Atlanta Opera Announces Two New Opera Productions for 2020-21

By Francisco Salazar

The Atlanta Opera has announced a new business model for the 2020-21 season with the “Big Tent” series.

The new series will comprise of six new chamber opera productions in open-air venues prioritizing the health and safety of audiences, artists, and backstage personnel while maintaining the exceptional level of music and storytelling. 

The series will launch in the fall with alternating presentations of “Pagliacci (Oct 22–Nov 13)” and “The Emperor of Atlantis (Oct 23–Nov 14),” staged in a custom-designed open-air tent on a baseball field at Atlanta’s Oglethorpe University.

Directed by Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, both productions are entirely new and share a common theme, being built around the concept of a traveling circus caught in the middle of a dystopian world pandemic. Both productions will be filmed and broadcast in the future under the direction of Ryan McKinney, Felipe Barral, and Zvulun. 

To launch The Atlanta Opera’s first foray into film, each production will be digitally captured by the company’s newly formed digital media department, with the goal of wide distribution. The cast for each of the six 2020-21 productions will be drawn from the Atlanta Opera Company Players which include sopranos Jasmine Habersham and Talise Trevigne; mezzos Jamie Barton, Daniela Mack and Megan Marino; tenors Alek Shrader and Richard Trey Smagur; baritones Michael Mayes and Reginald Smith Jr.; bass-baritone Ryan McKinny; and basses Kevin Burdette and Morris Robinson.

“Pagliacci” is set to star Reginald Smith Jr. and Talise Trevigne while “The Emperor of Atlantis” will star Michael Mayes, Kevin Burdette, Alek Shrader, Daniela Mack, and Jasmine Habersham.

Both operas will be presented nine times in The Atlanta Opera’s new venue, a custom-made tent without walls. Mobile and flexible, with space for up to 240 audience members to ensure social distancing.