Opera Carolina stuns again, bringing another brilliant masterwork to the Belk Theater in Charlotte. Il Trittico (The Trio), a triple bill by Puccini, composer of Madama Butterfly continues this season’s theme, “The Architects of Love,” Originally written for the Metropolitan Opera, Il Trittico runs Jan. 18, 23 and 26 at Belk Theater
Puccini entertains with stories of betrayal, salvation and slapstick humor. Paired with his masterful melodies, Il Trittico includes some of Puccini’s most famous music, including the aria “O mio babbino caro” (“Oh, my sweet father.”).
“For the first time in Opera Carolina‘s 65-year history, we’re offering three great one-act operas in one exciting evening,” says Maestro James Meena. “The themes of each are as different as you can possibly get, but the thread that unites them is the brilliant composer who has given us memorable operas like La Bohème, Tosca and Turandot. The qualities that we love in these well-known Puccini operas are all there in Il Trittico.
No stranger to Opera Carolina fans, Melinda Whittington will perform the aria in which her character, Lauretta, a spoiled Daddy’s girl. She tells her father that if he won’t let her marry the handsome Rinuccio, she’ll throw herself in the river. A versatile soprano, Melinda has been a member of Opera Carolina’s resident company for four years. She made her professional mainstage debut in The Magic Flute last winter and is currently enrolled in the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia.
Opera Carolina is known for staging well-loved classics, however Maestro Meena points out “…we are equally enthusiastic about introducing audiences to operas they may not have seen before. Il Trittico isn’t as frequently performed as some of Puccini’s other works, but it is no less a masterpiece. We think audiences are going to fall in love with it.”
Sponsors and Tickets and General Info
Il Trittico is the second production in Opera Carolina’s 65th season, which has been underwritten by generous sponsorship from Wells Fargo Private Bank.
Time Warner Cable is the performance presenting sponsor for Il Trittico. For ticket information, call 704.372.1000 or visit www.operacarolina.org. A 25 percent discount is available for season ticket holders, and a 50 percent discount is available for youth up to age 16, $10 Student Rush tickets and various group discounts are available for all shows.
It’s the second production in Opera Carolina’s 65th season, underwritten by generous sponsorship from Wells Fargo Private Bank.
About Il Trittico
Il Trittico, originally commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, premiered on Dec. 14, 1918. It will be performed by Opera Carolina in Italian with English supertitles. While the performance is three acts, it isn’t any longer than a typical opera production.
The opera takes us, in one night, to three beautiful locations in Europe. The first mini-opera,Il Tabarro, is set in 1918 Paris, on a barge on the river Seine. The second, Suor Angelica, takes place in a convent in Southern Italy. The final opera, Gianni Schicchi, is set at the Palazzo of Buoso Donati in Renaissance Florence.
Maestro Meena will conduct. Jay Lesenger is stage director for this production. Michael Baumgarten serves as director of production and lighting designer.
About the Cast
The cast includes Washington National Opera soprano Jill Gardner; Chinese-born Welsh National Opera baritone Chen-Ye Yuan; Korean-born Royal Opera Covent Garden tenor Dongwon Shin; and New York City Opera mezzo-soprano Susan Nicely.
Soprano Jill Gardner (Sister Angelica in Suor Angelica and as Giorgetta in Il Tabarro) is establishing herself among today’s leading operatic heroines. Equally praised for her acting and her singing, Opera News wrote of her Boston Lyric Opera performances of Tosca, “Soprano Jill Gardner, whose voice was fresh and focused, undertook the title role as if it were newly written. There was little of the conventional grand diva in her approach, and her character was all the more human for it.” Gardner made her Opera Carolina debut last season in the title role of Tosca. She has performed with the Washington National Opera.
Korean-born tenor Dongwon Shin (Luigi in Il Tabarro) is making his Opera Carolina debut. Last spring, he sang the role of Radames in Aida at Covent Garden. He has also performed the role in Opera Australia’s revival of Aida. Glowing reviews are customary for Shin. When he sang Calaf with Fort Worth Opera, one critic wrote: “Tenor Dongwon Shin met the challenge. His Nessun Dorma was the highlight of an incredible evening.” When he played the same role with Opera New Zealand, one critic said he played “a superb Calaf with a wonderfully strong, fully Italianate voice, and [he] brought the house down in Nessun Dorma.” He made his professional operatic debut in 2005 as Radames in Aida with Opera Company of Philadelphia, and he has performed at the Metropolitan Opera covering Turridu.
Performing in all three operas, Susan Nicely (Zita in Gianni Schicchi, Frugola in Il Tabarroand The Princess in Suor Angelica) is a mezzo-soprano known for her rich voice and vivid characterizations. Her range goes from comic (Dame Marthe in Faust, Old Lady in Candide and Katasha in The Mikado) to dramatic (Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana and Mama McCourt in The Ballad of Baby Doe). The Austin American-Statesman has called her an “audience darling.” Her versatility was tested when she performed Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s one-woman opera, Bon Appetit! Critics and audiences loved her. D Magazine wrote, “Mezzo-soprano Susan Nicely … delivered the goods with a gorgeously textured, rich vocal timbre and a perfect touch of slapstick, expanding on and somewhat exaggerating Child’s endearing, always-laughed-off clumsiness.” Engagements from recent seasons include Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro with Arizona Opera and the Orlando Philharmonic, Mamma Lucia in Cavalleria Rusticana with New York City Opera, Arizona Opera and Opera Tampa; and Gertrude in Romeo et Juliette with the New Orleans Opera and Opera Grand Rapids.
Baritone Chen-Ye Yuan (title role in Gianni Schicchi) makes his Opera Carolina debut in Il Trittico. He developed his craft as a member of the finest training programs in the business, including the Houston Grand Opera Studio and the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program. The China native has performed Germont in La Traviata, Escamillo in Carmen and Bhaer in Little Women, which aired on PBS’s Great Performances. Recent performances include Marcello in La Boheme with the Hang Zhou Philharmonic Orchestra and Chou En-Lai in John Adams’ Nixon in China with San Francisco Opera and at the Culture Center in Hong Kong.
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, Opera Carolina today is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of over $2.9 million. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region’s diverse community through the presentation of excellent Opera, Operetta, and Education & Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina is a community resource with a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.
Opera Carolina is supported, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources. Opera Carolina is a member of OPERA America.