Wilmington Concert Opera Announces 2023 Season ‘Back to Before’

By Chris Ruel

The women and minority-run Wilmington Concert Opera (WCO) has announced its 2023 season, “Back to Before,” marking its return to its pandemic-postponed 2020 programming.

Here’s what’s in store for Delaware opera fans.

In April, WCO will serve up one of two mainstage shows—a first for WCO— starting with “La serva padrona.” Pergolesi’s quintessential intermezzo, stars baritone John Michael as Uberto and soprano Jessica Rose Nelson as Serpina. Irene Moretto will make her debut as pianist and music director. The performance, part of the Roundtable Table – Delaware Valley, will take place at the Moorestown Library.

Performance date: April 1, 2023

Next up, The Bel Canto Gala celebrates the period with arias and ensembles by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, and Spontini. Tenor Clifford Bechtel and mezzo-soprano Paula Rivera-Dantagnan will make their mainstage debuts. Returning musicians include sopranos Kirsten C. Kunkle, Elizabeth Oliver, Marisa Robinson, Suzannah Waddington, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Sacks, tenor Brenten Megee, baritones John David Miles and Kevin Patrick, and pianist and music director Timothy Crawford.

Performance date: May 19 & 21, 2023

Rounding out the season is a mainstage production of Humperdinck’s “Hänsel und Gretel.” The family-friendly production features Timothy Crawford as pianist and music director. It stars MajaLisa Fritzhuspen as Hänsel, Tracy Sturgis as Gretel, Anita Lyons as Gertrude, the Mother, Kevin Patrick as Peter, the Father, Marisa Robinson as the Dew Fairy, and Kirsten C. Kunkle as the Witch. Soprano Elise Mark makes her WCO debut as the Sandman. The opera will be performed in German. WCO will also present a relaxed performance, along with making gingerbread houses, on Nov. 12, 2023.

Performance date: Nov. 10-12, 2023

In addition, The Dr. William L. and Mrs. Dawn Schlotterer Virtual Recital Series will continue throughout 2023. The Series started as an alternative to live performances early in the pandemic.