San Antonio, Texas– Opera Piccola of San Antonio announced today the Valero Energy Foundation 2015-2016 season of exciting opera, both at The Charline McCombs Empire Theatre and the Carver Cultural Center. This marks the fourth season for Opera Piccola, providing patrons with professional intimate opera experiences, performed in English and presented in unique and accessible ways for people of all musical tastes. Piccola’s Founder and General Director, Mark Richter says, “We are very excited in presenting a season that is as eclectic as this one. The need of creating opera that will attract new audiences while stimulating those, who already enjoy, is challenging. We simply promote our opera as great live entertainment, first and foremost. Piccola is fortunate in having an extremely talented team of veteran directors that act cohesively in achieving the vision of the company. “
The 2015-2016 season begins with a double-bill of American comic opera. Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appétit, is a charming, short opera based on Julia Child’s famous television cooking show. A delicious performance of culinary comedy as the flamboyant master chef teaches the makings of a classic French chocolate cake, which will be eaten during intermission by all those attending. Following intermission, Douglas Moore’s Gallantry also takes place in a TV studio during the live taping of the titular soap. Replete with commercial parodies and even actor smoke breaks, the whole production sends the audience a knowing wink from the very first scene. It’s a hospital drama which hinges on the tortured love triangle of oblivious appendectomy patient Donald, voluptuous Nurse Lola, and the scheming Dr. Gregg. Stage direction by Cynthia Stokes.
The season continues with a very special adaptation of Mozart’s classic, The Abduction from the Seraglio. Through special arrangement with Josh Shaw and Opera Pacific Project, Opera Piccola will boldly go where no opera has gone before. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic sci-fi empire, Mozart’s tale of two men rescuing their kidnapped girlfriends from a harem, has become an episode of “Star Trek,” with the Enterprise crew, Klingons, slave girls and lots of fun. Stage direction by Josh Shaw.
Following last season’s smash hit, Dido & Aeneas, we close our 2015-2016 season with two English baroque masterpieces, written almost 300 years apart. Britten’s late masterpiece, Phaedra takes us back to Greek mythology, in this case to one of its most tortured figures: a woman who descends from obsession to sin, thence to madness and suicide. Internationally renowned, regular of the MET and Lyric Opera Chicago, mezzo-soprano Jill Grove will make her San Antonio debut in this pinnacle role.
Following Phaedra, Acis and Galatea is charming and deceptively sweet. This pastorale tells of a demigod in love with a mortal— and what happens when another demigod gets jealous. Handel wove some of his most beautiful melodies into the story of Galatea, her beloved Acis, and the sinister Polyphemus. Join Opera Piccola for its first-ever Handel opera. Sung in English with English Supertitles with stage direction by Cynthia Stokes.
Lead roles and chorus members are predominantly contracted from the incredible talent pool of our region, lending to Piccola’s goal of being a part of the cultural fiber of San Antonio’s community. Each work is accompanied by a professional chamber orchestra under the direction of Kristin Roach. Due to scheduling conflicts, the season opening productions will be done at the Carver Cultural Center, just a few minutes from the downtown area. The 2015-2016 season is underwritten by the Russell Hill Rogers Fund for the Arts, Valero Energy Foundation, City of San Antonio-Department for Culture & Creative Development, G.A.C. Halff Foundation, Argo and Minnie Piper Stevens Foundation.
In addition to the regular season, Opera Piccola’s major fundraiser, Opera Frenzy 2015 will take place at The Bright Shawl on September 19, 2015. An exciting seated dinner filled with opera performances and a dance featuring Doc Watkins and his 16-piece Big Band Orchestra. Tickets are $125.00 and are available for purchase.
Opera Piccola will also be presenting salon style vocal performances throughout the year, as well as planning free large scale events for the public.
Season tickets are currently on sale by calling the opera’s Box Office, 314-6696. Subscription prices include a 20% discount from an already low single ticket cost. Packages for all 3 opera performances range from $36.00- $120.00. For more information, please go to www.operapiccolasa.com