Palm Beach Opera back to just three productions next season

By David Fleshler

Palm Beach Opera will mount only three productions next season and those will stick to works of bullet-proof box office appeal.

The company will present Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette and Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, all popular works that respect the cliché that in opera the soprano has to die. The announcement represents a retreat from the current season, in which the company is mounting four operas (one semi-staged) and the Verdi Requiem.

The company has not released the names of all the singers, saying some have yet to be confirmed. Here’s what they’ve given out so far:

Madama Butterfly, which opens the season Dec. 16, features tenor James Valenti, who made a well-received Metropolitan Opera debut last year in La Traviata opposite Angela Gheorghiu, and soprano Maria Luigia Borsi as Cio-Cio San. Michael Chioldi will sing the role of Sharpless, and former PBO Young Artist Irene Roberts, also a winner of the Palm Beach Opera Vocal Competition, will sing Suzuki.

For Romeo et Juliette, which runs Feb. 24-27, the company released the name only of the stage director Kevin Newbury, who “will render Shakespeare’s famous love story relevant to our times,” according to a Palm Beach Opera press release. The Gounod tragedy is also being presented next season by Florida Grand Opera.

In Lucia di Lammermoor, which runs March 23-26, the company has not released the name of the soprano for the not insignificant role of Lucia. But it says the production will include the tenor Roberto De Biasio, who made his Metropolitan Opera debut just this past January as Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra.

The season will also include 50th Anniversary Gala Concerts Jan. 20 and 22, with scenes from La Traviata, Die Fledermaus, Pagliacci, Carmen, Aïda and other works.

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Mon Mar 14, 2011
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