Jennifer Larmore, Morris Robinson & Michael Mayes Headline The Atlanta Opera’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

The Atlanta Opera has announced its 2019-20 season.

According to the press release, for its 40th anniversary season, The Atlanta Opera will present operas which fall under the overarching theme of “dangerous liaisons,” where the “protagonists share a propensity for self-destructive relationships that threaten to bring about their downfall.” Additionally, during this season four internationally acclaimed artists will return home to Atlanta to perform: Morris Robinson, Jennifer Larmore, Jennifer Holloway, and Santiago Ballerini.

First in the lineup is the company premiere of Joan Font’s production of Rossini’s “La Cenerentola.” Mezzo-soprano Emily Fons will star in the title role, which she has previously performed at the Opéra De Lille, and Santiago Ballerini, who launched his career in the Atlanta Opera Studio program, will perform as Ramiro. Bass-baritone Dale Travis will perform as Don Magnifico. Dean Williamson, Music Director of the Nashville Opera, will conduct.

Performance Dates: Nov. 2 – 10, 2019.

The Atlanta Opera will present the world premiere of Tomer Zvulun’s new production of Richard Strauss’ “Salome.” Jennifer Holloway will take on the title role, which she has performed previously at Semperoper Dresden, Bilbao Opera, Leipzig Opera, and Opera North. Bass-baritone Nathan Berg will sing Jochanaan, and Jennifer Larmore will sing Herodias. Music Director Arthur Fagen will conduct.

Performance Dates: Jan 25 – Feb 2, 2020.

Next up is the company premiere of Francesca Zambello’s acclaimed production of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” Bass Morris Robinson and bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana will share the role of Porgy. Rounding out the cast are Nmon Ford as Crown, and Jermaine Smith as Sportin Life. David Charles Abell, Principal Guest Conductor of the Philly Pops, will conduct.

Performance Dates: Mar. 7 – 15, 2020.

A revival of Zvulun’s production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” will conclude the mainstage season. Japanese soprano Yasko Sato will sing the title role, alongside Italian tenor and Atlanta favorite Gianluca Terranova as Pinkerton. Baritone Michael Chioldi will perform as Sharpless, and mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner as Suzuki. Puccini expert Carlo Montanaro will conduct.

Performance Dates: May 2 – 10, 2020.

In addition to the mainstage productions, the 2019-20 season will feature two new-to-Atlanta operas in the “Discoveries” series. The Atlanta premiere of Robert Xavier Rodriguez’ “Frida” will paint “a vivid portrait of courageous revolutionary and magical realist Frida Kahlo in her troubled marriage to Mexican muralist Diego Rivera.” Colombian-American soprano Catalina Cuervo will reprise the title role.

Performance Dates: Oct. 5 – 13, 2019.

The second production in the “Discoveries” series will be Tom Cipullo’s “Glory Denied,” which tells the story of “America’s longest-held prisoner of war as he transitions from the jungles of Southeast Asia to his home in U.S. suburbia.” Baritone Michael Mayes will star as Colonel Jim Thompson. He has headlined “Glory Denied” previously at Fort Worth Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Memphis, and Des Moines Metro Opera.

Performance Dates: May 21 – 24, 2020.