Stage productions of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Alma Deutscher’s “Cinderella,” Verdi’s “Falstaff” and Puccini’s “Tosca” are on the schedule for San Jose Opera’s 2022-23 season, announced on March 23 by the company’s general manager, Shawna Lucey.
The season – the company’s 39th – runs from September 10 to April 30, 2023 at the California Theater in downtown San Jose.
Unveiling the new season, Lucey, who was named to Opera San Jose’s top management position in December 2021, said the schedule brings great works in new productions, as well as an opportunity to learn about ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ making their company debut.
“I’m so excited to bring these titles to the stage,” said Lucey, calling from Texas, where she was directing the Dallas Opera’s production of Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” – her last contract as traveling director of opera and theater throughout the United States and beyond, she noted, before taking up her full-time position at Opera San Jose.
The 2022-23 season begins with a new production of “The Marriage of Figaro” (September 10-25, 2022), with Mozart’s opera set in India during Imperial Victorian rule. Directed by Brad Dalton and directed by Viswa Subbaraman, the production will feature evocative sets by designer Steven Kemp and Indian dance Kathak from Mosaic America. It was originally planned to open the 2020-21 season, but was postponed due to COVID restrictions.
“This opera about class, comedy and family relations is set perfectly in colonial India,” noted Lucey. “It was planned long before the pandemic, so it’s a great pleasure for me to see him cross the finish line now.”
“Cinderella” follows (November 12-27). Opera San Jose had a hit in 2017 with the US premiere of this enchanting fairytale opera by British composer Deutscher; under the direction of conductor Jane Glover, this production played to full capacity audiences. Now Deutscher, just 17 and making his debut as a conductor, returns to lead the revival of OSJ. Dalton, who directed “Cinderella” for the company in 2017, is directing again.
Lucey, who recently moved to San Jose from New York with her husband and 8-month-old daughter, said she was especially thrilled to see “Cinderella” return to the stage. “I want children to have access to opera,” she said.
Mainstage productions continue in 2023 with “Falstaff” (February 11-26, 2023), directed by Jose Maria Condemi and conducted by San Jose Opera Music Director Joseph Marcheso. Marcheso will also direct the final production of the season, “Tosca” (April 15-30, 2023), directed by Tara Branham in her California Theater debut as San Jose Opera’s first resident director.
Lucey also plans to continue using the company’s Fred Heiman Digital Media Studio, which received acclaim for streaming productions early in the pandemic. “It’s an incredible asset,” she said, “that gives us the opportunity to engage with the community in different ways. It’s a place where we can produce interesting work for artists and the community that may not be suitable for the main stage — recitals, artist showcases and other events. It was on the cutting edge of digital media, and it really put Opera San Jose on the map, so I’m very excited about the possibilities.
In the meantime, Lucey and company are about to wrap up Opera San Jose’s revival of Bizet’s “Carmen,” through March 27, and open the 21-22 season-ending production of “West Side Story.” — another first for Opera San Jose. Starring Teresa Castillo as Maria and Noah Stewart as Tony, it runs from April 16 to May 1.
“I’m thrilled,” Lucey said, noting that the Bernstein-Sondheim classic will feature English and Spanish supertitles. “West Side Story is an incredible piece, and it absolutely belongs in the operatic scene. It addresses the big question of ‘What is America?’ The story is America, and it’s on the scale of opera. It really invites us to examine who we are.
“That’s how I see our work at the opera. People crave connection right now. We’re exactly the right art form to bring people together, and ‘West Side Story’ is just one example of a job to do just that.
“I’m so excited to bring all of these titles to the stage,” she added. “We are so lucky because we have an audience that listens with their hearts. When you have an audience like that, you can really bring great opera back to the stage. This is exactly what we seek to do.
Season pass tickets cost between $100 and $550; single tickets will be available on July 5. More information at 408-437-4450 or www.operasj.org.