Sunday, September 10, 2023

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE - Arizona Opera - January 27-February 4, 2024

Composer: Gioachino Rossini | Libretto by Cesare Sterbini 

Phoenix: January 27-28, 2024 – Symphony Hall
Tucson: February 3-4, 2024 – The Linda Ronstadt Music Hall

Bring the entire family to experience a day out-on-the-town at the opera with The Barber of Seville, the premiere production in the Allan-Stallard Family Opera Series. Love, mistaken identity, and humor are woven throughout Rossini’s masterpiece, considered one of the greatest comic operas of all time, maintaining its popularity for over two hundred years for good reason.

In a charming and hilarious story appropriate for all ages, Count Almaviva falls hopelessly in love with the beautiful Rosina, the young ward of a grumpy and elderly Bartolo who intends to marry her and claim her dowry. Dressed in disguise, Almaviva tries to earn Rosina’s affection for who he truly is as a person, rather than for his money and status. Almaviva assumes multiple identities, including a poor student, a drunken soldier, and a singing tutor and priest. With the help of his companion Figaro, Almaviva stops at nothing as he pursues Rosina through a series of comical hijinks and bait-and-switch facades. Eventually revealing his true identity, Almaviva manages to win Rosina’s heart and the pair evade the disgruntled Bartolo, with love and laughter triumphing in the end.

Gioachino Antonio Rossini (February 29, 1792 – November 13, 1868) was an Italian composer who wrote 39 operas as well as sacred music, chamber music, songs, and some instrumental and piano pieces. Rossini's best-known operas include the Italian comedies The Barber of Seville and La Cenerentola, and the French-language epics Moïse et Pharaon and William Tell. A tendency for inspired, song-like melodies is evident throughout Rossini's scores, which led to the nickname "The Italian Mozart." Until his retirement in 1829, Rossini had been the most popular opera composer in history.

ELIZABETH SUTPHEN Rosina January 27, February 3 & 4
SANTIAGO BALLERINI Almaviva January 27, February 3 & 4
BRIAN WALLIN Count Almaviva January 28
ALEXANDER BIRCH ELLIOTT Figaro January 27, February 3 & 4
SCHYLER VARGAS Figaro January 28
JOSHUA BORTHS Stage Director
BARRY STEELE Production Designer

Figaro will be played by baritones Alexander Birch Elliott (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Schyler Vargas (Jan. 28.)

Praised for his “heated intensity and beguiling timbre of mahogany” (The New York Times). Elliott has had major debuts in recent seasons including at both Metropolitan Opera and Houston Grand Opera singing the role of Zurga in The Pearl Fishers. He made his Carnegie Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra for Elgar’s The Kingdom, as well as with New York’s PROTOTYPE Festival as Lucifer in Rev 23, directed by James Darrah and conducted by Daniela Candillari. Elliott also returned to Tulsa Opera for performances of Escamillo in Carmen, as well as to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for Don Fernando in Fidelio. Vargas, Mexican American baritone, is a member of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio and is establishing himself as a versatile young talent, bringing interdisciplinary performances to the operatic, theatrical, and concert stage. Noted as a “distinguished” (Washington Classical Review) and “powerful baritone,” (The Washington Post), Vargas' recent work in the new dramatic song cycle UNKNOWN by Shawn Okpebholo and commissioned by UrbanArias, has been featured on PBS News Hour and NPR, among other publications. Vargas, most recently seen on the Arizona Opera as Papageno in last season’s The Magic Flute, received his Master of Music degree from the renowned University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of William McGraw and his Bachelor of Music degree with a minor in Business Administration from Colorado State University.

Rosina will be played by sopranos Elizabeth Sutphen (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Véronique Filloux (Jan. 28). Sutphen, who has performed leading roles in houses around the world, including Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier with the Glyndebourne Festival, Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with both the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse and Oper Frankfurt, and Faustina in Tarik O’Regan and John
Caird’s The Phoenix with Houston Grand Opera. Most recently, Sutphen was praised by Schmopera for her “impeccable comedic delivery” and “ability to sing flawlessly…with dexterity and finesse” for her Des Moines Metro Opera debut as the delightfully zany La Folie in Rameau’s Platée.
Sutphen’s 2022/23 Season included a return to the role of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at the Salzburger Landestheater and a company debut with Detroit Opera as Atalante in Handel’s Xerxes.
Filloux, praised for her "expressive, lovingly shaded soprano" and "dazzling coloratura and lithe stage presence [used] to piquant comedic effect" (Opera News), spent the 2022/23 Season with Arizona Opera making several exciting role debuts including Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Liesl (The Sound of Music), and Pamina (The Magic Flute). Filloux also joined Washington Concert Opera as Miss Ellen (Lakmé) and Pacific Opera Project as Martesia in the United States premiere of Vivaldi's Ercole su'l
Termodonte. She spent her 2023 summer with Wolf Trap Opera as a Filene Artist, singing Iris (Semele) on Steve Blier's recital "Night and Day, USA," and giving a Parlor Recital. In the 2023/24 Season, Filloux looks forward to debuts with companies including Berkshire Opera Festival as Musetta (La Bohème), and Livermore Valley Opera as Curley’s Wife (Of Mice and Men), as well as two returns to Arizona Opera as Rosina (The Barber of Seville) and Zerlina (Don Giovanni).
Tenors Santiago Ballerini (Jan. 27, Feb. 3 & 4) and Brian Wallin share responsibilities for the role of Count Almaviva.

The Argentinian tenor Ballerini, last seen in Arizona Opera’s orchestral concert series Arizona Arias during the 2020/21 Reimagined Season, is recognized as one of the leading tenors in the Bel Canto repertoire. Ballerini has performed at many of the major opera houses throughout North and South America from Opera Nacional de Chile, Teatro Colón, Canadian Opera Company, as well as alongside leading international orchestras such as the National Symphony Orchestra in DC, Porto
Symphony Orchestra in Portugal, and more. This past season, Ballerini’s engagements included La Traviata at Opera Nacional de Chile, Roméo & Juliette at Opera Naples, and Rigoletto with the Pacific Symphony. Ballerini reprised the role of Ernesto in Don Pasquale for his triumphant debut at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona in September 2022.

Wallin has been praised for his “finely focused and well-mannered” voice (Dallas Morning News) and has “proven [to be] another gifted tenor...who took the stage with flair and commitment” (Opera Today). The 2022/23 Season included performances with Arizona Opera (Ariadne auf Naxos), Annapolis Opera (The Marriage of Figaro), and Pacific Opera Project (Pirates of Penzance). Appearances in the 2023/24 Season include Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia with An Opera Theatre, L’Abate de Chazeuil in Adriana Lecouvreur with Opera Baltimore, and as Tamino in The Magic Flute with Opéra de Montréal.

Aubrey Allicock, hailed by The New York Times as "sturdy," "dynamic," and "excellent," will play the role of Bartolo. Allicock, a Tucson native, continues to make his mark among important opera companies and symphonies both at home and abroad. A Grammy nominee for his participation in John Adams's Doctor Atomic as General Groves at Virginia Opera, Allicock adds to that nominee list a BBC Music Magazine Award for Opera. Allicock made his role debut as Yusef Salaam with Portland Opera
in Central Park Five and made his debut with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra as Tiridate in Handel's Radamisto. This past season, Allicock was the Pirate King in Pirates of Penzance with Virginia Opera, Alberich with Dayton Opera's Das Rheingold, and a role debut of Dick Hallorann in The Shining with Lyric Opera Kansas City. Allicock makes his Atlanta Opera debut in 2023 reprising the role of Dick Hallorann along with recording The Shining with Lyric Opera Kansas City. This production of The Barber of Seville marks Allicock’s company debut.

Mexican born Conductor Roberto Kalb is the newly appointed Music Director of Detroit Opera. Kalb made multiple debuts in the 2022/23 Season, including with the San Francisco Opera, Compañía Nacional de Ópera at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, San Diego Opera, and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. In 2019, Kalb concluded his five-season tenure as Resident Conductor and Head of Music at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis with a critically acclaimed run of Rigoletto in collaboration with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, which Opera News lauded: “The orchestra sounded
sublime under the baton of Roberto Kalb, whose buoyant conducting simultaneously led and followed the singers.”

Joshua Borths is a Stage Director, writer, educator, and arts administrator with over twelve years of experience in the opera industry. Borths, who directed Arizona Opera’s beloved production of The Barber of Seville in 2018, has led dozens of professional productions, given over five hundred public lectures, and written more than eight children's operas that have introduced hundreds of thousands of young audiences to opera across the country. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, Borths is currently the Resident Scholar of Virginia Opera and a member of the stage directing staff of Des Moines Metro Opera. Borths came to Virginia after having served as the Director of Opera and Musical Theater and Professor of Music History at Capital University in Columbus, OH and as Director of Education and Resident Stage Director at Arizona Opera.

Barry Steele will serve as Production Designer for all three of Arizona Opera’s 2023/24 Main Stage Series productions. Steele has created designs for opera, dance, and music productions in 56 countries over three decades. Notable engagements include San Francisco Opera Center, Lucinda Childs Dance Company, Ballet Stars of Moscow, Carnegie Hall and New York City Opera. New operas such as Vincent, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat as well as rarities like The Fall of the House of
Usher, and La voix humaine complement Steele’s considerable list of standard opera repertory gained from designing over one hundred productions as Resident Lighting Designer for Sarasota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, and New Jersey Opera.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit

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