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Casting Details Announced for Virginia Opera’s 2023-2024 Season



Words and Images Couresy Virginia Opera

Virginia Opera is pleased to announce casting details for its 49th Season. Performances will take place at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, Virginia, the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center in Richmond, Virginia, and at the Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Orchestras for the planned productions will include both the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Richmond Symphony.

The 2023-2024 Season opens with Richard Wagner’s Siegfried. Building on the momentum of our epic Das Rheingold produced at Topgolf (2021) and The Valkyrie (2022), Siegfried will continue Wagner’s legendary Ring cycle, concluding with Twilight of the Gods (Götterdämmerung) to open the 50th Anniversary Season in 2024-2025.

Siegfried will unite the award-winning team of The Valkyrie including scenic and costume design by Hampton Roads-native Court Watson, (The Valkyrie, 2022; Three Decembers, 2022; La Bohème: Rodolfo Remembers, 2021) and innovative stage director and projection designer Joachim Schamberger (The Valkyrie, 2022). Internationally acclaimed bass-baritone Kyle Albertson returns to reprise his role as The Wanderer (Wotan) (The Valkyrie, 2022; Das Rheingold, 2021), mezzo-soprano Alexandra Loutsion reprises her role as Brünnhilde (The Valkyrie, 2022), bass Ricardo Lugo returns in the role of Fafner (The Valkyrie, 2022), baritone Joshua Jeremiah joins as Alberich (Fellow Travelers, 2023), and we welcome the mainstage debuts of several fast-rising performers, including Cooper Nolan as Siegfried, Matthew Peña as Mime (graduate of VO’s Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program), Alissa Anderson, and Alicia Russell Tagert. Siegfried will be conducted by Virginia Opera’s Artistic Director Adam Turner.

For something totally different, the season continues with Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, a classic comedy about bribery, deception, disguise, and of course, true love. On the podium is Virginia Opera Chorus Master and Associate Conductor Brandon Eldredge, and following two seasons as Virginia Opera’s resident assistant director, Nora Winsler will be making her mainstage directorial debut with this production. Appearing in his Virginia Opera mainstage debut as Figaro, baritone Markel Reed has been hailed by Upstage Post following the premiere of Terence Blanchard’s acclaimed opera Fire Shut up in my Bones with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis as “…both sinister and alluring as Chester, the cousin at the root of Charles’ suppressed troubles”. Profiled by Opera Now magazine as “one of ten young American singers intent on taking the opera world by storm…”, mezzo-soprano Hilary Ginther (graduate of VO’s Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program) returns to Virginia Opera in her mainstage debut as Rosina. Also new to the Virginia Opera mainstage are Aaron Crouch, Adelmo Guidarelli, Christian Pursell, Alexander Kapp, and Emily Harmon. Current members of VO’s 2023-2024 Herndon Foundation Emerging Artists Program Erik Grendahl (La Traviata, 2023) and Jordan Costa will perform the roles of Figaro and Count Almaviva respectively as part of the alternate cast on Saturday, November 4 at the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk.

Presented in partnership with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Sanctuary Road is a searing, “lyrical and historically vibrant” (NPR) opera that explores the story of the Underground Railroad. With a musical score by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec and a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Campbell—the same operatic team who created the “impressively creative, maximally effective” (OperaNews) version of Stephen King’s The Shining—the genre-bending Sanctuary Road explores narratives of hardship, escape, and freedom. Broadway World praised the Carnegie Hall world premiere of the work, recorded and released by Naxos, for its “riveting, pulsating wall of sound and stellar soloists.” We welcome conductor Dr. Everett McCorvey, founder and music director of the American Spiritual Ensemble, and director and executive producer of University of Kentucky Opera Theatre, to the podium in his Virginia Opera debut for Sanctuary Road, as well as New York-based director, deviser, writer, and filmmaker, Kimille Howard in her Virginia Opera directorial debut. This production’s cast features bass-baritone Damien Geter as William Still in his Virginia Opera mainstage debut. Rounding out an all-star cast, all appearing in their Virginia Opera mainstage debuts, are soprano Laquita Mitchell, mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann, tenor Terrence Chin-Loy, and baritone Adam Richardson, a native of Smithfield, VA. Sanctuary Road is presented with support from Dominion Energy and Opera America’s Next Stage Grant.

Finally, the season concludes with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This ever-popular opera will feature an all-female, Asian creative team including director Mo Zhou making her mainstage debut. Originally from China, Zhou is a stage director and educator whose international career spans all artistic disciplines. Soprano Karen Chia-Ling Ho, winner of the prestigious Renee Fleming Award from the Eastman School of Music began her musical career at the age of six singing in the Taipei Hua-Hsin Children’s Choir of Taiwan, appears as Cio-Cio-San in her Virginia Opera mainstage debut. Also making his mainstage debut is tenor Jonathan Burton as Lt. Pinkerton. Former Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist Kristen Choi (Madama Butterfly, 2019; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2018; The Magic Flute, 2013) returns as Suzuki. Grant Youngblood, last seen by Virginia Opera audiences as Giorgio Germont in La Traviata in March 2023, also returns as Sharpless. Joining Virginia Opera for their company debuts are Zhengyi Sohn, Taewon Sohn, Yinghui He, and Zizhao Wang.

Peggy Kriha Miller, General Director and CEO of Virginia Opera: “Our 2023-2024 Season promises to be must-see opera. Our repertoire, creative teams, and artists all reflect the core of our current strategic initiative to present a more diverse and inclusive entertainment option to our three mainstage venues and our communities across the Commonwealth. I don’t plan to miss a performance!”

Adam Turner, Artistic Director of Virginia Opera: “We are so very pleased with how this season is shaping up. Starting with the third chapter of our four-year commitment to Wagner’s legendary Ring cycle, audiences will see the evolution of the production concept which debuted last season. Siegfried makes its Virginia Opera premiere and is a gripping continuation of this epic operatic milestone. We are thrilled to support Nora Winsler’s mainstage directorial debut with the company for The Barber of Seville after several seasons in the Assistant Director role. This new production features an impressive cast of fresh faces for the company, promising to be a thoroughly entertaining evening at the opera. In the New Year, we bring to our stages the Commonwealth premiere of Sanctuary Road, a monumental choral work in partnership with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. A large orchestra alongside a massive chorus is complemented with an accomplished cast of principal singers, in an innovative staging conceived by director Kimille Howard. We conclude the season with an all-time fan-favorite Madama Butterfly, and I am particularly thrilled to welcome an all-female, all-Asian creative team to guide the production. Artistically, the 2023-2024 Season promises to capture audiences from the first downbeat to the final bow.”

2023-2024 Season – Production Information

Siegfried

Libretto and Music by Richard Wagner

Adaptation by Jonathan Dove and Graham Vick

Orchestral Version by Jonathan Dove

Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | September 29 & October 1, 2023

Center for the Arts at George Mason University, Fairfax | October 7 & 8, 2023

Dominion Energy Center, Richmond | October 13 & 15, 2023

Sung in German with English surtitles.

Featuring the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

In the previous installment of the Ring cycle, we ended with a most operatic cliffhanger: the Valkyrie Brünnhilde imprisoned in a ring of fire. Now, we pick up the story as our fearless hero Siegfried re-forges his father’s shattered sword, embarking on a quest for the greatest prize of all – Brünnhilde’s love.

Adam Turner, Conductor

Joachim Schamberger, Director & Projection Designer

Court Watson, Scenic & Costume Designer

Cooper Nolan*, Siegfried

Matthew Peña*†, Mime

Kyle Albertson, The Wanderer (Wotan)

Joshua Jeremiah, Alberich

Ricardo Lugo, Fafner

Alissa Anderson*, Erda

Alexandra Loutsion, Brünnhilde

Alicia Russell Tagert*, A Woodbird

The Barber of Seville

Music by Gioachino Rossini

Libretto by Cesare Sterbini

Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | November 3, 4, 5, 2023

Center for the Arts at George Mason University, Fairfax | November 11 & 12, 2023

Dominion Energy Center, Richmond | November 17 & 19, 2023

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Featuring the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

The Barber of Seville is a witty tale of bribery, deception, disguise, and of course, true love. Figaro – the local barber who, in fact, does much more than cut hair – is the ultimate “wingman.” Rossini’s madcap comedy is the prequel to The Marriage of Figaro and is guaranteed to send you out laughing and humming along!

Brandon Eldredge, Conductor

Nora Winsler*, Director

Markel Reed*, Figaro

Erik Grendahl^, Figaro (Nov. 4)

Hilary Ginther†, Rosina

TBA, Rosina (Nov. 4)

Aaron Crouch*, Count Almaviva

Jordan Costa*^, Count Almaviva (Nov. 4)

Adelmo Guidarelli*, Doctor Bartolo

Christian Pursell*, Don Basilio

Emily Harmon*^, Berta

Alexander Kapp*^, Fiorello/An Officer

Sanctuary Road

Music by Paul Moravec

Libretto by Mark Campbell

Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | January 26 & 28, 2024

Center for the Arts at George Mason University, Fairfax | February 3 & 4, 2024

Dominion Energy Center, Richmond | February 9 & 11, 2024

Sung in English with English surtitles.

Featuring the Virginia Symphony Orchestra

Harriet Tubman may be the best-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, but there were others including William Still. An abolitionist and historian, as well as a conductor for the Underground Railroad, he is credited with helping nearly 800 enslaved African Americans escape to freedom. Sanctuary Road, by Pulitzer Prize winners composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, is based on the remarkable writings of William Still.

Everett McCorvey*, Conductor

Kimille Howard*, Director

Damien Geter*, William Still

Laquita Mitchell*, Soprano Soloist

Krysty Swann*, Mezzo-Soprano Soloist

Terrence Chin-Loy*, Tenor Soloist

Adam Richardson*, Baritone Soloist

Madama Butterfly

Music by Giacomo Puccini

Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Harrison Opera House, Norfolk | March 8, 9, 10, 2024

Center for the Arts at George Mason University, Fairfax | March 16 & 17, 2024

Dominion Energy Center, Richmond | March 22 & 24, 2024

Sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Featuring the Richmond Symphony

Virginia Opera’s season comes to a stunning close with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, one of opera’s most beloved works. Bound by tradition and honor, a young Japanese maiden is left to face an unspeakable aftermath when abandoned by a reckless American naval officer. Puccini’s haunting score is filled with unforgettable music of unparalleled beauty that will stay with you forever.

Adam Turner, Conductor

Mo Zhou*, Director

Karen Chia-ling Ho*, Cio-Cio-San

TBC, Cio-Cio-San (Mar. 9)

Jonathan Burton*, Lt. Pinkerton

Kristen Choi†, Suzuki

Grant Youngblood, Sharpless

Zhengyi Bai*, Goro

Taewon Sohn*^, The Bonze

Yinghui He*^, Prince Yamadori

Zizhao Wang*^, The Imperial Commissioner

TBA, Kate Pinkerton

Erik Grendahl^, The Official Registrar

TBC, Sorrow

* denotes VOA Mainstage Debut

^ denotes Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist

† denotes former Herndon Foundation Emerging Artist

Subscription Information

Tickets for all four productions are on sale now, with some venue tickets starting as low as $20 and packages starting as low as $75. Subscription tickets and ticket information at:

The Edythe C. and Stanley L.

Harrison Opera House

Norfolk, VA

866.673.7282


Center for the Arts at George Mason University

Fairfax, VA

703.993.2787


The Carpenter Theatre at

Dominion Energy Center

Richmond, VA

866.673.7282

About Virginia Opera

Virginia Opera, the official opera company of the Commonwealth of Virginia, is one of the finest regional opera companies in the nation and is the only company to perform regularly in three separate main stage venues: the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk, the Carpenter Theatre at the Dominion Energy Center in Richmond, and Center for the Arts at George Mason University in Fairfax. Organized in 1974, Virginia Opera is respected nationwide for the identification and presentation of the finest young artists, for the musical and dramatic integrity of its productions, and for the ingenuity and variety of its education and outreach programs.


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