Florida Grand Opera’s 2011-2012 season brings new music director, zarzuela

By Lawrence A. Johnson

The 32-year-old Spanish conductor Ramon Tebar has been appointed music director of Florida Grand Opera

The most significant news in Florida Grand Opera’s 2011-2012 season announcement was buried in the middle of the press release sent out Tuesday morning.

The company has hired Ramon Tebar as its new music director, filling a position that has been left vacant since Stewart Robertson departed in 2009.

The Spanish conductor, 32, received critical accolades for his work in last season’s Lucia di Lammermoor and the Turandot that opened this season. In his review of the Puccini opera on South Florida Classical Review. David Fleshler wrote:

“Much of the credit for the performance’s success lay in the pit, where the conductor Ramon Tebar drove the music and action forward all evening, providing a lot of the opera’s propulsive force. Rarely in recent years has the FGO orchestra provided such an energetic, technically polished performance. The orchestra brought out Puccini’s delicate colors and clanking pseudo-Chinese textures [and] the brass played tremendously the entire night.”

Tebar spent four years working with Bruno Aprea at Palm Beach Opera, rising to assistant conductor. He also serves as music director of the Palm Beach Symphony.

The other news is that FGO is presenting a zarzuela for the first time, in a nod to Miami’s heavily Cuban opera audiences.

The 2011-2012 season will open November 12 with Ferderico Moreno Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda. The Spanish zarzuela, which premiered in 1932, details a romantic triangle set during the 1868 Spanish civil conflict. All casting is yet to be announced. Pablo Mielgo will conduct with a production from Madrid’s Teatro Real.

In his sole podium appearance of the season, Tebar will conduct the company’s first production of Puccini’s La Rondine, opening January 21. Local favorite Elizabeth Caballero will star as Magda in Puccini’s operetta-like romance. Baritone Craig Colclough will portray Rambaldo with Corinne Winters as Lisette, and a tenor to be named later.

Verdi’s Rigoletto returns on January 28 with baritone Mark Walters starring as the title hunchbacked jester, Rachele Gilmore as Gilda and Michael Fabiano as the Duke. Resident conductor Andrew Bisantz will be on the podium.

The popular Sarah Coburn stars in the final production of the season, Romeo and Juliette. Tenor Sébastien Guèze will costar in Gounod’s tragic romance, with Joseph Mechavich conducting. The production opens April 21.

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2 Responses to “Florida Grand Opera’s 2011-2012 season brings new music director, zarzuela”

  1. Posted Mar 01, 2011 at 10:46 pm by William

    I had heard they were returning to 5 operas and were thinking about doing Anna Bolena. Too bad they aren’t doing that afterall. If they had gotten Angela Meade (who has it in her rep and will alternate with Netrebko next season at the Met in the role) it would have gotten FGO national attention. Meade will soon be too expensive, I imagine. FGO needs to jump and get her for her first “staged” Normas. Her Caramoor Norma was the big buzz this past summer, and the first company to get her first fully staged Normas is going to get some attention nationwide from critics and opera queens.

  2. Posted Apr 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm by Samson

    Yawn…lipstick on pig. Wake me up when FGO is out of business for good as they should be.

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Tue Mar 1, 2011
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