Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2007-08 Season to Feature Christine Goerke as Norma

Classic Arts News   Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2007-08 Season to Feature Christine Goerke as Norma
Highlights of the Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2007-08 season include a new production of Verdi's Rigoletto, the company premiere of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel, the East Coast premiere of David DiChiera's Cyrano, and soprano Christine Goerke taking on the title role in Bellini's Norma.

The season opens on October 5 with Rigoletto, starring baritone Alan Opie in the title role, soprano Chen Reiss as Gilda and tenor Matthew Polenzani as the Duke. All three will be making company debuts in Paul Shortt's "grand and traditional" new production, which features lighting by Drew Billiau and costumes by Richard St. Clair. Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chšvez returns to sing Maddalena, with bass Julian Rodescu as Sparafucile. Company general and artistic director Robert B. Driver directs; music director Corrado Rovaris conducts.

On November 14 the company offers the first professionally-staged production of Hansel and Gretel in Philadelphia in 40 years. Mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow sings the pants role of Hansel, alongside soprano Maureen McKay as Gretel. Mezzo-soprano Maria Zifchak plays the Witch; soprano Heidi Melton is Gertrude and baritone Michael Mayes is Peter. Again, Driver directs and Rovaris conducts.

Cyrano, the first opera by Michigan Opera Theatre founder and general director David DiChiera, opens on February 8. (It receives its world premiere on October 13 at the Detroit Opera House.) Romanian baritone Marian Pop makes his company debut in the title role; tenor Stephen Costello is Christian, soprano Evelyn Pollock sings Roxane, bass Peter Volpe sings DeGuiche, baritone Daniel Teadt makes his house debut as Lebret and tenor Mark T. Panuccio sings Ragueneau. Bernard Uzan, the opera's librettist, directs; sets and costumes are by John Pascoe; Stefan Lano conducts.

The season closes on April 18 with Bellini's Norma, with soprano Christine Goerke in the title role. Mezzo-soprano Kristine Jepson sings Adalgisa; bass Eric Owens is Oroveso; casting for Pollione will be announced later. Corrado Rovaris conducts; Kay Walker Castaldo directs.

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