Rigoletto Opens Opera Company of Philadelphia Season

Classic Arts News   Rigoletto Opens Opera Company of Philadelphia Season
The season gets underway at America's oldest opera house tonight, as the Opera Company of Philadelphia opens its 2007-08 season with Verdi's Rigoletto.

All three lead singers make their company debuts this evening: baritone Alan Opie in the title role, soprano Chen Reiss as Gilda and tenor Matthew Polenzani as the Duke. They'll be performing in what is described as a "grand and traditional" new production directed by OCP general and artistic director Robert B. Driver and designed by Paul Shortt. Company music director Corrado Rovaris conducts the six performances through October 17.

Beginning on November 14, OCP offers the first professionally-staged production of Hansel and Gretel in Philadelphia in 40 years. Mezzo-soprano Lauren Curnow sings 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 the five performances through November 25.

Cyrano, the first opera by Michigan Opera Theatre founder and general director David DiChiera, begins its East Coast premiere run in Philadelphia on February 8. (The work 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; Stefan Lano, music director at the Teatro Col‹n in Buenos Aires, conducts.

In March, OCP and the Curtis Opera Theater (a program of the Curtis Institute of Music) join forces to present Osvaldo Golijov's opera Ainadamar in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center. Chas Rader-Shieber directs, with Rovaris conducting the young cast. The four performances March 14-16 are being presented as an add-on to the 2007-08 subscription seasons of both OCP and Kimmel Center Presents.

OCP's final production of the season, running April 4-18, is Bellini's Norma, with soprano Christine Goerke in the title role. Mezzo-soprano Kristine Jepson sings Adalgisa, tenor Phil Webb plays Pollione, and bass Eric Owens is Oroveso. Rovaris takes the podium once again, with stage direction by Kay Walker Castaldo.

For information on and tickets for the Opera Company of Philadelphia's 2007-08 season, visit www.operaphilly.com.

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