Fort Worth Opera Announces Next Festival Lineup, Change In Season Timing

The Fort Worth Opera kicks-off tomorrow at Bass Hall, where its festival season will bring a Puccini, a Mozart, and contemporary works by Mark Adaimo and Moby-Dick composer Jake Heggie.

But if you look for next year’s season around this time, you’ll be at of luck. The Fort Worth Opera announced today that the 2013 season will move to April and continue through May, offering another Puccini, a Donizetti, a Strauss, and a regional premiere of a new work by Tom Cipullo.

Here’s the full release:



7th Festival Includes La Bohème, The Daughter of the Regiment, Ariadne auf Naxos,

Regional Premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied in Newly-Named Alternative Venue Series, 
Plus Inaugural Performances of Company’s New Works Showcase, Frontiers

FORT WORTH, Texas – Fort Worth Opera (FWOpera) will open its 2013 Festival (the company’s 67th season and seventh Festival) with Puccini’s tragic drama, La Bohème; Donizetti’s spirited switched-at-birth romantic comedy, The Daughter of the Regiment; and the company’s first-ever production of Strauss’ entertaining and comedic opera-within-an-opera, Ariadne auf Naxos, all performed in the company’s artistic home, Bass Hall.  The company’s popular alternative venue series receives a name and a new location for the 2013 season—previously unnamed, the newly-titled Opera Unbound series will feature the regional premiere of American composer Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, to be held in the McDavid Studio across from Bass Hall in downtown Fort Worth.  An emotion-packed, landmark work based on the bestselling book by journalist Tom Philpott, Glory Denied tells the tragic, true story of America’s longest-held Vietnam prisoner-of-war, Colonel Jim Thompson. The 2013 Festival will also move earlier into spring, running April 20–May 12, 2013, one month earlier than previous Festival seasons.  Historically a strong supporter of young artists, FWOpera’s 2013 season also includes company debuts by nine singers in lead roles.

“The 2013 Festival features an incredibly talented ensemble of singers,” said General Director Darren K. Woods.  “I couldn’t be more pleased with our three traditional productions, and I’m absolutely thrilled to stage the regional premiere of the visceral, contemporary tragedy Glory Denied.  This piece is a great example of the kind of work we at Fort Worth Opera are passionate about: it’s a piece written in our time, about a pivotal era in our history, portraying very human, very fragile characters whose journeys will cause everyone in the audience to think and question and search their hearts about their loyalties to self, family, and country.”

Music Director Joe Illick added, “What a privilege and a pleasure to lead FWOpera’s very first Ariadne auf Naxos.  It’s a quintessential Strauss opera that our audience is sure to enjoy, along with the perennial favorite La Bohème and the comedic treat, The Daughter of the Regiment.”

The 2013 Festival also includes the inaugural season of FWOpera’s new works showcase, Frontiers. Offering the public free access to the performances and post-performance discussions with composers, the program will be held during the last week of the 2013 Festival. The new works showcase will feature short excerpts from six to eight unpublished contemporary operatic works by composers from across the Americas, whose pieces were submitted according to rigorous standards and will be selected by a blind jury panel this summer.  In fall 2012, the company will release the names of the composers who have been selected to participate in Frontiers 2013.

Of the Frontiers initiative, Woods added, “Fort Worth Opera is dedicated to promoting compelling works by contemporary composers and helping them to earn a place in the operatic canon.  With our new initiative Frontiers, we are expanding our focus to include developing and nurturing new works, not only giving composers a professional performance with singers and piano, but also by providing them with a recording of the performance to help them promote their work after the showcase, and by giving them exposure to industry leaders from other opera companies and publishing houses.”

Read below for more details on the 2013 Festival productions.


La Bohème
Music by Giacomo Puccini; libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

  • April 20, 28m, May 3, 11, 2013 (m=matinee)
  • Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
  • In Italian with projected English and Spanish surtitles

Fort Worth Opera’s 2013 Festival opens with a beautiful period production of one of the most enchanting works in the repertoire, Puccini’s beloved drama, La Bohème.  Renowned soprano Mary Dunleavy* (“uncommon clarity, flexibility and sweetness of tone that compel rapt attention”Opera News) and the up-and-coming Sri Lankan tenor Sean Panikkar* (“ringing tenor, clear enunciation and handsome presence” –Opera News) make their company debuts as the ill-fated Mimì and her smitten poet Rodolfo, who fall in love when she knocks on the door of his humble garret in Paris’ Latin Quarter on Christmas Eve.  After triumphing in Hydrogen Jukebox (2011), Puerto Rican soprano Rosa Betancourt, a FWOpera Studio alumna, (“a force to be reckoned” –NPR) returns to sing the saucy Musetta, and her jealous beau, the struggling painter Marcello, is sung by baritone Wes Mason (“gifted and fiercely committed” –Opera News), who starred in FWOpera’s world premiere of Before Night Falls (2010).  FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts, with direction by David Lefkowich, who made his company debut with FWOpera’s critically acclaimed Il Trovatore in 2011.


Glory Denied
Music and libretto by Tom Cipullo
Regional Premiere

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

“Intriguing and unconventional..”

“Tonal, melting into aching lushness…with a bite to its harmonies where different versions of the same truth converge.”
The New York Times

  • April 21m, 23, 24, 27m, 30; May 1, 4m, 7, 8, and 11m, 2013 (m=matinee)
  • McDavid Studio at Bass Hall, downtown Fort Worth
  • In English

Receiving its regional premiere in the newly-named Opera Unbound alternative venue series is composer Tom Cipullo’s opera, Glory Denied, after the bestselling book by journalist Tom Philpott.  Based on the true story of Colonel Jim Thompson, America’s longest-held prisoner-of-war from the Vietnam War, Glory Denied is the heart-rending story of a modern-day warrior whose sacrifices for his country result in the loss of all that is important to him.  A revealing look into an American family irreparably damaged by the Vietnam War, Glory Denied spans Colonel Thompson’s life before the war, his internment period, and his release nine years later, via his intertwined memories and those of his wife, Alyce.  Texas baritone Michael Mayes (“arresting stage presence”Opera News), currently singing Kinesias in Lysistrata (2012), makes his role debut as Older Thompson.  Caroline Worra* (“a new soprano powerhouse” –The New Yorker) makes her company debut reprising the role of Older Alyce, which she performed to acclaim with UrbanArias in 2011.  Tenor David Blalock*, graduate of the young artist programs at Central City Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, and the Seagle Colony, makes his company debut as the Young Thompson, opposite the Young Alyce of soprano Sydney Mancasola*, a resident artist with Philadelphia’s renowned Academy of Vocal Arts and a graduate of the Opera Theatre of St. Louis’ young artist program.  Both Blalock and Mancasola will apprentice at Santa Fe Opera this summer.

Tyson Deaton*, a longtime FWOpera pianist and in-demand collaborative recitalist, makes his company conducting debut.  At the helm of a new production is Dean Anthony*, a former character tenor who now serves on the Shreveport Opera and the Brevard Music Center directing staffs and whose productions of contemporary works have been hailed for their “all-important sense of theatricality” and “truly imaginative staging” (Augusta Chronicle).  The design team boasts Richard Kagey (Lysistrata, 2012), a favorite designer and director at FWOpera, Emmy Award-winning costume designer Stephen Chudej*, and lighting designer Sean Jeffries*.

The Daughter of the Regiment
Music by Gaetano Donizetti; libretto by J.H. Vernoy de Saint-Georges and F. Bayard
English translation by Ruth and Thomas Martin; spoken dialogue by Dorothy Danner

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

  • April 27, May 5m, and 10, 2013 (m=matinee)
  • Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
  • In English with projected English and Spanish surtitles

In The Daughter of the Regiment, Donizetti’s comedic opera of superb melodies and surprise twists, Texas soprano Ava Pine (“glamorous, seductive, vocally ravishing”Dallas Morning News), currently singing the title role in Lysistrata (2012), returns for her fourth star turn with FWOpera, this time in the title role (Marie).  Marie’s love interest, Tonio, is sung by tenor David Portillo (“a gorgeous voice” –St. Louis Post-Dispatch), last seen on the FWOpera stage in Don Giovanni (2010).  Bass-baritone Rod Nelman (“…a bass voice to die for…”
–Musical Notes, CA), a longtime presence at FWOpera currently singing in Tosca and The Marriage of Figaro, sings Sergeant Sulpice, head of the 21st regiment which adopted the orphaned baby Marie and raised her as their “daughter.”  Renowned character mezzo-soprano Joyce Castle (“gloriously sung” –Opera News) who last graced the FWOpera stage in The Turn of the Screw (2003), returns as the Marquise of Berkenfeld, who holds the secret to Marie’s heritage.  FWOpera General Director and retired character tenor Darren K. Woods* returns to the stage, making his company debut as the hapless butler Hortensius. Conductor Christopher Larkin (Three Decembers, 2012) leads the charge, with direction by Broadway and Hollywood veteran Dorothy Danner (Pirates of Penzance, 2004)—a frequent conductor-director team who have led Daughter to great acclaim and laughter across the U.S.


Ariadne auf Naxos
Music by Richard Strauss; libretto by Hugo von Hofmannstahl

* denotes Fort Worth Opera debut season

  • May 4, 12m, 2013 (m=matinee)
  • Bass Performance Hall, downtown Fort Worth
  • In German with projected English surtitles
  • Company Premiere

Making its long-awaited company premiere is Richard Strauss’s opera-within-an-opera, Ariadne auf Naxos.  When a rich patron decrees that a serious opera and a commedia dell’arte act should perform simultaneously at his big party, hilarity and mayhem ensue.  Soprano Marjorie Owens (“a gifted soprano” –The New York Times), who triumphed in FWOpera’s Il Trovatore (2011), returns to sing the role of the Prima Donna, whose character Ariadne is wooed by the Greek god Bacchus, sung by tenor Corey Bix* (“true heldentenor command and focus” –Opera News ) making his company debut.  Soprano Audrey Luna* (“power and a blazing coloratura facility that most lyric sopranos can only dream of” –Opera News) makes her company debut as Zerbinetta, the comedy troupe’s leading lady.  Singing a pants role for her company debut, mezzo-soprano Cecelia Hall* (“gleaming voiced” –Chicago Tribune) is the opera’s Composer, terrified that his opera will be upstaged by the comedy.  FWOpera Music Director Joe Illick conducts, and frequent FWOpera presence David Gately (Lysistrata, 2012) directs.

Biographies of leading cast members for the 2013 season will be available on the company’s website beginning this summer.

TICKETS: Tickets for the 2013 Festival can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at the Fort Worth Opera Box Office inside the Fort Worth Community Arts Center at 1300 Gendy St., Fort Worth, Texas, 76107. Season subscriptions range from $47 to $397 while single tickets range from $25 to $200 (prices subject to change). Subscriptions are available now and single tickets go on sale August 1.  For more information, please visit or call 817.731.0726 or toll-free at 1.877.396.7372. To purchase tickets online, go to


Schedule of 2013 Festival Performances

Saturday, April 20        7:30 p.m.          Bass Hall                    La Bohème     

Sunday, April 21          2:00 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Tuesday, April 23         7:30 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Wednesday, April 24    7:30 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Saturday, April 27        2:00 p.m.          McDavid Studio         Glory Denied

Saturday, April 27        7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                   The Daughter of the Regiment

Sunday, April 28          2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                   La Bohème

Tuesday, April 30         7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Wednesday, May 1       7:30 p.m.         McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Friday, May 3               7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                   La Bohème

Saturday, May 4          2:00 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Saturday, May 4          7:30 p.m.          Bass Hall                    Ariadne auf Naxos

Sunday, May 5             2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                   The Daughter of the Regiment

Tuesday, May 7           7:30 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Wednesday, May 8      7:30 p.m.          McDavid Studio          Glory Denied

Thursday, May 9          time TBA          McDavid Studio           Frontiers Showcase #1

Friday, May 10             time TBA          McDavid Studio           Frontiers Showcase #2

Friday, May 10            7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                     The Daughter of the Regiment

Saturday, May 11        2:00 p.m.         McDavid Studio           Glory Denied

Saturday, May 11        7:30 p.m.         Bass Hall                    La Bohème

Sunday, May 12          2:00 p.m.         Bass Hall                     Ariadne auf Naxos