The world premiere of \"Silent Night\" at Minnesota Opera; the show will be in the Fort Worth Opera\'s 2014 season
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2014 for the Fort Worth Opera

The Fort Worth Opera's 2014 season to include previously announced Silent Night and With Blood, With Ink, plus Cosi fan tutte and Pearl Fishers.

published Friday, April 19, 2013

The 2014 season for the Fort Worth Opera has been announced on the day before the 2013 Festival Season is to begin.

Two of the newer works on the roster, both from the 21st century, had already been announced as part of the group's 10-year initiative for new musicals. The world premiere will be Daniel Crozier and Peter M. Krask's With Blood, With Ink, based on the true story of 17th century Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; and the other new work is Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell's Silent Night, which won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. The latter is based on the 2005 French film Joyeux Noël, which tells a story of a Christmas cease fire between British, French and German troops in World War I.

The other shows in the 2014 season will be Mozart's Così fan tutte and Bizet's The Pearl Fishers, each of which will have three performances at Bass Performance Hall. Silent Night will have two performances at Bass; and Blood/Ink will have nine in McDavid Studio (next to Bass Hall).

The directors for the shows are John de los Santos (Pearl Fishers), David Gately (Così fan tutte), Eric Simonson (Silent Night) and Dona Vaughn (With Blood, With Ink), and notable designers include Austin Scarlett, a finalist in the first season of Project Runway, who will design costumes for Blook/Ink.

The 2014 festival runs April 19-May 11, and will also include the second Frontiers, in which snippets of brand new works will be showcased at the end of the festival. (The first Frontiers is this year; look for coverage on TheaterJones of the entire festival.)

Here's the complete news release about the 2014 season:


FORT WORTH, TX – Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) General Director Darren K. Woods revealed details today of the exciting schedule planned for the company’s 2014 season. Celebrating the first phase of its recently announced ten-year artistic vision Opera of the Americas, the company presents two premieres – the professional world premiere of Daniel Crozier and Peter Krask’s With Blood, With Ink; and the regional premiere and national co-production of Kevin Puts andMark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize award-winning Silent Night. Reinforcing its leadership role in contemporary opera, the 2014 Festival includes the second season of its annual new works program, Frontiers, showcasing new works by composers from the Americas. The company will also feature fresh productions of two popular works: the company’s second staging of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, last performed in 1983; and Mozart’s Così fan tutte, last staged in 1995.

“Fort Worth Opera is proud to present engaging, inspiring works – both contemporary and traditional - in compelling, modern productions that offer memorable experiences, and which make a connection for our audiences,” stated Mr. Woods. “Our goal is to inspire and provoke, to create opportunities for shared experiences and conversations about the human condition in all its myriad facets. Opera is the ultimate storyteller; its delivers messages that resonate deeply in unique and personal ways.

“We are truly excited about the 2014 season and the seasons leading up to and including our 70th anniversary, and we invite our audience to share our excitement through the incredible transformative experience that is opera.”

Music Director Joe Illick echoed the sentiment, saying, “When I was eleven, I saw my first opera - Così fan tutte. I was overwhelmed! How could anything be this funny and this beautiful at the same time? One minute we were laughing, and the next, feeling real compassion. And Mozart's music! Buoyant, joyful, and some of the most searing melodies ever written. And then Silent Night – it is one of the most moving operas of our century. French, German, and Scottish soldiers during World War I take a brief respite from trench warfare when they agree to a cease-fire for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. They share photographs, drinks, stories, and of course, they sing together. Even when we are staring tragedy in the face, singing and storytelling bring us together, affirm life, and convey our deepest feelings. And that's what opera is all about.” 

Fort Worth Opera kicks off the 2014 season with Bizet’s seductive, exotic romance, The Pearl Fishers. Staged by the company only once before more than 30 years ago, The Pearl Fishers weaves the timeless themes of friendship, honor, jealousy, betrayal, and sacrifice in a dramatic story set in the lush, mysterious orient. The season opening production is sung by a talented young cast featuring soprano Hailey Clark (Lysistrata, 2012), and tenor Sean Panikkar (debuting this season in La Bohème) as the ill-fated lovers priestess Leila and pearl fisherman Nadir; baritone Lee Poulis, in his FWO debut, as Zurga, the slighted leader of the village; and baritone Justin Hopkins (Hydrogen Jukebox, 2011) as Nourabad, the high priest of Brahma.

FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts with direction by John de los Santos (The Mikado, 2011; Carmen, 2009). Set Designer Roberto Oswald, Lighting Designer Chad R. Jung, and Costume Designer Scott Marr round out the creative team.

Next in the 2014 opera lineup is composer Daniel Crozier and librettist Peter M. Krask’s work, With Blood, With Ink. The featured production in the company’s popular alternative venue series Opera UnboundWith Blood, With Ink will be held at the McDavid Studio across the street from Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth, and is part of Phase One of the recently announced Opera of the Americas, Fort Worth Opera’s ten-year multi-phase artistic commitment to works by composers of the Americas. The opera is based on the true story of 17th-century Mexican nun Sor (Sister) Juana Inés de la Cruz, a renowned intellectual, poet, theologian, and champion of women’s rights who was forced by the Inquisition to sign an oath in blood renouncing her life’s work. Soprano Sandra Lopez (Carmen, 2009) sings the Dying Sor Juana, and TCU graduate soprano Vanessa Becerra makes her debut as the Young Juana. Tenor Ian McEuen, a second year member of the Fort Worth Opera Studio, (Ariadne auf Naxos, 2013) sings the role of Padre Antonio Nuñez de Miranda, Sor Juana’s father confessor who harbors a private agenda. Mezzo-sopranoAudrey Babcock makes her company debut as Sor Juana’s patroness, Maria Luisa, Countess of Paredes and wife of the Spanish Viceroy.

Rising star conductor Tim Myers leads the production. Veteran director Dona Vaughn makes her company debut. In a company first, costume designs are by a nationally recognized American fashion designer – celebrity designer Austin Scarlett (Project Runway, Nieman Marcus, Shen Wei and Parson’s Dance Company); and set designs are by Erhard Rom, both in their Fort Worth Opera debuts.

Moving from the dramatic to comedic, Fort Worth Opera offers a whimsical view of love in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, a tale that reminds all that love can be a dangerous game. The fidelity of two young couples is put to the test in this masterful farce set at a Naples seaside resort in the 1920’s. Tenor Scott Quinn and baritone Paul Scholten make their FWOpera debuts as Ferrando and Guglielmo, two friends who agree to test their lovers’ loyalty in a bet with a cynical philosopher with unexpected results. 2012 McCammon Voice Competition winner soprano Jan Cornelius (The Marriage of Figaro, 2012) sings Fiordiligi and mezzo-soprano Kathryn Leehmuismakes her debut as Dorabella, sisters who find themselves questioning their hearts. Returning to FWOpera,  bass-baritone Tyler Simpson (Il Trovatore, 2011) sings the role of cynical philosopher Don Alfonso, and Fort Worth Opera Studio soprano Kerriann Otaño makes her debut as the meddlesome maid Despina.

International conductor Garrett Keast makes his FWOpera conducting debut; David Gately (Lysistrata, 2012; Ariadne auf Naxos, 2013) directs in a return engagement. Lighting is by Chad R. Jung. Set Designers Brian PerchaulukBernard Uzan, and Michael Baumgarten make their company debuts, and costumes are provided by costumer A.T. Jones.

Fort Worth Opera’s fourth offering for 2014 is the regional premiere of composer Kevin Puts’ and librettist’s Mark Campbell’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning opera,Silent Night. Co-produced with Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Cincinnati Opera, it is also part of Fort Worth Opera’s recently announced Opera of the Americas program. Based on the 2005 French film Joyeux Noel about the legendary World War I 1914 Christmas Eve cease-fire/truce between French, German and Scottish forces, the dramatic opera illustrates the global character of conflict and the innate nature of humankind in exceptional circumstances. Popular Texas sopranoAva Pine (The Daughter of the Regiment, 2013) sings the role of Anna Sørensen, the courageous German opera singer who refuses to give up on her lover, singer-turned-soldier Nikolaus Sprink, sung by tenor Chad Johnson in his FWOpera debut. Baritone Morgan Smith (Frau Margot, 2007; Carmen, 2009) sings the responsibility-torn French Lieutenant Audebert; baritone Craig Irvin debuts as German Lieutenant Horstmayer, baritone Dan Kempson (Hydrogen Jukebox, 2011) is the Scottish Lieutenant Gordon and tenor Kevin Newell (Lysistrata, 2012) sings the revenge-driven Scottish soldier Jonathan Dale.

FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts. Eric Simonson makes his company directorial debut. Lighting is by Marcus Dilliard (Dialogues of the Carmelites, 2005-06).  Also making their company debuts are Set Designer Francis O’Connor, Projection Designer Andrezj Goulding, Sound Designer C. Andrew Mayer, and Costume Designer Kärin Kopischke.

The final week of the 2014 Festival will features Frontiers, the company’s showcase for new works. Six to eight selected composers will be in residence at the Festival during the last week when their works will be presented in 20 minute performances sung by artists in the 2014 Opera Festival and accompanied by piano. Each composer will attend the showcase and participate in the aforementioned post-performance discussion. Composers will also receive feedback on their work through private meetings with the Frontiers jury panel. In addition, the workshops will be recorded, so the composers can subsequently study the recording to assist in the completion of the compositional process. Final performances will be offered in two separate showcases of four works each on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 6:00 pm, and Friday, May 9, 2014, at 6:00 pm.

Fort Worth Opera 2014 Festival

The Pearl Fishers

MUSIC BY Georges Bizet; libretto by Eugene Cormon & Michel Carré
    April 19, 27m, May 2, 2014 (m=matinee)
    Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
    In French with projected English and Spanish supertitles
    Last performed by FWO in 1983 (2014 marks the second production in FWO history)

   Hailey Clark (Leila) “brilliant, highly refined soprano voice”
   Sean Panikkar (Nadir) “a seductive, honey-coated voice and the good looks to match…” The Globe and Mail
   Lee Poulis* (Zurga) “his voice was always there — robust, solid and compelling” Sarasota Observer
   Justin Hopkins (Nourabad)
   Joe Illick, conductor
   John de los Santos, director
   Roberto Oswald set designer; Chad R. Jung, lighting designer; Scott Marr, costume designer.
Set courtesy of Opera Carolina
Costumes provided by Lyric Opera of Chicago
* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

With Blood, With Ink
MUSIC BY Daniel Crozier; libretto by Peter M. Krask.
    Professional World Premiere; part of Opera of the Americas
    April 20m, 22, 26m, 27, 29, May 3m, 4, 6, 7, 10m, 2014 (m=matinee)
    McDavid Studio, downtown Fort Worth; Opera Unbound Series
    In English (no supertitles)

    Sandra Lopez (Dying Sor Juana) “…the voice is striking, with Puccinian thrust and metal.” Opera News Online
    Vanessa Becerra* (Young Juana) Winner of 2012 McCammon Competition’s Encouragement Award.
    Ian McEuen (Padre) – FWOpera Studio Artist
    Audrey Babcock* (Maria Louisa) “an electrifying voice” Opera Pulse
    Tim Myers, conductor
    Dona Vaughn*, director
    Erhard Rom*, set designer; Austin Scarlett*, costume designer
New production
* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

Così fan tutte
MUSIC BY Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.
    April 26, May 3, 11m, 2014 (m=matinee)
    Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
    In Italian with projected English and Spanish supertitles
    Last performed by FWO in 1995

    Jan Cornelius (Fiordiligi) “a glamorous presence” Dallas Morning News
    Kathryn Leehmuis* (Dorabella) “Her rich, clear mezzo-soprano is breathtaking.” Stage Door Saint Louis
    Scott Quinn* (Ferrando) “…a strong, ringing voice.”
    Paul Scholten* (Guglielmo) “authority and tonal beauty” The Wall St. Journal
    Kerriann Otaño* (Despina) – FWOpera Studio Artist
    Tyler Simpson (Don Alfonso) “…a bass voice to die for, and superb acting chops to boot.” Musical Notes, CA
    Garrett Keast*, conductor
    David Gately, director
    Brian Perchauluk*, Bernard Uzan*, and Michael Baumgarten*, set designers; Chad R. Jung, lighting designer; A.T. Jones, costumes
Set courtesy of Opera Carolina
*denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

Silent Night
MUSIC BY Kevin Puts; libretto by Mark Campbell.
    Regional Premiere; part of Opera of the Americas
    May 4m, 10, 2014 (m=matinee)
    Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
    In English, French, German, Italian, and Latin, with projected English supertitles

    Ava Pine (Anna Sørensen) “The best? Ava Pine. Nothing much else has to be said.” Pegusus News
    Chad Johnson* (Nikolaus Sprink) “excellent” Opera News
    Morgan Smith (Lt. Audebert) “vocally and dramatically striking, very impressive." Opera West
    Craig Irvin* (Lt. Horstmayer) “impressive” Washington Post
    Dan Kempson (Lt. Gordon) "Dan Kempson [sang] the title role in a rich voice, displaying artistry that brought to mind a young Thomas Hampson."
    San Francisco Classical Voice
    Kevin Newell (Jonathan Dale) Florentine Opera Studio Artist
    Joe Illick, conductor
    Eric Simonson*, director
    Francis O’Connor*, set designer; Marcus Dilliard, lighting designer; Andrezj Goulding*, projection designer; C. Andrew Mayer*, sound designer;
    Kärin Kopischke*, costume designer
Co-production with Minnesota Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Cincinnati Opera
*denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

Two separate showcases of four works each on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 6:00 p.m., and Friday, May 9, 2014, at 6:00 p.m.

Schedule of 2014 Festival Performances

Saturday, April 19       7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                     The Pearl Fishers
Sunday, April 20         2:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Tuesday, April 22        7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Saturday, April 26       2:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Saturday, April 26       7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                     Così fan tutte
Sunday, April 27         2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                     The Pearl Fishers
Sunday, April 27         7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Tuesday, April 29        7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Friday, May 2              7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                     The Pearl Fishers
Saturday, May 3         2:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Saturday, May 3         7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                     Così fan tutte
Sunday, May 4           2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                     Silent Night
Sunday, May 4           7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Tuesday, May 6          7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Wednesday, May 7     7:30 p.m          McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Thursday, May 8         6:00 p.m          McDavid Studio          Frontiers Showcase #1
Friday, May 9              6:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio          Frontiers Showcase #2
Saturday, May 10       2:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio          With Blood, With Ink
Saturday, May 10       7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                    Silent Night
Sunday, May 11         2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                     Così fan tutte

TICKETS: Tickets for the 2014 Festival can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the Fort Worth Opera Box Office inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center at 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76107. Season subscriptions range from $70 to $519 while single tickets range from $25 to $200 (prices subject to change). Subscriptions are available now and single tickets go on sale August 1. For more information, please visit or call 817.731.0726 or toll-free at1.877.396.7372. To purchase tickets online, go to www.fwopera.orgThanks For Reading

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2014 for the Fort Worth Opera
The Fort Worth Opera's 2014 season to include previously announced Silent Night and With Blood, With Ink, plus Cosi fan tutte and Pearl Fishers.
by Mark Lowry

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