Welcome to the Season!
It is an incredible honor to welcome you to the opening of Arizona Opera’s 45th Anniversary Season! As Arizona Opera’s new President and General Director, I am thrilled to join a company with a proud history of presenting great work on the stage, and a company that has increasingly become a leader in the national field in terms of its artistic vitality and devotion to serving our community.
The 2016/17 Season puts on full display the incredible power of opera,and its ability to connect us all through richly-textured and timeless stories. Given that breadth, it only makes sense to begin our Sapphire Season with a program that features work from some of the most beloved operas of all time. Productions of nearly all of these operas have graced the Arizona Opera stage over our company’s proud 45 year history, and we are delighted to present several pieces from operas never previously performed by Arizona Opera as well. To welcome acclaimed mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade to our stage for the first time—a true ambassador for opera around the world—is a wonderful moment for our company that I hope you will thoroughly enjoy.
Our 45th Anniversary Sapphire Celebration truly has something for everyone, and we hope that your memories of this concert will last a lifetime. Our season continues with the company premiere of Rusalka, Dvorák’s retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Little Mermaid; the return of Puccini’s heart wrenching masterpiece, Madama Butterfly; our first world premiere, Craig Bohmler’s adaptation of Zane Grey’s Riders of the Purple Sage; and Rossini’s dazzling and delightful Cinderella, in its first Arizona Opera performance in over 10 years. This special anniversary season wouldn’t be possible without an incredible community of support, including our talented guest artists, chorus and orchestra, our hardworking staff and board of directors, and most especially you, our patrons and donors who have seen this company grow and evolve in Arizona.
Thank you for all that you have done to make opera in Arizona a reality for these past 45 years. I look forward to sharing this incredible season with you, and many more seasons to come.
Joseph Specter, President and General Director