Seattle Opera today announced the company's 50th Anniversary Season. Performances of Wagner's Ring kick off the festivities this summer, followed by a subscription series of four operas. Starring singers beloved by the opera-goers of Seattle, the 2013/14 season offers subscribers a healthy variety of comedy and tragedy, reality and fantasy, in a mix of different musical styles and languages. Seattle Opera's anniversary celebration then climaxes in August 2014 with the International Wagner Competition and a special celebration honoring Speight Jenkins, the company's General Director since 1983.
"For my final season at Seattle Opera, I am delighted to present singers who have thrilled our audience time and again in recent years," says Jenkins. "Several have won Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year Award, and many are graduates of our own excellent Young Artists Program. The operas this season include very successful Seattle Opera productions of Rigoletto and The Tales of Hoffmann; The Consul, an important American opera which is new to our stage; and a spectacular cast for La fille du régiment. I am proud to offer great voices, extraordinary music, compelling drama, and captivating productions-everything that I have always loved about opera."
Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale says of the company's immediate plans, "Seattle Opera is offering a four-opera season for 2013/14, as is always our practice following a summer in which we present the Ring. Although the company has not been immune to the challenges of today's economic environment, thanks to diligent planning by Speight Jenkins and the generosity of our board and patrons we were able to program a season that fulfills the company's artistic mission and balances financial realities. It is a great tribute to fifty years of opera in Seattle and Speight's final season to be able to maintain our artistic output."
The 2013/14 season is a very special one for Seattle Opera. In addition to celebrating the bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner, Seattle Opera honors its own 50th anniversary this year. 2013 also marks ten years in McCaw Hall. The third General Director in the company's history will be named in 2013, to step into the leadership role when Speight Jenkins retires in 2014. In addition to exciting new online and education and community engagement programs throughout the season, Seattle Opera honors its golden anniversary with its third International Wagner Competition on August 7, 2014 and a gala concert on August 9, 2014. Tickets to the competition and concert are now available for 2013/14 season subscribers.
The subscription season opens with Donizetti's light-hearted romantic comedy La fille du régiment. When Marie, an orphan raised by a group of French soldiers, falls in love with a local villager, the two must overcome social expectations-and surprising revelations about her origin-in order to be together. Soprano Sarah Coburn stars as the rambunctious Marie on opening night, opposite tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Tonio. The two were most recently seen at Seattle Opera in the 2011 production of The Barber of Seville, and both are alumni of the company's Young Artists Program. Brownlee won Seattle Opera's Artist of the Year Award in 2008 for Arturo in I puritani. Alexander Hajek makes his Seattle Opera debut as Sergeant Sulpice, with Joyce Castle as the Marquise of Berkenfield and Peter Kazaras as the Duchess of Krackentorp. Performing the roles of Marie and Tonio in the production's second cast is another pair of exceptional former Young Artists: Terri Richter Franklin and Andrew Stenson. Stenson made his mainstage debut in spectacular fashion during the 2011/12 season as a last-minute substitution in the challenging role of Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice. Yves Abel returns to Seattle to conduct La fille du régiment in a production by Spanish director Emilio Sagi and designerJulio Galán. Originally designed for the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the production sets the comedy in the 1940s.