Fort Worth Opera (FWO) has announced the company’s lineup of productions scheduled to take the stage during the 2020 Festival, set for April 17 – May 3, 2020. Next spring, FWO will feature two works from the classic repertoire – Puccini’s tragic love story La Bohème, and Johann Strauss II’s rollicking romp of revenge, Die Fledermaus, with a delightful production inspired by Downton Abbey in the Roaring Twenties. The company will also present the world premiere of composer-librettist Hector Armienta’s Zorro, featuring one of pop culture’s most iconic, sword-wielding vigilantes.
“Our 2020 season includes traditional favorites and a world premiere. La Bohème is one of the most romantic stories ever sung,” says FWO Artistic Director Joe Illick. “An unexpected meeting in Paris on Christmas Eve between Mimì and Rodolfo turns into the greatest love of both of their lives. We can all identify with Puccini’s powerful tale that has inspired works from Love Story and Broadway’s Rent to Baz Luhrmann’s film Moulin Rouge.
Johann Strauss wrote his operetta Die Fledermaus (German for “The Bat”) about smart people behaving foolishly. With its scintillating music and the effervescence of champagne, everyone’s questionable behavior is swept away by morning with the magic of Strauss waltzes. Justice is spelled with a “Z” in the world premiere of Zorro. Diego trains to become a master swordsman and a skilled marksman then puts on his mask to become Zorro, defender of the poor and avenger of injustice. The opera is written in Spanish and English and will thrill viewers and listeners of all ages. Come join us for a season of great music, intense drama, and passionate singing!”
The 2020 Festival kicks off with a Parisian flair as La Bohème, Giacomo Puccini’s heart-rending tale of lovers living on borrowed time, returns to the stage of Bass Performance Hall after a seven-year absence. This gorgeous production stars luminous international soprano Talise Trevigne (Hamlet, JFK) as the fragile seamstress Mimì, and prize-winning Italian tenor Giordano Lucà as impassioned poet Rodolfo. Dazzling Canadian soprano Tracy Cantin portrays the feisty Musetta, and powerful baritone Zachary Nelson plays the spirited painter Marcello. One of the world’s most popular and enduring operas, this beloved story is filled with lush melodies that soar with the ache of young love and loss.
The festivities continue in downtown Fort Worth at the 900-seat auditorium of I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and Visual Performing Arts, with the world premiere of composer-librettist Hector Armienta’s swashbuckling opera Zorro. Based on the pulp fiction novels of writer Johnston McCulley, this explosive new opera is filled with romance, danger, and suspense. A scholarly student named Diego (Mexican baritone Óscar Velázquez) returns to the place of his birth in Alta, California, to find his destiny. There he encounters the beguiling Suzanna (soprano Gabriella Enríquez), and a grave evil like none he has faced before. Donning a black mask to conceal his true identity, Zorro is born, and he wields his sharp sword to fight for the oppressed.
Fort Worth Opera pops the cork and pours the bubbly in the company’s final production of the season, Die Fledermaus. Last seen by local audiences during the company’s 1984-1985 season, Johann Strauss II’s uproarious operetta is directed by Fort Worth audience favorite David Gately (The Barber of Seville, Cinderella). Acclaimed soprano and Fort Worth native Vanessa Becerra (With Blood, With Ink) returns home to perform the role of the cunning chambermaid Adele. She is joined by a remarkable cast of some of opera and theater’s hottest stars, including 2018 McCammon winner Abigail Levis as Prince Orlofsky, Broadway’s Curt Olds as Gabriel von Eisenstein, and mesmerizing soprano Devon Guthrie – who has garnered rave reviews at Santa Fe Opera and English National Opera – as his clever wife, Rosalinde. Featuring a magnificent masked ball and soaring orchestral waltzes, this riotous tale of mistaken identities and mischievous mayhem proves that revenge is a delicious dish best served with a glass of champagne!
Music by Giacomo Puccini | Libretto by Luigi Illica & Giuseppe Giacosa
April 17, 19 (matinee) | Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
In Italian with Spanish and English supertitles
Talise Trevigne (Mimì)
Giordano Lucà (Rodolfo)
Tracy Cantin (Musetta)
Zachary Nelson (Marcello)
Director: Linda Ade Brand
Conductor: Joe Illick
Set Designer: Michael Yeargan
Music and libretto by Hector Armienta
April 26 (matinee), 28, 30
I.M. Terrell Academy, Fort Worth
In Spanish and English with Spanish and English supertitles
Gabriella Enríquez (Suzanna)
Óscar Velázquez (Diego | Zorro)
CREATIVE TEAM: TBD
Music by Richard Strauss II | Libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée
May 1, 3 (matinee) | Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
In English with English and Spanish supertitles
English translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin, Dialogue translation by Charles Ludlam
Vanessa Becerra (Adele)
Devon Guthrie (Rosalinde)
Curt Olds (Gabriel von Eisenstein)
Abigail Levis (Prince Orlofsky)
Director: David Gately
Conductor: Joe Illick
Founded in 1946, Fort Worth Opera is the oldest continually-performing opera company in Texas, and one of the 14 oldest opera companies in the United States. The organization has received national acclaim from critics and audiences alike for its artistic excellence. Beginning in 2017, Fort Worth Opera launched the second phase of its landmark, 10-year Opera of the Americas initiative with Noches de Ópera (Nights of Opera), a groundbreaking campaign which introduces powerful operas, each reflecting the diverse cultures of American audiences.
Fort Worth Opera is sponsored in part by awards from The Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County, The City of Fort Worth, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. Additional Fort Worth Opera sponsors include: the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Amon G. Carter Foundation; American Airlines; Visit Fort Worth; Texas Commission on the Arts; Townplace Suites; Autobahn; Crystelle Waggoner Charitable Trust, Bank of America, Trustee; The Pangburn Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase, Trustee; and the Sid W. Richardson Foundation.