Tuesday, March 1, 2011



Opera Season Opens with Company Premiere of Carmina Burana in Spectacular New Production

Dance Season Includes Three Detroit Premieres

DETROIT, Michigan, March 1, 2011...Michigan Opera Theatre announced today the details of its 2011-12 opera and dance seasons. The company's 41st opera season, entitled "Fate," includes a brand new production of Carmina Burana, as well as revivals of perennial favorites The Marriage of Figaro, The Pearl Fishers and I Pagliacci. Each production explores in its own way the human relationship to fate, and asks the eternal question, do we decide for ourselves, or are our fates already determined by destiny?

The Detroit Opera House's 16th season of dance, sponsored by a generous gift from Maggie Allesee, is highlighted by the Detroit premiere of the sexy and athletic Bad Boys of Dance, and the North American premiere of Swan Lake performed by Corella Ballet, Spain's only classical ballet company. The Maggie Allesee Dance Series also includes the return of the ever-popular Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Opera House will again host its annual holiday tradition of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker with the Detroit premiere of BalletMet Columbus' colorful production.

Opera Season | Dance Season | Ticket Information


October 15-23, 2011

Performed in Latin with English supertitles

An all-new production and company premiere of Carl Orff's masterpiece Carmina Burana opens the season for five performances from October 15-23, 2011. Never before seen on the Opera House stage, Carmina Burana was composed in 1935-36 as a grand work for chorus, soloists and orchestra. After the premiere, the composer was so pleased that he said anything he had written before Carmina could be destroyed. The work begins and ends with the well-known and powerful "O Fortuna," a complaint to the Roman goddess of fate.

In addition to the glorious music, stunning aerial feats will be performed by acrobats who have worked with Cirque de Soleil, along with choreography and dancers from Detroit's own Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. The production will feature brand new sets and costumes designed by award-winning Detroit stage designer Monika Essen, who joined the company in 1998 and has designed productions for many area theater, television and film productions.

Carmina will be paired with Gian Carlo Menotti's one-act opera The Medium, marking the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth. Written in 1946, the dramatic tour de force tells of Madame Flora, who cheats her customers by holding fake séances, only to feel a ghost touch her hand during one session, driving her mad. The opera, which has been seen on television and Broadway, was last produced by MOT in 1973 with stage and film actor Sal Mineo.

American mezzo-soprano Melissa Parks performs the title role of Madame Flora, and Canadian Andriana Chuchman returns as both the soprano soloist and Monica, after most recently appearing with Parks in the company's acclaimed fall 2010 production of The Mikado.

Director Robert Swedberg will stage the production along with choreographer Bianca Sapetto of Cirque de Soleil, in their debuts with the company. The production will be under the baton of MOT Assistant Music Director Suzanne Acton, who last conducted A Little Night Music for the company in 2009.

November 12-20, 2011

Performed in Italian with English supertitles

The fall season continues as Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro returns to the Detroit Opera House stage November 12-20, 2011. One of the most celebrated and delightfully amusing operas ever written, Figaro is regarded as a cornerstone of the operatic cannon. The boisterous romantic comedy involves a wildly entertaining parade of mistaken identities, cross-dressing and infidelity, but of course all are fated to end up happy. MOT last produced the opera in 2007.

A sequel of sorts to Rossini's Barber of Seville, the opera recounts a single "mad" day in the palace of Count Almaviva, maintaining the same characters. The Count's wife Rosina, unhappy in her married life, is pursued by the Count's page. At the same time, the Count is pursuing his servant Susanna, who is engaged to Figaro, the Count's valet. The marital madness comes to a head that evening when all find themselves on the palace grounds in a hilarious series of events that result in the Count's humiliation and forgiveness by the Countess.

American baritone Corey McKern, whose young career has already earned attention and acclaim, returns to MOT as Count Almaviva after his debut performances as Marcello in La Bohème last fall. In the role of Susanna is Italian soprano Grazia Doronzio, who returns after making her company debut as Mimi in the same production; Canadian soprano Andriana Chuchman returns to alternate in the role. American mezzo-soprano Lauren McNeese will sing Cherubino, returning after her company debut in Romeo and Juliet in 2007 and recently performing in LA Opera's new production of the Ring Cycle. Mezzo-soprano Melissa Parks returns in the role of Marcellina.

Italian director Mario Corradi will stage Figaro, marking his twenty-first production with the company.

April 14-22, 2012

Performed in French with English supertitles

Michigan Opera Theatre's spring 2012 season begins with Georges Bizet's tale of fate, loyalty and forbidden love, The Pearl Fishers from April 14-22, 2012. The production will again be staged with the wildly colorful sets and costumes of fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, whose designs have been seen on Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis, Paris Hilton, and Sarah Jessica Parker in "Sex and the City." Set on the island of Ceylon in the ruins of an Indian temple, the opera is Bizet's most successful aside from Carmen and noted for its exotic orchestrations and famous tenor-baritone duet. It was last performed by MOT in 2004.

Brave pearl fishermen Zurga and Nadir recall the pact they made not to pursue Leila, the woman with whom they were both in love. A veiled virgin arrives to pray for the fishermen on the eve of their upcoming expedition, but her true identity remains hidden. When she finally reveals herself as Leila, she pits the old friends against each other in a deadly love triangle.

American soprano Leah Partridge appears as Leila, returning to the company after last performing as Roxane in the world premiere of David DiChiera's Cyrano in 2007. American tenor Noah Stewart returns in the role of Nadir, after impressing Detroit audiences most recently as Rodolfo in fall 2010's La Bohème.

Leading the production is maestro Mark Flint, a veteran of numerous company productions and a favorite of MOT audiences for orchestrating and conducting the world premiere of Cyrano. Director Andrew Sinclair will stage The Pearl Fishers, after last directing the same production for the company in 2004. A co-production of MOT and San Diego Opera, it has played to great acclaim in such cities as San Francisco, New York and Montreal, among others.

Leoncavallo's I PAGLIACCI
May 12-20, 2012

Performed in Italian with English supertitles

After an absence of more than 25 years, Ruggero Leoncavallo's only successful opera I Pagliacci closes the season from May 12-20, 2012, with the tragic tale of the tears of a clown. The audience favorite tells of a hunchback pagliaccio who becomes embroiled in a fatal love triangle. The first opera ever to be recorded in its entirety, Pagliacci also contains the first recording to sell a million copies, the famous aria "Vesti la giubba." The opera was last performed by the company in 1985.

In the ultimate backstage drama, laughter becomes heartbreak as the loves and jealousies of a group of traveling players spill into their performances with tragic results. Even as the clown Canio takes the stage to make his audience laugh, his mask cannot hide the knowledge of his wife's betrayal, and he vows to avenge the crime.

In a unique twist, the production will feature an added flashback sequence before the second act, set to music from Leoncavallo's Zaza. Conceptualized by French director Bernard Uzan, who will direct the production, the sequence takes the audience back to the time Canio first met his wife and took her off the street.

Appearing as Canio is Italian tenor Antonello Palombi, who famously performed in street clothes when he was called to take over unexpectedly in Aida at La Scala. He will alternate with American tenor Gregory Carroll in his MOT debut, and who was called "easily one of the best Canios" when he sang the role at Opera Cleveland. American soprano Jill Gardner makes her company debut as Nedda, following recent debuts with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Florida Grand Opera.

Internationally renowned maestro Steven Mercurio returns to lead the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra. Uzan and Mercurio will also collaborate on the company's May 2011 production of Rigoletto.


October 29-30, 2011

In a Detroit Opera House premiere, Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance will perform their hit routine October 29-30, 2011. From dancing on catwalks at New York's fashion week to appearing on "Dancing with the Stars," the dancers' amazing versatility and talent push the bounds of dance with athletic jumps, endless turns and endearing individuality.

Founded by dance superstar Rasta Thomas in 2007, BBD dancers have performed on Broadway, in feature films, and have been adored by millions on hit TV shows. In 2010 they performed at Carnegie Hall with Sir Elton John for a charity event alongside Lady Gaga, Sting and Bruce Springsteen. Today the company gives more than 150 shows a year and has performed for fans worldwide, and had the distinct honor of performing at the opening ceremonies of the USA International Ballet Competition.

BalletMet Columbus: THE NUTCRACKER
November 25-27, 2011

The Opera House continues its annual holiday tradition with the Detroit premiere of BalletMet Columbus' production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. For four magical performances from November 25-27, 2011, this quintessential holiday event features a talented cast of more than 100 professional company dancers and local children, with larger-than-life characters, narration by Sir Roger Moore, and Tchaikovsky's glorious score played by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

A variety of holiday activities at the Detroit Opera House make The Nutcracker a family outing that children and adults cherish for years to come. The 2011 festivities will again feature special family matinees that include box lunches, reindeer, photos with Santa and the Nutcracker, and a special opportunity to meet Nutcracker dancers on the stage in the Sugar Plum Parade.

BalletMet Columbus, renowned for its versatility and innovative repertory, ranks among the nation's largest dance companies, and its Dance Academy ranks among the largest dance-training centers. Since its inception in 1978, BalletMet has added 154 company premieres to its repertoire and produced 126 world premieres.

March 29-April 1, 2012

By popular demand, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Detroit Opera House once again in 2012, performing timeless Ailey classics and new works by contemporary choreographers. Always a favorite of Detroit audiences, AAADT will bring its extraordinary beauty and grace, electrifying energy and soulful spirit to Detroit for a limited five-performance engagement from March 29-April 1, 2012.

Founded in 1958 by dance pioneer Alvin Ailey, the company has become renowned for its expansive repertory, extensive touring schedule and community outreach efforts, along with its masterful artistry. In the more than 50 years since its founding, the company has grown from a small, mostly black company into a large, multi-racial institution, fulfilling Ailey's dream to "touch everyone's heart through dance."

The 2011-12 season will mark the first under the company's new Artistic Director Robert Battle, after the retirement of current Artistic Director Judith Jamison, who has led the company since 1989. Battle will be only the third person to head the company since its founding, and will continue the legacy of Ailey and Jamison. AAADT has performed in cities around the globe, earning a reputation as one of the most acclaimed international ambassadors of American culture.

Corella Ballet: SWAN LAKE
April 27-29, 2012

In a North American premiere, Corella Ballet will perform the magical, mysterious Swan Lake from April 27-29, 2012. The performances will mark the first time the company has performed the work outside of Spain. Called "the world's most beloved ballet," Swan Lake tells of a young prince in love with a beautiful girl who is forced by a sorcerer to swim as a swan, and may only be human at night. Corella Ballet's production, which premiered in Spain in 2008, showcases the spectacular choreography of Marius Petipá and Leiv Ivanov. Tchaikovsky's haunting score will be performed live by the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra.

Founded in 2008 by principal dancer Angel Corella, who will appear at certain performances, Corella Ballet offers a wide repertoire incorporating classical, neoclassical and contemporary choreography. The only classical ballet company in Spain, Corella Ballet works to provide professional opportunities for the country's classical dancers to further their careers in their own country, an opportunity not available to Corella's generation.


Subscription prices range from $58 to $484. The Detroit Opera House will again offer a payment plan for subscriptions. If a patron subscribes by March 30, 2011, the subscription cost will be split into four equal payments due at the end of each month, with the final payment due June 30, 2011.

As always, subscriptions are offered first to renewing subscribers. Renewal packets will be mailed in March 2011, or subscribers may renew subscriptions online at www.MichiganOpera.org. Subscribers enjoy the benefits of priority seating, limited free ticket exchanges, and advanced purchase opportunities for certain non-subscription events. New 2011-12 subscriptions will be available online at www.MichiganOpera.org, as well as through the ticket office. The Detroit Opera House will again offer special package discounts for first-time subscribers, as well as a distance discount for new subscribers traveling more than 80 miles to attend performances. The popular "family series" discount will also continue. All subscription information may be obtained by calling the Detroit Opera House ticket office at (313) 237-SING [7464].


Single ticket prices remain unchanged from last season, ranging from $29 to $121. Single tickets for the Detroit Opera House's 2011-12 opera and dance seasons will become available in September 2011. They will be available in person at the Detroit Opera House ticket office (1526 Broadway, Detroit), by phone at (313) 237-SING [7464], and online at www.MichiganOpera.org. For group sales rates, please contact the ticket office.

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Carmina Burana
October 15-23, 2011
The Pearl Fishers
April 14-22, 2012
Saturday, October 15 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 14 7:30 PM
Wednesday, October 19 7:30 PM
Wednesday, April 18 7:30 PM
Friday, October 21 7:30 PM
Friday, April 20 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 22 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 21 7:30 PM
Sunday, October 23 2:30 PM
Sunday, April 22 2:30 PM

The Marriage of Figaro
November 12-20, 2011

I Pagliacci
May 12-20, 2012
Saturday, November 12 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 12 7:30 PM
Wednesday, November 16 7:30 PM
Wednesday, May 16 7:30 PM
Friday, November 18 7:30 PM
Friday, May 18 7:30 PM
Saturday, November 19 7:30 PM
Saturday, May 19 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 20 2:30 PM
Sunday, May 20 2:30 PM