By Barb Van Atta
For its 69th season, Tri-Cities Opera again will divide its performance time between Broome County’s performing arts center and the opera company’s own newly refurbished headquarters.
The season will open at The Forum, 236 Washington St., Binghamton, with a fully staged production of Puccini’s lyrical heartbreaker La Boheme. The 3 p.m. Oct. 15 performance will star Meroë Khalia Adeeb (Mimi), Jordan Schreiner (Rodolfo), Stacey Geyer (Musetta), Scottt Purcell (Marcello) and Schaunard (Jake Stamatis). All are debuting their role.
La Boheme will be sung in Italian with English surtitles. Vlad Iftinca will conduct.
The remaining two shows in the season – composer/librettist Tom Cipullo’s 2007 Glory Denied and Peter Brook’s 1983 The Tragedy of Carmen (a condensation and reimagining of the Bizet classic) – will be presented in the Opera Center’s Savoca Hibbitt Hall, 315 Clinton St., Binghamton.
For Glory Denied, Cipullo adapted Tom Philpott’s 2001 book of the same title, which tells the Vietnam-era true story of Col. Jim Thompson, known as “America’s longest-held prisoner of war” (1964-1973). Thompson returned to a country he didn’t understand and a home life that would never be the same.
The opera’s characters, to be portrayed by TCO resident artists Schreiner, Geyer, Purcell and Tascha Anderson, are young Jim; his wife, Alyce, and their older selves. At today’s announcement press conference (March 28), Geyer offered a sampling of the score: younger Alyce’s achingly beautiful letter to “My Darling Jim.”
Performances, conducted by Joshua Horsch, will be 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 and 17 and 3 p.m. Nov. 12 and 19. TCO General and Artistic Director Susan S. Ashbaker, who has been coordinating with veterans’ groups in the community, announced a special, free, by-invitation-only performance for veterans at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).
According to Opera News, stage director Peter Brook, writer Jean-Claude Carrière and composer Marius Constant, stunned the opera world in 1983 by “presenting, in an arena-like theater in Paris, a revision of Bizet’s Carmen that ran just 90 minutes. Its title, La Tragédie de Carmen, said it all. Brook eliminated many characters — and all choruses of soldiers, children and factory workers — in order to concentrate the action on the four main characters. All the major arias were maintained and dramatically rearranged for a chamber orchestra. The opera opened the year after in New York City and has been revived many times since then all over the operatic world.”
Two former TCO resident artists, Cynthia Clarey and Jake Gardner, were part of that 1984 New York cast.
TCO’s production, accompanied by piano or perhaps a small ensemble, will feature new resident artist Anderson as Carmen, Binghamton University master’s student Seokho “Patrick” Park as Don José, Purcell as Escamillo and Geyer as Micaela. Although the English translation of the title is on TCO’s poster, the opera will be sung in French with surtitles.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. April 27 and May 4, 2018, and 3 p.m. April 29 and May 6. A conductor has not yet been named.
Information about season subscriptions and other ticketing options will be available soon at www.tricitiesopera.com.