Flamencos, Mariachis, and Murder Announced for Austin Opera 2023-24 Season

New year kicks off with murderous classic Pagliacci

Austin Opera's current season is not yet over, but before last night's final dress rehearsal for this weekend's production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the company announced the three productions in its 2023-24 season at the Long Center.

• Nov. 4-5: Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci - Opening the season, the part of Cannio, the vengeance-fueled clown, will by performed by Jonathan Burton (Bacchus in Austin Opera's 2018 production of Ariadne auf Naxos). Hailey Clark (Anna Sørensen in Austin Opera's 2019' Silent Night) makes her role debut as his doomed wife, Nedda. The production will be conducted by Timothy Myers, Austin Opera’s Sarah & Ernest Butler Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor. Opening night will also spill out on to the concourse to become the season gala.

• Feb. 1-4, 2024: Martinez and Foglia’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna - A new coproduction of the original mariachi opera directed by David Ramadés Toro, with scenic and costume design by Tony Award nominee Arnulfo Maldonado. The production will also feature a new full orchestration by David Hanlon, commissioned by Austin Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Houston Grand Opera. It will include, of course, a three-piece mariachi ensemble, the critically-acclaimed Trio Chapultepec, and vocalists from the Ópera de Bellas Artes Studio. Cruzar centers on the story of a Mexican migrant to the US who, on his death bed, contemplates his bifurcated life, split by the border. This will be the first production at the Long Center supported by the new Butler Fund for Spanish Programming, (named after donors Sarah and Ernest Butler) as part of Austin Opera's efforts to expand Spanish-language programming.

That $3 million endowment fund will also support a new initiative announced last night, the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives, providing a 10-day residency for a Latinx composer and librettist team to work with the Austin Opera Orchestra, the Austin Opera Teaching Artists, and members of the Austin Opera Chorus on an existing work in progress.

• April 27-May 5, 2024: Bizet's Carmen - Headlined by Virginie Verrez (who previously played the part at the Welsh National Opera) in the production created by legendary Carmen performer Denyce Graves for the 2022 Glimmerglass Festival. This new staging coincides with the publication of the upcoming book by Austin Opera Trustee and Director of the Director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies at UT Austin, Jennifer M. Wilks, Carmen in Diaspora: Adaptation, Race, and Opera’s Most Famous Character, and will be accompanied by a series of community events throughout the 2024 season.

The season will also include a one-night-only special performance by bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green (possibly best known for his Grammy-winning performance in the Metropolitan Opera's 2019 revival of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess) with pianist Adam Nielsen, to be held at the new Austin PBS Media Center and recorded for national broadcast on local television. Austin PBS CEO Luis Patiño says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Austin Opera on this concert that will be captured live in our new state-of-the-art Media Studio. Austin PBS strives to serve the public using media that educates, inspires, entertains, and reflects a variety of perspectives, and Austin Opera is a great partner in developing content that fits that vision.”

Tickets will be available soon, but subscriptions for the 2023-24 season are now available, giving a 40% discount over single-ticket prices, and a 20% discount on individual tickets: better yet, Austin Opera is holding those subscriptions at 2022-23 prices through April 14. Visit austinopera.org for more info.

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