The Austin Chronicle

Austin Opera Redefines the Limits of Opera for 2024-25 Season

By Richard Whittaker, May 1, 2024, 9:37am, All Over Creation

If you think opera is just warbling about Teutonic deities, newly-announced Austin Opera's 2024-25 season may change your mind, with a Cold War paranoia drama, a new work about the Day of the Dead, and a choral landmark from a master of opera to be performed alongside a tragic classic.

As the company closes out the season this weekend with a production of Bizet's Carmen, it has set out the calendar for the next year, beginning in November with the return of their groundbreaking original work, The Manchurian Candidate. This will be followed by a non-operatic work from a composer best known for opera, Verdi's Requiem. The season will wrap up up next April with a modern classic, as Madame Butterfly spreads her wings.

All productions will take place at the Long Center for the Performing Arts: season subscriptions are available now, with single performance tickets for sale starting Thursday, Sept. 5. Visit for more information.

Additionally, the company will be workshopping a new one-act opera, Ofrenda: A 'Día de Muertos' Story." This work by Mexican-born composer Jorge Sosa and Mexican American librettist John de los Santos is part of the Opera ATX Residency for Latinx Creatives initiative, which launched last year as part of the new Butler Fund for Spanish Programming. The residency last 10 days, with the dates of the public workshop to be announced later.


Austin Opera pushed boundaries and buttons in 2016 with the world premiere of a most unlikely literary adaptation: Richard Condon's Cold War thriller, The Manchurian Candidate. The surprise success, with libretto by Mark Campbell and music by Kevin Puts, returns under director by Alison Moritz, with scenic design by Vince Herod, lighting design Kathryn Eader, and projections created by Greg Emetaz. This production stars baritone Mark Diamond as ultimate patsy Sgt. Raymond Shaw, with bass-baritone Kyle Albertson as Senator Johnny Iselin, alongside three Austin Opera first-timers: Metropolitan Opera soprano Mary Dunleavy as Shaw's manipulative mother, Eleanor; Grammy-nominated soprano Rachel Blaustein as his lost love, Jocelyn; and Grammy-winning tenor Frederick Ballentine as the investigative Captain Ben Marco, the part played onscreen by Frank Sinatra and Denzel Washington.

Saturday, Nov. 9, 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 10, 2pm
Two hours, including one 20-minute intermission


The 2023-24 season saw Austin Opera bring Stephen Sondheim’s cunning and dark musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the operatic audience: now conductor Timothy Myers launches a new series, Opera Unleashed: Epic Masterpieces, that redefines what can be expected in this space. The piece will be performed in the original Latin with projected English-language surtitles. Soprano Leah Crocetto, mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack, and tenor Limmie Pulliam all make their Austin Opera debuts, alongside bass Wei Wu, last seen as Kôbun in the company’s 2022 production of The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs. However, Verdi’s devotional masterpiece is a choral epic, and so the Austin Opera Chorus will be joined by professional members of Chorus Austin to create a 75-voice under Austin Opera Chorus Conductor Cina Crisara. Join the ensemble as they celebrate the 150th anniversary of Verdi’s divine work and Chorus Austin’s 60th birthday.

Saturday, Feb. 1, 2025, 7:30 pm
Sunday, Feb. 2, 2025, 2pm 90 minutes


Giacomo Puccini’s timeless tragedy has been staged and restaged countless times, and now Austin Opera has worked with Opera San Antonio for a brand-new vision of the tale of doomed love between geisha Cio-Cio-San (the titular Butterfly) and U.S. Navy Lieutenant B.F. Pinkerton. Appearing this weekend as Micaëla in Austin Opera’s 2023-24 season-closing production of Carmen, Sphinx Organization’s Medal of Excellence Award winner soprano Raquel González returns to Austin as Cio-Cio-San opposite tenor Joseph Dennis (Silent Night, 2019) as Pinkerton, with baritone Malcolm Mackenzie as US Consul Sharpless, mezzo-soprano Kristen Choi as Cio-Cio’s friend Suzuki, Grammy-nominated tenor Rodell Rosel as marriage broker Goro, and bass Hidenori Inoue.

Friday, April 25, 2025, 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 26, 2025, 7:30pm
Sunday, April 27, 2025, 2pm
Two hours and 45 minutes with one 20 minute intermission

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