Promising mix announced for San Diego’s 2016-17 opera season

More looking into the future, as San Diego Opera announced their next season over the weekend.  After a fairly conservative season this year (understandable under the circumstances), next year’s lineup includes two Verdi classics, Rossini’s fairy tale, Peter Brook’s Carmen redux and the West Coast premiere of a new multimedia exploration by David T. Little, as well as a celebrity recital by tenor Piotr Beczala. Three favorites and a couple of good stretches — could be a good recipe.

The announcement includes quite a few names very familiar to Los Angeles buffs, including mezzo Peabody Southwell as Carmen and Marta Domingo‘s 1920s take on La traviata, revived at LAO to acclaim in Sept 2014.  SDO’s run includes Joshua Guerrero as Alfredo, and plenty of other monikers will be familiar as well. Overall, it looks like a good slate with something for everyone.

Tickets are only available as subscriptions at this point, but it’s early yet — watch for single ticket info in a few months if you’re not ready to buy the whole shebang.

More details are below — we’ve excerpted the main section of their press release here, and more information is available on their website.


[Press release]

San Diego Opera Announces 2016-2017 Season

  • Tenor Piotr Beczala Returns in Recital
    • Saturday, September 17, 2016
      (The Balboa Theatre)
  • Rossini’s take on the beloved classic fairy tale, La Cenerentola (Cinderella) starring Lauren McNeese as Angelina (Cinderella), David Portillo as Don Ramiro, and Ashraf Sewailam as Alidoro
    • Conducted by Gary Wedow
    • Directed by Lindy Hume
    • Production from Leipzig Opera
      • Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 7 PM
      • Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 7 PM
      • Friday, October 28, 2016 at 7 PM
      • Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 2 PM
        (San Diego Civic Theatre)
  •  West Coast Premiere of the multimedia opera Soldier Songs by composer David T. Little starring David Adam Moore
    • Conducted by Steven Schick
    • Directed by Tomer Zvulun
    • Production by GLMMR
      • Friday, November 11, 2016 at 7 PM
      • Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 7 PM
      • Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 2 PM
        (The Balboa Theatre)
  • Verdi’s musical exploration of Shakespeare’s character Falstaff starring Roberto de Candia as Falstaff, Marianne Cornetti as Dame Quickly, and Ellie Dehn as Alice Ford
    • Conducted by Daniel Callegari
    • Directed by Olivier Tambosi
    • Production from Lyric Opera of Chicago
      • Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Friday, February 24, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 2 PM
        (San Diego Civic Theatre)
  • Peter Brook’s La tragèdie de Carmen (The Tragedy of Carmen), a distilled version of Bizet’s classic opera, starring Peabody Southwell as Carmen
    • Directed by James Darrah
    • Production by Chromatic
      • Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2 PM
        (The Balboa Theatre)
  • Verdi’s tragic La traviata starring Corrine Winters as Violetta, Joshua Guerrero as Alfredo, and Stephen Powell as Germont
    • Conducted by Stephen Lord
    • Directed by Marta Domingo
    • Production from Los Angeles Opera
      • Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Friday, April 28, 2017 at 7 PM
      • Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 2 PM
        (San Diego Civic Theatre)
  • Full Season Subscriptions Starting at $171

San Diego, CA – Returning favorites, important debuts by exciting American artists, bold new productions, and staged works that explore the relevance of opera in the 21st century are all part of San Diego Opera’s 2016-2017 Season.

The Company will continue to present three mainstage operas at the San Diego Civic Theatre, but this season has shifted one production to a Fall performance, Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella), which will take place in October. The Company is also pleased to announce the Detour series, a continuing series of exciting performances that this season includes Soldier Songs and La tragèdie de Carmen at The Balboa Theatre.

“Starting this season, San Diego Opera will present one mainstage opera in the Fall. Doing this enables the Company to have a presence in the community outside of winter and spring, which has traditionally been known as ‘opera season’ in San Diego. By presenting one mainstage opera during this time, it puts infrastructure in place that will allow us to present a variety of works under consideration for future seasons, making San Diego Opera a year-round presence in the community. Moving a mainstage opera out of what has traditionally known as opera season is not unprecedented for us; the Company held the very successful summer Verdi Festival for years in the late 70’s and 80’s,” shares San Diego Opera General Director David Bennett. 

Two Giuseppe Verdi operas, Falstaff (February) and La traviata (April) round out the mainstage offerings at the San Diego Civic Theatre. Three special events enhance the season including the season kickoff in September with famed tenor Piotr Beczala in recital at the Balboa Theatre. The Company will also invite audience members to explore different styles of opera and how they can be presented when the Company presents the West Coast premiere of David T. Little’s multimedia event Soldier Songs (November), a work that traces the shift in perceptions of war as a man ages from a child, to a soldier, to a father. Soldier Songs will be performed at the Balboa Theatre. The Company will also present Peter Brook’s chamber opera La tragèdie de Carmen (March), a distilled version of Bizet’s classic opera Carmen. La tragèdie de Carmen will be performed at the Balboa Theatre.

Internationally renowned singers Piotr Beczala, Marianne Cornetti, Ellie Dehn, David Adam Moore, Susannah Biller, Kirstin Chávez, Simeon Esper, Reinhard Hagen, Stephen Powell, and Kevin Langan all make welcome returns to San Diego Opera. The 2016-2017 season also marks important Company debuts by Corrine Winters, Lauren McNeese, David Portillo, José Adán Pérez, Jose Guerrero, Roberto de Candia, Troy Cook, and Maureen McKay. Conductors making debuts this season are Gary Wedow (La Cenerentola) and Stephen Lord (La traviata), and Steven Schick (Soldier Songs). Maestro Daniele Callegari returns for Falstaff. All stage directors this season are making Company debuts with Lindy Hume directing La Cenerentola, Olivier Tambosi directing Falstaff, Marta Domingo directing La traviata, Tomer Zvulun directing Soldier Songs, and James Darrah directing La tragèdie de Carmen

The season opens on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at 7 PM at the Balboa Theatre with the anticipated return of tenor Piotr Beczala in recital. Mr. Beczala is considered by many to be the leading tenor of his generation, selling out recitals at Carnegie Hall and receiving critical and popular acclaim for his performances at all the world’s leading opera houses. Mr. Beczala made his Company debut in 2010 as Rodolfo in La bohème and returned in 2014 as Gustav III in A Masked Ball and later that season appeared in the Verdi Requiem. For this recital with pianist, Mr. Beczala will perform a selection of opera arias and art songs. Tickets begin at $20.

The season continues on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 7 PM at the Civic Theatre with the first mainstage opera of the season, Gioachino Rossini’s La Cenerentola (Cinderella). Based on the fairy tale, this classic story is known to both old and young audiences and will delight with its arias and ensembles. Making a notable debut is mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese as Angelina/Cinderella. She is joined by tenor David Portillo as Don Ramiro in his Company debut. Soprano Susannah Biller makes her welcome return to the Company as Clorinda and bass Ashraf Sewailam returns as Alidoro. Conductor Gary Wedow makes his Company debut leading the San Diego Symphony for these productions and director Lindy Hume will make her Company debut staging the action. This production is from Leipzig Opera. Other performances will take place on October 25, 28, and 30, 2016. Tickets begin at $37.   

San Diego Opera is excited to present the West Coast premiere of David T. Little’s Soldier Songs on Friday, November 11, 2016 at 7 PM at The Balboa Theatre. Soldier Songs is a multimedia work that explores the shift in perception of war from the age of 6 to 66 as sung from the perspective of an abstract character as he moves through the three phases of life: youth (playing war games) warrior (time served in the military) and an elder (aged, wise, reflective). With a libretto developed by the composer from interviews with veterans from five wars, Solider Songs stars baritone David Adam Moore. This production is presented by GLMMR (Giving Light Motion + Memory + Relevance) a NYC-based multimedia art collective that combines traditional stage craft with cutting edge projection mapping technology. It will be directed by Tomer Zvulun and conducted by Steven Schick, music director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus. Other performances will take place on November 12 and 13, 2016. Tickets begin at $20.

Giuseppe Verdi’s last opera he composed, the comic work Falstaff, returns the Company to the Civic Theatre when it opens on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 7 PM. This delightful work follows the exploits of Sir John Falstaff, the character created by playwright William Shakespeare, who appeared in three of his plays; The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Making his Company debut in the title role is baritone Roberto de Candia who has sung this role in Europe to critical acclaim. He is joined by returning soprano Ellie Dehn as Alice Ford, and contralto Marianne Cornetti as Dame Quickly. Also in Company debuts are baritone Troy Cook as Ford, soprano Maureen McKay as Nanetta, and tenor Joshua Johnson as Fenton. Rounding out the cast is returning San Diego Opera favorites Kirstin Chávez as Meg Page, Simeon Esper as Bardolfo, and Reinhard Hagen as Dr. Caius. Maestro Daniele Callegari returns to lead from the podium and stage director Oliver Tambosi makes his San Diego Opera directing debut leading the action. This production is from the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Other performances will take place on February 21, 24, and 26, 2017. Tickets begin at $37

Peter Brook’s chamber opera La tragèdie de Carmen opens on Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7 PM at the Balboa Theatre. La tragèdie de Carmen stars Peabody Southwell as Carmen and distills the music of Bizet’s classic opera while borrowing heavily from the original novella by Prosper Mérimée to create something entirely new – a tension filled 80-minute one act evening of sung theatre. This production of La tragèdie de Carmen is by Chromatic, an LA based collective of interdisciplinary artists who collaborate to create aesthetic theatrical events across blurring mediums. It will be directed by James Darrah. Other performances will take place on March 11 and March 12. Tickets start at $20.

San Diego Opera’s 2016-2017 season concludes with the return of Giuseppe Verdi’s timeless classic La traviata which opens at the Civic Theatre on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7 PM. One of the most beloved operas ever composed, this heartbreaking work welcomes the debut of soprano Corinne Winters as Violetta. She is joined by tenor Joshua Guerrero as Alfredo, also in a House debut. Returning baritone Stephen Powell sings Germont and bass Kevin Langan sings Dr. Grenville. Maestro Stephen Lord makes his Company debut on the podium and stage director Marta Domingo makes her Company debut remounting her production that she designed for Los Angeles Opera. Other performances take place on April 25, 28 and 30, 2017. Tickets start at $37.

David Bennett shares, “the 2016-2017 season has something for everyone, even for those that have never been to the opera before. We open the mainstage season with Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Based on the classic fairytale of Cinderella, this family friendly opera will delight audiences of all ages. The mainstage season continues with Verdi’s crowning glory, Falstaff, a comedy based on the portly Knight of Windsor and his romantic misadventures, and ends with Verdi’s beloved La traviata in an art deco production never seen before in San Diego. These three operas continue the Company’s tradition of presenting grand style operas in the Civic Theatre, a tradition I am committed to honoring.

I am also thrilled to announce Detour, a new, ongoing, series of presentations that explores the boundaries of what is considered opera today. This season, under the Detour banner, we’ll present David T. Little’s multimedia opera Soldier Songs which explores the impact of war and has dazzled audiences in New York and Atlanta. We’ll also be presenting Peter Brook’s take on Bizet’s classic opera Carmen in La tragèdie de Carmen, a distilled version of the opera with all the great music and drama we’ve come to love over the years. And finally, we offer one recital this season, with tenor Piotr Beczala who opens the 2016-2017 season in September. With this new schedule moving forward, and a renewed commitment to presenting opera in the community with our Opera on the Concourse and Opera Exposed programs, we are taking the steps to increase the presence of San Diego Opera in the community, to better serve the city that all of us call home.”

Pre-production artwork is available online at:

Purchasing Tickets

Only subscriptions to the 2016-2017 season are now on sale. A subscription for the three mainstage operas begins at a low $111 and subscriptions start at $171 for a full series including the three mainstage operas, Piotr Beczala in recital, and the Detour series which includes Soldier Songs, and La tragèdie de Carmen. Single tickets will go on sale in the summer. Casts and repertoire are subject to change. 

Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the mainstage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the Detour series on Saturday subscription packages.

Military discounts (active and retired) of 50% are available to the mainstage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Military discounts of 50% are available to the Detour series on Saturday subscription packages. 

For information about single tickets please visit Single ticket prices will be announced in the summer.


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