Sunday, September 10, 2023

DON GIOVANNI - Arizona Opera - April 20-28, 2024

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte 

Phoenix: April 20-21, 2024 – Symphony Hall

Tucson: April 27-28, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall
Mozart’s Don Giovanni, regarded by many as one of the greatest operas of all time, tells the centuries-old story of the libertine Don Juan.

Don Giovanni tries to seduce Donna Anna, which goes awry, and he ends up killing her father, the Commendatore, unbeknownst to her. Donna Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death. The opera follows Don Giovanni’s salacious escapades, aided, and abetted by his servant Leporello. Giovanni makes his rounds seducing and duping numerous characters, bragging along the way, and escaping accountability by obscuring his identity. In a cemetery, Giovanni meets the Commendatore’s statue, who forebodingly warns him that he will laugh no longer. When offered the chance to change his ways, will Don Giovanni repent?

The title role of Don Giovanni will be shared by Richard Ollarsaba (Apr. 20 & 27) and Joseph Lattanzi (Apr. 21 & 28)

Bass-baritone Ollarsaba makes his Arizona Opera debut with this production. Praised by The Washington Post for his “meltingly smooth bass-baritone” and for “evoking a young Ruggero Raimondi in looks and manner,” represented the United States in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, was a member of the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at Lyric Opera of Chicago for three seasons, and a grand finalist in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. In the 2023/24 Season, Ollarsaba debuts with The Glimmerglass Festival, Lyric Opera of
Kansas City, and Portland Opera as Escamillo in their respective productions of Bizet’s Carmen. Ollarsaba will also debut with Chicago Opera Theater in the World Premiere opera The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing composed by Justine F. Chen and will return to the role of the Count in The Marriage of Figaro with Knoxville Opera.

Praise for Lattanzi's performances include The New York Times “Joseph Lattanzi was splendid as Hawk, his buttery baritone luxuriant and robust” and Opera News describing him as a “confident, handsome presence, and a resonant baritone suggesting wells of feeling that the character might prefer to leave untapped.” In the 2022/23 Season, Lattanzi once again joined Metropolitan Opera for their productions of Peter Grimes and Lady MacBeth of Mtsensk before returning to the role he created in Fellow Travelers with Virginia Opera. An alum of the Pullin Opera Studio, Lattanzi also made his debut with the Sacramento Choral Society as the baritone soloist in Carmina Burana. Recent career highlights include Lattanzi’s return to Cincinnati Opera as Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro, Silvio in Pagliacci with Atlanta Opera, Dandini in La Cenerentola with Virginia Opera, and the title role in Don Giovanni with the Jacksonville Symphony.

Donna Anna will be shared by sopranos Vanessa Vasquez (Apr. 20 & 27) and Lydia Grindatto (Apr. 21 & 28).
The Colombian American soprano Vasquez, a native of Scottsdale and an alumna of the Academy of Vocal Arts, was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage as Michaëla in the 2021/22 Season production of Carmen. Vasquez has been awarded top prize in many renowned vocal competitions including 2017 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, The Richard Tucker Foundation’s 2017 Sara Tucker Study Grant, and The Gerda Lissner Foundation Vocal Competition among others. Recently Vasquez completed a four-year residency at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where she could be heard as Mimì in La Bohème, Gilda in Rigoletto, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Violetta in La Traviata.

Grindatto, who makes her Arizona Opera debut as Donna Anna, has been praised for her “Lorengar-like shimmer” and “high-octane emotionalism” (Parterre). Grindatto is a Resident Artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts where she recently appeared in the roles of Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Violetta (La Traviata), and Tatyana (Eugene Onegin). Grindatto has recently received awards such as First Prize in AVA’s Giargiari Bel Canto Competition, District Winner in Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, and is a current Finalist in the Loren. L. Zachary Competition. In 2023, Grindatto will make her debut at the Santa Fe Opera as Second Sprite and cover the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka.
Sopranos Toni Marie Palmertree (Apr. 20 & 27) and Mary-Hollis Hundley (Apr. 21 & 28) will take on the role of Donna Elvira.

Palmertree, who makes her Arizona Opera debut as Donna Elvira, is rapidly becoming recognized as one of America’s most riveting performers of Puccini and Verdi heroines. Palmertree has recently been heard on the stage of San Francisco Opera in the title role of Madame Butterfly; of her performance, Janos Gereben from San Francisco Classical Voice wrote: “The young soprano not only met the challenge, but she claimed her place among the finest vocal interpreters of the role heard here recently.” 

In the 2022/23 Season, Palmertree performed the role of Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly at Palm Beach Opera and sang the title role of Tosca at Florida Grand Opera. At Metropolitan Opera, Palmertree performed the role of Voce dal ciel and covered the role of Elisabeth de Valois in Verdi’s Don Carlo and covered the title role of Cherubini’s Medea.

Hundley was last seen as Frau Schmidt in Arizona Opera’s 2022/23 Season production of The Sound of Music. Hundley recently appeared at The Glimmerglass Festival as a Guest Artist, where she sang Kayla in Kamala Sankaram’s Taking Up Serpents as well as Frau Schmidt in Francesca Zambello’s production of The Sound of Music. Other recent season highlights include Gertrud in Hansel and Gretel at Detroit Opera, Magda Sorel in Menotti’s The Consul with Bronx Opera, Helena in A
Midsummer Night’s Dream with Virginia Opera, and as a cover for Christine Brewer’s Ariadne auf Naxos at Kentucky Opera. Hundley’s other roles include Meg Page (Vaughan William’s Sir John in Love), Mother (Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors), Female Chorus (Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia), Governess (Britten’s The Turn of the Screw), and the title roles in Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.
Zachary Nelson, a native of Annapolis, MD, will portray Leporello in Arizona Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. Nelson was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage in the 2018/19 Season as the Count in The Marriage of Figaro. The 2023/24 Season will feature a return to Atlanta Opera as Marcello in La Bohème and performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, as well as excerpts as the title role of Berg’s Wozzeck with Utah Symphony. Recent and career highlights include his role debut as Alberich in Das Rheingold with Atlanta Opera; Marcello in La Bohème with Lyric Opera of Chicago; the title role in The Marriage of Figaro, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, and Marcello in La Bohème all with Santa Fe Opera; the title role in Sweeney Todd with Des Moines Metro Opera; and Escamillo in Carmen with Den Norske Opera in Oslo, Canadian Opera Company, and San Francisco Opera.

Don Giovanni will be conducted by Daniela Candillari, who made her Arizona Opera debut conducting Fellow Travelers followed by a triumphant return to conduct The Copper Queen Film. Candillari’s 2023/24 Season opens with the World Premiere of composer Rene Orth and librettist Hannah Moscovitch’s 10 Days in a Madhouse at Opera Philadelphia, where she makes her company debut. Immediately following, Candillari conducts the World Premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Grounded with Washington National Opera at The Kennedy Center. Possessing a “fine combination of fire and attention to detail” (KDHX), Candillari’s season continues with her return to Arizona Opera for Don Giovanni and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for Julius Caesar and Center Stage. In the previous season, Candillari debuted with Deutsche Oper Berlin for performances of Lakmé, and conducted Hansel and Gretel at New Orleans Opera, Tosca at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Arizona Opera; Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at The Juilliard School, plus the World Premiere of Arkhipov by Peter Knell and Stephanie Fleischmann at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

An Arizona Opera favorite, Tara Faircloth will serve as Stage Director for Don Giovanni. Faircloth’s work was last seen on Arizona Opera’s stage for The Magic Flute in the 2022/23 Season. Critics hailed Faircloth’s recent directorial debut at Lyric Opera of Chicago, a “wickedly funny, elegantly sung, cleverly directed production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville.” In recent seasons, Faircloth created new productions of The Little Prince (Utah Opera), Ariadne auf Naxos (Wolf Trap Opera), Il re pastore (Merola Opera), Agrippina (Ars Lyrica Houston), and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Boston Baroque). The 2021/22 Season found Faircloth working on several new productions, including Emmeline with Tulsa Opera, La Traviata at Opera Santa Barbara, and The Merry Wives of Windsor with The Juilliard School, as well as a program with Ars Lyrica Houston entitled “Eternity and the Underworld” which paired Jonathan Dove’s The Other Euridice and Bach’s Ich habe genug.

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