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Fort Worth Opera announces 2017 Festival season; second phase of Americas program

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Fort Worth Opera announced today the lineup of its 2017 Festival season as well as details of the second phase of the company’s 10-year initiative Opera of the Americas.

The 2017 Festival season, running April 15 – May 7, will include the classic Carmen by Georges Bizet; the contemporary Cruzar la Cara de la Luna ; and the regional premiere of 2015 Frontiers winner, Vair Dire. The Festival will also usher in the fifth year of Fort Worth Opera’s new works showcase, Frontiers.

With the goal of presenting operas that reflect the diverse demographics of the North Texas community, FWOpera will embark on the second phase of its Opera of the Americas initiative in 2017. Titled Naches de Opera (Nights of Opera), the new phase will consist of a four-year exploration of contemporary Spanish language operas by Latino and Latina composers and librettists from across the Americas. Beginning next season with the mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna and extending through the 2020 Festival, Noches de Opera will bring operas to North Texas from an often overlooked body of works .

“Throughout the last few years, Fort Worth Opera has wor ked to move away from merely serving as an entertainment option toward becoming an established community service organization, where we can use our artistic resources to help enrich the lives of all those living in our community,” said FWOpera General Director Darren K. Woods. “Through this process, we recognized a deficit in our programming for our Latino audiences. So, in partnership with Latino community leaders, we created Noches de Opera with the hope of engaging the vibrant Latino population of Fort Worth and North Texas with stories that are meaningful and relevant to their experiences.”

In addition to the Festival programming, Noches de Opera will include year-round community programming in partnership with the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Consulate General of Mexico in Dallas.

The second phase of FWOpera’s Opera of the Americas’ initiative kicks off with the mariachi opera, Cruzar lo Cara de la Luna (To Cross the Face of the Moon). Featuring Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitl6n. The opera has been praised by critics in Houston, Chicago, Phoenix, and Paris as a “stunning and emotional work” (Houston Chronicle). Cruzor la Caro de lo Luna blends the folk traditions of mariachi music with opera, to tell a gripping story of a family divided by borders and their struggle to exist between two cultures.

The work will introduce FWOpera audiences to a cast of fresh faces, all making their Festival debuts. Leading the cast is Octavio Moreno as Laurentino, a dying grandfather whose memories carry the audience between his post and present. Joining him is Brian Shircliffe as his American son Mark and David Guzman as his Mexican son Rafael. Mark’s daughter Diana is sung by Brittany Wheeler and Cecilia Duarte plays Laurentino’s wife, Renata. Leonard Foglia will make his FWOpera Festival directorial debut with musical direction by Jose “Pepe” Martinez.

Next year’s Festival begins with a Grand Opening Night Concert at Bass Performance Hall, featuring Fort Worth native Ava Pine ( The Daughter of the Regiment, Lysistrata, Silent Night), baritone Michael Mayes ( Lysistrata, Glory Denied , Carmen) , additional Fort Worth favorites, and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Maestro Joe lllick.

The following weekend, Bizet’s Carmen opens. Leading the cast as the fiery femme fatale is mezzo­soprano Audrey Babcock (With Blood , With Ink) in the title role. A world-renowned interpreter of the character, she’ll be joined on stage by Robert Watson, who will make his FWOpera debut in the notoriously difficult role of her lover, Don Jose. Rounding out the cast is Craig Irvin ( Silent Night) as the brash bullfighter Escamillo and former FWOpera Studio Artist , Kerriann Otano ( Cos{ fan tutte) , as the young Micaela . FWOpera Music Director Joe lllick will conduct Bizet’s memorable score with David Lefkowich (II Trovatore, La Boheme) returning to direct.

The 2017 Opera Unbound production is Voir Dire, written by composer Matthew Peterson and librettist Jason Zenka, Voir Dire was selected as a winner of the 2014 FWOpera Frontiers showcase, and returns to the Festival stage this season for its regional premiere. Adapted from various court cases witnessed by the librettist during his time as a crime reporter, the opera takes place in a courtroom and plays out in a series of colorful vignettes that give audiences an insider’s look into the fascinating , hilarious and often insanely bizarre world of legal drama . The small ensemble cast features Nate Mattingly ( Hamlet, Frontiers ) and the Hattie Mae Lesley Apprentice Artists, Anna Laurenzo ( Buried Alive I Embedded, Frontiers ), Trevor Martin ( The Barber of Seville, Frontiers ) , Christina Pecce, and Andrew Surrena. Co-produced with Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, Voir Dire will be directed by FWOpera favorite David Gately (Lo Traviata, The Barber of Seville) and conducted by Viswa Subbaraman in his FWOpera debut.

The final week of the 2017 Festival will include Frontiers, the company’s showcase for new works. Six to eight selected composers and librettists will be in residence at the Festival during the last week and their works will be presented in 20-minute performances sung by young artists of the 2017 Opera Festival and accompanied by piano on May 3- May 4, 2017.

The 2017 Fort Worth Opera Festival April 15 -May 7, 2017

Grand Opening Night Concert

April 1 5, 2017

Bass Performance Hall

Guest Artists:

Ava Pine (Soprano) Michael Mayes (Baritone)

Additional Fort Worth Favorites Maestro Joe lllick


Music by Georges Bizet; l ibretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halevy

April 22 , 30m, May 5, 2017 (m=matinee) Bass Performance Hall , downtown Fort Worth In French with supertitles in English and Spanish


Audrey Babcock (Carmen) Robert Watson* ( Don Jose) Craig Irvin (Escamillo) Kerriann Otano (Micaela)


Joe lllick, conductor David Lefkowich, director

Keith Brumley, lighting designer

Set courtesy of Lyric Opera Kansas City (MO)

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

Vair Dire

Music by Matthew Peterson; libretto by Jason Zenka .

April 23 , 25, 29m, 30, May 2, 6, 2017 ( m=matinee) McDavid Studio, downtown Fort Worth

Sung in English without supertitles

Regional Premiere I Part of FWOpera’s Opera Unbound Series

CAST ( in various roles): Nate Mattingly

Anna Laurenzo

Trevor Martin Christina Pecce* Andrew Surrena *


Viswa Subbaraman * , conductor David Gately, director

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

Music by Mariachi Vorgas de Tecolitlon; libretto by Leonard Foglio Po rt of Noches de Opera: Phase 11 of Opera of the Americas

April 29, May 7m 2017 (m=matinee)

Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth In Spanish and English with supertitles


Octavio Moreno* (Laurentino) Brian Shircliffe * (Mark)

David Guzman * (Rafael) Cecilia Duarte* (Renata) Brittany Wheeler * (Diana)


Jose ” Pepe” Martinez , Mar iachi Vargas Music Director Leonard Foglia, director

Set and costumes courtesy of Houston Grand Opera

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season


Two separate showcases of four wor ks each on Wednesday, May 3, 2017, at 6:00 p.m., and Thursday, May 4, 2017, at 6:00 p.m.

Schedule of 20 l 7 Festival Performances

Saturday, Apr il 1 5 7:30 p.m. Bass Hall Grand Opening Night Concert

Saturday, Apr il 22 7:30 p.m. Bass Hall Carmen Sunday, April 23 2:00 p.m. McDav id Studio Voir Dire Tuesday , Apr il 25 7:30 p.m. McDavid Studio Voir Dire Saturday, Apr il 29 2:00 p.m. McDav id Studio Voir Dire

Saturday, April 29 7:30 p.m. Bass Hall Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

Sunday, Apr il 30 2:00 p.m. Bass Hall Carmen Sunday, April 30 7:30 p.m. McDavid Studio Voir Dire Tuesday , May 2 7:30 p.m. McDavid Studio Voir Dire

Wednesday, May 3 6:00 p.m. Kimbell Art Museum Frontiers Thursday , May 4 6:00 p.m. Kimbell Art Museum Frontiers Friday, May 5 7: 30 p.m. Bass Hall Carmen

Saturday, May 6 7: 30 p.m. McDav id Studio Voir Dire

Sunday, May 7 2:00 p.m. Bass Hall Cruzar la Cara de la Luna

TICKETS: Beginning April 23 , subscription tickets for the 2017 Festiva l are available by phone only at 8 1 7.73 1 .0726. Single tickets will go on sa le August l, 2016. Season subsc riptions range from $ 26 to $379 while single tickets range from $ 1 7 to $ 1 95 ( prices subject to change) . Subscriptions are available now and single tickets go on sale August l , 2017. For more information, please visit

www .fwopera .org or toll-free at l.877.396.7372 . To purchase tickets online, go to

www .

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