA 5/7The Dallas Opera has released soprano Elza van den Heever from singing the upcoming matinee performance of Vincenzo Bellini's NORMA on Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., due to a family emergency. Acclaimed Italian-Canadian soprano, Aviva Fortunata, will assume the role of the betrayed Druid priestess.

This final performance in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center, during OPERA America week, will serve as the grand finale of The Dallas Opera's exciting and highly successful 60th Season.

Tickets for NORMA begin at just $19 and may be purchased at www.dallasopera.org or by contacting the friendly professional staff at The Dallas Opera Ticket Office: 214-443-1000.

Set during the Roman occupation of Gaul in 50 B.C.E., a passionate love triangle in the midst of a deepening Culture Clash leads to dangerous consequences. A Druid high priestess, Norma (soprano Aviva Fortunata), is in the throes of despair after discovering that her longtime lover, a Roman proconsul for whom she has borne two children, may have been unfaithful. Pollione (sung by tenor YongHoon Lee in his company debut) confesses to a friend that he no longer loves Norma. His amorous attentions are now focused on Adalgisa, a young novice priestess (portrayed by soprano Marina Costa-Jackson), who reluctantly returns his love. Pollione brushes aside a warning about Norma's hair-trigger temper and her capacity for rage.

Amid the turmoil of the occupation, personal betrayal, and impending revolution, Norma is driven to the very brink of insanity, convinced that her life is coming undone, and fearing what the future may hold for her disgraced "fatherless" children.

This production is generously supported by TACA.

Italian-Canadian soprano Aviva Fortunata has been praised as being "blessed with a gorgeous voice of richness and amplitude" (Musical Toronto). Ms. Fortunata was a finalist in the 2016 Operalia Competition in Guadalajara, Mexico, where she performed under the baton of Maestro Plácido Domingo. Representing Canada in the 2015 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, she was a finalist for the Song Prize. A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company's Ensemble Studio, Ms. Fortunata's assignments included the role of Contessa Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi in Così fan Tutte, the title role in Norma, Anna in Maometto II, Alice Ford in Falstaff, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes. Ms. Fortunata is a graduate of the prestigious San Francisco Opera Merola Opera Program.

Critically acclaimed international conductor and Mrs. Eugene McDermott Music Director EmManuel Villaume leads The Dallas Opera Orchestra in one of Bellini's greatest contributions to the Bel Canto repertoire. The maestro is concluding his fourth season with the company; a season in which he has conducted a wide variety of works reflecting different styles and periods: Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer's Moby-Dick (a revival of the Leonard Foglia production for The Dallas Opera that launched this worldwide success), Bellini's Norma - and, still to come: Villaume will conduct a semi-staged performance of Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer's Everest (Friday, May 5th) a tremendously powerful 2015 Dallas Opera world premiere, with Talbot's brand-new Everest Prelude.

Stage director Nic Muni is making his company debut in this period production. Mr. Muni served as artistic director of the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His productions have graced the stages of San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Prague National Opera, and The Kurt Weill International Festival, among others.

Set and Costume Design is by renowned opera, Broadway and Off-Broadway designer John Conklin. Lighting design is by internationally acclaimed designer Thomas C. Hase, with wig and make-up design by Stephanie Williams.

As always, the renowned Dallas Opera Chorus will be prepared for the performances by Dallas Opera Chorus Master Alexander Rom.

The Joy and Ronald Mankoff Pre-Opera Talks, a free, pre-performance lecture, will be conducted one hour prior to curtain at all Norma performances. More perspective can be gained through "Opera Insights" presented by The Dallas Opera Guild. The informative panel discussion featuring artists, directors and/or designers for NORMA takes place Sunday, April 9, 2017, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. in Hamon Hall (located off the main lobby concourse in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House. For more details, visit dallasopera.org and look under "Upcoming Events."

NORMA will be performed in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage. For tickets or additional information, call 214.443.1000 or visit dallasopera.org.

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