Elena Stikhina, Alfred Walker & Wallis Giunta Headline Boston Lyric Opera’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

Boston Lyric Opera has announced its 2019-20 season, featuring productions that span three centuries of opera.

The upcoming season will mark General & Artistic Director Esther Nelson’s 10th season with the company. According to the press release, BLO aims to focus on works that “reflect the highs and lows of power and politics,” while “bringing passionate opera installations to new neighborhoods, and introducing audiences to rising stars from diverse backgrounds.”

The season will kick off with Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” directed by David Lefkowich. According to the press release, the production’s “complete immersive experience” will include “food, music, and acrobats, mirroring the carnival atmosphere that sets the storyline in motion.” Additionally, local singers, as well as on-site audience members, will be encouraged to participate alongside BLO’s professional chorus in order to underscore the opera’s “play-within-a-play plot.” Rafael Rojas will star as Canio, alongside soprano Lauren Michelle as Nedda, Michael Mayes as Tonio, Omar Najmi as Beppe, and Tobias Greenhalgh as Silvio. BLO Music Director David Angus will conduct.

Performance Dates: TBA

Next in the lineup is the New England premiere of Gregory Spears and Greg Pierce’s 2016 opera “Fellow Travelers,” which will feature several of BLO’s Emerging Artists. The work tells of “faith, love, and politics during the McCarthy era, when homosexuals were blackmailed and purged from U.S. government positions.” Minnesota-based Artistic Director of Theater Latte Da Peter Rothstein will direct, and Emily Senturia will lead the orchestra at BLO. BLO’s 2018 Principal Artist in Residence Jesse Darden will star as Timothy, with Jesse Blumberg as Hawk. James Maddalena will sing multiple roles including a Senator, a General, and a bartender. Rounding out the cast are Emerging Artists alumni Chelsea Basler, Vincent Turregano, David McFerrin, Simon Dyer, and Michelle Trainor.

Performance Dates: Nov. 13 – 17, 2019

Bellini’s “Norma” will see the return of Russian soprano Elena Stikhina to BLO. She made her American debut with the company during their 2017 run of Puccini’s “Tosca,” and recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut last year in Puccini’s “Il Trittico.” Bass-baritone Alfred Walker, who will appear as Crown in the Met’s 2020 production of “Porgy and Bess,” will return to BLO as Oroveso. Jonathan Burton will be featured as Pollione and Sandra Piques-Eddy as Adalgisa. David Angus will conduct.

Performance Dates: Mar. 13 – 22, 2019

The season will conclude with Handel’s “Giulio Cesare,” BLO’s first Baroque opera since “Agrippina” in 2011. Matthew Ozawa will direct, and Gary Thor Wedow will conduct. Starring in the title role will be Canadian counter-tenor David Trudgen, and Boston native Jacquelyn Stucker will perform as Cleopatra. Rounding out the cast are South-Korean counter-tenor Siman Chung as Tolomeo, Wallis Giunta as Sesto, Simon Dyer as General Curio, David McFerrin as Achilla, and Renee Tatum as Cornelia.

Performance Dates: TBA