Opera News

May 6, 2008


A Season of the Dramatic, the Frivolous & the Beautiful

Verdi's spectacular blood-and-thunder opera, Il Trovatore (November 22, 25, and 28, 2008) and Puccini's heart-wrenching, Madama Butterfly (April 25, 28 and May 1, 2009) will be presented by Manitoba Opera in 2008/09, as well as a mid-season, one-night-only concert version of Leonard Bernstein's musical comedy classic, Candide (February 28, 2009).

Canadian greats: tenor Richard Margison (Manrico in Il Trovatore) and coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl (Cunigonde in Candide) will lead an array of talented artists from North America and Winnipeg in this season of the dramatic, the frivolous, and the beautiful.

"In programming 2008/09, we endeavored to present a combination of works that will be appealing, engaging, enlightening and entertaining," explained Larry Desrochers, Manitoba Opera General Director and CEO. "Each work in the 2008/09 season offers a distinctly different musical and theatrical experience: the dark and deep-seated vengeance of Il Trovatore, the buoyant optimism of Candide, and the emotional lyricism of Madama Butterfly."

2008/09 Season & Casual Tickets
Tickets are currently available by subscription only through Ticketmaster at 957-7842. Subscribers save up to 30% over casual ticket prices and are eligible to receive a number of other benefits including savings on service charges, exchange privileges, and additional savings on casual tickets.

To obtain a 2008/09 season brochure, call 944-8929.

Casual tickets will be on sale in September through Ticketmaster, (204)253-ARTS (2787), at all Ticketmaster outlets or at www.ticketmaster.ca

IL TROVATORE: The Gypsy's Revenge
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano

The season opens with Verdi's Il Trovatore which was last presented by Manitoba Opera 20 years ago. From beginning to end, this opera is full of thrilling arias, ensembles and choruses. One of Canada's most renowned singers, Richard Margison, will sing the role of Manrico in this spectacular opera. Mr. Margison last appeared with Manitoba Opera in 1992 in The Masked Ball. Canadian soprano, Michele Capalbo, will sing the role of Leonora. Ms. Capalbo is a world-class singer with a beautiful timbre and exciting vocal dexterity. Her performance as Aïda in the Zefferilli production at Teatro Sociale in Mantova in 2005 was described as having "moments of authentic perfection and a rich palette of expressions underlined by intense sensibility."

Making his Manitoba Opera debut as the Count di Luna is American baritone Todd Thomas. Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Emilia Boteva returns to MO to sing the role of Acuzena, the character upon which the opera hinges. Ms. Boteva was very well received when she made her MO debut at the 2007 Belle Voci concert. Tyrone Paterson, MO's Music Advisor and Principal Conductor will conduct, with former Winnipegger, Michael Cavanagh returning to direct.

The Story
In fifteenth-century Spain during a civil war, two brothers - Manrico and Count di Luna - separated at birth (unbeknownst to each other), are in love with the same woman and fight to the death for love and country. Meanwhile, a gypsy (Azucena) avenges her mother's fiery death and a beautiful aristocrat (Leonora) sacrifices her honour to save the man she loves.

When the Count gains the upper hand in the feud by imprisoning Azucena and Manrico, he orders Manrico beheaded only to learn too late that Manrico is his long-believed-dead brother.

CANDIDE: A Sparkling Musical Comedy Classic
Composed by Leonard Bernstein
Based on French author, Voltaire's satirical masterpiece Candide, ou L'optimisme

This concert version of Leonard Bernstein's delightful operetta Candide will star the incomparable Tracy Dahl as Cunegonde. Stuart Howe will sing the role of Candide, the wandering optimist in search of the "best possible world."Mr. Howe last appeared here as Alfredo in Die Fledermaus. A rising young Canadian baritone, Philip Addis will sing the role of Maximillian, Cunegonde's narcissistic brother. Mezzo-soprano Lynn McCurtry will sing the role of The Old Lady. Last summer, Lynn sang the role of Mme. Sylvie in some workshops of Transit of Venus and last appeared with MO as the Third Lady in The Magic Flute.

Candide is a musical tour de force and considered one of Bernstein's best scores. It is most known for its overture, Cunegonde's pyrotechnical aria "Glitter and be Gay,"Dr. Panlgoss' "The Best of All Possible Worlds,"and the incredible closing number "Make Our Garden Grow."

The Story
In beautiful Westphalia, Candide, his cousin Cunegonde, her brother Maximillian, and the mad Paquette live a blissful life. Their teacher, Dr. Pangloss, has instilled in them the notion that all events, even bad ones, are for the best.

Determined to follow his instructor's creed of mindless optimism, after being banished from his homeland, Candide embarks on his search for life's meaning and confronts arduous travel, grave misfortune, corrupt mankind, and merciless Nature. However, despite the changing tides of bliss and misery, optimism and pessimism, the hopeful Candide, along with his childhood love, Cunegonde, commit themselves to the pursuit of "universal good."

MADAMA BUTTERFLY: Life with dishonour or death with dignity?
Composed by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

The season closes with the intensely moving and unforgettable Madama Butterfly. Making her MO debut is American soprano Ai-Lan Zhu as Cio-Cio-San. Ms. Zhu is a leading interpreter of the role, having sung it across North America and at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Winnipegger Kurt Lehmann will sing the role of B. F. Pinkerton. This will mark his second appearance in a leading role at Manitoba Opera, the only Manitoban tenor to hold that honour.

Gaétan Laperrière, one of Canada's great baritones, who last appeared with Manitoba Opera in the title role of Rigoletto in 2004, will sing the role of the American Consul, Sharpless. A rising Canadian mezzo-soprano, Lauren Segal, will make her debut as Suzuki. She has a striking stage presence with a big expressive voice. Maestro Daniel Lipton, who conducted the concert in 2007 and Aïda in 2000, returns to conduct. Winnipegger Ann Hodges, who last directed Die Fledermaus, will direct.

The Story
An American naval officer, B.F. Pinkerton, arranges, through a marriage broker, to take a 15-year-old bride, Cio-Cio-San (Butterfly). Although the marriage enables her to leave the life of a geisha, her family disowns her for renouncing her ancestral religion.

In love with the dashing Pinkerton, she ignores warnings and he soon returns to the U.S. Butterfly waits three long years for him to return. When he does, it is to claim the one thing she loves more than life itself.


2008/09 Sponsors, Funders & Partners
(As of May 6/08)

Season Funders: Canada Council for the Arts
Manitoba Arts Council
Winnipeg Arts Council
The Winnipeg Foundation

Production and Performance Partners:
The Great-West Life Assurance Company
Investors Group
Richardson Foundation
SunLife Financial
Winnipeg Free Press
Advance Electronics

Education and Outreach Partners:
The Great-West Life Assurance Company
Peter D. Curry Memorial Fund

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