Sky's the Limit for Opera Companies

Article excerpt

Opera expands this season as Opera Theater joins Pittsburgh Opera with performances scheduled in the Cultural District, Downtown.

The two companies are not really competitive, because Pittsburgh Opera, the region's top opera company, is in a different league than Opera Theater, which focuses on young, emerging talent. But the new venue alignment brings welcome variety to the season.

Pittsburgh Opera is offering a four-opera Italian festival, supplemented Jan. 26-Feb. 3 by English composer Jonathan Dove's "Flight," set at an airport.

Pittsburgh Opera opens with its participation in the Australia Festival by use of Opera Australia's production of Giacomo Puccini's "Madame Butterfly," Oct. 13-21. The set features a wooden platform surrounded by water.

Gaetano Donizetti's charming light comedy "The Elixir of Love," Nov. 10-18, features soprano Elizabeth Futrell in a production that moves the action from a small town in Italy to a small town in America.

"Aida," Giuseppe Verdi's opera set in ancient, imperial Egypt, returns to the Benedum Center for the first time in 12 seasons, playing March 29-April 6. Spectacular and intimate, "Aida" is one of the most popular operas.

Pittsburgh Opera closes its season with a continuation of "Romeo and Juliet" explorations, represented during the 2006-07 season by Charles Gounod's opera. …