Seattle Opera announces its 2018-19 season. The most anticipated production is “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” co-commissioned by The Seattle Opera. It had its world premiere at Santa Fe Opera last year, where it was the company’s best-selling new production.
At the recent “topping off” ceremony for the new home of The Seattle Opera’s administrative and production spaces, General Director Aidan Lang had just gotten his voice back after being silenced by a cold.
Marketing director Kristina Murti urged him to save his voice for his formal remarks, but Lang couldn’t help himself; he was excitedly chatting away.
It’s much that way with the opera’s 2018-2019 season — you can hear Lang’s voice behind every choice, including a new, groundbreaking production about tech giant Steve Jobs; two European classics; and two 20th-century masterpieces.
There is, as they say, something for everyone.
But there is also a clear effort by Lang to harness the energy and interest that boosted the company’s new subscriber count by 30 percent over last year. (Millennials and Gen-Xers make up 40 percent of the audience).
“There was a conscious idea to program in order to get people through our doors,” Lang said.
The most anticipated production of the season is “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” which was co-commissioned by The Seattle Opera and had its world premiere in Santa Fe last year. The 90-minute opera (“It moves at a great lick,” Lang said) was hailed as the best-selling new production in Santa Fe Opera’s history.
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell, the opera will feature the DJ and composer Mason Bates, who works in clubs under the name DJ Masonic and has made a name integrating classical music and electronica in collaborations with clubs and orchestras around the country.
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“That’s the big new thing,” said Lang, who attended the world premiere last year. “We’re answering a thirst for new work. It’s a fantastic evening.” “Jobs” opens in February 2019.
Production designer Vita Tzykun art-directed Lady Gaga’s Thanksgiving special and has had solo exhibits at the National Opera America Center in New York.
The season opens Aug. 11 with the lush, celebrated American classic, “The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess,” which comes to Seattle from The Glimmerglass Festval in Cooperstown, N.Y. and under the direction of Francesca Zambello.
Maestro John DeMain, whose “Porgy and Bess” recording won a Grammy, will conduct the opera in Seattle for the fourth time. And Paul Tazewell, who has designed costumes for “Hamilton” and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” will design for this cast.
Former beauty queen and Metropolitan Opera up-and-comer Angel Blue will play the role of Bess. And look for Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” co-star Michael “Wanz” Wansley in the chorus.
Other mainstage productions:
“The Turn of the Screw” by Benjamin Britten, opening Oct. 13: Described by Lang as “quite beautiful and very disturbing,” this production tells the haunting story of a governess who struggles with two ghosts over the souls of the children in her care. Director Peter Kazaras is back after helming “American Dream” in 2015 and 2017; and Constantin Trinks is at the podium.
“Il trovatore,” by Giuseppe Verdi, opening Jan. 12: Described as “the ultimate bel canto opera,” an old gypsy’s curse destroys two long-lost brothers competing for the same damsel in distress. This new production is co-produced with Aalto Msiktheater Essen and features tenor Issachah Savage, the winner of the Seattle Opera’s 2014 Wagner Competition.
“Carmen,” by Georges Bizet, opening May 4: Opera’s favorite femme fatale — the production was first performed in Paris in 1875 — comes to Seattle from co-producer Opera Philadelphia. Director Paul Curran makes his company debut and Giacomo Sagripanti conducts.
The company is building upon the expansion of its 2017 school programs, which went from 65 schools in 2015/2016 to 81 schools in 2016/2017 — an increase of 25 percent.
Between January and June, The Seattle Opera will tour in the schools “The Three Feathers,” a new production and an adaptation of a Grimms’ fairy tale.
And this winter, the company’s 82-member Youth Opera Project will produce a new version of “Robin Hood” by librettist Kelley Rourke and composer Ben Moore. The piece — a partnership with Seattle Public Theater — is not only re-imagined for a chamber orchestra, but the company has cast one male and one female Robin Hood. The opera is intended for audiences of all ages and while tickets are $5, no one will be turned away for an inability to pay.
Five-opera renewal and new subscription tickets range from $199 to $4,135. Young professionals ages 21-39 who join BRAVO! and students under 18 save 50 percent on tickets. Info: 206-389-7676 or seattleopera.org.