Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Opera's New Season Offers More Conflict-Centric Works

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pittsburgh Opera's New Season Offers More Conflict-Centric Works

Article excerpt

For the third year running, Pittsburgh Opera's new season includes contemporary work with a militant flair. In 2018, Jeremy Howard Beck's "The Long Walk" centered on a soldier's reintegration into civilian life. This year's "Glory Denied" by Tom Cipullo is about Vietnam War veteran Col. Floyd "Jim" Thompson, the longest held prisoner of war in American history.

The 2019-20 season, the company's 81st, also includes Peter Hilliard's "The Last American Hammer," a satirical treatment of a one-man militia raging against the tyranny of the federal government.

"It's just a delicious idea," said Christopher Hahn, Pittsburgh Opera's general director. "It's deeply timely and quite wacky."

Mr. Hahn, who regularly travels to hear stagings of new works, said that younger composers have lately been especially focused on war. "There's just inherent conflict to war and the military that makes it ripe for operatic treatment."

"The Last American Hammer" (Feb. 22-March 1, 2020) will be performed at the opera's headquarters in the Strip District. The four main stage productions will be at the Benedum Center, Downtown, as usual. Next year's season includes such staples as Bizet's "Carmen" and Mozart's "Don Giovanni" as well as Bellini's "Norma" and Mexican composer Daniel Catan's "Florencia en el Amazonas," which will be sung in Spanish.

The season also includes a baroque offering, Handel's "Alcina" at Pittsburgh CAPA School Theater, Downtown, as well as numerous free performances and recitals, educational talks and artist meet-and-greets, and fundraising events.

"Florencia en el Amazonas" has taken the place of what was supposed to be a world-premiere production of Mohammed Fairouz's "Bhutto," which will no longer debut next season.

Pittsburgh Opera 2019-20 season

"Don Giovanni" (Oct. 12-20): Mozart's take on the famous womanizer Don Juan has been given a Hollywood-slick, film noir gloss in this season-opening production. Former Pittsburgh Opera resident artist Craig Verm returns to star as the dreaded Don Giovanni. Corrie Stallings and South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana return as Donna Elvira and Leporello, respectively.

"Florencia en el Amazonas" (Nov. 9-17): Based on the famous novel "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this opera explores the tale of singer Florencia Grimaldi as she performs in Brazil in the early 1900s and searches for her lost love, a butterfly hunter. …

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