Recent Press Releases
August 14, 1998
General Director David Speers is pleased to announce the casting of principal artists for the upcoming 1998-99 Season. Commenting on his decision to recast the season, Speers remarked, "This is an ideal time to bring new talent to Arizona audiences and we have contracted some of the brightest, rising stars that are singing today. With the introduction of new conductors, stage directors and sets from other opera companies, audiences will certainly rediscover Arizona Opera this season." The 1998-99 Season includes Lucia di Lammermoor, Die Fledermaus, Aida, Andrea Chénier and La Bohème. Complete biography information will be available in September.
Four leading singers make their Arizona Opera debuts with this production including sopranos Jane Giering-DeHann and Constance Hauman singing the double cast role of Lucia and tenors Brian Nedvin and Michael Rees Davis both double cast as Edgardo.
Jane Giering-DeHann is one of opera's leading coloratura sopranos with triumphs throughout Europe and the United States. During the 1997-98 Season, she made her debut at Houston Grand Opera as Gretel in their new production of Hänsel and Gretel as well as appearances with Seattle Opera and Florentine Opera. Her recent performance as Gilda with Florentine Opera, Opera News wrote, "soprano Jane Giering-DeHaan, a pretty petite Gilda, established charming girlishness in her characterization while taking the evening's vocal honors with silken tone and faultless tuning."
Constance Hauman joins the 1998-99 Season as Lucia. Her many credits include appearances with the Santa Fe Opera, English National Opera, Canadian Opera, New York City Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her performance in the Scandinavian premiere of Lulu was hailed as the highlight of the festival. The New York Times wrote, "if the production was acclaimed on opening night, it was largely because of American soprano, Constance Hauman ..."
This season marks the debut of tenor Brian Nedvin as Edgardo, not only in Arizona, but at Cleveland Opera as well. A former member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago's Center for American Artists, Mr. Nedvin is becoming a popular choice in opera houses and concert halls from the Washington Opera to Carnegie Hall. Of his performance in Washington Opera's 1996 production of Il Barbiere di Siviglia, the Washington Post commented, "Brian Nedvin brought elegance and good humor to the role of Count Almaviva, his light, florid tenor was particularly effective in the higher passages."
In recent seasons, American tenor Michael Rees Davis has won recognition as a world class artist in this country and abroad. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Bonn Opera, Hawaii Opera and many others. Of his performance in the role of Edgardo, Anchorage Daily News stated, "every time Davis stepped on stage he demanded emotional reactions from those around him. By the time his death scene occurred, the stage was electrified with his energy."
Starring Benoit Boutet as Eisenstein and Pamela Hicks and Suzan Hanson as Rosalinda, Die Fledermaus will be performed in November.
Benoit Boutet is internationally recognized for his superb musicianship and the dramatic insight he brings to a wide variety of leading roles. The Canadian tenor has sung extensively throughout Canada and is known for his performances in twentieth century works including Britten's The Prodigal Son (Festival Ottawa) and the title role in the world premiere of Harry Somer's Mario and the Magician for the Canadian Opera Company. He recently performed excerpts programs of Schubert and Berloiz with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra and the Phoenix Symphony.
Soprano Pamela Hicks, a resident of San Francisco, began her singing career as an apprentice with the Santa Fe and San Diego Opera Companies and subsequently appeared in leading roles with Miami, Wolf Trap, Mobile and San Diego Opera Companies. She was resident soprano with the Landestheater Detmold in Germany, where she performed both opera and operetta roles including Gilda in Rigoletto, Micaela in Carmen, Silberklang in The Impressario, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Ilia in Idomeneo.
Also debuting in the November production is Douglas Wunsch. Mr. Wunsch joins Arizona Opera as Rosalinda's opera singer-suitor, Alfred, in Die Fledermaus. Robert Commanday of the San Francisco Chronicle praised a recent portrayal of this role saying, "Wunsch, with an engaging manner, and playing the caricature lightly for a blessed change, set the tone for the show."
The monumental Verdi production will be placed in the hands of Maestro Willie Anthony Waters and director Bernard Uzan. The Music Director of Connecticut Opera and regular guest conductor of North American and European opera companies, Mr. Waters has conducted for the Australian Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Cologne (Germany) Opera, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera and Florida Grand Opera. In 1996, Mr. Waters conducted performances of Porgy and Bess in Cape Town, South Africa and will return for another performance in Pretoria.
Bernard Uzan has been the General Director and Artistic Director of L'Opera de Montreal since 1988. During his tenure, he has directed numerous productions for other opera companies including Calgary Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Pacific, San Diego Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Seattle Opera. His most notable stagings include Roméo et Juliette, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Ariadne auf Naxos, Faust, and Les Contes d'Hoffman.
Sharing the role of Aida are Priscilla Baskerville and Leslie Morgan. Priscilla Baskerville, a versatile dramatic soprano, has an ever expanding repertoire that reaches from Wagner to Puccini. This season, Miss Baskerville will be seen as Aida in Tulsa and Minnesota and will participate in the world premiere of Anthony Davis' Amistad at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Leslie Morgan returns after a successful engagement in Arizona Opera's 1998 Ring Cycle in Flagstaff and audiences will remember her impassioned portrayal in the title role of Tosca last season.
Performing the role of Radames are Tonio di Paolo and
Peter Riberi. A frequent performer on the stages of the nation,
Arizona audiences may recognize Tonio di Paolo from guest appearances with the
Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the Phoenix Symphony Pops
Engaged for two Arizona Opera productions, Peter Riberi will perform in Aida and as Chénier in Andrea Chénier. Recently he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Raffaele in a new production of Verdi's Stiffelio which was nationally televised on Live from Lincoln Center.
Jay Baylon will appear in the role of Ramfis. Acclaimed for both concert and operatic performances, Mr. Baylon will also perform in Washington Opera's production of Giordano's Fedora with Plácido Domingo and Mirella Freni.
The presentation of Andrea Chénier will be lead by two distinguished individuals from Austin Lyric Opera, Joseph McClain as Stage Director and Maestro Cal Stewart Kellogg at the podium. Mr. McClain, the founding General Director of Austin Lyric Opera, has a diversified artistic experience to his credit. He has produced over 35 works for both stage and television, including the nationally acclaimed innovative productions of Wagner's Tannhäuser and Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe in Austin.
Having been engaged to conduct Lucia di Lammermoor for Arizona Opera, Austin Lyric Opera's Principal Conductor Cal Stewart Kellogg returns to conduct Andrea Chénier. Mr. Kellogg appears with regular frequency with opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the world. In North America, he enjoyed a sixteen year association with Washington Opera. Other companies include Canadian Opera, Calgary Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Vancouver Opera and Santa Fe.
Appearing as Gerárd is Nicholas Loren. Named "A Major Discovery" by The Washington Post, Mr. Loren has performed in a number of companies and concert halls, including notable performances in the world premier of Travels by Victoria Bond and his Carnegie hall debut in Carmina Burana under the baton of Joann Faletta.
La Bohème marks the debuts of all four principal roles of Mimi, Rodolfo, Marcello and Musetta. Singing the role of Mimi are Laurinda Nikkel and Renee Sousa. Laurinda Nikkel has had the opportunity to perform the role of Mimi as well as the role of Musetta in productions of La Bohème throughout the nation. Praised for her acting as well as her singing, her portrayal of Mimi inspired a critic to write "during her tender moments with Rodolfo, her whole being glowed with a love we could believe in" (The Chronicle.)
Renee Sousa joins the Arizona Opera cast of La Bohème as Mimi. Her talent and presence are described by Paul Froemming of The Independent: "[Renee] Sousa, a full lyric soprano, dramatically acted the part of her very emotional character, yet kept the beauty of the music in her voice."
Lyric tenor David Hamilton has been heard at opera companies such as the Metropolitan, Washington and New York City Opera, showcasing not only a wide range of operatic repertoire, but also a broad repertoire of orchestral selections. A music faculty member at Concordia College, Mr. Hamilton makes his Arizona Opera debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème.
Trained as a dancer as well as a singer, Daniel Mobbs' portrayal of Marcello has brought life to the Bohemian's garret in several productions of La Bohème. The Idaho Statesman says, "Daniel Mobbs, as Marcello the painter, sang with a strength and presence that matched his dramatic flair. His youth and vigor in the role of Musetta's sometime lover made him an audience favorite."
Season tickets are available by calling the Arizona Opera Box Office
Pricing and online ordering available through the Virtual Box Office.
Single tickets will go on sale September 14, 1998.
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