Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Seattle Opera unveils 2019/20 Season

Hero photography by Philip Newton
With a mix of new and traditional takes on opera, Seattle Opera unveils a 2019/20 Season that offers something for everyone. Audiences will experience new-to-Seattle productions of Rigoletto, Cinderella, and Eugene Onegin; the company premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird; and the return of a beloved classic, La bohème

“Seattle Opera is committed to work that resonates with people in the Pacific Northwest,” said General Director Aidan Lang. “In addition to creating transcendent music and theater, we’re excited to have conversations with our community about abuse of power, misogyny, representation in art and entertainment, and more themes illuminated in our upcoming works.”

The 2019/20 Season will also include People of Color in a number of prominent principal roles. The company is being more intentional in seeking a racially diverse talent pool. Racial equity aside, Seattle Opera has earned a reputation for its casting, and its ability to identify some of the industry’s next big stars.

One such rising-star is Angel Blue, who returns in 2020 to sing Mimì in La bohème. Seattleites may recognize the American soprano from last summer’s Porgy and Bess, a performance (as Bess) which earned her a feature in The Stranger’s “Best Performances of 2018” article. Blue, a former Miss America Organization titleholder, also starred in a viral social-media video called “Kids Meet An Opera Singer.” To date, the six-minute video produced by The Cut has garnered more than 11 million views on Facebook.

Lester Lynch, another star of Porgy and Bess and Il trovatore, helps kick off the company’s 2019/20 Season as the title character in Verdi’s action-packed melodrama, Rigoletto (August 10-28, 2019). Even people who have never attended an opera have likely heard Rigoletto’s most popular aria “La donna è mobile” from playing Grand Theft Auto, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, or that Doritos Super Bowl ad where a baby is slingshotted to steal his brother’s chips. Since its 1851 debut, Rigoletto has been reimagined over and over again. And now, through the vision of Director Lindy Hume, the violence against women in Rigoletto will offer unflinching comparisons to newsmakers of today.

Hume has created thoughtful and entertaining productions for Seattle audiences in the past, including The Wicked Adventures of Count Ory and The Barber of Seville. Following Rigoletto, she’ll return to Seattle yet again to direct Rossini’s Cinderella, Oct. 19–Nov. 1, 2019. With costumes and dances reminiscent of a Tim Burton film, multi-level sets, and a dash of stage magic, this fairy-tale opera includes performances by famous singing siblings Ginger Costa-Jackson (Cinderella) and Miriam Costa-Jackson (Clorinda).

A third sister, Marina Costa-Jackson (Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte) joins her kin for a special, one-night-only Three Singing Sisters concert on Nov. 2 after Cinderella closes. The mixed-genre program will include opera arias, Broadway melodies, popular music, and Neapolitan songs, the sisters’ specialty.

Fast-forward to the New Year: Seattle Opera will present Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (Jan. 11–25, 2020) for the first time in nearly 20 years. The legendary Nutcracker composer returns to McCaw Hall with an elegant Russian romance based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel. Starring John Moore (Steve Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs) and Michael Adams (Guglielmo, Così fan tutte) alternating in the title role, Seattle Opera’s traditional production brings opulent nineteenth-century Russia to life.

From a story about 1820s St. Petersburg, Seattle Opera moves to 1950s New York with the company premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird Feb. 22–March, 2020. Still a work of classical music, the opera pulses with jazz-infused melodies created by saxophonist/composer Daniel Schnyder, who tells the story of the legendary tormented jazz and bebop innovator. Finding himself in a sort of purgatory, the ghost of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker (sung by alternating tenors Joshua Stewart and Frederick Ballentine) struggles to complete one last masterpiece. In a series of freeform flashbacks, he revisits the demons, inspirations, and women who have fueled and hindered his creative genius. This intimate portrait of the legendary saxophonist was hailed by audiences and critics alike at its 2015 East Coast premieres.

Finally, the 2019/20 Season concludes with opera’s quintessential love story, La bohème, on May 2–16, 2020. When Rodolfo, a penniless poet, meets Mimì, a seamstress, they fall instantly in love. But their happiness is threatened when Rodolfo learns that Mimì is gravely ill. Puccini’s romantic depiction of bohemian Paris, with wonderful music and a love story drawn from everyday life, has captivated audiences around the world. La bohème includes the return of Will Liverman (Figaro, The Barber of Seville), Brandie Sutton (Clara, Porgy and Bess) and Ginger Costa-Jackson (following her performance as the title character in Cinderella).

Tickets and more info: