The upcoming season’s line-up includes classic operas featuring star-crossed lovers, mistaken identities, and salacious escapades, a World Premiere based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and exciting new initiatives in Phoenix and Tucson
Arizona Opera officially announced its 2023/24 Season, featuring four opera productions – including a World Premiere – in Phoenix and Tucson, as well as the company’s inaugural New Works Festival in Phoenix, and a new series of community concerts in Tucson. Arizona Opera’s programming includes something for everyone, from tried-and-true opera lovers to school-aged children and everyone in between.
“We are eager to continue connecting communities across Arizona through the power and beauty of opera, celebrating great operas from the classic repertoire while also investing in the future of the artform through new works,” said Joseph Specter, Arizona Opera’s President and General Director. “Our upcoming season brings iconic stories of passion, obsession, and stolen identities – timely and universal themes enjoyable for both seasoned patrons and newcomers alike. We also look forward to launching new initiatives in both Phoenix and Tucson to increase our impact beyond the opera house.”
Casting and other information about the 2023/24 Season and programs will be released next month.
THE MCDOUGALL RED SERIES
Frankenstein (World Premiere)
Gregg Kallor, Composer and Librettist
Adapted from the novel by Mary Shelley
Phoenix: October 13-15, 2023 – Herberger Theater Center
Tucson: October 21-22, 2023 – The Temple of Music and Art
Arizona Opera’s eagerly awaited third world premiere, based on Mary Shelley’s iconic novel of the same name, comes to the stage to open the 2023/24 Season in the McDougall RED Series.
With a riveting, cinematic score and libretto by Gregg Kallor, the living, feeling Creature is brought to life only to be forsaken by its creator, Victor Frankenstein. Embracing Shelley’s original text, regarded by many as the first science fiction novel, Frankenstein gives poignant voice to the Creature’s struggle and lays bare the horror of alienation and “otherness” with exquisite nuance. At the core of this heartbreaking tale lies a passionately wrought plea to look deeper within ourselves to find common ground and uphold our responsibility to one another. Arizona Opera’s world premiere of Frankenstein follows the successes of Riders of the Purple Sage and The Copper Queen, the latter of which was released in fall 2021 as a feature-length film.
MAIN STAGE SERIES:
The Barber of Seville, Roméo & Juliette, Don Giovanni
Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Season will feature three Main Stage Series productions presented in winter/spring at Symphony Hall in Phoenix and The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall in Tucson.
The Main Stage Series is comprised of powerhouse opera classics, including Gioachino Rossini’s comic masterpiece, The Barber of Seville; Charles Gounod’s Roméo & Juliette featuring the famed star-crossed lovers; and Mozart’s dark comedy, Don Giovanni.
The Barber of Seville
Composer: Gioachino Rossini | Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Phoenix: January 27-28, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: February 3-4, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall
Love, mistaken identity, and humor are woven throughout The Barber of Seville, Rossini’s beloved masterpiece. The Barber of Seville is considered one of the greatest comic operas of all time, maintaining its popularity for over two hundred years for good reason.
Count Almaviva falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful Rosina, the young ward of a grumpy and elderly Bartolo who intends to marry her and claim her dowry. Dressed in disguise, Almaviva tries to earn Rosina’s affection for who he truly is as a person, rather than for his money and status. Almaviva assumes multiple identities, including a poor student, a drunken soldier, and a singing tutor and priest. With the help of his companion Figaro, Almaviva stops at nothing as he pursues Rosina through a series of comical hijinks and bait-and-switch facades. Eventually revealing his true identity, Almaviva manages to win Rosina’s heart and the pair evade the disgruntled Bartolo, with love and laughter triumphing in the end.
Roméo & Juliette
Composer: Charles Gounod | Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré
Phoenix: March 2-3, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: March 9-10, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall
Gounod’s romantic and rapturous music sets the stage for this tale of star-crossed lovers, based on Shakespeare’s timeless play about the power of love, set amidst the feuding of the Montague and Capulet families in Verona.
Roméo Montague and his friend Mercutio don masks to sneak into the Capulet’s ball, where Juliette Capulet has been presented to the party guests. Roméo falls instantly in love with Juliette, who fervently loves him back despite being pledged to marry Count Parîs. Juliette’s cousin Tybalt recognizes Roméo as he shares a tender moment with Juliette, but he is prevented from attacking as Roméo and his friends flee.
Roméo and Juliette affirm their forever love in the iconic balcony scene. Outside the Capulet palace, Roméo breaks up a fight between Mercutio and Tybalt, asking him to forgive the feud between families. With nothing but scorn, Tybalt kills Mercutio and Roméo stabs Tybalt. Knowing that the feud between their families will never resolve, Roméo and Juliette plan to fake their deaths in a desperate attempt to be together, culminating in an ending for these lovers that is as tragic as it is heartbreakingly beautiful.
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Phoenix: April 20-21, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: April 27-28, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall
Mozart’s Don Giovanni, regarded by many as one of the greatest operas of all time, tells the centuries-old story of the libertine Don Juan.
Don Giovanni tries to seduce Donna Anna, which goes awry, and he ends up killing her father, the Commendatore, unbeknownst to her. Donna Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death. The opera continues to follow Don Giovanni’s salacious escapades, aided and abetted by his servant Leporello. Giovanni makes his rounds seducing and duping numerous characters, bragging along the way and escaping accountability by obscuring his identity. In a cemetery, Giovanni ultimately meets the Commendatore’s statue, which comes to life and forebodingly warns Giovanni that he will laugh no longer. When offered the chance to change his ways, will Don Giovanni repent?
NEW WORKS FESTIVAL
Leaning into Arizona Opera’s passion for bringing new, exciting, and socially relevant operas to our patrons, the 2023/24 Season will mark the debut of the company’s New Works Festival, taking place from November 3-5, 2023, at the Arizona Opera Center in Phoenix.
This wonderful and immersive experience will highlight three contemporary operas over the course three days. Attendees of the New Works Festival will have an opportunity to preview these poignant works in a fun and festive atmosphere featuring food trucks, beverages, and engaging activities to round out the weekend. Selections for Arizona Opera’s inaugural New Works Festival will be announced next month.
BRINGING GREAT ARTISTS TO TUCSON
Since the inception of its long-standing partnership with the Tucson Desert Song Festival (TDSF), Arizona Opera has collaborated with the Festival to bring some of today’s greatest artists to perform in Arizona Opera’s birth city. In addition to the TDSF’s annual sponsorship of an Arizona Opera production in The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall, this partnership has brought nearly two dozen recitals over the years, of illustrious artists like Susan Graham, Matthew Polenzani, Lisette Oropesa, and this spring’s superstar guest artist, soprano Angel Blue. The 2023/24 Season continues this rich tradition with memorable and notable guest artists sharing their gifts with our Tucson audiences, with the 2024 recitalist to be announced later this spring.
In addition to this annual recital series in partnership with TDSF, Arizona Opera is proud to announce a new series of outdoor Tucson Parks Concerts designed to reach Tucsonans where they are, in their communities. These outdoor performances will bring the arts to those who may not otherwise be able to access them within a traditional theatre setting. The full line up of dates, locations, and artists will be revealed later this year.
ABOUT ARIZONA OPERA
Arizona Opera, entered its 50th Season in fall of 2021, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 staged operas and concerts. The company’s artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.
ABOUT TUCSON DESERT SONG FESTIVAL
The Tucson Desert Song Festival provides a world-class experience for music enthusiasts and novices alike. The mission is to elevate Tucson to a world-class destination for music lovers. The event is a unique three- weekend blend of glorious singing in orchestral, chamber, choral, and solo formats along with related lectures and master classes in the warmth and charm of Arizona’s renowned Sonoran Desert resort region.
2023/24 SEASON SPONSOR INFORMATION
Frankenstein is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. The new commission of Frankenstein is funded, in part, by a gift from Linda and Stuart* Nelson. The production of Frankenstein is made possible by Ron and Kay McDougall, Herk and Jill* Rosenzweig, Susan Esco Chandler and Alfred D. Chandler, and Michael and Beth Kasser.
Arizona Opera’s New Works Festival is part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. The New Works Festival is made possible, in part, through generous support from Ron and Kay McDougall, and Michael and Beth Kasser.
The Barber of Seville, Roméo & Juliette, and Don Giovanni, are part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series. The Barber of Seville is also a part of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Family Opera Series.