Lyric Opera of Kansas City Announces Inaugural Season

General Director Evan Luskin and Artistic Director Ward Holmquist announced the 2011-2012 season of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City which will be the first season in the new Muriel Kauffman Theatre in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “Becoming a Resident Opera Company at this magnificent performance hall will allow the Company to present opera in ways that Kansas City has never before experienced,” notes Evan Luskin, Lyric Opera General Director.

Lyric Opera Artistic Director Ward Holmquist states, “The upcoming season will employ all of the new capabilities the Muriel Kauffman Theatre as the world’s newest premier performance space. This season is not to be missed.”

All performances of the Lyric Opera will be accompanied by members of the Kansas City Symphony.

The season will open October 1, 2011 with a new production of Puccini’s final masterpiece Turandot, featuring an enormous scenic design commissioned especially for the opening of the Center.   R. Keith Brumley, Lyric Opera Director of Design and Technical Production commented, “The Muriel Kauffman Theatre will allow me, as the scenic designer of Turandot, to achieve dreams that I could never dream in my 27 years of designing productions to fit in the Lyric Theatre.”

Artistic Director Ward Holmquist notes, “Turandot will be grand opera in the truest sense of the word.  We want thank all of our supporters who have made this possible by utilizing the Kauffman Center’s full production capabilities – we want to show the community what they have been waiting for!”

“The Lyric Opera debut of John Adam’s Nixon in China in March 2012 will sweep audiences away with special effects and a star-studded cast,” Evan Luskin, Lyric Opera General Director notes, “I am excited that our new performance home allows us to present opera on an elevated level of grandeur.  The new technical capabilities enable us to present productions such as Nixon in China the way they should be – with many special visual effects.  We will be setting a new standard for regional opera companies.”

2011-2012 Season

Please note that all evening performances will now begin at 7:30 p.m. for patron convenience.

Turandot – New Production
By Giacomo Puccini
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
October 1, 2011  7:30 p.m.
October 5, 2011  7:30 p.m.
October 7, 2011  7:30 p.m.
October 9, 2011  2:00 p.m.

Director Garnett Bruce (Rigoletto 2010) teams with Artistic Director and Conductor Ward Holmquist and Lyric Opera Director of Design and Technical Production R. Keith Brumley to create an all new production of Turandot that will showcase every inch of the 5,000 square foot stage and utilize the new technological and special effect possibilities now available to the Company.  Turandot will host the largest cast and orchestra in Lyric Opera history.

Soprano Lise Lindstrom, who will sing the title role, has received critical acclaim across the globe for her portrayal of Turandot. “Coming in from the cold: in a remarkably short time, Lise Lindstrom has become one of the opera world’s leading Turandots,” notes Scott Barnes of Opera News.  Of her Metropolitan Opera debut, the New York Post said, “Lindstrom sailed through the daunting solo with an aplomb rarely seen even in the most experienced divas.  Her voice…gleamed like a blue-white laser up to high C.”

International opera star bass Samuel Ramey will make his Lyric Opera debut as Timur.  Mr. Ramey, a native of Colby, Kansas, is the most recorded bass in history with more than 80 recordings and three Grammy Awards to his credit.  Over his 30 year career he has made numerous appearances at The Metropolitan Opera and is featured with the Company on many PBS and radio broadcasts.  He has appeared at many of the major houses across the globe including Teatro alla Scalla, Royal Opera, Covent Carden, Vienna Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, San Fransisco Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Così Fan Tutti
By W.A. Mozart
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
November 5, 2011   7:30 p.m.
November 9, 2011   7:30 p.m.
November 11, 2011  7:30 p.m.
November 13, 2011  2:00 p.m.

Mozart’s witty comedy about a pair of sisters whose suitors give them 24 hours to prove their undying affection has been entertaining audiences since its premiere.  With the aid of a quirky maid and Mozart’s unforgettable melodies the women’s fiancées pull off a hysterical scheme of disguise and trickery that tests the dedication of their brides-to-be.

Kristine McIntyre (John Brown 2008, Norma 2010) directs an updated version of this Mozart comedy.  Ms. McIntyre was hailed for her staging of the production at Madison Opera, “Stage director Kristine McIntyre clearly played the piece for comedy, with constant, lively movements, vigorous action to match the vocal histrionics, and endless fine details,” John W. Barker, The Daily Page.

Nixon In China – Lyric Opera Debut
By John Adams
Sung in English with English subtitles
March 10, 2012  7:30 p.m.
March 14, 2012  7:30 p.m.
March 16, 2012  7:30 p.m.
March 18, 2012  2:00 p.m.

The Lyric Opera returns to the contemporary repertoire with prolific American composer John Adams’ hailed opera about Nixon’s historic journey to Red China in 1972.  This unprecedented trip by a sitting U.S. President to China with the hope of meeting Chairman Mao and creating peace has forever changed the political landscape between the countries.   Richard Nixon stated his weeklong journey was a “week that changed the world.”

This innovative production utilizes the Muriel Kauffman Theatre’s ability to accommodate state-of-the-art lighting, projections, amplification and sound effects that will make the audience feel like they are along for the ride with Nixon on The Spirit of ‘76.

Fresh from the Metropolitan Opera production as Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, baritone James Maddalena (John Brown 2008) and bass Richard Paul Fink (Rigoletto 2010) return to the Lyric Opera to sing the hallmark roles they originated in the world premiere of the production.  Gerard Lynch of raved Mr. Maddalena’s portrayal at English National Opera, “As far as the music goes, the prime drawing card of this production is James Maddalena, the ‘original’ Nixon from 1987, in the title role, and he is simply superb in it…it’s sometimes difficult to believe that he isn’t actually Nixon.”

Maria Kanyova makes her Lyric Opera debut at Pat Nixon.  Kyle MacMillan of The Denver Post raves about Ms. Kanyova’s performance, “She makes the most of the role of Pat Nixon, humanizing the first lady and investing her with a flesh – and – bones believability.”

Elizabeth Paterson of Review Vancouver states Director Michael Cavanagh “should be lauded” for this production of Nixon in China that he debuted at Vancouver Opera and will direct with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

The Barber of Seville
By Giochino Rossini
Sung in Italian with English Subtitles
April 21, 2012  7:30 p.m.
April 25, 2012  7:30 p.m.
April 27, 2012  7:30 p.m.
April 29, 2012  2:00 p.m.

The Company will close the inaugural season in the Kauffman Center with The Barber of Seville.  Figaro, the local lovable barber and jack-of-all-trades, helps Count Almaviva win the heart of beautiful Rosina.  Despite a few laughable mishaps Figaro is able to distract Rosina’s elderly suitor by masquerading the Count in numerous comical disguises.

This hilarious opera will feature the intoxicating Sandra Piques Eddy whose debut with the Lyric Opera last season as the title character in Carmen was met with wide-spread critical acclaim.  Of her debut performance with the Company Paul Horsley of The Independent raved she had “a captivating, vocally exceptional performance,” and hailed, “Eddy’s voice was as riveting as her stunning beauty.”

Joshua Hopkins will make his Lyric Opera debut as Figaro.  Mr. Hopkins was lauded for the role when he sang with Arizona Opera, “He was an authoritative barber who sang with robust sounds and had both vocal and stage tricks up his sleeve,” Opera Today.

Ticket Information
Season ticket holders for the 2011-2012 season receive a substantial discount – four operas for the price of three.  Subscribers to the 2011-2012 season will receive subscription renewal information beginning the week of January 31, 2011. New Subscriptions will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 21, 2011.  Single tickets will go on sale to the general public on August 22, 2011.

Season ticket prices range from $135 to $450. For ticket information, contact Lyric Opera Patron Services at (816) 471-7344, toll free at 1-877-OPERAKC (673-7252), or visit Lyric Opera Patron Services at the Lyric Theatre, 11th and Central Streets in downtown Kansas City.

About Lyric Opera of Kansas City
The Lyric Opera of Kansas City was founded in 1958; it is one of the nations’ premier regional opera companies and brings high quality live operatic performances to the people of the Kansas City area and a five-state region. Repertoire choices encompass original language performances of standard repertory as well as contemporary and American operas. The Company seeks to mount productions that enrich the community it serves, as well as reflect the highest artistic standards of the profession.  The Lyric Opera offers innovative and award-winning programs designed to further music and arts education both in schools and in the community and serves over 18,000 students and educators each year.

Building for the Future
On November 4, 2010 the Lyric Opera of Kansas City announced a capital campaign for the renovation of property on 18th and Charlotte in the Kansas City Crossroads Arts District for its new Opera Center.

The Opera Center complex will consist of two buildings: a Production Arts building and an Administrative building with set rental inventory storage. The Production Arts building will include a rehearsal space that will match the footprint of the stage of the Muriel Kauffman Theatre at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The Production Arts building also will house a full wig, costume and set construction shop and facilities for educational and community outreach programs. Such an integrated and dedicated production facility does not exist in Kansas City; the Company envisions the Production Arts building becoming a resource for other local performing arts companies.

The second building on the property will be adjacent to the Production Arts building. It will provide the Company with set rental inventory storage, parking lots and outside green spaces for the Opera Center, and house the administrative staff.

In the summer of 2011, the production and administrative offices of the Lyric Opera will be moving from its home of 40 years at the Lyric Theatre to a temporary home in downtown Kansas City at 1616 Broadway. The production and administrative offices will move to the headquarters on 18th Street when construction is completed in 2012.