Encore Michigan

New season under new direction at Arbor Opera Theatre

Season Announcement July 28, 2018

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–Arbor Opera Theater is pleased to announce its 2018–2019 Opera Season, the first under the leadership of Artistic Director Austin Stewart. Three new productions will appear between September 2018 and May 2019 at the Riverside Arts Center (Ypsilanti), Kerrytown Concert House, and Arthur Miller Theatre (Ann Arbor). These include Moondrunk Madness, a theatrical mash-up of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire & Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King created in collaboration with ÆPEX Contemporary Performance, Ricky Ian Gordon’s modern retelling of Orpheus & Euridice co-produced with the Kerrytown Concert House, and a fresh adaptation of Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann.

“Uncommon encounters with opera and excellent musical storytelling,” said Austin Stewart, “that’s the journey our audiences will find in our upcoming Season. These works span three centuries and deal with the universal truths of love and loss, torment and ecstasy, emptiness and fulfillment. For those who are new to opera and might find it intimidating—this is a season you need to see and hear. For our seasoned opera patrons—this is a season you need to see and hear. Be inspired and think about opera in new ways.”

George Shirley, world-renowned tenor and the J. Edgar Maddy Distinguished University Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Michigan, commented “Austin, innovative and well aware of the competitive matrix in which AOT operates, has shaped a coming season that promises unhackneyed operatic performance of quality and variety capable of producing an artistic experience that is truly distinctive. I am encouraged by the vision and skill that Austin brings to the helm of AOT and the promise that augurs well for continuing the company’s trajectory of theatrical innovation in lyric theatre.”

For the 2018–19 Season, AOT has invited many fine musicians and emerging artists to perform for our audiences. They include: sopranos Amy Petrongelli, Mary Martin, and Monica Dewey; tenor Robert Stahley; and baritone John Daugherty; directors Austin Stewart and Daniel J. Brylow; conductor Daniel Brottman; and pianist Kathleen Kelly. Casting will continue through the fall with audition calls in Ann Arbor during early September.

Subscription tickets to the 2018–2019 Season are now available and can be purchased online or by phone. Subscriptions to all three productions start at just $65. Single tickets will be available for purchase on August 1, 2018, with prices starting at just $15 per ticket. For more information about Arbor Opera Theater’s 2018–2019 Season, visit ArborOpera.com or call the box office at (734) 707-1021.

Moondrunk Madness: A Duo of Monodramas

September 7, 2018 at 7:30PM & September 8, 2018 at 7:30PM and 10:00PM

Riverside Arts Center at 76 N Huron St., Ypsilanti, MI

Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire &

Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King

Performed in German and English with supertitles

Arbor Opera Theater in collaboration with ÆPEX Contemporary Performance present Moondrunk Madness, a duo of monodramas featuring Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King. Strange works—for their content and music—are tamed by an intimate theatrical experience, a nuanced contemporary translation, and a captivating staged exchange between clown and king as they traverse the space between poetic genius and madness.

Amy Petrongelli, soprano, will sing the role of Pierrot, and King George III will be sung by baritone John Daugherty. ÆPEX Contemporary Performance will provide the augmented Pierrot ensemble under the direction of new music specialist, conductor Daniel Brottman. Amy Petrongelli has been hailed by the New York Times for her “admirable fluidity,” and John Daugherty’s “resonant voice and stagecraft” have left the audiences “spellbound” (The Michigan Review). Austin Stewart has curated and will direct the production.

Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice

January 11, 2019 at 7:30PM & January 13, 2019 at 2:30PM

Kerrytown Concert House at 415 North Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Ricky Ian Gordon, music and text

Performed in English

Arbor Opera Theater co-produces with the Kerrytown Concert House Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus & Euridice, a tender song cycle in two parts for soprano, clarinet, and piano. Gordon’s astoundingly beautiful work is his own take on the Orpheus myth, written as his partner was losing his battle to AIDS. “What could I have really understood in that story?” Gordon asked of the myth, “But something lingered. Because one night, at 4 in the morning, I rose from sleep, went to the dining-room table, and wrote the entire text. It seemed I suddenly had a deep identification with Orpheus; only my Euridice was not bitten by a snake, but robbed slowly by an incurable virus.”

Soprano Monica Dewey, who begins her 18–19 season competing in Plácido Doming’s Operalia Competition in Lisbon and has been described by Opera News as having “an endearing timbre bursting with warmth. . . as close to perfect as opera gets,” sings Euridice alongside Kathleen Kelly, pianist, opera coach, conductor, and master teacher. Of Ricky Ian Gordon and his Orpheus and Euridice, Kathleen commented “[Ricky] has such a unique lyric voice and speaks particularly of loss and eternity in a way that almost no one else can. His work is emotionally huge and yet physically intimate. I think Kerrytown is a great space for the piece, and Kerrytown is all about this kind of collaboration. We are thrilled to have Arbor Opera Theater as our partner in this project.”

The Tales of Hoffmann

May 17, 2019 at 7:30PM & May 18, 2019 at 7:30PM & May 19, 2019 at 2:30PM

Arthur Miller Theatre at 1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor, MI

Jacques Offenbach, music

Michael Carré and Jules Barbier, original text

Daniel J. Brylow, adaptation/translation

Performed in a new English adaptation from Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Opera Theatre

Blind dates can be the worst, especially when you’re paired with a mechanical doll, a ghostly apparition, or a shadow-stealing courtesan.

Arbor Opera Theater is pleased to present a brand new reimagined production of The Tales of Hoffmann from Skylight Music Theatre and Milwaukee Opera Theatre, which BroadwayWorld hailed as “ethereal and uplifting,” with a dreamlike setting that “highlights the fantasy in this opera fantastique.” It tells of poet E.T.A. Hoffmann’s unending search for true love, doing so with humor, a dose of magic, and some of Jacque Offenbach’s most memorable melodies, including the “Doll Song” and the Venetian Barcarolle.

Performed at the Arthur Miller Theatre on the University of Michigan’s North Campus, this enthralling adaptation by director Daniel J. Brylow is sung in English, with a reduced cast, musical ensemble, and playing time from the original—still a complete work of musical art that instead of smaller feels “essential and more concentrated.” The ensemble of singers now numbers only 13, and as there are more parts than people, the villain is played by the previous lover in each subsequent tale—a topsy-turvy yank toward the present day for these old tales. Though Hoffmann’s pursuit of love is foiled by sinister figures at every turn, he is rewarded in the end with the never-ending admiration of his Muse and a newfound love for his art.

Local favorite Mary Martin is among the sopranos playing the lover-turned-villainesses, and tenor Robert Stahley, who has recently made role debuts at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Kentucky Symphony Orchestra, and Wolf Trap Opera, will sing Hoffmann. Casting will continue through the fall with audition calls in Ann Arbor during early September. Casting will continue through the fall with audition calls in Ann Arbor during early September.

Arbor Opera Theater names Austin Stewart as Artistic Director

After his appointment as Artistic Director in June, Austin Stewart commented “It is my great privilege to join Arbor Opera Theater, and to imagine what this company can mean to a town that so highly prizes its musical and theatrical experiences. We will strive to produce thought-provoking, exciting lyric theatre that will connect with new audiences, while providing our more experienced patrons with performances they cannot find elsewhere. This is a humbling opportunity for me, and I look forward to pursuing all the ways in which we can enrich Ann Arbor’s artistic community and its cultural offerings.”

Visit www.ArborOpera.com today to order your subscription tickets for AOT’s 2018–2019 Season.

Week of 8/8/2022

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