Jean-François Borras & Magali Léger Highlight Centre Lyrique Clermont-Auvergne’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

Centre Lyrique Clermont-Auvergne has announced its 2019-20 season, which will include opera, musical theatre, recitals, concerts, films, expositions, and family and youth programs. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on opera and other vocal performances.

The season will kick off with Bizet’s “Les Pêcheurs de perles,” directed by Éric Perez and Olivier Desbordes. Gaspard Brécourt will lead the Orchestre Opéra Éclaté. The cast will include Serenad B. Uyar as Leïla, Paul Jadach as Zurga, Mark Van Arsdale as Nadir, and Jean-Loup Pagésy as Nourabad. They will be joined by the Chœur de l’Académie lyrique d’Occitanie.

Performance Dates: Oct. 11 & 13, 2019

Arnaud Thorette will direct “Paris Mon Amour,” a tribute to the life of Joséphine Baker featuring soprano Magali Léger and L’Ensemble Contraste. The concert will include Johan Farjot’s arrangements of works by George Gershwin, Edith Piaf, Frank Sinatra, and Charles Trénet, with choreography by Caroline Lemière.

Performance Date: Nov. 8, 2019

The young public program “L’Opéra, Quelle Jungle!” will feature texts and staging by Pierre Thirion-Vallet. Performers will include soprano Anne Derouard, baritone Guilhem Souyri, and pianist Philippe Marty.

Performance Dates: Nov. 14, 2019 – Mar. 12, 2020

Balalaika Productions will present “Les Nuits Blanches de Saint-Petersbourg,” led by Micha Tcherkassky. Featured vocalists bass Yuri Kissin and mezzo-soprano Oleksandra Didenko will be joined by L’Ensemble Balalaika. The program will include works by Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Khatchatourian.

Performance Date: Nov. 28, 2019

Roberto Forés Veses will conduct Handel’s oratorio “Messiah,” featuring soprano Emmanuelle de Negri, alto Anna Harvey, tenor Peter Hoare, bass Andreas Wolf, Academy Choir Wimbledon, and Orchestre national d’Auvergne.

Performance Date: Dec. 19, 2019

A co-production with Opéra Nomade, Centre Lyrique will present Rossini’s “L’Italiana in Algeri” with staging by Pierre Thirion-Vallet. Amaury du Closel will conduct the Orchestre Les Métamorphoses. The cast will include Maria Ostroukhova as Isabella, Joseph Kauzman as Lindoro, Rémi Ortega as Taddeo, Eugenio Di Lieto as Mustafa, Sophie Boyer as Elvira, Anne-Lise Polchlopek as Zulma, and Florian Bisbrouck as Haly. They will be joined by Thierry Cantero, Olivier Hernandez, François Lilamand, Thomas Monnot, Matthias Rossbach, and Guilhem Souyri as the Chœur d’hommes.

Performance Dates: Jan. 16 – 19, 2020

Acclaimed tenor Jean-François Borras, who has graced the stages of Wiener Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, and the Metropolitan Opera, will appear in recital to perform works by Massenet, Gounod, Duparc, and Respighi. He will be accompanied by pianist Antoine Palloc.

Performance Date: Feb. 16, 2020

A co-production with Opéra de Lyon, Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse – Lyon, Théâtre de La Renaissance – Oullins-Lyon-Métropole, and Angers Nantes Opéra, Jean Lacornerie and Raphaël Cottin will direct Richard Adler and Jerry Ross’ musical “The Pajama Game.” The work will feature ten singers: Dalia Constantin, Marianne Devos, Marie Glorieux, Vincent Heden, Pierre Lecomte, Mathilde Lemmonier, Amelie Munier, Zacharie Saal, and Lauren Van Kempen. They will be joined by a trio of musicians, percussionist Gérard Lecointe (who will provide musical direction and arrangements), pianist Sébastien Jaudon, and a contrabassist (TBA).

Performance Dates: Mar. 19 & 20, 2020

A new production of Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana” and Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” will highlight the laureates of the last Claremont-Ferrand International Singing Competition, and will be directed by Éric Perez. Gaspard Brécourt will conduct the Orchestre Opéra Éclaté. The cast will include Chrystelle Di Marco as Santuzza, Ania Wozniak as Lola, Cátia Moreso as Lucia, Denys Pivnitskyi as Turiddu/Canio, Dongyong Noh as Alfio/Tonio, Solen Mainguene as Nedda, Jean Miannay as Beppe, and Jiwon Song as Silvio.

Performance Date: Apr. 9, 2020

The young public performance of Isabelle Aboulker’s “Les Contes du Chat Perché,” a production of Compagnie In-Sense, will be staged by Sébastien Davis. Featured performers will include mezzo-contralto Marie Blanc, baritone Philippe Scagni, and pianist Ernestine Bluteau.

Performance Date: Apr. 15 – 17, 2020

The “Concert Voix Nouvelles” will feature the winners of the prestigious Concours Voix Nouvelles 2018: sopranos Hélène Carpentier and Caroline Jestaedt, tenor Kevin Amiel, and baritone Anas Seguin. They will be accompanied by pianist Mathieu Pordoy.

Performance Date: May 9, 2020

Centre Lyrique will present Mozart’s one-act singspiel “Bastien und Bastienne” alongside Rimsky-Korsakov’s one-act opera “Mozart and Salieri,” with staging by Pierre Thirion-Vallet. Roberto Forés Veses will lead the Orchestre national d’Auvergne. The cast will include Caroline Jestaedt as Bastienne, Mark Van Arsdale as Bastien/Mozart, and Luigi de Donato as Colas/Salieri.

Performance Dates: May 19 & 20, 2020