Joshua Wheeker, Sarah Coburn & Todd Thomas Highlight Tulsa Opera 2020-21 Season Opener

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credits: LA Opera official website / Stacy Boge Photography / UIA Talent official website)

Tulsa Opera has announced that it will open its new 2020-21 season with the live semistaged production of Verdi and Piave’s opera “Rigoletto” on Oct. 9, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. CT.

The production was originally planned to take place at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 health concerns, the opera house has decided to reimagine the opera for the baseball stadium. In order to provide a safe viewing experience to the patrons, strict social distancing measures will be deployed. Up to 2,700 spectators will be allowed into the park. For the comparison, the Tulsa Performing Arts Center can host 2,365 spectators.

Audience members will be seated in every other row, with three empty seats separating each person or family within the same row. Facemasks will be mandatory at all times. Singers will keep a minimum of 25 feet distance from others at all times while singing.

“Challenging times call for creative solutions. As difficult as it’s proving for orchestras to return to the concert hall, those of us in the opera world must contend with the fact that the core of our art form—singing—has become one of the most complex activities to undertake safely as our society tries to contain COVID-19,” Tulsa Opera General Director & CEO Ken McConnell said in a press release.

“We have nevertheless found a way to open the season safely and on schedule, while also offering an utterly unique operatic experience, and we are delighted to be partnering with ONEOK Field and the Tulsa Drillers Management as we present this first opera of our 2020–21 season,” added McConnell.

The famed Verdi opera will feature tenor Joshua Wheeker in the role of Duca di Mantua, soprano Sarah Coburn as Gilda, and baritone Todd Thomas in the title role. The cast also includes mezzo-soprano Allegra De Vita as Maddalena, bass Morris Robinson as Sparafucile, bass Kevin Thompson in the role of Count Monterone, bass-baritone Elliott Wulff as Count Ceprano, tenor Chris Mosz as Matteo Borsa, and baritone Andrew René in the role of Marullo.

Steven White will conduct.