OperaDelaware is all set for its big 2017 Rossini Festival. The festival will feature two mainstage operas at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington—a fully staged production of Rossini’s rarely performed “Semiramide” on Saturday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m., as well as a production of “La Cenerentola” (“Cinderella”) on Sunday, April 30, at 2 p.m. and Saturday, May 6, at 7:30 p.m. In addition, a performance of the “Petite messe solennelle” will be offered on Friday, May 5, at 7:30 p.m.
“Semiramide” will be directed by Dean Anthony, who returns to Delaware following his successful productions of “L’elisir d’amore” and “Falstaff” with the company. Maestro Anthony Barrese, the dynamic force behind the revived operatic gem “Amleto” (“Hamlet”), will return to The Grand to conduct the OperaDelaware orchestra. Soprano Lindsay Ohse is Semiramide, the power-hungry Babylonian queen who murders her husband. Mezzo-soprano Aleksandra Romano is cast as Arsace, tenor Timothy Augustin is Idreno, bass Daniel Mobbs is Assur, and bass Harold Wilson is Oroe. Sets are designed by Peter Tupitza. Howard Tsvi Kaplan is the costume designer, and Driscoll Otto the lighting designer.
“La Cenerentola” is Rossini’s version of the classic Cinderella tale. Composed 200 years ago, glass slippers are replaced by bracelets in this captivating opera, and there’s no fairy godmother to be found. Still, there’s a healthy dose of wicked stepsisters and happily-ever-after. Mezzo-soprano Megan Marino sings the title role, tenor Jack Swanson appears as Prince Ramiro, Sean Anderson and Steven Condy return to OperaDelaware as Dandini and Don Magnigico respectively. Bass Young-Bok Kim sings Alidoro, Jennifer Cherest sings Clorinda, and Alexandra Rodrick sings Tisbe. La Cenerentola will be conducted by Maestro Michael Borowitz and directed by A. Scott Parry, with sets from Seattle Opera and costumes from A.T. Jones and Sons of Baltimore. Lighting design is by Driscoll Otto.
OperaDelaware will present one performance of Rossini’s “Petite messe solennelle,” with chorus and soloists, including the original two-piano and harmonium accompaniment. Maestro David Amado conducts the OperaDelaware chorus, with four soloists who are each graduates of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia: soprano Colleen Daly, mezzo-soprano Chrystal E.Williams, tenor William Davenport and bass Ben Wager. Wager, a local favorite, received his start as a member of the OperaDelaware chorus. OperaDelaware’s General Director Brendan Cooke noted that the presentation of new or rarely seen operas has struck a positive chord with regional audiences. “’Semiramide’ is highly challenging vocally, and it’s not performed often. We have a powerhouse cast that’s up to that challenge, and I think our audiences will be wowed. ‘La Cenerentola’ rounds out our celebration of the 225th anniversary of Rossini’s birth with a beautiful twist on the traditional fairy tale that audiences will love. “Petite messe solennelle” is one of Rossini’s final works, part of his Péchés de vieillesse (sins of old age). The work is gorgeous in its richness and solemnity, and gives us some insight into what Rossini’s operas might have sounded like, had he not retired from the genre 30 years before.”
Festival tickets start at $29 and can be purchased at www.operade.org or by calling the box office at 442-7807. Discounts are available to those purchasing tickets to both festival operas.