Opera Tampa celebrates 25 years of producing world-class, grand opera in the Tampa Bay area. The 2019-2020 anniversary season is certain to electrify every opera enthusiast and intrigue any inquisitive neophyte. The magnificent season features the work of Bizet, Verdi and Gilbert and Sullivan along with a special concert by The Four Italian Tenors.
“We have such a monumental opera season to look forward to for 2019-2020,” says Straz Center President and Opera Tampa General Director Judy Lisi. “We’re celebrating our 25th anniversary as the grand opera company of the Tampa Bay area with four extraordinary performances. We’re excited to open the season with the Tampa debut of The Four Italian Tenors, who represent the next generation of superstar singers taking the mantle from Caruso, Pavarotti, Bocelli and Lanza. We continue with a trio of opera greats— Bizet’s passionate Carmen followed by Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic masterpiece, The Pirates of Penzance, then conclude with Verdi’s epic, sweeping love triangle, Aida. We can’t wait. This season is designed to delight our long-time supporters, to attract new opera fans and to showcase the unique, superlative talent we’re able to present as a rising opera company on the international scene.”
The 2019-2020 Opera Tampa season includes:
"Carmen" (Feb. 7-9)
Vixen. Vamp. Sexpot. Siren. Whatever you want to call Carmen, don’t call her “mine.” George Bizet’s original independent woman inspires murderous obsession—partly because of her pout and proportions but mostly because she refuses to be tamed. When military man Don Jose falls for Carmen’s charms, his desperate attempt to claim her spells disaster for them both.
"Carmen" will be sung in French with English translations projected above the stage. Maestro Jorge Parodi will lead an international cast along with the Opera Tampa Orchestra and Chorus. Catherine Daniel (Carmen) stars in the production along with Victor Starsky (Don José), Susan Hellman Spatafora (Michaela) and Jean Carlos Rodriguez (Escamillo).
Parodi is the music director of the Senior Opera Theater at the Manhattan School of Music and has worked as a conductor at Buenos Aires Lírica (Argentina), The Banff Centre (Canada), Tsaritsynskaya Opera Volgograd (Russia), Encuentros Internacionales de Opera (Mexico), Hofstra University and New York University among others. Hailed as having “the most expressive conducting hands since Stokowski’s,” (New York Daily News), Parodi has collaborated with such artists as Tito Capobianco, Sherrill Milnes and Rufus Wainwright and has assisted conductors of the caliber of Lorin Maazel and Julius Rudel. He returns to the Opera Tampa podium for the third season after conducting The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville, The Pearl Fishers and the world premiere of Anton Coppola’s Lady Swanwhite.
"The Pirates of Penzance" (March 13-15)
Swashbuckling slapstick from the masters of theatrical tomfoolery, "The Pirates of Penzance" presents the screamingly funny satirical perfection of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic genius. Take a turncoat apprentice, a tender-hearted band of pirates, one very marriage-focused nursemaid and mix in a catch-22 involving Leap Year, and you’ve got the makings for this rollicking tale of ignoble nobles and the ladies who love them.
"The Pirates of Penzance" will be sung in English with lyrics projected above the stage. Maestro Robin Stamper will lead an international cast along with the Opera Tampa Orchestra and Chorus. Tyler Putman (Pirate King), Cree Carrico (Mabel) and Gabriel Preisser (Major-General Stanley) headline the production.
The managing director and chorus master for Opera Tampa, Stamper continues a versatile career as a coach-accompanist, chorus master and opera conductor. A graduate of the Julliard School in piano performance, Stamper served as director of music for Kentucky Opera, artistic director for Nevada Opera, music director for Orlando Opera and artistic director for Florida Opera Theatre. He joined the Opera Tampa family in 2015. He debuts as conductor for Opera Tampa with The Pirates of Penzance.
"Aida" (April 24, 26)
A slave girl caught between her love and her father, a young general trapped between duty and desire, a princess pinned by pride. As Egypt wages war against Ethiopia, Verdi’s epic, tragic love triangle unfolds in swelling arias amid lush, sweeping sets to its heart-wrenching conclusion. A monumental achievement, Aida remains one of the most-performed and well-loved operas of all time.
"Aida" will be sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage. Maestro Andrew Bisantz will lead an international cast along with the Opera Tampa Orchestra and Chorus. Michelle Johnson (Aida) leads the company alongside Deborah Nansteel (Amneris), Adam Diegle (Radames) and Joshua Jeremiah (Amonasro).
As the music director at Eugene Opera, Bisantz shepherded the company to recognition as one of the most noted and important performing arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest. He served as assistant conductor with Glimmerglass Opera and as associate conductor with Florida Grand Opera as well as in acclaimed engagements conducting Boston Lyric Opera, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto (Portugal), Wolf Trap Opera, Boston Landmark Orchestra, Janiec Opera Company and the Buffalo Philharmonic. A graduate of Cleveland Institute of Music, Bisantz studied with legendary conductors such as Carl Topilow, Louis Lane and the current music director of New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Alan Gilbert. He returns to Opera Tampa after having conducted the 2018 production of Macbeth.
The season also includes a concert by:
The Four Italian Tenors: 'Viva Italia!' (Nov. 30)
The next generation of great Italian tenors is here with Viva Italia!: A Salute to Four Great Italian Tenors. This humble, humorous and heartfelt tribute by four young rising stars of Italian opera salutes the giants — Caruso, Pavarotti, Bocelli and Lanza. The young lions ascend as they honor the men who have stood so long as the pride of modern Italian opera, introducing themselves as the very exciting future of Italian tenors.
In addition to the four mainstage performances, the Opera Tampa season also incorporates a variety of special events including performances by the Opera Tampa Singers, pre- and post-performance receptions, the popular open rehearsals and the informative Discover Opera programs.
"LIVE! in the Park" (Nov. 3) in Curtis Hixon Park.
Opera Tampa Grana Gala (May 2)
The D’Angelo Young Artists Vocal Competition (Nov. 24)
Those interested in acquiring season tickets or group tickets should call the Straz Center Ticket Sales Office at 813-229-STAR (7827) or outside the Tampa Bay area at 800-955-1045 or visit www.operatampa.org for specific on-sale information. Renewing season ticket holders, Opera Tampa League donors and Straz Center annual donors receive priority seating for season tickets and seating upgrade requests. Individual opera tickets will go on sale Aug. 9.
The Straz Center is located at 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa.
For more information about Opera Tampa and its upcoming events, visit www.operatampa.org.