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Fort Worth Opera Announces Its 2011 Festival Lineup
by Jerome Weeks 19 May 2010

Next year’s Fort Worth Opera Festival will feature the company’s first fully-staged works by Philip Glass and George Frideric Handel, and its first “off-site” production at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.


HydrogenJukeboxRunning May 14-June 5 next year, the Fort Worth Opera Festival will feature the company’s first fully-staged work by Philip Glass, its first fully-staged opera by George Frideric Handel and its first “off-site” production presented in the Hardy and Betty Sanders Theatre in the Fort Worth Community Arts Center (that would be the Glass piece — it’s a chamber opera).

That extra chamber opera also means that the 2011 festival will be made up of four shows, which is one more than this year’s festival but which the company has presented before. This is the schedule, with the shows performed in (somewhat) rotating repertory:

Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, May 14-June 4

Verdi’s Il Trovatore, May 21-June 3

Handel’s Julius Caesar, for only two performances, May 28 and June 5

Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox, May 24-June 5

Notable items: Directed by John de los Santos, The Mikado will be set in contemporary Japan.

Hydrogen Jukebox (above) was written in 1990 for the Spoleto Festival in collaboration with Allen Ginsberg. It reflects his life, poetry and evolving Eastern philosophy — from his landmark Beat poem, Howl (from which the title is taken), through the anti-war movement, the sexual revolution and environmentalism, all the way up to the ’80s.  It’s a chamber work for ensemble and six soloists, who portray archetypal American characters (policeman, waitress, priest, etc.).

Handel’s Julius Caesar (officially, Julius Caesar in Egypt) centers around the Caesar-Cleopatra romance. The Fort Worth company will cast three male counter-tenors in the roles originally written for castrati, which includes the title role itself.  Commonly, some of the roles  have been filled by female singers, but increasingly, counter-tenors have been used. The Houston Grand Opera, for instance, did it that way for its 1920s Art Deco version, broadcast on NPR’s World of Opera in 2007.

Season tickets range from $29-$327 and go on sale for current 2010 subscribers on May 22 over the phone or at the Bass Hall box office.  The general public can start ordering tickets then, too, but they won’t get their seat assignments until Aug. 1.  Also, seating is limited for Hydrogen Jukebox, so they will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis to current subscribers. If any single tickets are still available, they’ll go on sale to the general public in 2011. The season announcement also appears on the opera’s Facebook page. And you can call 1-877-FWOPERA