ROMEO & JULIET, a reversed version of LA BOHEME & More announced for Boston Lyric Opera’s 2022/23 season
In announcing its 2022/23 season today, Boston Lyric Opera unveiled an expanded year-round return to Boston stages, beginning with a free outdoor production of Charles GounodRomeo and Juliet at the Boston Common this summer and culminating in a spring 2023 production of the new opera Omar, co-commissioned by BLO to composers Rhiannon Giddens (below, left) and Michael Abels at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre.
This fall, BLO is mounting a new time-reversed production of Giacomo Puccini‘s La bohème by visionary director Yuval Sharon which opens with the opera’s tragic end and travels back in time to the carefree depiction of Parisian artists in love. The production, co-produced by BLO with Detroit Opera and Spoleto Festival United Statesopens at the restored Emerson Colonial Theater under an arrangement with Ambassador Theater Group.
In early spring 2023, BLO presents a new production of Béla Bartók’s one-act psychological thriller Bluebeard’s Castle directed by Anne Bogart, whose 2019 production of The Handmaid’s Tale for BLO won universal acclaim. Bluebeard will be produced at Terminal @ Flynn Cruiseport Boston and combined with the dramatic work Four Songs (Vier Lieder), a song cycle by composer Alma Mahler.
The 2022/23 season includes the premiere of another BLO-commissioned collaboration – this one between the 2022 Grammy Award winner Rhiannon Giddens and Boston City Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. The concert builds on an earlier collaboration between BLO and the City of Boston that brings together the words of prominent local poets and the music of contemporary composers to create entirely new works.
“When planning this season, we felt a strong need to examine the impact BLO can have beyond the confines of a traditional season and to plan for an expanded artistic and programming footprint with greater reach. in our home community,” Acting Stanford said. Bradley Vernatter, Managing and Creative Director of Calderwood. “These works can enrich our lives every day in broader ways, from free performances on Boston Common, to operas in familiar theaters, to citywide public programming and cinematic works – making opera accessible to everyone across the world. ‘year.”
BLO continues to create opera and opera-inspired online experiences for its operabox.tv streaming platform, this season and next. With this work, the company explores new ways to broaden the artistic expression of opera and access to this art form. The first in a new series of free digital shorts commissioned from New York artist collaboration UP UNTIL NOW launched last week, centering American Sign Language (ASL) on both a medium and a new language to bring the art form to new audiences.
Titled “SOUL(SIGNS): OPERA,” the series is being developed by a diverse group of artistic collaborators from the deaf and hearing communities whose work combines ASL, music, and striking cinematic imagery to bring new recordings of three operas to life. “SOUL(SIGNS): OPERA” was commissioned by BLO with Opera Omaha, Opera Columbus and Portland Opera. More information about the ongoing series can be found here.
FREE COMMUNITY PROGRAMMING
The Boston Lyric Opera will continue to produce free arts programs in Boston-area communities and invite people to engage with the company in new ways. “Our Street Stage mobile performances will resume this summer,” Vernatter said. “And we plan to invite the public to BLO’s expanded studio space in Fort Point. I look forward to sharing announcements about these activities soon.”
Nina Yoshida Nelsen Joins the artistic team of BLO
Brad Vernatter announced that the opera artist Nina Yoshida Nelsen (r.) will join the company as artistic advisor. In addition to her singing career (she was Mamma Lucia in BLO’s live production of Cavalleria Rusticana in fall 2021), the Boston University alum co-founded the Asian Opera Alliance and is a featured artist. of BLO’s “The Butterfly Process” initiative which explores and revisits Asian stereotypes in the traditional lyrical repertoire.
Alongside artistic advisors John Conklin and Vimbayi Kaziboni, Nelsen will propose and weigh in on future art planning. She will contribute to the implementation of the ideas that emerge from “The Butterfly Process” and BLO’s commitment to increasing the representation of people and stories in its artistic, community and administrative work.
“For me, joining Boston Lyric Opera means aligning myself with a team leading the change needed in our industry,” Nelsen said. “BLO does vital work to move opera forward – the good work, the groundwork that enables thoughtful, intentional and socially responsible artistic decisions. It’s amazing to see. This new position gives me the unique chance to work on my passion for opera and my passion for performing I want diverse audiences to love the music they hear and see people on stage that they identify with.
“I have been inspired by Nina’s work and her passion for opera from the moment we met,” Vernatter said. “She’s a wonderful artist, a leader for equity in our industry, and a force for real change. We’re lucky to have her on our team.”
David Tompkins becomes chief operating officer
Vernatter announced today that David Tompkins (right) will join BLO as Chief Operating Officer. A longtime New England nonprofit management consultant with extensive experience in artistic leadership, Tompkins has served as Production Stage Director for the Sundance Film Festival, Executive Director of Ballet Arizona and General Manager of Boston Ballet for nearly six years, among other positions. Tompkins fills the role left vacant when Vernatter accepted the position of acting general and artistic director of the company.
“I’m happy to welcome Dave to BLO,” said Vernatter. “His incredible resume complements the company’s leadership team, and his extensive experience in nonprofit arts operations makes him the ideal person to plan and manage the day-to-day activities that support BLO’s ambitious artistic goals.”
LEARN MORE ABOUT BLO’S 2022/23 MAIN SEASON
ROMEO & JULIET
August 11 and 13, 2022
FREE on Boston Common
Presented in partnership with the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC) and the City of Boston, Boston Lyric Opera returns to the Boston Common for the first time since 2002, with a production of Gounod’s operatic version of the most famous by Shakespeare. With a booklet of Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, this mid-19th century take on the classic story of Montague vs. Capulet features all the famous scenes, from the balcony to the sword fights to the fateful tombs. The Boston Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus supports the composer’s magnificent duets and arias.
This English-surtitled production features Ricardo Garcia in his company debut as Berklee alumnus Romeo and Boston Conservatory. vanessa becerra making her corporate debut as Juliet. BLO Music Director David Angus will conduct; CSC Artistic Director Steve Maller is the director.
September 23 – October 2, 2022
Emerson Colonial Theater
A surprisingly simple idea gives a new perspective on a tried and tested favorite opera. Director Yuval Sharon’s production shifts Giacomo Puccinifrom tragedy to love by transposing the final act to the beginning and performing the acts in reverse order. Each act retains its music as well as the Italian libretto of Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. In a nod to a season following two years of an international pandemic, Sharon’s production tells a much-needed story that lifts audiences from darkness to light. BLO Music Director David Angus will conduct. The scenography is created by the artistic advisor BLO John Conklin. Costume design is Jessica Jahn.
Lauren Michelle (Nedda in Pagliacci in 2019) returns to BLO to sing the role of Mimi. Matthew White will play Rodolfo. Edward Parks is Marcello. Benjamin Taylor is Schaunard and William Guanbo Su is Hill. David Angus conducts the BLO Orchestra. Sung in Italian with English surtitles, La bohème is a co-production of Boston Lyric Opera, Detroit Opera and Spoleto Festival United States.
March 22-26, 2023
The Terminal @ Flynn Cruiseport Boston
In the spring of 2023, BLO sheds new light on the early 20th century expressionist opera by composer Bartók and librettist Béla Balázs about a newlywed, Judith, who visits her husband’s Gothic home for the first time. internship director Anne Bogart (2019’s The Handmaid’s Tale) puts its distinctive stamp on the story of a woman who, in exploring seven forbidden rooms – each more disturbing than the next – sacrifices more than she bargained for. The one-act Bluebeard, sung in English, is combined with composer Alma Mahler’s Vier Lieder (Four Songs), a song cycle that ties thematically to Judith’s plight, giving her an expanded world and a new voice. BLO Music Director David Angus will conduct.
May 4-7, 2023
Majestic Emerson Cutler Theater
Inspired by an autobiographical essay by a Muslim enslaved in America, Omar is the story of Omar Ibn Said, a prominent scholar of the Islamic faith and many other subjects, born into a wealthy West African family. Brought to South Carolina as a slave at age 37, Ibn Said escaped his first place of enslavement and headed to North Carolina where he lived as a slave until his death in 1864.
Winner of the Grammy and MacArthur “Genius Grant” Rhiannon Giddens (founding member of Carolina Chocolate Drops and artistic director of the local Silkroad) composed the music and wrote the libretto, in partnership with film and orchestral composer Michael Abels (“Get Out”, “Us” soundtracks and the desert of BLO in the final), for a production designed by Kaneza Schaal. Omar is co-commissioned and co-produced by the Boston Lyric Opera with Spoleto Festival United States, LA Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. Sung in English with English surtitles.