Florida Grand Opera's 2012-2013 Season:

International Opera Hits & Favorite Leads Return to the FGO Stage

MIAMI – August 2, 2012 [UPDATE] – Florida Grand Opera (FGO) is proud to present its 72nd continuous season of grand opera. Boasting a classic selection of works as well as the return of company favorites in leading roles, the 2012-2013 productions include: Puccini’s La bohème, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Bellini’s La sonnambula, and Verdi’s La traviata. See below full casting for all productions and a new Sunday matinee in Broward for La traviata

La bohème

The new season begins November 17, 2012, with Puccini’s most famous and popular opera, La bohème, last seen at FGO in 2008. Known for its glorious arias and intoxicating melodies, it is a standard in Italian repertoire and one of the most frequently performed operas internationally. The inspiration for the widely popular musical Rent, this opera follows a group of young bohemians living in Paris in the 1830s, focusing on the love story of Rodolfo, the poet, and Mimì, a seamstress suffering from a life-threatening illness.

The bewitching Mexican-American soprano and 2012 Richard Tucker Award winner, Ailyn Pérez, brings to the role of Mimì a voice that the Associated Press calles “pure and honeyed.” She last sang the part in 2010 for Cincinnati Opera, where she “displayed Mimì's vulnerability … [with] the luster of her voice and depth of expression," according to The Enquirer. Mexican tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz returns to the FGO stage to sing Rodolfo, a role he has made his signature and performed with Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Berlin State Opera, and other top companies.

He last sang with FGO in 2009’s Madama Butterfly, showcasing a “voice with worthy acting, bringing the requisite swagger and charm,” according to South Florida Classical Review.

Following a highly successful performance as the lead in FGO’s most recent Rigoletto, Mark Walters comes back to Miami for the 2012-2013 season. The baritone Opera News calls “a force to be reckoned with” sings the role of Marcello. Returning to South Florida immediately following a successful run in FGO’s Young Artist Studio is Brittany Ann Robinson. The young soprano brings what South Florida Classical Review calls a “lush voice” to the role of Musetta. The production is conducted by FGO Music Director Ramon Tebar, whose recent work in La rondine “stood out for the delicacy and transparency of the textures he drew from the ensemble,” as per South Florida Classical Review. Director David Gately will once again bring his clever approach and vivid storytelling to FGO. This production of La bohème, created by Lyric Opera of Kansas City in 2008, is made possible by a generous donation from Randy Gage. Fort Lauderdale performances are sponsored by Rose Miniaci.


**Sung in Italian with English and Spanish projected translations**

MIAMI - Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House
November 17, 2012, at 7 p.m. – Opening Night;
November 21, 24, 27, & 30, 2012, at 8 p.m.;
December 2, 2012, matinee at 2 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater
December 6, 2012, at 7:30 p.m.;
December 8, 2012, at 8 p.m.


Mimì - Ailyn Pérez
Rodolfo - Arturo Chacón-Cruz
Musetta - Brittany Ann Reneé Robinson ◊
Marcello - Mark Walters
Colline - Adam Lau ♦ *
Schaunard - Ryan Milstead ♦
Benoît - Craig Colcough ◊
Alcindoro - Craig Colcough ◊

Conductor - Ramon Tebar
Director - David Gately
Set Designer - R. Keith Brumley *
Costume Designer - Malabar, Ltd.
Lighting Designer - Mark Stanley *

* = FGO Debut  ◊ = Former Young Artist  ♦ = Current Young Artist

Die Zauberflöte

On January 26, 2013, Florida Grand Opera will welcome a new year with one of the most performed opera in the world – Die Zauberflöte. Mozart’s last operatic masterpiece is an allegorical representation of the timeless struggle between good and evil. The handsome prince Tamino is charged by the Queen of the Night with the rescue of her daughter, the lovely Pamina, from the hands of Sarastro. As his quest alongside the bird catcher Papageno nears its end, Tamino begins to realize who the real villain is in this story.

Our hero, Tamino, is sung by Andrew Bidlack, a former FGO Young Artist and recent San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. He last joined FGO for the 2010-2011 production of Don Giovanni, where he brought a “smooth tenor voice” to the role of Don Octavio, according to South Florida Classical Review. Former FGO Young Artist Jonathan G. Michie, a South Florida favorite, returns home in the comedic part of Papageno. Praised for “vocal mastery and theatrical panache” by the San Francisco Chronicle, Michie most recently visited FGO to sing in Roméo et Juliette as Mercutio.

Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa makes her FGO debut in the role of Pamina. She was most recently featured in the Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcast of The Enchanted Island as Miranda, a role where she exhibited a “gleaming voice and beguiling grace,” according to the New York Times. A graduate of the Met’s Lindeman Young Artist Program, Oropesa has performed with the Met numerous times and is scheduled to return there next season as Gilda in a new production of Rigoletto.

Soprano Jeanette Vecchione joins the cast as the Queen of the Night, a role she recently undertook in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in December 2011. The Juilliard School graduate has been described as “a rising star … [with] easy high notes, which she used flawlessly,” by the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio. In the role of Sarastro is Jordan Bisch, described by the Dallas Morning News as a “beautifully chocolaty yet well-focused bass.” The former Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist made his debut this season with the Dallas Opera as Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, which he also performed with FGO in 2010.

Conductor Andrew Bisantz and Director Jeffrey Marc Buchman join forces again, following a smash-hit with FGO’s most recent Rigoletto. Bisantz “drew vigorous sounds from the orchestra, with brisk tempos” while Buchman’s stage direction was credited with “[mastering] an art beyond the powers of many directors” in a review by South Florida Classical Review. This production of Die Zauberflöte was built by New York City Opera in 1988. Miami performances of Die Zauberflöte are sponsored, in part, by Funding Arts Network and Fort Lauderdale performances are sponsored, in part, by Funding Arts Broward.


**Sung in German with English and Spanish projected translations**

MIAMI - Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House
January 26, 2013, at 7 p.m. – Opening Night;
February 1, 5, & 16, 2013, at 8 p.m.;
February 10, 2013, matinee at 2 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater
February 21, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.;
February 23, 2013, at 8 p.m.


Tamino - Andrew Bidlack
Pamina - Lisette Oropesa *
Papageno - Jonathan G. Michie ◊
Queen of the Night - Jeanette Vecchione *
Sarastro - Jordan Bisch
Lady #1 - Lacy Sauter ♦
Lady #2 - Cynthia Cook ♦ *
Lady #3 - Carla Jablonski ♦ *
Monostatos - Matthew Maness ♦ *
Papagena - Hye-Jung Lee ♦ *
Priest #1 - Matthew Newlin ♦ *
The Speaker - Adam Lau ♦
Armored Man #1 - Matthew Newlin ♦ *

Conductor - Andrew Bisantz
Director - Jeffrey Marc Buchman ◊
Set & Costume Designer - Thierry Bosquet *
Lighting Designer - Donald Edmund Thomas

* = FGO Debut  ◊ = Former Young Artist  ♦ = Current Young Artist

La sonnambula

The season continues with the return of Bellini’s La sonnambula, an FGO production with sets and costumes by Carlo Maria Diappi. Entitled “The Sleepwalker,” this artful piece speaks of Amina, a simple village girl believed to be unfaithful to her fiancé, Elvino, due to her suspicious nighttime wanderings. It is among the finest of the bel canto (meaning “beautiful singing,”) style, which has attracted leading coloratura sopranos since its 1831 debut.

In the role of Amina, FGO features Rachele Gilmore. The former FGO Young Artist is known for her dynamic stage presence, silvery timbre, and effortless high register. This January, she had her debut with Teatro alla Scala in Les contes d’Hoffmann, where her Olympia was described as having “roulades, trills, ascending and descending scales, glissandi available without trouble. The high notes are bright lightning," according to OperaClick. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the same role in 2009, resulting in a "show-stopping" performance, according The Classical Source. The part of her fiancé is sung by Michele Angelini, a tenor voice the Dallas Morning News described as “silken loveliness as well as graceful agility.” He recently performed the roles of Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri in Bilbao and returned to the Metropolitan Opera for Armida.

Last seen at FGO in 2011 as Leporello in Don Giovanni, bass-baritone Tom Corbeil returns home as the mysterious Count Rodolfo. The former FGO Young Artist and Barihunks regular dedicated the 2011-2012 season to touring with the first national tour of The Addams Family Musical in the role of Lurch, continuing to showcase a “low, rumbling, deeply rich, operatic bass,” according to The Theater Mirror.

Celebrated soprano Renata Scotto, who made a specialty of singing the title role, directs La sonnambula for FGO once again. Scotto, famous for her portrayals of Verdi, Puccini, and bel canto heroines at major opera houses worldwide, made her directorial debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1986 with Madama Butterfly and first directed for FGO in 2001’s Tosca. The orchestra is once again under the direction of Maestro Ramon Tebar.


**Sung in Italian with English and Spanish projected translations**

MIAMI - Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House
February 9, 2013, at 7 p.m. – Opening Night;
February 12 & 15, 2013 at 8 p.m.;
February 17, 2013, matinee at 2 p.m.


Amina - Rachele Gilmore ◊
Elvino - Michele Angelini *
Rodolfo - Tom Corbeil ◊
Lisa - Hye-Jung Lee ♦
Teresa - Cynthia Cook ♦
Alessio - Adam Lau ♦
Notary - Matthew Newlin ♦

Conductor - Ramon Tebar
Director - Renata Scotto
Set & Costume Designer - Carlo Maria Diappi
Light Designer - Donald Edmund Thomas

* = FGO Debut  ◊ = Former Young Artist  ♦ = Current Young Artist

La traviata

The season ends with Verdi’s La traviata. Based on a play by Alexander Dumas, Jr., La traviata is the tragic story of Violetta, a courtesan who finds true love until the prejudices of society force her to relinquish it for the benefit of her beloved. Violetta is one of opera’s most sublimely drawn characters and, together with Verdi’s glorious music, makes La traviata a truly compelling operatic experience. This production will feature two equally astounding casts.

The role of the highly-complex Violetta will be sung by sopranos María Alejandres and Suzanne Vinnik, each making her debut in the role this season. A treasure of her native Mexico, Alejandres got her start in 2008, when she won Plácido Domingo’s internationally acclaimed opera and zarzuela competition, Operalia, and she has since sung in some of the most prestigious opera houses in the world, including La Scala in Milan and the Royal Opera House in London. She closed FGO’s 2011-2012 season as the lead soprano in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, boasting a “big, clarion voice with high registers of impressive power,” according to Palm Beach Arts Paper. Vinnik, making her FGO debut, is a rising talent hailed by Opera News for her “beautifully molded, vividly communicative phrasing.” The hazel-eyed beauty is a graduate of the Opera Studio at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy, where she studied under Renata Scotto. She has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as with Nevada Opera Theatre, Opera North, and, most recently, the Castleton Festival, among many others.

The two Italian tenors singing the role of Alfredo Germont will be making their American debuts while in Miami. Tenor Paolo Fanale has been praised as a “major revelation” by noted critic and scholar Lorenzo Arruga. The young tenor boasts a successful career in Europe, having graced prestigious stages such as the Teatro Comunale of Bologna, the Thêatre des Champs-Elysées, and the Finnish National Opera. Tenor Ivan Magri, a student of Luciano Pavarotti, comes to FGO after having won numerous international voice competitions and having sung on the stages of major opera houses in Italy, Slovakia, Ireland, France, and Japan.

Singing Giorgio Germont are baritones Joo Won Kang and Giorgio Caoduro. A recent FGO Young Artist and current San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow, Kang was praised by South Florida Classical Review last season for the “patriarchal power and dignity” of his voice when he portrayed Count Monterone in FGO’s Rigoletto. Caoduro has brought what the Barihunks blog calls a " round, sonorous baritone” to leading baritone roles in established European opera houses, including La Scala, Paris Opera House, Rome Opera, and more.

The sets and costumes for La traviata were designed by Allen Charles Klein, whose production of Verdi’s Aida opened FGO’s inaugural season at the Adrienne Arsht Center in 2006. Director Bliss Hebert brings his expert aesthetic to the production, having masterminded more than 200 theatrical productions, including 80 operas. Maestro Ramon Tebar closes the season, conducting three of the four operas presented in 2012-2013. This production, composed of sumptuous costumes and sets, was created for FGO in 2008 in a coproduction with Cincinnati Opera.


**Sung in Italian with English and Spanish projected translations**

MIAMI - Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County / Ziff Ballet Opera House
April 20, 2013, at 7 p.m. – Opening Night;
April 23, 24, 26, & 27, 2013, at 8 p.m.;
April 21, 2013, matinee, at 2 p.m.

FORT LAUDERDALE - Broward Center for the Performing Arts / Au-Rene Theater
May 2, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.;
May 4, 2013, at 8 p.m.;
May 5, 2013, matinee, at 2 p.m.


DATES: April 20, 23, 26, May 2 & 5
Violetta Valéry - Maria Alejandres
Alfredo Germont - Paolo Fanale *
Giorgio Germont - Giorgio Caoduro *

DATES: April 21, 24, 27, May 4
Violetta Valéry - Suzanne Vinnik *
Alfredo Germont - Ivan Magri *
Giorgio Germont - Joo Won Kang ◊

Gaston de Letorières - Matthew Maness ♦
Baron Douphol - Ryan Milstead ♦
Marchese d’Obigny - Adam Lau ♦
Flora Bervoix - Lacy Sauter ♦
Annina - Carla Jablonski ♦

Conductor - Ramon Tebar
Director - Bliss Hebert
Set & Costume Designer - Allen Charles Klein
Lighting Designer - Thomas C. Hase
Choreographer - Rosa Mercedes

* = FGO Debut  ◊ = Former Young Artist  ♦ = Current Young Artist

Subscriptions for the 2012-2013 season start at only $36. FGO’s Box Office is located at the Doral Center on 8390 NW 25 St., Doral, FL 33122, and is open to the public from 10am to 4pm, Monday through Friday during the season. Offices are closed on Fridays in the summer. Tickets may also be purchased by phone at (800) 741-1010 or online at www.FGO.org.

Opera Preview lectures for the season are sponsored by Jeff and Cathy Bartel. Appearances by supernumeraries throughout the season are sponsored by Robert and Florence Werner. Sponsorship opportunities for productions and events throughout the season are still available. For more information, please contact Interim Director of Development Brendan Glynn at 305-854-1643 x 1601 or via email at bglynn@fgo.org.


Florida Grand Opera (FGO), the oldest performing arts organizations in Florida, celebrates its 72nd year of continuously producing grand opera during the 2012-2013 season, which features: Puccini’s La bohème, Nov. 17 through Dec. 8; Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Jan. 29 through Feb. 23; Bellini’s La sonnambula, Feb. 9 through Feb. 17; and Verdi’s La traviata, Apr. 20 through May 5. Subscriptions for all four operas of the season start at $36 and single tickets start as low as $11. Tickets may be purchased by phone at (800) 741-1010 or online at www.FGO.org.

Founded in 1941 as Greater Miami Opera and later merging with The Opera Guild Inc. in 1994, FGO presents a mixture of standard repertoire and contemporary works as well as commissions new productions – all featuring projected translations in English and Spanish. FGO, recognized for funding by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding is also provided, in part, by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Affairs Council, the Mayor and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners and the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council. Program support is provided by the City of Miami Beach, Cultural Affairs Program, Cultural Arts Council. Florida Grand Opera is a Resident Company of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and a member company of OPERA America. American Airlines is the Official Airline, Intercontinental Miami is the Official Hotel and Steinway & Sons is the Official Piano of Florida Grand Opera.

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