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Arizona Opera Brings World-class Tenor to Tucson and Celebrates Multi-Year Sponsorship of its Beloved Classics Series

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Opera Company’s Focus on Tucson and the City’s Philanthropic Investment Grow


PHOENIX (June 10, 2019) — Arizona Opera, the state’s leading opera company, is thrilled to announce two exciting partnerships in Tucson, reflecting the company’s ongoing commitment to deepening its connection with its birth city. In January 2020, Arizona Opera will present American Tenor Matthew Polenzani in recital as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival (TDSF). Additionally, Arizona Opera is proud to announce a new, multi-year sponsorship from Tucson-based arts philanthropist Marlys A. Beider, who has generously underwritten Arizona Opera’s Beloved Classics Series in Tucson through the company’s 50th Anniversary Season (2021-22) with a $225,000 gift.

American Tenor Matthew Polenzani will perform his recital as part of the TDSF’s 2020 Season, and will be accompanied by Christopher Cano, Head of Music at Arizona Opera and Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio. Considered one of the most gifted and distinguished lyric tenors of his generation, Polenzani actively performs leading roles at the world’s premier opera houses, such as The Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, and La Scala.

“We are very fortunate to have Matthew Polenzani, a remarkable musician with a timeless repertoire, perform as part of the 2020 Tucson Desert Song Festival,” said John Johnson, Arizona Opera Board Chair. “Arizona Opera’s ongoing relationship with TDSF is a testament to our commitment to bringing world-class opera to Tucson, the birth city of our company.” Jeannette Segel, Tucson Desert Song Festival’s President, agrees, “The festival, approaching its eighth season, showcases music and artists from all over the world, and we are thrilled that our partnership with Arizona Opera has made it possible to bring an artist of Mr. Polenzani’s caliber to our city.”

As part of Arizona Opera’s Main Stage Series, the company performs two beloved operas each season. A resident of Tucson, and an avid supporter of the arts both there and in Chicago, Marlys A. Beider is a devoted fan of classical work. “I was born into a musical family, and my love for opera began at an early age. We are very fortunate to live in a city where opera is so vibrant and for that, we owe our thanks to Arizona Opera. I’m delighted to support the next three seasons of Arizona Opera’s Tucson presentations of the beloved, traditional works that are so close to my heart.”

“Welcoming Matthew Polenzani through our partnership with the Tucson Desert Song Festival, coupled with the investment by Marlys Beider—whose commitment and passion for opera runs so deep—speaks to the bond between our company and Tucson,” said Joseph Specter, President and General Director of Arizona Opera. “These exciting developments, in addition to our recently announced office sharing partnership with Arizona Theatre Company, are all about our reenergized commitment to serving Tucson as fully as possible.”

Arizona Opera will recognize Marlys A. Beider as the Lead Production Sponsor in the company’s Beloved Classics Series in Tucson, which will encompass Puccini’s La Bohème, and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos in the 2019/20 Season, as well as the company’s presentation of traditional works in its Main Stage Series in the 2020/21 and 2021/22 Seasons, yet to be announced.

Matthew Polenzani will perform as part of the Tucson Desert Song Festival 2020 concert series, at Holsclaw Hall located on the University of Arizona campus, on Friday January 31, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets will be available beginning on July 1, 2019; $35 for adults and $10 for students. Please visit or contact the box office at 520.293.4336.

About Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera, now entering its 48th season, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 200 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company's artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.