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Think passion, drama, love...think sexy. That’s how Arizona Opera Head of Music Christopher Cano describes the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series in the 2018/2019 season. “We want to introduce Arizona to newer works in more intimate venues,” says Cano, “so for the first time we’re performing two operas in downtown Phoenix’s Herberger Theater Center and Tucson’s Temple of Music and Art.”
What a tremendous season we have had! All of our studio artists had a great year filled with enormous growth and outstanding opportunities. All six artists had fantastic assignments this season, and each one of them met their respective challenges with aplomb and finesse. With leading roles in all five productions, each and every artist discovered new ways to become stronger and better artists in their own right.
It's likely composer Richard Wagner would have wholeheartedly embraced Arizona Opera’s upcoming performances of Das Rheingold, which honor his all-encompassing theatrical vision with an onstage orchestra surrounded by intricate projections. Wagner wrote his own libretto -- based on Nordic mythology -- in pursuit of a seamless aesthetic integration of music, dance, visual art and poetry, and the opera premiered in Munich in 1869, although the composer was dissatisfied with the scope of the production.
Richard Wagner never set out to create the largest work of art in Western civilization. And yet, by the time his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen premiered in 1876 at Bayreuth—a theater custom built for performances of the Ring—Wagner had written over 14 hours of music, dramatizing the birth and death of civilization itself.
“Figaro! Figaro! Fi-i-i-i-i-g-g-a-a-a-r-o!”
Whether you’re familiar with the mocking demand for Rossini’s barber from cartoons or from the stage -- or even if the baritone aria “Largo al factotum” hasn’t yet teased your ears -- Figaro’s comical lament is immediately irresistible.
At The Arizona Opera Center, 1636 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix:Wednesday, March 7, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Saturday, March 10, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Saturday, April 7, 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
At Dove of Peace Church, 665 W Roller Coaster Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704
Leonard Bernstein’s Candide premiered on Broadway in 1956, the same year Elvis’ first record hit the charts and Eisenhower successfully won reelection as our 34th president. In 1956, the world was grappling with monumental change: cultural norms were shifting, technology was advancing, and economies were transforming; McCarthyism was raging in Washington D.C. and the Soviet Union was testing its nuclear arsenal. It was hardly “the best of all possible worlds.”
Within the dimly lit ballroom of the Corsi Palace, a small group of Florentine musicians, poets, and intellectuals of the late Renaissance—the Florentine Camerata—filed into their seats to conduct an experiment: Can the catharsis of ancient Greek theater be recreated by adding music to classical drama? These Renaissance men hoped to recreate the profundity of Grecian theater, just as their colleagues in the fine arts resurrected the grace of Greek statuary from blocks of modern marble. After years of research, analysis, and a little guesswork, the Camerata unearthed the essential ingredient that would elevate their performances to the altar of Dionysus. They concluded that music was required to bind the paradoxical worlds of antiquity—the sacred and profane—into one cohesive experience. Their experiment was narrow in its scope, but the results were momentous. Instead of simply mimicking the glory of the past, the Camerata created an art form of the future: opera.
Voltaire’s Candide is a philosophical satire. As such, it directs very specific criticism at the period and culture in which it was written. In order to better understand what Voltaire so deftly critiques in his seminal novella, it is helpful to be familiar with three aspects of the book’s context:
In anticipation of Jennifer Johnson Cano’s upcoming performance for the Tucson Desert Song Festival, we asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better!
In anticipation of Lisette Oropesa’s upcoming performance for the Tucson Desert Song Festival, we asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better!
Have you always known that you wanted to be an opera singer or did the interest develop over time?
In the rich music, bold scenes and riveting action of Tosca, composer Giacomo Puccini plays on the appealing conceit of an operatic diva singing the role of...an operatic diva. Even 117 years after its premiere in Rome the potent, iconic work is still easy to love, says AZO president and general director Joseph Specter. “When people think, ‘I want to take someone very special to the opera for the first time,’ Tosca says ‘Welcome to opera.’”
Arizona Opera gives residency to our Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio artists every year. This week, just in time for Tosca to hit the stage, we’re giving brief residency to our most famous singer yet -- world-renowned operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes.