Russell Thomas, Vanessa Becerra, Karen Slack, Elaine Alvarez, César Delgado Headline Fort Worth Opera’s 2021-22 Season

By Chris Ruel

Fort Worth Opera (FWO) has announced its 2021-22 season which marks the 75th anniversary of the company. The upcoming season shifts away from FWO’s festival model to year-round programming. Here’s what the company has in store for its audiences.

The season kicks off with a special one-evening only performance of “Entre Amigos: A Concert in Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.” The concert will feature arias, art songs, and folk music and is part of FWO’s fall “Noches de Ópera” community programming. Artists include soprano Vaessa Becerra, mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa, tenor Rafael Moras, baritone Luis Alejandro Orozco, as well as pianist Eduardo Rojas, Mariachi trio Trio Chapultepec, featuring Vincent Pequeño, William Carlton Galvez, Israel Alcala, and DJ Ronnie Hart.

Performance Date: Oct. 9, 2021

FWO’s Children’s Opera Theatre will present a production of “Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World,” with music by Joe Illick and libretto by Mark Campbell. The FWO Studio Artists will perform the work in English. The cast includes Meredith Browning and Erica Vernice Simmons, Autumn Capocci and Kayla Nanto, Lwazi Hlati and Ndumiso Nyoka, and Christopher Curcuruto and Prosper Makhanya. Octavio Cardenas directs with Charlene Lotz serving as music director and pianist. FWO will hold performances in two separate locations on different dates.

Performance Dates: Oct. 9 & 10 2021 at Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT); and Oct. 16 at Reby Cary Youth Library

November performances begin with FWO’s “75th Anniversary Fall Preview,” a star-studded evening of live performances, craft cocktails, and catered hors d’oeuvres. Artists include tenor Russell Thomas; soprano Elaine Alvarez; mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz; and baritone Spencer Reichman. Joe Illick accompanies on piano.

Performance Date: Nov. 6, 2021

The Children’s Opera Theatre will reprise its production of Illick and Campbell’s “Stone Soup,” which premiered in November 2020. The production stars Erica Vernice Simmons as Sally, Christopher Curcuruto and Prosper Makhanya as Max, Autumn Capocci and Kayla Nanto as Edna, Lwazi Hlati, and Ndumiso Nyoka as Stan, and Meredith Browning as Delia.

Performance Date: Nov. 20, 2021

In December, FWO will present “Holiday in the Garden.” This free concert will feature arias, duets, Christmas songs, and holiday classics.

Performance Date: TBD

FWO’s season includes the world premiere of “Zorro,” with music and libretto by Héctor Armienta. The company will present the work in Spanish and English with supertitles in both languages. The cast includes César Delgado in the title role, Gabriella Enríquez as Ana Maria Soza, Octavio Moreno as Moncada, Guadalupe Paz as Carlotta de Obragón, Brandon Bell as Sergeant José Maria Gomez, Bridget Cappel as Toypurina, and Judith Rodriguez as Luisa. “Zorro” will be directed by Octavio Cardenas, with Charlene Lotz serving as music director and pianist, and Christopher McGuire lends his talents on guitar.

Performance Dates: Jan. 26, 28, 2022 at Rose Marine Theater & Jan. 30, 2022 at Will Rogers Auditorium

Winter performances conclude with “A Night of Black Excellence,” a concert co-curated by star soprano Karen Slack and FWO General Director Afton Battle. Artists are TBD.

Performance Date: Feb. 20, 2022

FWO’s welcomes spring with the Fort Worth Opera Gala, featuring soprano Elaine Alvarez, tenor Nathan Granner, and baritone Kenneth Overton.

Performance Date: April 9, 2022

The company rounds out its year-round offerings with a production of Verdi’s “La Traviata.” The staging includes Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra with Illick on the podium. The director of FWO’s presentation of Verdi’s classic is John de los Santos, who also served as choreographer. Violetta Valéry will be played by Elaine Alvarez, Alfredo Germont by Nathan Granner, and Giorgio Germont by Kenneth Overton. The cast also features Brandon Bell as Barone Douphol, Gabrielle Gilliam as Dottore Grenvil, Megan Koch as Annina, Kayla Nanto as Flora Bervoix, Autumn Capocci as Marie Brécourt, Lwazi Hlati as Gastone de Letorières, and Prosper Makhanya as Marchese d’Obigny. Chad Jung will serve as lighting director, with sets by Liliana Duque Piñeiro and costumes by Ashley Soliman. “La Traviata” be presented in Italian with English and Spanish supertitles.

Performance Dates: April 22 & April 24, 2022