Seattle Opera Announces 50th Anniversary Season in 2013/14

Logo Seattle OperaSeattle—Seattle Opera today announced the company’s 50th Anniversary Season.
Performances of Wagner’s Ring kick off the festivities this summer, followed by a subscription series of four operas.
Starring singers beloved by the opera-goers of Seattle, the 2013/14 season offers subscribers a healthy variety of comedy and tragedy, reality and fantasy, in a mix of different musical styles and languages.
Seattle Opera’s anniversary celebration then climaxes in August 2014 with the International Wagner Competition and a special celebration honoring Speight Jenkins, the company’s General Director since 1983.
“For my final season at Seattle Opera, I am delighted to present singers who have thrilled our audience time and again in recent years,” says Jenkins. “Several have won Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award, and many are graduates of our own excellent Young Artists Program. The operas this season include very successful Seattle Opera productions of Rigoletto and The Tales of Hoffmann; The Consul, an important American opera which is new to our stage; and a spectacular cast for La fille du régiment. I am proud to offer great voices, extraordinary music, compelling drama, and captivating productions—everything that I have always loved about opera.”
Executive Director Kelly Tweeddale says of the company’s immediate plans, “Seattle Opera is offering a four-opera season for 2013/14, as is always our practice following a summer in which we present the Ring. Although the company has not been immune to the challenges of today’s economic environment, thanks to diligent planning by Speight Jenkins and the generosity of our board and patrons we were able to program a season that fulfills the company’s artistic mission and balances financial realities. It is a great tribute to fifty years of opera in Seattle and Speight’s final season to be able to maintain our artistic output.”
The 2013/14 season is a very special one for Seattle Opera.
In addition to celebrating the bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner, Seattle Opera honors its own 50th anniversary this year.
2013 also marks ten years in McCaw Hall.
The third General Director in the company’s history will be named in 2013, to step into the leadership role when Speight Jenkins retires in 2014.
In addition to exciting new online and education and community engagement programs throughout the season, Seattle Opera honors its golden anniversary with its third International Wagner Competition on August 7, 2014 and a gala concert on August 9, 2014.
Tickets to the competition and concert are now available for 2013/14 season subscribers.
The subscription season opens with Donizetti’s light-hearted romantic comedy La fille du régiment.
When Marie, an orphan raised by a group of French soldiers, falls in love with a local villager, the two must overcome social expectations—and surprising revelations about her origin—in order to be together.
Soprano Sarah Coburn stars as the rambunctious Marie on opening night, opposite tenor Lawrence Brownlee as Tonio.
The two were most recently seen at Seattle Opera in the 2011 production of The Barber of Seville, and both are alumni of the company’s Young Artists Program.
Brownlee won Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award in 2008 for Arturo in I puritani.
Alexander Hajek makes his Seattle Opera debut as Sergeant Sulpice, with Joyce Castle as the Marquise of Berkenfield and Peter Kazaras as the Duchess of Krackentorp.
Performing the roles of Marie and Tonio in the production’s second cast is another pair of exceptional former Young Artists:Terri Richter Franklin and Andrew Stenson.
Stenson made his mainstage debut in spectacular fashion during the 2011/12 season as a last-minute substitution in the challenging role of Orphée in Orphée et Eurydice.
Yves Abel returns to Seattle to conduct La fille du régiment in a production by Spanish director Emilio Sagi and designer Julio Galán.
Originally designed for the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the production sets the comedy in the 1940s.
The New Year sees the return of two favorite Seattle Opera productions, as well as a company premiere.
In January 2014 comes Verdi’s tragic tale of revenge, Rigoletto.
Italian baritone Marco Vratogna returns to Seattle Opera as Rigoletto, the court jester who fails to keep his beautiful daughter away from the womanizing Duke of Mantua.
The opening night cast also stars soprano Davinia Rodríguez as the ill-fated Gilda, with tenor Francesco Demuro—who sings Rodolfo in next month’s La bohème—as the Duke.
Vratogna made his Seattle Opera debut singing Verdi when he took on the role of Ezio in the company’s 2012 production of Attila, and Rodríguez tugged at heartstrings in a critically acclaimed Orphée et Eurydice later that same season.
Making their company debuts in the alternate cast are Korean baritone Hyung Yun as Rigoletto and Rolando Sanz as the Duke.
Jennifer Zetlan, who created the role of the Flier in Amelia and returns this year for La Bohème and Der Ring des Nibelungen, sings Gilda.
All performances of Rigoletto feature mezzo-soprano and current Young Artist Sarah Larsen as Maddalena and Andrea Silvestrelli as Sparafucile.
This stylish production, set in Italy in the 1930s, features sets designed by Robert Dahlstrom and costumes by Marie Anne Chiment.
Conductor Riccardo Frizza leads from the pit, and Linda Brovsky directs.
Brovsky previously wowed critics and audiences alike with her direction of the company’s premiere of Don Quichotte in 2011.
A powerful American work, new to the Seattle Opera stage, comes next.
Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Consul won the Pulitzer Prize following its premiere in 1950, and this tense thriller is sure to keep Seattle audiences on edge.
Following her leading turns as both Turandot and Fidelio’s Leonore this season, soprano Marcy Stonikas returns to the company as Magda Sorel, a wife and mother desperate to acquire a visa to flee a totalitarian nation.
Baritone Michael Todd Simpson plays her husband, John Sorel, a political dissident on the run, and mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer—fresh off her company debut as Erda in the Ring—sings the role of his Mother.
Both Stonikas and Simpson are former Seattle Opera Young Artists; they head a cast that features several talented program alumni, including mezzo-soprano Sarah Larsen as the Secretary and, alternating as Magda Sorel on February 23 and 28, Vira Slywotzky.
Larsen made her mainstage debut as Suzuki in the 2012 production of Madama Butterfly and sings Tisbe in the company’s current production of La Cenerentola.
Directing this Seattle Opera premiere is Artistic Director of the Young Artists Program Peter Kazaras. Carlo Montanaro, who conducts next month’s La Bohème, will return to conduct The Consul.
Scenery and costumes for this production are from Arizona Opera, with sets designed by David Gordon and costumes by Carrie Kunz.
The 2013/14 season concludes with Seattle Opera’s hit production of Jacques Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann.
Director Chris Alexander won Seattle Opera’s Artist of the Year Award when this production premiered in 2005.
Tenor and audience favorite William Burden makes his role debut as the storytelling Hoffmann, who spins weird and wondrous yarns about romancing three beautiful woman, all portrayed on opening night by French soprano Norah Amsellem.
Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey, winner of Seattle Opera’s 2010 Artist of the Year Award for creating the title role in Amelia, sings her critically acclaimed Muse/Nicklausse.
The alternate cast, which performs on May 4 and 16, stars Russell Thomas as Hoffmann, Leah Partridge as the Women, and Alfred Walker as the Villains.
All performances feature Keith Jameson, in his Seattle Opera debut, as the Four Servants, Steven Cole as Spalanzani, and Tichina Vaughn as Antonia’s Mother.
Conductor Yves Abel returns to close the season, following his season-opening turn in La fille du régiment.
Sets are designed by Robert Dahlstrom, with costumes designed by Marie Theresa Cramer.
To learn more about the 2013/14 season, including ticket information and full artist biographies (with audio excerpts of principal singers) visit

Press Contacts:

Jonathan Dean

Tamara Vallejos

Visuals Contact:
Monte Jacobson


Seattle Opera’s 2013/14 Season

Photo by Andrew Cloud

Photo by Andrew Cloud


Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François-Alfred Bayard
In French with English captions

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Performances: October 19 – November 2, 2013

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes, with one intermission
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, matinee at 2:00 pm

Premiere: Opéra-Comique, Paris, France, February 11, 1840
Previous Seattle Opera Performances: 1973, 1990

Marie: Sarah Coburn / Terri Richter Franklin *
Tonio: Lawrence Brownlee / Andrew Stenson *
Sergeant Sulpice: Alexander Hajek †
Marquise de Berkenfield: Joyce Castle
Duchesse de Krakenthorp: Peter Kazaras

Conductor: Yves Abel
Stage Director: Emilio Sagi †
Set & Costume Designer: Julio Galán †

Sets & Costumes: Teatro Comunale di Bologna

† Seattle Opera debut
* October 20 and November 1 only

Production Sponsors: Maryanne Tagney-Jones and David Jones, Ann P. Wyckoff, and Microsoft.
Lawrence Brownlee, Sarah Coburn, Terri Richter Franklin, and Andrew Stenson are graduates of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program.

Photo by Rozarii Lynch

Photo by Rozarii Lynch


Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, after Victor Hugo
In Italian with English captions

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Performances: January 11 – 25, 2014

Approximate Running Time: 3 hours, with two intermissions
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, matinee at 2:00 pm

Premiere: La Fenice, Venice, Italy, March 11, 1851
Previous Seattle Opera Performances: 1965, 1973, 1982, 1988, 1995, 2004

Rigoletto: Marco Vratogna / Hyung Yun *†
Gilda: Davinia Rodríguez / Jennifer Zetlan *
Duke of Mantua: Francesco Demuro / Rolando Sanz *†
Maddalena: Sarah Larsen
Sparafucile: Andrea Silvestrelli
Count Monterone: Donovan Singletary

Conductor: Riccardo Frizza
Stage Director: Linda Brovsky
Set Designer: Robert A. Dahlstrom
Costume Designer: Marie Anne Chiment
Lighting Designer: Thomas C. Hase

Sets & Costumes: Seattle Opera

† Seattle Opera debut
* January 12 and 24 only

Production Sponsors: Charles and Delphine Stevens, and Lenore Hanauer.
Sarah Larsen is a graduate of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program.

Photo by Tim Fuller

Photo by Tim Fuller


Music and Libretto by Gian Carlo Menotti
In English with English captions

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Performances: February 22 – March 7, 2014

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes, with one intermission
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, matinee at 2:00 pm

Premiere: Shubert Theatre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, March 1, 1950
Seattle Opera Premiere

Magda Sorel: Marcy Stonikas / Vira Slywotzky *
John Sorel: Michael Todd Simpson
Mother: Lucille Beer
The Secretary: Sarah Larsen
Secret Police Agent: Steven LaBrie †
Mr. Kofner: Colin Ramsey †
Foreign Woman: Deborah Nansteel
Anna Gomez: Dana Pundt
Vera Boronel: Margaret Gawrysiak †
Nika Magadoff: Alex Mansoori
Assan: Joseph Lattanzi

Conductor: Carlo Montanaro
Stage Director: Peter Kazaras
Set Designer: David Gordon †
Costume Designer: Carrie Kunz †

Sets & Costumes: Arizona Opera

† Seattle Opera debut
* February 23 and 28 only

Production Sponsors: Kreielsheimer Endowment Fund.
Margaret Gawrysiak, Sarah Larsen, Joseph Lattanzi, Alex Mansoori, Deborah Nansteel, Dana Pundt, Michael Todd Simpson, Vira Slywotzky, and Marcy Stonikas are graduates of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program.

Photo by Rozarii Lynch

Photo by Rozarii Lynch


Music by Jacques Offenbach
Libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré, after E.T.A. Hoffmann
In French with English captions

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Performances: May 3 – 17, 2014

Approximate Running Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes, with two intermissions
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, matinee at 2:00 pm

Premiere: Opéra-Comique, Paris, France, February 10, 1881
Previous Seattle Opera Performance: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2005

Hoffmann: William Burden / Russell Thomas *
The Muse/Nicklausse: Kate Lindsey
The Women: Norah Amsellem / Leah Partridge *†
The Villains: Alfred Walker *
The Servants: Keith Jameson †
Spalanzani: Steven Cole
Antonia’s Mother: Tichina Vaughn

Conductor: Yves Abel
Stage Director: Chris Alexander
Set Designer: Robert A. Dahlstrom
Costume Designer: Marie Theresa Cramer
Lighting Designer: Robert Wierzel

Sets & Costumes: Seattle Opera

† Seattle Opera debut
* May 4 and 16 only

Production Sponsors: ArtsFund.
Russell Thomas is a graduate of Seattle Opera’s Young Artist Program.

International Wagner Competition and 50th Anniversary Concert and Speight Celebration

Marion Oliver McCaw Hall

August 7, 2014: International Wagner Competition
August 9, 2014: 50th Anniversary Concert and Speight Celebration

International Wagner Competition
The world will be watching as an elite group of up-and-coming Wagnerians take the stage for Seattle Opera’s third International Wagner Competition.
Accompanied by full orchestra, each finalist will perform two selections from the Wagner canon.
In addition to awards for orchestra and audience favorites, finalists will compete for $50,000 cash prizes, awarded to one male and one female singer by a distinguished panel of judges.

50th Anniversary Concert and Speight Celebration
This very special concert celebrates Seattle Opera’s 50th Anniversary and honors the 30-year tenure of General Director Speight Jenkins.
Accompanied by full chorus and orchestra, several of Seattle Opera’s most beloved performers will serenade Speight and his most loyal supporters at this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Scheduled to appear:
Stephanie Blythe, William Burden, Greer Grimsley, Christiane Libor, Kate Lindsey, Alwyn Mellor, Antonello Palombi, John Relyea, Peter Rose, Mary Elizabeth Williams

Capacity is extremely limited for this one-night-only concert and celebration; donors and subscribers to the 2013/14 season will receive priority purchasing privileges.

Seattle Opera Ticket Information
Subscriptions on Sale Now

Four-Opera Renewal and New Subscription Ticket Prices: $155 to 3,370*
Seattle Opera Ticket Office: 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619
Online Orders:
All performances take place at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, with matinees at 2:00 pm
*Prices include a $2-per-ticket facility fee and (in some locations) a preferred seating donation.

About Seattle Opera

Founded in 1963, Seattle Opera is one of the leading opera companies in the United States.
The company is recognized internationally for its theatrically compelling and musically accomplished performances, especially the Opera’s interpretations of the works of Richard Wagner.
Since 1975, Seattle Opera has presented 38 cycles of the Ring (three different productions), in addition to acclaimed productions of all the other major operas in the Wagner canon.
Seattle Opera has achieved the highest per capita attendance of any major opera company in the United States, and draws operagoers from four continents and 50 states.


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