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Fort Worth Opera Starts Simultaneous Rehearsals for a World Premiere and Festival

By: May. 07, 2010
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Madness has descended on Fort Worth by means of its resident opera company. Fort Worth Opera's annual practice of rehearsing 3-4 operas simultaneously and all the craziness that goes with it has inspired a TV producer and agent to create a reality show, which may one day be seen on a station near you. In the meantime, the behind-the-scenes preparations for the 2010 Festival continue. This year, the Festival will feature: Mozart's Don Giovanni, Donizetti's The Elixir of Love, and the world premiere of Before Night Falls by Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin, based on the memoir of the same name by Cuban author Reinaldo Arenas.

"It's chaotic," says General Director Darren Keith Woods, "but controlled." He adds with a laugh, "Barely." Opera singers are notorious for having bigger-than-life personalities, as do a lot of the behind-the-scenes people too, explains Woods. "We have a lot of fun, but when you get all of them together in one location with the stress of rehearsing three major productions in three weeks, interesting stuff happens."

The 2010 Festival will run May 22 - June 6, 2010 and all three operas will be performed in Bass Performance Hall. It will mark both the company's fourth annual festival and the second main-stage world premiere since changing to the festival format in 2007, when Fort Worth Opera produced the premiere of Thomas Pasatieri's Frau Margot.

Before Night Falls stands out for several reasons. It is a world premiere based on the memoirs of a Cuban dissident. "Latin-America is under-represented in the classical music world," says Woods. "Not only is this about a real-life Latin-America hero, it was written by a Cuban-American composer." The composer, Jorge Martin, received the rights to turn the memoirs into an opera several years before the rights were obtained to create the movie Before Night Falls, which starred Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp. The world premiere will feature several young, upcoming artists and Broadway and Tony Award winning singer/actor (2003 La Boheme), Jesus Garcia.

Don Giovanni is a Mozart classic that will feature a stellar cast with Michael Todd Simpson in the title role. True to Fort Worth Opera style, it will be a traditional production, but with a twist. Based on the familiar tales of Don Juan, Don Giovanni has a side-kick Leporello who is usually portrayed as an older servant who covers for him. "I decided that a young, hot guy like Don Giovanni wouldn't want to hang out with an old man," says Woods, "so our Leporello is another young, hot guy who plays the role as Don Giovanni's wing-man. Every Don Juan needs a wing-man."

The Elixir of Love - a story about falling in love with the help of a little wine - also features a twist. Traditionally set in Italy, this production is instead set in mid-western America. "It has a warm, Americana feel, complete with an old-fashioned ice-cream truck and other surprises," explains Woods. A co-production with San Francisco Opera and several other companies (see fact sheet for details), it will star Michael Fabiano, a reality show star himself, and a Dallas/Fort Worth favorite, Ava Pine.

TICKETS: Season tickets range from $33-$394. Individual tickets range from $17-$154 with special student and military pricing available. For more information or tickets visit www.fwopera.org, or call 817.731.0726 or toll-free 1.877.396.7372.

ABOUT FORT WORTH OPERA: Fort Worth Opera was founded in 1946 and is the oldest continually performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. In 2007, the company completely changed its fall/winter schedule to a condensed one-month long Festival in the spring.

Schedule of 2010 Festival Performances:

May 22 8:00 p.m. Don Giovanni
May 23 2:00 p.m. The Elixir of Love
May 28 8:00 p.m. The Elixir of Love
May 29 8:00 p.m. Before Night Falls, world premiere
May 30 2:00 p.m. Don Giovanni
June 4 8:00 p.m. Don Giovanni
June 5 8:00 p.m. The Elixir of Love
June 6 2:00 p.m. Before Night Falls



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