The new Tannh‹user opens the San Diego Opera season on January 26, directed by Michael Hampe and featuring the company debuts of Heldentenor Robert Gambill in the title role and Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund (making her American operatic debut) as Elisabeth. The cast also includes Russell Braun as Wolfram, Petra Lang as Venus, Reinhard Hagen as Landgraf Hermann and Martin Zysset as Walter von der Vogelweide. Sets are by James Mulder; Christof Perick conducts the San Diego Symphony.
James Mulder's sets for the San Diego Tannh‹user will "faithfully reproduce" G‹nther Schneider-Siemssen's designs for the 1977 Metropolitan Opera production — which, company general and artistic director Ian Campbell says, "burned itself forever into my memory."
Maria Stuarda — billed as Mary, Queen of Scots — opens on February 16 and features the return to San Diego of South African coloratura soprano Angela Gilbert in the title role and the company debut of mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich as Queen Elizabeth I of England. Yeghishe Manucharyan is the Earl of Leicester and Reinhard Hagen is Talbot. Edoardo M‹ller conducts and Andrew Sinclair directs.
Last seen in San Diego in 1979, Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana is offered as a double bill with Leoncavallo's Pagliacci beginning March 22. To make the evening "a night of two tenors," Jos_ Cura makes his company debut as Canio in the latter and Richard Leech stars as Turiddu in the former. The casts also include Paoletta Marrocu as Santuzza in Cavalleria and Nedda in Pagliacci, Sarah Castle as Lola in Cavalleria, and Scott Hendricks as Silvio in Pagliacci. Edoardo M‹ller conducts and Lotfi Mansouri directs.
Verdi's Aida, opening April 12, stars Indra Thomas in the title role and Mariana Pentcheva as Amneris, Carlo Ventre as Radames, Mark Rucker as Amonasro and Reinhard Hagen as Ramfis. Val_ry Ryvkin conducts and Garnett Bruce directs.
Zandra Rhodes's colorful 2004 production of Bizet's The Pearl Fishers (seen at New York City Opera and San Francisco Opera in 2005) returns to San Diego Opera to close the season. Ekaterina Siurina and Charles Castronovo (a real life couple) make their company debuts as Leila and Nadir; Malcom MacKenzie sings Zurga. Karen Keltner conducts and Andrew Sinclair directs.