Fort Worth Opera is starting its new season this weekend and has just announced its next season. KERA’s Jerome Weeks reports the opera will debut a new program next season – in a new space.
KERA radio story:
Expanded online story:
As an opera festival, Fort Worth Opera presents shows in rotation, meaning several different operas can run over a single weekend – whether in Bass Hall downtown or at the Scott Theatre in the culture district. Like this weekend, when both Tosca and Three Decembers will open this year’s festival. General director Darren Woods says next year, they’ll switch from the Scott Theatre to McDavid Studio – just across the street from Bass Hall.
Woods: “We forgot how difficult it is with our small staff opening two shows across town from each other. And we think maybe across the street will be a little bit easier.”
Next April, the first opera in McDavid Studio will be American composer Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied. It’s an adaptation of the bestselling book by journalist Tom Philpott about Colonel Floyd James Thompson, the longest-held American POW in Vietnam. The opera has been performed in New York, Boston and Washington, DC; this will be its regional premiere. Each season, Fort Worth Opera presents one smaller, newer opera like Glory Denied. Or like Jake Heggie’s Three Decembers. Those works are now called the Opera Unbound series.
Of course, next season will see more traditional, popular works like Puccini’s La Boheme, and Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment. North Texas’ favorite soprano, Ava Pine, will return to Fort Worth Opera for her fourth star turn — in the title role in the Donizetti. But composer Richard Strauss’ rarely staged Ariadne auf Naxos is also on the menu. It’s about a wealthy patron’s party mixing up a serious opera company with a comedy troupe. Doing Ariadne was the suggestion of soprano Marjorie Owens, who told Woods she was looking forward to performing in it.
Woods: “And we looked at our repertory and realized the company had never done it in our 66-year history.”
Finally, at McDavid Studio, Fort Worth Opera will debut its mini-showcases for operas-in-progress. The Frontiers series will feature excerpts from new works chosen by a panel of judges.
Woods: “The panel won’t know who the composers are. So we’re really going to be looking at the work itself.”
The deadline for submissions is May 30.
Fort Worth Opera’s current season:
Tosca — May 12-June 2, Bass Hall
Three Decembers — May 13-June 2, Scott Theatre
Marriage of Figaro — May 19-June 1, Bass Hall
Lysistrata — May 26-June 3
Fort Worth Opera’s 2013 season:
La Boheme — April 20-May 11, Bass Hall
Glory Denied, April 21-May 11, McDavid Studio
The Daughter of the Regiment, April 27-May 10, Bass Hall
Ariadne aux Naxos, May 4-May 12, Bass Hall