Opera San Jose

Opera San Jose General Director Irene Dalis has announced repertoire for the company’s 28th season to begin Saturday, September 10 with the company premiere of Mozart’s first dramatic masterwork Idomeneo, the mythical tale of the king of Crete set at the end of the Trojan War. George Cleve, founder and music director of the Midsummer Mozart Festival, conducts, with stage direction by Brad Dalton.

In November, Opera San Jose will present a double-bill of two intensely dramatic operas, Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci paired with Poulenc’s La voix humaine. In partnership with Opera Santa Barbara, acclaimed stage director and artistic director of Opera Santa Barbara José Maria Condemi returns in 2012 to direct Verdi’s romantic tragedy La traviata. The season will culminate with Gounod’s Faust conducted by Opera San Jose’s founding music director and principal conductor, David Rohrbaugh, with Brad Dalton returning as stage director.

“Next season we will offer the public Mozart’s favorite opera, Leoncavallo’s best opera, a tour de force for a single voice by the French master, Poulenc, America’s favorite Verdi opera, and Queen Victoria’s favorite opera of all time. That’s quite a line up!” says General Director Irene Dalis. “As always, we select operas that best suit the artists in our resident company, and these operas will fit like a glove.”

The 2011-12 season features the principal artists from Opera San Jose’s resident company: Jasmina Halimic (soprano), Jouvanca Jean-Baptiste (soprano), Betany Coffland (mezzo-soprano), Alexander Boyer (tenor), Michael Dailey (tenor), Torlef Borsting (baritone), Krassen Karagiozov (baritone), Isaiah Musik-Ayala (bass-baritone), and Silas Elash (bass). Former residents, soprano Rebecca Davis and tenor Christopher Bengochea, return as guest artists during the 2011-12 season.

All performances will be held at the California Theatre, 345 South First Street in downtown San José.

Subscriptions for Opera San José’s 2011-12 season are on sale February 7, 2011, starting as low as $100 for all four operas. Subscriptions are available at the Opera San José Box Office or by phone at (408) 437-4450. Single tickets will go on sale July 11, 2011, priced from $50.

Opera San Jose, 2011-12 season

September 10-25, 2011

Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Performances: September 10, 11m, 15, 17, 18m, 20, 23, 25m (m=matinee)
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Librettist: Giambattista Varesco, based on the drama Idoménée by Antoine Danchet
Premiere: Munich, January 29, 1781
Conductor: George Cleve
Stage director: Brad Dalton

An epic work of music drama that changed the course of Mozart’s operas, Idomeneo is the mythical tale of the king of Crete, returning home from the Trojan War. To gain a safe return to shore during a violent storm at sea, Idomeneo vows to sacrifice to Neptune the first person he sees on land. Unfortunately, it’s his son, Idamante, so Idomeneo flees instead of greeting him. Idamante, meanwhile, is in love with Ilia, the captured daughter of the king of Troy. Neptune, cheated out of his sacrifice, sends a sea monster to ravage Crete. Idamante slays the monster and presents himself for sacrifice, but Ilia comes between them declaring her love for Idamante. Will the gods be appeased? A divine voice declares that Idamante and Ilia shall reign as the new king and queen of Crete.

Mozart was just 25-years-old when his mythological music drama premiered in Munich on January 29, 1781. Idomeneo is considered to be his first dramatic masterpiece and was his personal favorite of all his operas.

Pagliacci and La voix humaine
November 12-27, 2011

Performances: November 12, 13m, 17, 19, 20m, 22, 25, 27m (m=matinee)
Pagliacci La voix humaine
Sung in Italian with English supertitles Sung in French with English supertitles
Composer/Librettist: Ruggero Leoncavallo Composer: Francis Poulenc
Librettist: Jean Cocteau
Premiere: Milan, May 21, 1892 Premiere: Paris, February 6, 1959

Conductor: Bryan Nies Conductor: Bryan Nies
Stage director: Layna Chianakas

A jealous husband and a jilted lover, both in the depths of an emotional crisis; this pairing of two intensely dramatic operas explores the human psyche in a perfect union of music and drama.

Leoncavallo’s Italian opera Pagliacci is the tale of Canio, the leader of a traveling commedia dell’arte troupe. He is the clown who must laugh, and make others laugh, while masking his own grief after learning that his wife Nedda has betrayed him with another man. In the end, art meets tragedy in a rage of passion and jealousy.

La voix humaine, Poulenc’s French monodrama, follows a young woman’s emotional phone conversation with an unseen former lover. He is discarding her to marry another woman, and she is desperately trying to win back his love. Set in 1940’s Paris, this one-act opera paints an emotional portrait of an abandoned woman teetering on the edge during an affecting and engaging monologue.

La traviata
February 11-26, 2012

Co-production with Opera Santa Barbara
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Performances: February 11, 12m, 16, 18, 19m, 21, 24, 26m (m=matinee)
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas
Premiere: Venice, March 6, 1853
Conductor: David Rohrbaugh
Stage director: José Maria Condemi

Violetta Valéry is a famed courtesan, glamorous, yet fragile. It is 1889 Paris and the celebrated beauty has thrown a lavish party where she meets the young admirer Alfredo Germont. He has long loved her, and she is so taken with his sincerity that she abandons her life of luxury and retreats to the country to be with him. But when met with the disapproving eye of Alfredo’s father, Violetta regrettably agrees to end the affair and go back to Paris. A jealous Alfredo denounces her, but when he learns of her sacrifice he returns to beg her forgiveness, only to discover she has but moments to live.

Verdi’s romantic tragedy La traviata is overflowing with some of the most unforgettable music in all of opera. His melodies, rich in passion and drama, made him the master of his time and this legendary tale of love and sacrifice has touched the hearts of both the opera novice and long-time opera lover for generations.

April 21-May 6, 2012

Sung in French with English supertitles
Performances: April 21, 22m, 26, 28, 29m, May 1, 4, 6m (m=matinee)
Composer: Charles Gounod
Librettist: Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, based on Carré’s play Faust et Marguerite
Premiere: Paris, March 19, 1859
Conductor: David Rohrbaugh
Stage director: Brad Dalton

Inspired by Goethe’s legendary story, Gounod’s opera is the timeless tale of the malevolent Méphistophélès, the devil in the flesh, who seduces the old scholar Faust, promising him the elixir of youth in exchange for his soul. Faust is transformed into a young, handsome man and sets out with his devious companion to experience the pleasures of the world. Faust seduces the beautiful and innocent Marguerite, only to abandon her before she gives birth to his child. Her reputation destroyed, but not beyond redemption, Marguerite calls upon the angels for salvation. Faust receives no such escape and is condemned to his devilish fate in this spiritual conflict between Heaven and Hell. Faust premiered in Paris in 1859 and is one of the most performed operas of all time.

Dates: September 10, 2011-May 6, 2012

Idomeneo September 10, 11m, 15, 17, 18m, 20, 23, 25m
Pagliacci/La voix humaine November 12, 13m, 17, 19, 20m, 22, 25, 27m
La traviata February 11, 12m, 16, 18, 19m, 21, 24, 26m
Faust April 21, 22m, 26, 28, 29m, May 1, 4, 6m

Time: All performances at 8 pm, except Sundays at 3 pm

Location: California Theatre, 345 South First Street between San Carlos and San Salvador streets, downtown San José

Tickets: Season subscriptions ($100-$340) on sale February 7, 2011 from the Opera San José Box Office, 2149 Paragon Dr., San José, CA 95131; or call 408-437-4450.

Single tickets ($50-$100).

Monica Turner
Contributor to Stark Insider for tech, the arts and All Things West Coast for over 10 years.