Fort Worth Opera Announces Expansion of Spring 2021 Lineup Including Collaboration with Met Opera

By Chris Ruel

Fort Worth Opera (FWO) has announced an expansion of its 2021 spring lineup that comprises a film festival in partnership with the Metropolitan Opera, a virtual celebration of Black History Month, a collaboration with Opera San José, drive-in events, and more.

For the first time in FWO’s 74-year history, the company will collaborate with the Metropolitan Opera to create an opera film festival in North Texas. The festival, entitled Moonlight Film Fest, will showcase three encore performances from The Met: Live in HD series including “Akhnaten” on February 4, “La bohème” on February 11, and “La Fille du Régiment” on February 18. The three performances feature some of opera’s brightest stars; Anthony Roth Costanzo, J’Nai Bridges, Sonya Yoncheva, Michael Fabiano, Pretty Yende, Stephanie Blythe, Javier Camarena, and screen star Kathleen Turner.

FWO will hold moonlight Film Fest at the Coyote Drive-In. Pricing is on a per-car basis. Gates open at 6:00 p.m. CST with performances starting at 7:00 p.m. CST.

This past fall, the company started the FWO Green Room initiative featuring the world premiere of “Bernadette’s Cozy Book Nook,” by FWO Artistic director Joe Illick and Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell, and “Music Speaks: The Language of Poetry and Libretti: Workshop Series with opera coaches Lucy Yates, J.J. Penna, and Rachelle Jonck.

Three virtual performances of “Bernadette’s Cozy Book Nook” remain on January 22, 23, and 24. The free Music Speaks Series on Zoom also has three remaining sessions on January 23, and 30, and February 6, 2021, from 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST. Sessions stream live on FWO’s official Facebook page.

In February, the company will celebrate Black History Month with a virtual celebration on Sunday, February 21, at 2:00 p.m. CST. The star-studded benefit concert, “A Night of Black Excellence: Past, Present, and Future,” will feature some of the greatest Black opera singers of the 21st century along with local artists. Scheduled to appear are Patrice P. Eaton, Nicole Heaston, Cameo Humes, Keron Jackson, Latonia Moore, NaGuanda Nobles, Kenneth Overton, Chivonne Perkins, Adam Richardson, Audra Scott, Karen Slack, Takesha Meshé Kizart-Thomas, Russell Thomas, Darius Thomas, Kevin Thompson, and Jorell Williams.

They will be joined by Houston’s original pop string quartet Amp’d Quartet, presented by DIVISI, spoken word poet and author Leslie N. Polk accompanied by Mondo Drummers, dynamic sister duo Tutt2, Dallas-based Bandan Koro African Drum and Dance Ensemble, Amphibian Stage: Tad-Poles Stilt Dancing Program, and a Black History narrative by Baldwin Brown (Principal of Fort Worth’s historic I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA).

In March and April, in partnership with Opera San José, FWO will stream the company’s digital production of composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s “Three Decembers.” The new 90-minute film version features mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, soprano Maya Kherani, and baritone Efraín Solís.

Later in the spring, FWO joins forces with Rocket Cinema out of Austin, Texas, to present a pop-up, drive-in screening of our Texas-themed world premiere, “Stone Soup,” in the parking lot of Fort Worth stadium, Farrington Field. This charming Great Depression-era family fable was a hit when the company presented socially distanced performances this past November.

Throughout the months of March-May, the company will present spring performances of FWO GO, its nationally recognized series of live pop-up concerts in neighborhoods throughout Dallas-Fort Worth. Fort Worth Opera’s young artists will perform opera arias, musical theater favorites, pop songs, and classic standards from the Great American Songbook.

In May 2021, tenor Darius Thomas, soprano Megan Koch, and FWO Head of Music and Director of the Children’s Opera Theatre, Dr. Charlene Lotz, will be featured in Fort Worth Opera’s hour-long Lesley Resident Artist Virtual Recital, streamed free for audiences through the FWO Green Room.

“Fort Worth Opera remains committed to bringing world-class music and musicians to Fort Worth and the surrounding area,” stated FWO General Director Afton Battle in a press release. “Through the impactful partnerships with the Met, Tarrant County Pearls, I.M. Terrell and Opera San José, Fort Worth Opera will continue to expand our reach, engage our community, and bring accessible intersections with Fort Worth Opera that offer a rich experience while building the People’s Company.”