Annapolis Opera to open 4-event season with `Tosca'

Puccini: The opening production will be sung in Italian, with supertitles. Later events will include candlelight and dinner-time concerts.

September 16, 1999|By Mary Johnson | Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The Annapolis Opera is offering four events this year, hoping to attract opera devotees and neophytes.

A fully staged production of Puccini's "Tosca" in its original Italian will be presented Nov. 5 and Nov. 7 at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.

The addition of supertitles in time for "Tosca" is an exciting innovation for those of us who enjoy opera most in its original language but don't want to miss any of the libretto.

Artistic and music director J. Ronald Gretz has assembled an impressive cast of singers, including Allison Charney in the title role. In 1996, she captured the hearts of the Annapolis Opera audience in a stunning portrayal of "Madama Butterfly," her first performance of what has become her signature role.

The soprano is known for her vocal agility and lush sound. A national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition in 1993, Charney has sung leading roles in New York, Washington and other cities. Known for her dramatic interpretations of Puccini, Charney has sung "Tosca" in Connecticut and in Los Angeles.

Tenor Peter Riberi will be heard as Mario Cavaradossi. He has sung at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera in addition to major opera houses throughout the United States. He has sung the role of Cavaradossi with the Dayton Opera, Kentucky Opera and Opera Theater of Connecticut, and in New Jersey and Los Angeles.

The brilliant bass baritone Sun Yu will sing Baron Scarpia, a role he sang to critical acclaim in August at Washington's Opera International.

The new opera series again features "Mozart by Candlelight" at Charles Carroll House, an Annapolis Opera tradition that is always sold out. Afternoon and evening performances will be presented Dec. 12.

Another event that sold out last year, "Pasta, Puccini and Verdi," will be presented Feb. 25 and will include a three-course dinner served to favorite Puccini and Verdi arias. Gretz will direct and narrate the program. A second dinner concert of arias could be added if response warrants.

The opera subscription season will end with a concert conducted by Gretz with full orchestra March 25. Now making his final selection of singers, Gretz promises a cast of six to include a coloratura, spinto soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass, who will sing some of opera's most beloved arias, duets and ensembles.

He has in mind such favorites as "Mon Coeur S'Oeuvre a ta Voix" from Saint-Saens' "Samson and Dalila," "Depuis Le Jour" from Charpentier's "Louise" and Verdi's "Sextet from Lucia."

Until Sept. 30 the subscription series -- "Tosca," "Mozart by Candlelight," "Pasta, Puccini and Verdi" and "Opera Spring Concert" -- is available for $135. In addition, the Annapolis Opera Vocal Competition, a free event, will be held Feb. 6, and a free opera concert at Quiet Waters Park will be held in June. "Little Red Riding Hood," a children's opera, is planned for April.

For more information or to order tickets, call the Annapolis Opera office at 410-267-8135.

Pub Date: 9/16/99

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