Friday, April 7, 2017

Pittsburgh Opera: The Summer King, The Josh Gibson Story, April 29, May 2, 5 & 7, Benedum Center for the Performing Arts

Pittsburgh Opera is proud to present its first world premiere in its 78 year historyDaniel Sonenberg's The Summer King, the story of baseball legend Josh Gibson.  Native to Pittsburgh, Gibson became a tremendous star in the Negro Leagues, before being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.  Gibson sadly passed away at the young age of 35, felled by a stroke shortly before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. 

Featuring Alfred Walker in the title role, The Summer King follows Gibson at key points in his life.  Denyce Graves, Sean Pannikar, Kenneth Kellogg, Norman Shankle, Jacqueline Echols and many more grace this amazing cast
led by Maestro Antony Walker and directed by Sam HelfrichSonenberg collaborated on the libretto with Daniel Nester and Mark Campbell provided additional lyrics. The Summer King runs April 29th (8pm), May 2nd (7pm), May 5th (7:30pm) and May 7th (3pm) at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts.

Sat., April 29th (8pm), Tues., May 2nd (7pm), Fri., May 5th (7:30pm) & Sun., May 7th (3pm), 2017
Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
237 7th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Box office phone: 412-456-6666

Alfred Walker: Josh Gibson

Lauded by Opera News for his “inky bass-baritone and clear projection seemed ideally suited to the role, capturing this isolated man's passion with telling grief,” Alfred Walker sings his first performances of Wotan in Das Rheingold with North Carolina Opera and Méphistophélès in Berlioz’s La damnation du Faust at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago as well as creates the title role of Josh Gibson in the world premiere of Sonenberg’s The Summer King with Pittsburgh Opera in the 2016-17 season. He also makes his debut as Porgy in Porgy and Bess with the Sydney Symphony and his other concert performances include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Phoenix Symphony. Last season, he joined Oper Köln for one of his most oft-performed roles, Der fliegende Holländer and the Komische Oper Berlin as the Four Villains in Kosky’s new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann. He returned to Seattle Opera for further performances of Der fliegende Holländer and Utah Opera for Amonasro in Aida. He also joined the New Japan Philharmonic for Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle and the Caramoor International Music Festival as Pizarro in Fidelio and sang Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Verdi’s Requiem with the Boston Philharmonic.
The bass-baritone recently triumphed as the title role in Der fliegende Holländer at Theater Basel and returned to the company for his first performances of both Amfortas in Parsifal and Amonasro in Aida. Other recent performances include Kurwenal in Tristan und Isolde at Angers Nantes Opera and Opéra de Dijon; the title role of Der fliegende Holländer with Théâtre de Caen, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg Boston Lyric Opera, and the Wagner Geneva Festival; Creonte in Medea with the Opéra national de Lorraine; Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann with Den Norske Opera; and Il Prologo in Gnecchi’s Cassandra with the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His celebrated characterization of Orest in Elektra has been seen at Teatro alla Scala, Seattle Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Spain’s San Sebastián Festival and he received great acclaim for performances of Allazim in the Peter Sellars’ production of Zaide at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Wiener Festwochen, London’s Barbican Center, and Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival. He sang Telramund in concert performances of Lohengrin in Oviedo, Spain under the baton of Semyon Bychkov and later joined the conductor and the WDR Sinfonie Orchester Köln for Lodovico in Otello. In lesser-known repertoire, he sang Kunrad in Feuersnot with the American Symphony Orchestra and König Karl in Schubert’s Fierrabras at the Bard Music Festival.
Additional highlights of recent seasons include his Los Angeles Opera debut as Porgy in Porgy and Bess; title role of Don Quichotte, Four Villains in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Seattle Opera and Tulsa Opera; Méphistophélès in Faust also with Tulsa Opera; Achilla in Giulio Cesare and Colline in La bohème with San Diego Opera, Atlanta Opera, and New Orleans Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera North; Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Palm Beach Opera, Banquo in Macbeth with Minnesota Opera; Donner in Das Rheingold with New Orleans Opera; and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera. Also a frequent presence on the Metropolitan Opera stage, he recently returned to the famed house for Parsi Rustomji in its first presentation of Satyagraha in addition to joining the company for its productions of Bluebeard’s Castle, Il trovatore, Elektra, Le nozze di Figaro, Roméo et Juliette, Don Giovanni, Samson et Dalila, Pelléas et Mélisande, Les Troyens, and L'enfant et les sortileges.

 Denyce Graves: Grace

Recognized worldwide as one of today's most exciting vocal stars, Denyce Graves continues to gather unparalleled popular and critical acclaim in performances on four continents. USA Today identifies her as "an operatic superstar of the 21st Century," and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclaims, "if the human voice has the power to move you, you will be touched by Denyce Graves."
Her career has taken her to the world's great opera houses and concert halls. The combination of her expressive, rich vocalism, elegant stage presence, and exciting theatrical abilities allows her to pursue a wide breadth of operatic portrayals and to delight audiences in concert and recital appearances. Denyce Graves has become particularly well-known to operatic audiences for her portrayals of the title roles in Carmen and Samson et Dalila. These signature roles have brought Ms. Graves to the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Washington Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Arena di Verona, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opernhaus Zürich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles Opera, and the Festival Maggio Musicale in Florence. 
Ms. Graves appears continually on the stages of leading theaters in North America, Europe, and Asia. Highlights have included a Robert Lepage production of The Rake’s Progress at San Francisco Opera, the title role in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner in the world premiere performances at Michigan Opera Theater with further performances at Cincinnati Opera, Opera Carolina, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the role of Charlotte in Werther for Michigan Opera Theater opposite Andrea Bocelli in his first staged operatic performances, and the role of Judith in a William Friedkin production of Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle in her return to Los Angeles Opera; she also has sung Judith at the Washington National Opera and for the Dallas Opera. Recent appearances include the world premieres of Doubt at Minnesota Opera and Champion at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis as well as the role debuts of Katisha in The Mikado for Lyric Opera of Kansas City and Herodias in Salome for Palm Beach Opera. 
Denyce Graves has worked with the finest symphony orchestras and conductors in a wide range of repertoire. She has performed with Riccardo Chailly, Myung-Whun Chung, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, and Mstislav Rostropovich. One of the music world's most sought-after recitalists, Ms. Graves combines her expressive vocalism and exceptional gifts for communication with her dynamic stage presence. Her programs include classical repertoire of German lieder, French mélodie, and English art song, as well as the popular music of Broadway musicals, crossover and jazz together with American spirituals. For her New York recital debut, The New York Times wrote, "[her] voice is dusky and earthy. She is a strikingly attractive stage presence and a communicative artist who had the audience with her through four encores." 

Comment by email:
Hi Bill, That is wonderful!  Thanks very much.  If you would like to attend the opera, I would be happy to arrange press comps.  Have a beautiful week! Warmest regards, Alanna [Alanna

No comments: