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AZ Opera's Rusalka Presents Magical Version of LITTLE MERMAID

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Dark forests, woodland sprites and an evil witch, "Jezibaba" come to the Arizona Opera stage as the company presents its first ever production of Dvo?ák's Rusalka. The story follows the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale "Little Mermaid" with dramatic flair as the mermaid Rusalka seeks to be part of the human world. This new production will be set in the Habsburg Empire of the 1800s and features the show-stopping aria, "Song to the Moon". Rusalka is sung in Czech with English supertitles.

Performances of Arizona Opera's Rusalka, are November 11 and 12 at 7:30 pmand November 13 at 2:00 pm in Symphony Hall, 75 N. 2nd St., Phoenixand November 19 at 7:30 pm and November 20 at 2:00 pm at the Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave. Tickets start at $25 and are on sale atwww.azopera.org or by calling 602-266-7464 in Phoenix or 520-293-4336 in Tucson.

Leading up to the performances, Arizona Opera hosts a Sister Cities Festival fromNovember 7 - 20, to explore Arizona's diverse international partners including Prague, which hosted the premiere of Dvo?ák's Rusalka in 1901. The Festival includes a film screening of the Czech film, Kytice, an Eastern European Feast and Czech Night. Visit www.azopera.org/community-events/sister-cities-festival for more info.

Sara Gartland and Melinda Whittington will alternate in the title role of Rusalka, a demanding character requiring a delicate balance of tenderness and power. This will be the first time both of these sopranos have taken on this role. Ms. Gartland has been a major force on the opera scene, with Opera News raving, "This statuesque beauty and opulent coloratura is a wholly sympathetic heroine," while describing Ms. Whittington, who was last seen in AZO's Don Giovanni possessing a "voice of fine resonance and fluidity" (Opera News).

This new production of Rusalka is set at the end of the Habsburg Empire in the early 1800s, based on a concept developed by Arizona Opera's Resident Stage Director, Joshua Borths. "Rusalka revolves around her desire to be part of the human world, much like the peasants who admired the royalty, pomp and circumstance of Franz Joseph and Elizabeth. This opulent time in history when the Empire ruled over all of the Balkans including Dvo?ák's homeland is a fascinating period and perfectly suited for our new production."

Arizona Opera 2016/17 Season includes a 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration featuring Frederica von Stade, followed by the company premiere of Dvo?ák's Rusalka in November, and the operatic classic Madama Butterfly by Puccini in January. In February, Arizona Opera will present its first-ever commission, Craig Bohmler's Riders of the Purple Sage, based on the Zane Grey western novel, and the season will conclude with the delightful comedy, Cinderella, by Rossini.

Full and partial ticket packages as well as single tickets are on sale now at www.azopera.org or by calling 602.266.7464 in Phoenix or 520.293.4336 in Tucson.


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