FGO plans safety-first lineup for 2012-13 season

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Ailyn Perez stars as Mimi in Florida Grand Opera's 2012-13 production of Puccini' s "La Boheme."

Florida Grand Opera will present a conservative lineup of populist favorites in its 2012-13 season reflecting the company’s continuing financial travails in the wake of the difficult economy.

The season will open November 17 with Puccini’s La Boheme. Ailyn Perez stars as the tubercular Mimi with Arturo Chacon-Cruz—currently appearing in Romeo et Juliette at Palm Beach Opera—as Rodolfo.

Mozart’s The Magic Flute will follow January 26 with Andrew Bidlack as Tamino and Jonathan Michie as Papageno. The rest of the cast is TBA.

Bellini’s La sonnambula returns February 9 in the company’s acclaimed 2007 production. Rachele Gilmore will star as Amina with Michele Angelini as Elvino, and Renata Scotto directing once again. This production will not travel to Fort Lauderdale.

The season will close with Verdi’s La Traviata, opening April 20. All casting has yet to be announced.

Ramon Tebar, the company’s new music director, will conduct three of the four productions with Andrew Bisantz helming the Magic Flute performances. fgo.org; 800-741-1010.

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11 Responses to “FGO plans safety-first lineup for 2012-13 season”

  1. Posted Feb 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm by Dave Rosenbaum

    This is awfully disappointing coming off two seasons in which FGO was making strides with programming and casting. Looking at the upcoming season, one has to ask, “What’s the point?” Would it really have been any loss at all had FGO scheduled no 2012-13 season at all rather than a lineup of the same-old same-old with uninspiring casts (unless they come up with something exciting for Traviata)? In what way is FGO contributing to the arts scene with a season such as this? I know these are tough time financially, but I don’t think FGO will be inspiring anyone to contribute to its future with this drab lineup.

  2. Posted Feb 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm by Sergio da Silva

    What a disappointing season, I’m not renewing after 10 years.

  3. Posted Feb 27, 2012 at 9:01 am by Carol and Marvin

    Finacial reality dictates that FGO progams a popular and affordable season. We would have preferred a more adventuresome offering. (But oh how we miss the Florida Philharmonic.) In such difficult econmic times it’s necessary to play it safe. More than ever the FGO needs the audience support to remain viable. Boheme, The Magic Flute, and Traviata are certainly all worthy of frequent performances, especially if they fill the seats and attract new (and perhaps younger) attendees.

  4. Posted Feb 27, 2012 at 11:52 am by Paola Castano

    I think this will be a GRAND season! It’s a smash hit season with two amazing book ends! To say you would prefer “no season at all”, is saying you don’t want FGO to succeed. This is the time where we MUST show our support for FGO and help them continue on for many more years where eventually they will bring new programming to the repertoire.

  5. Posted Feb 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm by Wolfgang731

    Oh, come now. There’s conservative and/or traditional and then there’s boring and what we have here is impossibly boring. With the exception of The Magic Flute, all of the slated productions have been mounted in the past five seasons. You can have that luxury if, like the Met, you’re mounting over 20 productions a season but with the meager four that this company produces, it’s last night’s dinner reheated all week long.

    FGO has apparently zero confidence in its audience and believe that they will only support and/or attend works performed ad nauseam. Do you realize that FGO has presented a Puccini opera in every single one of its past seven seasons? In its final season at DCA it was Madama Butterfly, in the inaugural season at the Arsht there was Manon Lescaut, followed by Tosca, followed by Suor Angelica, then it was Boheme, followed by Turandot and finally La Rondine and here we are with yet another Boheme coming down the pike.

    I long ago gave up hope that FGO would, somehow, become what it was once was, that although not consistently first rate, was willing to provide its audience with more challenging fare, such as Coronation of Poppea, Ariadne auf Naxos, Katya Kabanova, the de Falla triple bill and Turn of the Screw, to name a few. I don’t believe that anyone is expecting FGO to ever be anything more than what it is and dare to mount productions of Lulu, Einstein on the Beach, Oedipe or even Elektra but they could, at the very least, consider works that although mainstream elsewhere would be new to the company, like Fidelio, Anna Bolena, Der Rosenkavalier, I Puritani or Clemenza di Tito or, at the very least, revivals of operas not seen here in over 20 or 30 years such as Simon Boccanegra, Die Walkure, Don Carlo, Hamlet, Andrea Chernier, etc.

    I must be asking for the moon here because every season I have hope that things will improve and I’m disappointed every time. Yes, Anna Karenina was lovely as was Cyrano but that’s not enough for FGO to regain any form of relevancy. And yes, times are hard for the performing arts and the economy is only now starting to recover, but if you’re going to ask your subscriber base to plop down several hundred dollars a season, in my opinion, it should be for something more rewarding than this disappointing lineup. I cannot imagine sitting through another Boheme or Traviata and I refuse to, regardless of the cast.

    Not only was the season trimmed down from five to four productions for what will now be four seasons but FGO is just seemingly running on empty. With respect to Bob Heuer who, blessedly, leaves the company at the end of next season, I’m reminded of the T.S. Eliot line, and I’m paraphrasing slightly – “It ends not with a bang, but with a whimper.” Sadly, I will not be renewing my subscription for next season.

  6. Posted Feb 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm by Dave Rosenbaum

    Carol and Marvin: I’d like to know how operas that are between 110 and 220 years old are going to attract new and younger attendees. I’m not questioning the quality of the operas being scheduled. I’m questioning the necessity of FGO presenting them. And where’s the proof that playing it safe is the way to get through these times? FGO continues to guarantee that no out-of-town opera lovers will make a special trip to South Florida to see one of its performances. With this season, they are making no attempt to reach out to new or existing audiences.

    Paola: Saying I would prefer no season at all to this season is not saying I don’t want FGO to succeed. It’s saying that if FGO insists on being Florida Grand Opera Museum, I don’t care whether or not they succeed.

  7. Posted Feb 28, 2012 at 8:26 am by Jeremy

    The harsh economic reality is not an excuse, not Boheme and Traviata again please! Young audiences and out-of-town audiences will never come to the opera with no stars and dusty productions, too traditional and btw the opera buffs are tired of the same. Where is Macbeth, Norma, Fidelio, Otello, Rosenkavalier, Peter Grimes, American Opera, Janacek, Spanish Opera, Russian Opera, etc etc? 1813 is the Wagner and Verdi year, and a great opportunity to present one of each composer. We love opera in Miami and FGO but sorry, this plan has no future.

  8. Posted Feb 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm by Paola

    Wolfgang731, Dave Rosenbaum, and Jeremy, why do you keep ignoring the obvious? Do you know what it costs to put on a production? Have you asked yourselves if FGO can’t afford it? If they are putting on their own productions, then it must be because of financial constraints. You want to see Macbeth, Norma, or Othello, then I have a suggestion for the three of you, underwrite the complete cost of a production, including principal singers, rehearsal, set rentals, stagehands, and chorus and I’m sure you can almost consider it done! So which of you will be there first to write a check for $500,000?? Any takers?? Didn’t think so…

  9. Posted Feb 29, 2012 at 10:07 am by Wolfgang731

    To Paola – For all I care, FGO can, from this moment forth, mount season after season of nothing but Bohemes, Traviatas, Carmens and Fausts. I’m through with them. Last time I checked, I’m not either an opera company or presenter nor do I, unfortunately, have the financial wherewithal to sponsor a production. Trust me, if I did I would have gladly done so years ago. I have, however, for more than 20 years been both a supporter and defender of FGO, even when their choices were downright questionable and the musical leadership wanting and was, for several seasons, a donor as well as a subscriber, but now I have grown weary of that role. Not that any of this is any of your concern. As this is a respectable website and I refuse to engage in tit for tat with faceless strangers to whom I owe zero explanations as to my opinions, I will not express what I truly think of your suggestion. If you honestly believe that FGO is presenting a truly GRAND season, then by all means enjoy it fully, as you have every right to do. As the saying so clearly states – one man’s treasure is another man’s trash. I will, however, kindly request that in the future you refrain from suggesting to me what I should or should not to do. I’m entitled to my opinion just as you’re entitled to yours and I believe in respecting that. I have, hopefully, made myself very clear regarding this matter.

  10. Posted Feb 29, 2012 at 10:25 am by Dave R.

    FGO is not the only opera company in the country facing financial problems, yet other companies (and I’m not talking about New York, Chicago, San Francisco and L.A.; that would be unfair) seem to be able to offer more-interesting programs even in abbreviated seasons. There are three major opera companies in Florida, and FGO’s programming is consistently the least-interesting. And I’m not even going to compare FGO to Dallas, Seattle, Houston, Cincinnati and St. Louis.

    The final 2/3rds of Paola’s last comment isn’t even worth refuting other than to say, why would anyone want to hand Bob Heuer a check for $500,000 for an opera production?

  11. Posted Mar 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm by James Gensel

    After hearing the “New World Symphony” perform a stunning night of Messiaen’s “Turangalila-Symphonie” with three standing ovations in a packed house, I wish FGO would realize there is more to Opera than Puccini, Verdi and Mozart.

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