Season Preview: A look at Amarillo Opera's 2016-17 offerings
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
Amarillo Opera will stage a popular Marriage and a diva-licious pop opera in its 2016-17 season.
When the company launches its 30th season in October, it'll revisit one of the classics — Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, to be staged Oct. 1 and 2 in the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, 500 S. Buchanan St.
"We haven't done it in a billion years," said executive director David O'Dell (actually, it's been 14 years). "It's Mozart at his best; the melodies are wonderful, the characters are fabulous.
"It's funny, it's intriguing, it's small and it's intimate."
Following that, frequent AO collaborator Michael Ching, a conductor and composer who has worked with companies around the country, will debut Speed Dating Tonight 2, a follow-up to his 2013 one-act opera about the travails of modern dating. It will be staged at Nov. 4 and 5 during National Opera Week at a venue to be announced.
Instead of its now-traditional staging of Amahl and the Night Visitors during the Christmas season, the company will shift gears and stage Seymour Barab's Cinderella, a witty adaptation of the classic tale, on Dec. 9 and 10 at a venue to be announced. The company staged Barab's Little Red Riding Hood in 2015.
"Even though it's geared for kids, (Barab's work is) more delightful for an older audience," O'Dell said. "That surprised us with Red Riding Hood. We produced it for a children's audience, but the adults loved it more than the kids."
Children will be the primary audience for the company's February production, Dream of the Pacific, a dramatization of the Lewis and Clark expedition written by Stephen Mager and Elkhanna Pulitzer. The youth opera will be staged for school audiences Feb. 3 and 4 and for the public Feb. 4 in the Globe-News Center.
"The music's really delightful," O'Dell said. "Like The Thunder of Horses (in 2015), an adult singer will come in and work with our kids and mentor them through the piece.
"It's a wonderful history lesson and good music," he said. "I think it will be popular with students and their teachers."
The season will continue with a production of Evita, a pop opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice about the larger-than-life Eva Peron, who came from nowhere to become the most powerful woman in Latin America. It will be staged April 7 to 9 in the Globe-News Center.
Though a classic of the musical theater repertoire since its 1978 debut in London, it's not as frequently staged by opera companies.
"We're bolstered on by the success of (the April 2015 staging of) Les Miseables, and we'll look at other pieces like this," O'Dell said. "It's one of those big pieces that require great voices, and we think we can do it in a way that couldn't be done around the region.
"We're going to take a healthy look at those big musicals that sometimes are under-sung and try not to under-act them because we're sensitive to opera's reputation," he continued. "I think Les Miz proved we can do both."
The season will wrap with the company's annual Musica Variada concert with a headliner to be named later, then the company will stage Annie Get Your Gun for its annual Summer Youth Musical production.
Season ticket packages run from $105 to $217.50 each. Individual seats are generally $20 to $90.
For information, call 806-372-7464 or visit www.amarilloopera.org.