Riveting Company Premieres: Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine and Puccini’s Suor Angelica Double Bill Concludes 2012/13 Season – Cast Features Nuccia Focile, Rosalind Plowright, Maria Gavrilova in her Seattle Debut

Logo Seattle OperaSeattleSeattle Opera’s 2012/13 season concludes in May with a double bill of compelling twentieth-century operas, both new to the company: La Voix Humaine, by Francis Poulenc, and Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica.
Both these one-act operas follow fascinating women who must grapple with despair as they meet their fate; but the two works, like the composers who created them, are extremely different.
In Poulenc’s sensual monodrama, a woman stumbles through a minefield of emotions as she attempts to stay connected to her ex-lover over the telephone.
Puccini’s mystical tragedy tells the story of a young nun who learns of the death of the son she was forced to abandon. She kills herself yet miraculously passes into a state of grace. Performances begin on May 4 and run through May 18.

“I have long admired both these operas,” says Speight Jenkins, General Director of Seattle Opera. “It is a great thrill to present them in Seattle with singers who are up to the challenges they pose. Our double bill of Bluebeard’s Castle and Erwartung was very popular with the Seattle public, and I expect our audience will take these two company premieres to heart just as strongly.”

Returning favorite Nuccia Focile performs La Voix Humaine.
Focile, who in recent years has starred in La traviata, Pagliacci, Iphigénie en Tauride, and La bohème at Seattle Opera, sang La Voix Humaine in 2011 for Royal Opera House Covent Garden.
According to The Stage Reviews, this one-woman show is “a major challenge, to which Focile rises with much skill…rising with engagement to the more heightened lyricism at the emotional extremes, and charting the piece’s physical as well as vocal trajectory impressively.”

Russian soprano Maria Gavrilova makes her Seattle Opera debut, and simultaneously her role debut, as Suor Angelica.
Other Puccini heroines for Gavrilova include Cio-Cio-San, Tosca, and Manon Lescaut, all of which she has sung at New York’s Metropolitan Opera.
Of her Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Opera Now wrote “Maria Gavrilova was the highlight of the evening. For nearly ten minutes you could have heard a pin drop, so rapt was the attention.”
Joining her for Seattle Opera’s Suor Angelica is legendary British singer Rosalind Plowright, who plays La Zia Principessa, Angelica’s aunt.
Plowright, who made her La Scala debut in 1983 as Suor Angelica, switched to mezzo-soprano roles beginning in 1999.
She first appeared at Seattle Opera as an “unforgettable” (Seattle Times) Klytämnestra in Elektra in 2008.

Although both have many Seattle Opera credits, Director Bernard Uzan and Conductor Gary Thor Wedow are collaborating for the first time with this double bill.
Last season Uzan directed Carmen and Attila for the company; in 2008 he directed Nuccia Focile in Pagliacci.
Wedow conducted Focile in Iphigénie en Tauride in 2007, before returning for Die Zauberflöte (2011) and Orphée et Eurydice (2012).
This production of La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica comes from Teatro Verdi Trieste; Pier Paolo Bisleri is the set and costume designer, with a new costume for Nuccia Focile in La Voix Humaine designed by Melanie Taylor Burgess.
Lighting is by Connie Yun.

Production Sponsors: ArtsFund, City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Lenore Hanauer, Charles and Delphine Stevens
2012/13 Season Sponsor: Gladys Rubinstein, in memory of Sam Rubinstein

La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica premieres Saturday, May 4, and runs through Saturday, May 18.
Tickets are available online at seattleopera.org or by calling 206.389.7676 or 800.426.1619.
Tickets may also be purchased at the Box Office by visiting 1020 John Street (two blocks west of Fairview), Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Ticket prices start at $25.

La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica on Twitter: #Dial0forOpera

Press Contact:
Jonathan Dean

Visuals Contact:
Monte Jacobson



Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
Performances: May 4 – 18, 2013
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, with one intermission
Evening performances begin at 7:30 pm, matinee at 2:00 pm

La Voix Humaine
Music by Francis Poulenc
Libretto by Jean Cocteau
In French with English captions

Premiere: Opéra-Comique, Paris, France
February 6, 1959
Seattle Opera Premiere

Suor Angelica
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano
In Italian with English captions

Premiere: Metropolitan Opera, New York
December 14, 1918

Seattle Opera Premiere

Artists for La Voix Humaine

Elle: Nuccia Focile
Conductor: Gary Thor Wedow
Director: Bernard Uzan
Set Designer: Pier Paolo Bisleri †
Costume Designer: Melanie Taylor Burgess
Lighting Designer: Connie Yun

Artists for Suor Angelica

Suor Angelica: Maria Gavrilova †
The Princess: Rosalind Plowright
Abbess: Susan Salas †
Mistress of the Novices: Karen Urlie Evans
Monitor: Robin Follman †
First Tourière: Sarah Larsen
Suor Genovieffa: Dana Pundt
Suor Osmina: Kim Giordano
Suor Dolcina: Mary McLaughlin
The Nursing Sister: Deborah Nansteel †
First Lay Sister: Jennifer Bromagen
Second Lay Sister: Sarah Mattox

Conductor: Gary Thor Wedow
Director: Bernard Uzan
Set & Costume Designer: Pier Paolo Bisleri †
Lighting Designer: Connie Yun
Sets & Costumes: Teatro Verdi Trieste


† Seattle Opera debut

Dana Pundt, Deborah Nansteel, and Sarah Larsen are current Seattle Opera Young Artists. Sarah Mattox is a former Seattle Opera Young Artist.

Learn more about La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica!
Seattle Opera offers the following educational opportunities:

Audio Described Performances for Visually Impaired Patrons:
At the performance on May 12, patrons can request an audio-description headset, free of charge, which will provide verbal information about the opera’s setting, scenery, costumes, onstage action, and more. Seattle Opera has worked in consultation with the Washington Council for the Blind and Arts and Visually Impaired Audiences to develop this program.

Pre-Performance Talks: An hour and a half before every performance, in the Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at McCaw Hall, $7

Free Public Previews:
4/20/2013, 2:15 pm, Kitsap Library (Sylvan Way)
4/22/2013, 6:30 pm, West Seattle Library
4/23/2013, 7 pm, Third Place Books (Bothell Way)
4/24/2013, 2 pm, Everett Library
4/24/2013, 6:30 pm, Edmonds Library
4/25/2013, 2 pm, Green Lake Library
4/28/2013, 2 pm, Frye Art Museum
4/30/2013, 12 pm, Freeland Library
4/30/2013, 2:30 pm, Coupeville Library
5/1/2013, 2 pm, Ballard Library
5/2/2013, 12 pm, Seattle Central Library

Exclusive Events for Seattle Opera Donors:
5/1-5/2/2013, La Voix Humaine and Suor Angelica Dress Rehearsals ($400+)
5/18/13, Insider Series: Backstage Tour ($1,000+)

RSVP required for donor events.
To make your reservation or for questions, please email rsvp@seattleopera.org or call 206.389.7669

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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