Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Press Release


Lakeland -- There is a new resident in the Lakeland cultural community. The Opera Theater of Lakeland was introduced by General Manager and Artistic Director Stephen Scovasso as he announced the 2008-2009 season.

"Look who's new in town -- the Opera Theater of Lakeland, Lakeland's resident opera company. I am very pleased at the support we have already received for this project, and I believe the Lakeland community will fully support their own resident opera company."

The Opera Theater of Lakeland's mission is to celebrate, to nurture, and to promote the art of opera and musical theater. The company will present performances and educational outreach programs showcasing emerging performers from across the United States, established international professionals, and regionally-based talent through the creation of this permanent resident opera company. Our educational programs will include local students attending performances, dress rehearsals, and various other programs which will teach them about the operatic art form and will develop a new audience for the future.

The Historic Polk Theater will be the home of Opera Theater of Lakeland and will provide an historical and unique environment for the company to pursue its mission. We will present three to four operas per season in a variety of styles, which will include well-known classics, lesser known works by famous composers, contemporary pieces, operetta, American Musical Theater, and Zarzuela.

THE 2008 -2009 SEASON:

The Barber of Seville (Rossini)
November 8, 2008 -- 7:30pm

One of the most beloved comic operas in the world, The Barber of Seville tells the story of Count Almaviva who tries to win the love of the beautiful Rosina. Dr. Bartolo, the girl's guardian, has other ideas and wants to marry her himself. The Count enlists the help of Seville's general factotum -- Figaro, the Barber of Seville himself. What ensues is a comic romp that, not without its twists and turns, resolves into a happy ending. The score contains some of the most popular and recognizable music in all of opera, such as Figaro's "Largo al factotum" and Rosina's "Una voce poco fa." It will be sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

The cast includes American baritone Gregory Gebrandt as Figaro, American tenor Timothy Birt as Count Almaviva, Korean soprano Sang-Eun Lee as Rosina, Latin bass Jorge Arcila asDr. Bartolo, and Korean bass Won Cho as Basilio.

La Bohème (Puccini)
February 28, 2009 -- 7:30pm

Set in Paris during the early 1920s, Europe is busy picking up the pieces after the end of World War 1 and is being turned upside down during this age of decadence. Four inseparable bohemians - a poet, a painter, a musician, and a philosopher - lead precarious lives, scrounging for meals and trying to keep warm in their Parisian garret. The poet, Rodolfo, falls in love with Mimi, a lovely seamstress, on a chance meeting on Christmas Eve. Or was it by chance? Mimi and Rodolfo pledge their love through some of the most beautiful and best-known music in all of opera. There is the wonderful couple of Musetta and Marcello, whose fiery romance is also set to the most seductive music. The story of La Bohème was the basis for the hit Broadway musical Rent.

The cast of international singers will be lead by Korean soprano Kyoung Cho as Mimi, Lakeland soprano Liana Valente as Musetta, Mexican tenor Héctor Palacio as Rodolfo, and Argentinean baritone Gustavo Ahuali as the painter Marcello. Andy Anderson, artistic director of the Kansas City Puccini Festival, will conduct and American stage director Jacob Feldman will direct.

Il Trittico - Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi (Puccini)
April 25, 2009 -- 7:30pm

Part of the mission of the Opera Theater of Lakeland is to present lesser known works by famous composers and Il Trittico by Giacomo Puccini certainly fits into this category. Puccini is well known for La Bohème, Madama Butterfly, and Tosca, but some of the composer's favorite music came from Il Trittico (The Triptych), which is a series of 3 one-act operas. It will be sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage. Il Trittico enjoyed its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House on 14 December 1918 and boasted a star studded cast of the most famous singers of the day.

Il Tabarro (The Cloak) is a melodramatic story set in Paris on the river Seine at the turn of the century. A love triangle is formed when a desperate housewife turns to a young man for compassion and affection. Her husband becomes aware of the affair and vows revenge, which he achieves with dramatic effect as he confronts his wife with the evidence of her betrayal. Grace Valdes will sing Giorgetta, Spanish Tenor Eduardo Aladren will sing Luigi, her lover, and Kevin Misslich will sing Michele, the jealous husband.

Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) is the tragic story of a young nun, Suor Angelica, sent to a convent by her wealthy, noble family for having a child out of wedlock. After hearing the news of her son's death, she poisons herself and pleads to the Virgin Mary for redemption for her sin, suicide. Suor Angelica features the beautiful and stirring aria "Senza mamma." Soprano Rosa d'Imperio will sing Sister Angelica and Greek American Mezzo Ann Plagianos will sing the Princess.

Gianni Schicchi (Gianni Schicchi) Family members of Buoso Donati, a rich landowner, are pretending to mourn his death while they search frantically for his will. They are horrified to discover that he has left all of his money and possessions to the monks of the local church. Rinnucio, a nephew of the old man, wants to marry Lauretta, the daughter of Gianni Schicchi, a sly businessman. Although Schicchi is a businessman, his daughter is without a dowry, and the family will not allow the marriage. So with some tricks up his sleeve, Schicchi eventually agrees to impersonate Buoso Donati and attempt to change the will. In the end, Schicchi succeeds by bequeathing most of the possessions to himself. Baritone Kevin Misslich will sing Gianni Schicchi, soprano Diana Mcvey will sing his daughter Lauretta, tenor Scott Williamson will sing Rinnucio, and Ann Plagianos will sing the matriarch of the Donati Family, Zita.

Our inaugural season is filled with laughter, pathos, greed, lust, and miracles. Please join us for all three operas by purchasing a subscription in order to ensure the best seats for this season. You will also save money by purchasing a subscription over single ticket sales. Single tickets range from $20 - $55.

All performances for our 2008-2009 Season will be at the Historic Polk Theater 139 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland. Florida 33801.

For more information, please contact us at 863 438-4866 or view our web site