After presenting drive-in and smaller productions for the past two seasons, the San Diego Opera plans to come back strong for its 2022-23 season.
The next season, which goes on sale today, will open with a world premiere of Spanish-language opera about Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It will also feature a large-scale production of Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ and a program of two one-act Puccini operas: ‘Suor Angelica’ and ‘Gianni Schicchi’. The season will also include two Detour Series productions at the Balboa Theater, including the world premiere of composer Nicolas Reveles’ “Ghosts,” a trio of one-act horror operas, and Zach Redler’s long-delayed co-production on the theme. of the war. “The fall and the rise.” Among the singers performing here next season are mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, soprano Michelle Bradley and bass-baritone Greer Grimsley.
David Bennett, general manager of the San Diego Opera, said in an interview that the company’s board of directors had agreed to increase next season’s operating budget to signal to the public that the company was back. in its full and dynamic form.
“We want next season to feel like a comeback for us.”
Like virtually every arts organization that has reopened since last summer, the San Diego Opera House is experiencing slower ticket sales than before the pandemic. Part of that may be the COVID-related reluctance among past ticket buyers to sit in a crowded auditorium. But Bennett said the pandemic has also made many ticket buyers more reluctant to try anything new or unfamiliar.
“People don’t seem as willing to take risks,” Bennett said. “Last season, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ sold much better than ‘Cosi fan tutte’. ”
So for the coming season, both Puccini productions should do well, and interest in the opera “Frida y Diego” is high, Bennett said. But he adds that the company expects ticket sales to be slightly lower for the season’s less familiar works. The federal arts stimulus grants the company received during the pandemic will give the company time to rebuild its customer base.
Subscription packages are on sale now, with a three-opera Mainstage subscription for shows at the San Diego Civic Theater starting at $105 and two-opera Detour Series tickets starting at $70. Full series subscriptions start at $175. For tickets, call (619) 533-7000 or visit sdopera.org.
Here is an overview of the 2022-23 season:
“El ultimó sueño de Frida y Diego (Frida and Diego’s Last Dream)”
Grammy-winning Latina composer Gabriela Lena Frank and Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American librettist Nilo Cruz have been working on this Spanish-language opera project for five years. San Diego Opera has co-commissioned the piece with San Francisco Opera, Fort Worth Opera and DePaux University, and SDO will present its first performances. The opera is set in 1957, when muralist Diego Rivera is weeks away from death and he hopes the spirit of his ex-wife, painter Frida Kahlo, who died in 1954, will visit him on All Souls’ Day to that they can relive their tumultuous love story. The opera, with evocative scenography depicting the colorful worlds of the living and the dead, will feature soprano Guadalupe Paz as Frida, baritone Alfredo Daza as Diego and soprano Maria Katzarava as Catrina. , guardian of souls. Lorena Maza is making her company debut as director, and Roberto Kalb will lead. Bennett said: “The design will be very compelling and the music is absolutely compelling. The music is written in a way that isn’t phrased in a way that sounds like Italian opera, but it has a very unique voice and is easy to engage with. 7:30 p.m. October 29, November 1 and 4. 2:00 p.m. November 6. San Diego Civic Theater.
The Puccini duo: ‘Suor Angelica’ & ‘Gianni Schicchi’
Two of the three one-act operas that make up “Il trittico” by Giacomo Puccini in 1918 will be presented in a double program. “Suor Angelica” is the tragic story of Sister Angelica, a nun who learns of the sad fate of the boy she gave birth to out of wedlock seven years earlier. This will be the first production of “Suor Angelica” in the San Diego Opera’s 58-year history. “Gianni Schicchi” is a comic opera about a clever “fixer” of the same name who dons a disguise to help his daughter Lauretta’s fiancé, Rinuccio, restore his family’s fortunes. He is famous for the soprano aria “O mio babbino caro (Oh my dear papa)”. Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe will play the role of Principessa in “Suor Angelica” and the male role of Gianni Schicchi. Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson will play Suor Angelica and Lauretta and Polish tenor Piotr Buszewski will play Rinuccio. San Diego Opera Principal Conductor Yves Abel will lead the orchestra, and Paul Curran will make his company directorial debut. 7:30 p.m. February 11, 14 and 17. 2 p.m. February 19, 2023. San Diego Civic Theatre.
Last performed here in 2016, Puccini’s beloved 1900 opera is the tragic story of Floria Tosca, a beautiful Florentine opera singer who loves painter and political activist Mario Cavaradossi, but is pursued by lecherous and murderous police chief Scarpia. Soprano Michelle Bradley (who played Aida here in 2019 and did a solo concert last year) will play the role of Tosca. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley will play Scarpia, the same role he played here in 2016. Argentinian tenor Marcelo Puente makes his company debut as Mario Cavaradossi. The production will be directed by Alan E. Hicks and directed by Valerio Galli. 7:30 p.m. on March 25, 28 and 31. 2 p.m. April 2, 2023. San Diego Civic Theatre.
“Ghosts”: “Eden”, “Sleeping” and “House”
San Diego composer Nicolas Reveles wrote a trio of horror-inspired one-act operas for the company’s Detour series of smaller, non-traditional works. “Sleep” explores what happens when Old World spiritual practices meet the Christian belief system and powerful entities appear. “House” explores how trauma haunts many of us and stays in our bodies like ghosts. And “Eden,” with a libretto by director John De Los Santos, explores the boundaries of madness and obsession in a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe. Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons (Rosina in SDO’s “The Barber of Seville” in 2021) will star in the operas, which will be staged by John De Los Santos (“Maria de Buenos Aires” in 2018) and conducted by Bruce Stasyna . 7:30 p.m. on April 14 and 15. 1 p.m. April 16, 2023. Balboa Theater.
“The Fall and the Rise”
Originally announced for the 2019-20 season but postponed due to COVID, Zach Redler’s opera is a co-commission between San Diego Opera, US Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus, Seattle Opera , Arizona Opera, Memphis Opera, TCU and Seagle Music Colony. Based on dozens of interviews with active duty soldiers and veterans at East Coast hospitals, this is the story of a female soldier, seriously injured by a roadside bomb, who is placed in an artificial coma to reduce the trauma to his brain. In this dreamlike state, she must make the journey to healing and home. Two of the five singers in the SDO production are active duty military personnel: Teresa Alzadon and Ben Hilgert. 7:30 p.m. on May 12 and 13. 1 p.m. May 14, 2023. Balboa Theater.