Wilmington Concert Opera Announces 2022 Season Featuring World Premiere of ‘Girondines’

By Chris Ruel

Delaware’s Wilmington Concert Opera (WCO) has announced its 2022 season, titled “Everything Old is New Again.”

The season will feature both live and virtual performances, including a continuation of the company’s Virtual Recital Series, a new outside collaboration with Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia, and the world premiere of ‘Girondines.’

The Virtual Recital Series kicks things off in January with tenor Joshua L. Mazur and pianist Brian Hargrove’s presentation of “Passing By,” a recital based on the “Liturgy of Hours.”

The Series continues in February when soprano Elise Christian Jenkins and pianist Patrick Merrill will present “A Black Woman’s Voice,” featuring works selected by the artists in celebration of Black History Month.

Other musicians slated for the Series include Darrell J. Jordan, Andrew Romanick, Michael King, Laurice Simmons Kennel, Gabriel Rebolla, Kirsten C. Kunkle, Kassandra Weleck, and others. WCO will stream the Series on its Facebook page and YouTube, with each recital featuring a live chat with the artists and company administrators.

For the first time, the company has partnered with an outside collaborator, Concert Operetta Theater of Philadelphia, to present the “Rodgers and Hammerstein Gala.” The Gala will showcase works from the duo’s major operas. Concert Operetta Theater Founder Daniel Pantano will narrate and also perform as a baritone soloist. Other soloists include soprano Kirsten C. Kunkle and Marisa Robinson, mezzo-soprano Alyssa Lehman, tenor Rob Tucker, and baritones Kevin Patrick and Nicholas Provenzale. The concert also features pianist Timothy Crawford.

Performance Date: May 15, 2022, at Rockwood Park in Wilmington.

In October, WCO will present the world premiere of “Girondines,” a two act ensemble chamber opera for six women, and scored for piano, harp, and electronics. Composer Sarah Van Sciver set the libretto by WCO’s co-founder and artistic director, Kirsten C. Kunkle. Van Scriver will music direct and perform as the pianist for the opera.

“Girondines” based on historical fact, focuses on the story of six real life French Revolutionaries who presumably knew one another, met in secret before the Reign of Terror, and supported one another during the political upheaval. All six of the revolutionaries are women, and of these, three are guillotined and three live. Van Sciver and Kunkle are working to further their own legacy of women, both in the history of the women featured in the opera, and also to create visceral and important roles for women in opera.

Starring in the premier are Kirsten C. Kunkle as Charlotte Corday (Laura Heydt–cover), Ashley Becker as Olympe de Gouges (Laurice Simmons Kennel–cover), Marisa Robinson as Marie Anne Pierrette Paulze (Alyssa Brode–cover), Alyssa Lehman as Madame Roland (Allison Deady–cover), Raffaella lo Castro as Madame de Staël (Kaitlyn Beth Tierney–cover), and Tracy Sturgis as Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (Annie Gill–cover).

The performances are free and open to the public, and with no tickets required.

Performance Dates: Oct 21-23, 2022, at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Wilmington.

Wilmington Concert Opera is an exclusively women and minority run company, founded on the principles of diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility.