A strategic partnership between Syracuse Opera and Tri-Cities Opera culminated in its first production in April, when the two regional companies collaborated to produce Rossini’s “La Cenerentola, ossia La bontà in trionfo” (Cinderella or Triumphant Goodness) .
This partnership continues for the 2022-2023 season, with John Rozonni as general manager of both units and Christian Capocaccia as artistic director/conductor.
“Opera is a complex art form that brings together inspired artists of many talents and diverse audiences who have many expectations for performances,” Capocaccia said. “Adapting to our changing world with creative and collaborative initiatives will result in better experiences for our audiences, artists and community partners.”
Capocaccia said the 48th season will serve as a bridge to bridge the gap between the past and the future of the Syracuse Opera, which was founded in 1974.
Syracuse Opera will stage the same productions as its Binghamton-based partner Tri-Cities Opera. Both present it as the “M” season: the composers of the three main shows are Menotti and Mozart, and the themes are murder, chaos, mystery, miracles and marriage.
In an effort to expand its services to people beyond those who attend typical main stage productions, the Syracuse Opera House has already found comfortable venues for pop-up shows and targeted audiences.
In September, singers entertained crowds at the Syracuse Italian Festival and performed the children’s opera “Murder on the Docks” at the Beauchamp branch library. This performance will be repeated on October 15 during the Everson Museum’s Fall Community Day.
The first of its three main productions will be an immersive experience “Madness and the Medium”. At the Red House Theater Complex, the company will present Gian Carlo Menotti’s 1946 two-act tragedy, “The Medium,” which explores themes of alcohol addiction, abuse, deception and ‘occultism. Capocaccia will direct; Jennifer Williams will be the director.
Hannah Penn will play Madame Flora, the alcoholic who claims to have supernatural powers that allow her to contact the dead; Sarah Joyce Cooper will play her daughter and Felix Aguilar Tomlinson will play her adopted son. Kyrie Laybourn, Janine Dworin and Bernardo Medeiros will play characters who come to Madame Flora for seances.
The Penn mezzo-soprano has a long list of credits that include roles with the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, Florida Grand Opera and Portland Opera. During her diverse career, she performed operas, recitals and oratorios.
Cooper, who dazzled local audiences as Clorinda in Syracuse Opera’s “Cinderella,” is a soprano praised for her voice and stage presence. Tomlinson is an operatic tenor who has performed extensively in his home state of Minnesota and in Boston, where he is completing a performance degree at the Boston Conservatory.
Performances on October 28, 29 and 30 will be accompanied by a select group of local musicians, according to Alexandra Deshorties, director of media and communications and artistic liaison officer.
“The Medium” will be paired with spooky moments from other operas perfectly suited to the days leading up to Halloween. Viewers will experience the opera in a new way as they’re guided through scenes of murder and madness in the haunted Red House complex, Deshorties said.
Pre-show receptions for premium ticket holders will be held one hour before each presentation: 7 p.m. on October 28 and 29; 3:30 p.m. October. After an immersive tour with soundscapes, guests will be seated for “The Medium.”
An innovative way to share information this season is a permanent virtual lounge on the company and its productions emanating from the mysterious “Lady M.” Lady M’s letters can be found on the Syracuse Opera website. They provide teasers for upcoming events, general information about the composers and background to the performances.
Menotti appears again on the season’s schedule in December, when “Amahl and the Night Visitors” premieres for free at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church. The one-hour show runs without intermission. Televised on NBC Christmas Eve 1951, it was the first opera written expressly for American television and was broadcast for many years as an annual holiday tradition.
“Amahl and the Night Visitors” was inspired by Bosch’s painting “The Adoration of the Magi”. It tells the story of a faithful shepherd boy and his impoverished mother who welcome the three kings who seek the birthplace of the Christ Child. Casting will be announced later this fall. Instrumental accompaniment will be provided by local musicians under contract.
The highlight of the season’s lineup will be Mozart’s four-act comedy “The Marriage of Figaro,” which will be staged with luxurious costumes and a full orchestra at the Crouse-Hinds Theater on April 30. “Le nozze di Figaro” will be sung in Italian with English translations in superscript projected above the stage.
The original play on which the opera buffa is based was banned in Vienna because the aristocracy objected to a story that servants outwitted their masters. The plot involves shifting romantic alliances and deceptions that take place in the palace of the Count and Countess Almaviva as their servants Figaro and Susanna are about to be married.
The cast and the orchestra for “The Marriage of Figaro” will be announced soon.
Tickets for paid productions are available at www.syracuseopera.org through Ticketmaster, and prices vary by performance and seat selection. Subscribers save 15% on single ticket prices.
DETAILS ON ‘THE MADNESS and the MEANS’
What: Menotti’s opera in two acts “The Medium”
Where: The Red House Arts Center, 400 S. Salina St.
When: Oct. 28 and 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 30 at 3:30 p.m.
Duration: About two hours with intermission
Tickets: At the Red House Ticket Office or on the SO website
Cost: General admission $55
in addition: Pre-show reception with show at the price of $80