Ladies and gentlemen, the 2012-13 Season of Magic and Mischief is officially open.
And the first act in Opera Louisiane’s lineup is A Feast With Falstaff on Thursday, Sept. 27, in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.
But that’s only the start of a season which promises big things. Really big things.
“We’re finally going to produce a grand opera,” Leanne P. Clement said.
She’s Opera Louisiane’s executive director, and a grand opera has been one of Opera Louisiane’s goals since its inception four years ago.
And for those wondering about the meaning of “grand opera,” it’s a full-fledged opera production, complete with stage, sets and orchestra. Opera Louisiane’s production will be Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore or The Elixir of Love.
This grand opera marks the finale of Opera Louisiane’s season on Friday, March 1, and will be performed in the Baton Rouge River Center Theatre for the Performing Arts.
“Donizetti’s soaring melodies and irresistible choruses make L’elisir d’amore an immediate audience favorite,” Clement said.
This unlikely love story of the small town peasant, Nemorino, and the wealthy landowner, Adina, is complicated by the traveling swindler, Dr. Dulcamara, who promises cures for every ailment.
Soprano Jane Redding will portray the feisty Adina with Louisiana native Bray Wilkins as her suitor, Nemorino. Egypt native Ashraf Sewailam will play the meddling salesman, Dulcamara, and local favorite Dennis Jesse will play Belcore, the confident officer after Adina’s affections.
The Elixir of Love will be performed with English supertitles under the baton of Opera Louisiane’s music director Michael Borowitz in this production.
In between, Opera Louisiane fans will be happy to note that the company once again will be staging a production in its Young People’s Opera Program series. Last year, the production was Mozart’s The Magic Flute.
The opera was performed in English so children could better understand it. That will be the same case this year when Opera Louisiane performs Englebert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
The family performance is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Christian Life Academy.
“And like last year, audience members are encouraged to wear the colors of their favorite football teams,” Clement said. “Our family opera was a success last year. We had more than 500 in attendance, which is amazing, considering that LSU was playing at home that day.”
Admission to Hansel and Gretel will be free for children age 18 and younger with an accompanying adult. Three productions for public, private, parochial and homeschool students in the fourth through the sixth grades will precede the family performances from Nov. 7-9. Schools from Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana parishes have been invited to the performances.
The Opéra Louisiane Young Artists take the stage for this show. Ariana Wehr and Molly Dahlberg portray the mischievous siblings who encounter the hungry Gingerbread Witch, played by Amy Porter.
And though the company won’t be staging a Valentine’s Day show this year, its “Operagrams” will be ready for delivery. It also will be presenting a pre-Valentine’s Day performance of sorts on Jan. 31, 2013, in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol.
The cabaret-style show is titled The Best of Opera and Broadway, and will be hosted by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne. The evening will include opera, operetta, musical theater and jazz.
The performance will feature Jessica Cates and Michael Krzankowski, along with Chauncey Packer and Ebony Preston, who are fresh off an international tour of Porgy and Bess. Borowitz will provide accompaniment.
“We’re also doing Pitchers and Puccini again this year,” Clement said.
“This is a monthly program that brings opera to bars and restaurants. It’s loosely based on the national program, Opera on Tap, and it’s currently held at Lucy’s Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant in downtown Baton Rouge one Thursday night each month.”
The entrance is free to these casual performances that engage audiences with interactive games and prizes.
“Opéra Louisiane also promotes opera at the Manship Theatre,” Clement said. “Through a partnership with Emerging Cinemas, the Manship Theatre offers live and pre-recorded performances from the greatest European houses. Visit La Scala, the Sydney Opera House, the Royal Opera, and International Festivals to hear the greatest voices of our time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a glass of wine as the Manship takes you to the birthplace of opera and beyond.”
Opéra Louisiane season subscriptions are on sale. For subscriptions, single tickets or more information, call (225) 377-2029 or visit http://www.operalouisiane.com.
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