The Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix announced today that it will welcome three performing arts groups to its stages — Arizona Opera; Childsplay, the award-winning theater for group for younger audiences; and Arizona Broadway Theatre, which will be bringing three productions a year from its Peoria dinner theater.
Video from today’s announcement:
Video by Jesse A. Millard
Meanwhile, Arizona Opera announced that it is entering a meaningful new chapter of artistic vibrancy and community engagement that will excite both longtime opera lovers and newcomers alike.
Beginning in the 2018/19 Season, Arizona Opera is expanding its programming to curate a more inclusive opera season – one that continues to deliver stunning productions of classic operas supported by world-class singers, while further diversifying its product lineup with new works that are adventurous, theatrical, and inspire curiosity among audiences new to the art form. It is another significant step forward in the company’s mission to be the most exciting opera company for the state of Arizona, celebrating all aspects of the art form today.
The new season model will continue to present five operas each year, but will now bring audiences two distinct operatic experiences that will add energy and dimension to the company’s artistic offerings: a two-opera fall series tailored to a more intimate, powerful, theatrical experience; and a three-opera main stage series in the winter and spring focused on beloved traditional works and large format modern masterpieces.
“With this program expansion, we are increasing our commitment to presenting an adventurous, gutsy, and compelling repertoire of diverse works to inspire new audiences, while continuing to meaningfully invest in the cherished traditional operas known and loved by so many,” said Joseph Specter, President and General Director of Arizona Opera.
The new fall series, entitled Arizona Opera RED, will be presented in more intimate venues – the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix, and The Temple of Music and Art in Tucson – giving audiences an opportunity to experience the art form in an incredibly visceral way, and telling stories that will resonate with the vibrancy of the year-round community that Arizona Opera serves. “Many of these newer works have a theatrical aspect which renders them most effective in venues more intimate than the grand opera house, and which make possible a greater variety of artistic experience for opera patrons, whether longtime fans or those new to the art form,” continued Specter. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to perform at the Herberger Theater Center and The Temple of Music and Art, and to create an impact beyond the traditional boundaries of opera.”
The first season of Arizona Opera RED will feature two works that explore a range of musical and thematic languages: Astor Piazzolla’s tango opera, Maria de Buenos Aires, which will open the season in September-October 2018; and Daniel Schnyder’s jazz opera, Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, to be presented in November 2018.
The winter/spring Main Stage Series will feature two big and beloved works from the classic repertoire, along with one Modern Masterwork each year. These productions will be presented in Arizona Opera’s traditional venues – Phoenix Symphony Hall and Tucson Music Hall. “For audiences that embrace the experience of grand opera in a big hall, this series will continue to deliver that experience” said Specter.
The 2018/19 Arizona Opera Main Stage Series will open with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata in January-February 2019; Kevin Puts and Mark Campbell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night in March 2019, which will be the inaugural offering of the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series; and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in April 2019.
Arizona Opera has benefited from visionary support from both local and national organizations endorsing this change, including OPERA America, the national service organization for opera. “Arizona Opera’s new business plan is very exciting,” says Marc Scorca, President/CEO of OPERA America. “Increasing the production of new works, performing in different venues, and building programs to engage new and more diverse audiences are strategies that are embraced by leading opera companies across the country. Arizona Opera is to be commended for designing a plan that promises artistic success and institutional stability.”
Arizona Opera continually strives to be an ever-growing, dynamic part of the arts community in the state of Arizona. “We are working to help connect our community more fully to a broader artistic conversation that is happening nationally and internationally, through this powerful art form,” says John Johnson, Arizona Opera Board Chair. “This new chapter for Arizona Opera is meant to send a strong signal to the communities we serve – and to the broader US arts community – that Arizona is a home for great opera, and fortifies Arizona Opera’s long-term commitment to providing the state and its residents with access to one of the world’s most powerful art forms, in the most compelling way possible.”