This morning, the 19/20 Calgary Opera season details were released, the first under the new senior leadership team of Artistic Director, Bramwell Tovey, and Managing Director and CEO, Heather Kitchen. Here’s our season rundown:
The 19/20 Calgary season opens in November with Puccini’s La Bohème, the perennial crowd-pleaser enlivened here by the presence of young, Calgary-born Brenna Corner at the directorial helm. Add to that a promising cast of Canadian and American talent: Miriam Khalil as Mimì, Antoine Bélanger as Rodolfo, Joanna Latini as Musetta and Peter Barrett as Marcello. Italian-born conductor Jonathan Brandani is on the podium. From the looks of the promotional photos, Calgary will present Puccini’s classic in a 2017 production from Opéra de Montréal.
Winter 2020 brings Bellini’s bel canto masterpiece, Norma, to the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium starring Aviva Fortunata. The young Canadian soprano triumphed in the opera’s title role at Dallas Opera in 2017 when she jumped in at the last moment for South African soprano Elza van den Heever. As her confidante and rival in love, Adalgisa, Calgary Opera presents American mezzo-soprano Annie Rosen in what appears to be a role and Canadian debut. American tenor Chad Shelton makes a Calgary debut as Pollione, the object of both women’s passion. British conductor Alice Farnham leads the company’s musical forces.
The 19/20 Calgary mainstage season ends with Richard Strauss’s comic gem, Ariadne auf Naxos in what promises to be a visually stunning production from De Nederlandse Reisopera. American mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier and soprano Rebecca Nash take on the roles of The Composer and Ariadne/The Prima Donna, respectively. Canadian soprano Sharleen Joynt sings Zerbinetta, a role that sealed her reputation as one of today’s top coloratura specialists while working in theatres throughout Germany. Canadian tenor David Pomeroy sings Bacchus, giving his home country a rare opportunity to here him in the kind of big, heldentenor roles he is singing with such success in Europe. Gordon Gerrard conducts.
Calgary rounds out their season with two additional productions: a Christmastime presentation of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors and to celebrate the 150th Berlioz anniversary, concert performances of his Béatrice et Bénédict in March 2020 featuring singers from the company’s Emerging Artist Development Program.