Minnesota Opera announces 2011-12 season

  • Article by: GRAYDON ROYCE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 29, 2011 - 12:47 AM

Minnesota Opera's slate includes world premiere and pairing of Valenti and Constantinescu in "Werther."

A new production of "Cosi Fan Tutte" directed by Peter Rothstein, the potentially dazzling combination of two gorgeous talents in "Werther," and a world premiere are highlights of the Minnesota Opera's 2011-12 season.

Rothstein, artistic director for Theater Latté Da and an occasional opera director around the country, makes his debut with the Minnesota company this fall with Mozart's comedy about a quartet of lovers mixed up in a subversive game. Soprano Jacquelyn Wagner is paired with baritone Matthew Worth, while mezzo Jennifer Holloway plays opposite tenor John Tessier ("Cinderella") in the production, which runs Sept. 24-Oct. 2.

"Silent Night," which recounts the Christmas truce of 1914, is a world premiere -- part of the company's New Works Initiative. Composer Kevin Puts and librettist Mark Campbell have used the screenplay of the film "Joyeux Noël" for this piece. The event is familiar to anyone who has seen the Cantus/Theater Latté Da (coincidentally with text by Rothstein) production. In the midst of World War I, opposing soldiers declared a truce to celebrate Christmas. Eric Simonson, who directed the premiere of "Grapes of Wrath," returns for this production. Tenor William Burden, baritone Andrew Wilkowske and bass-baritone Craig Irvin are in the cast, Nov. 12-20.

You never want to jinx a production with advance speculation, but it's difficult to imagine the stage will be able to contain the glamour and charisma when tenor James Valenti and mezzo Roxana Constantinescu get together in Massenet's "Werther." Valenti has wowed Minnesota audiences in "Romeo and Juliet" and "La Bohème." He made his Met debut last season in "La Traviata," surviving the withering ego of soprano Angela Georghiu. Constantinescu charmed audiences with her rich voice and irresistible beauty in last fall's "Cinderella." Kevin Newbury directs, Jan. 28-Feb. 5, 2012.

Susanna Phillips ("Orpheus and Eurydice") returns for Donizetti's Bel Canto masterpiece "Lucia di Lammermoor." Maria Callas, Beverly Sills and Joan Sutherland are among the sopranos who have interpreted this piece, which also features James Westman ("The Barber of Seville"), March 3-11, 2012.

The season concludes with the return of Minnesota-born Kelly Kaduce ("Rusalka") in Puccini's "Madame Butterfly." Tenor Arturo Chacon-Cruz makes his Minnesota debut as Pinkerton. This remount of the 2004 Colin Graham production runs April 14-22, 2012.

All productions will be at the Ordway Center in St. Paul. For information, 612-333-6669 or mnopera.org.

Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299

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