Michigan Opera Theatre Announces 2018-19 Opera Season, Celebrating Great Literature!

Book-lovers rejoice, Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2018-19 opera season is catered just for you!

MOT’s new opera season celebrates masterworks of literature turned opera with Alexander Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin,” Voltaire’s “Candide” and John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” It also gives a nod to children’s literature with a lavish production of the Grimm’s fairytale “Hansel and Gretel” featuring larger-than-life puppetry.

The season also includes a staple of the opera repertoire with “The Barber of Seville,” the return of perennial favorite “Too Hot to Handel” and opens with a gala concert featuring opera superstar Renée Fleming!

See full opera line-up below and stay tuned in the coming weeks for news about our upcoming dance season!




“Eugene Onegin,” Oct. 13-21, 2018 
Performed in Russian with English supertitles

Compared with “Pride and Prejudice,” “Eugene Onegin” is a story of love and loss among oppressive social conventions. Known for its rich orchestration and beautiful melodies, “Onegin” is one of Tchaikovsky’s most beloved operas and is the epitome of Russian Lyric Opera.

Production Highlights:
• Based on classic Russian novel by Alexander Pushkin.
• Conducted by MOT Principal Conductor Stephen Lord, with stage direction by Tomer Zvulun.
• Baritone Iurii Samoilov performs title role; Soprano Corinne Winters performs Tatiana.
• A new co-production with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Atlanta Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre and Seattle Opera.

“The Barber of Seville,” Nov. 10-18, 2018 
Performed in Italian with English supertitles

“Figaro, Figaro!” The Rossini classic features one of the most well-known pieces of music in history. As the prequel to “The Marriage of Figaro,” “The Barber of Seville” is the story of how Count Almaviva wins the hand of his beloved Rosina, with the help of his clever barber, Figaro. Full of laughter and beautiful music, see why “The Barber of Seville” has delighted audiences for more than two centuries.

Production Highlights:
• Conductorial debut by Anne Manson, directorial debut by Christopher Mattaliano.
• Baritone Lucas Meachem performs Figaro; tenor Alek Shrader performs Count Almaviva; soprano Daniela Mack performs Rosina.

“Candide,” March 9-17, 2019 
Performed in English with English supertitles

In honor of his centenary, Michigan Opera Theatre presents Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” based on the classic Voltaire novella. The coming-of-age story follows one young man’s journey to find happiness throughout two continents worth of mishaps, tragedy and over-the-top disasters. The comic operetta will delight opera and musical theater fans alike!

Production Highlights:
• Based on Voltaire’s French satire.
• Features performers from the Michigan Opera Theatre Studio resident artist program.
• The fifth opera of MOT’s annual community initiative bringing opera directly to Southeastern Michigan audiences through partnerships with community organizations.
• Performed at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts, Macomb, (March 9) and The Berman Center for the Performing Arts, West Bloomfield (March 16-17).

“Hansel and Gretel,” April 6-14, 2019 
Performed in German with English supertitles

Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel” is the classic fairytale like you’ve never seen it before! With puppetry by award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist, audiences enjoy a lavish production featuring flying angels, dancing gingerbread and a larger-than-life witch. This magical show is perfect for adults and children alike!

Production Highlights:
• Based on the classic Grimm’s fairytale.
• Conducted by MOT Principal Conductor Stephen Lord; directed by award-winning puppeteer Basil Twist.
• Hansel performed by mezzo-soprano Emily Fons; Gretel performed by soprano Deanna Breiwick; witch performed by tenor Matthew DiBattista.
• Features lavish production of puppets and special effects.

“The Grapes of Wrath,” May 11-19, 2019
Performed in English with English supertitles

Following a successful production of “27”, Michigan Opera Theatre is excited to present another work by composer Ricky Ian Gordon, “The Grapes of Wrath” (libretto by Michael Korie). The heart-wrenching opera, based on the classic novel by John Steinbeck, tells the story of the Joad family on their quest for survival during the 1930s Dust Bowl. Featuring folksy, jazz-inspired music, “The Grapes of Wrath” has been called “the great American opera.”

Production Highlights:
• Based on classic American novel by John Steinbeck.
• Conductorial debut by Michael Christie, directed by James Robinson.
• Featuring mezzo-soprano Katharine Goeldner as Ma Joad, baritone Tobias Greenhalgh as Tom Joad, soprano Deanna Breiwick as Rosasharn, and mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel as Granma.
• A new co-production with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.


An Evening with Renée Fleming, Sept. 29, 2018

One of the most beloved and celebrated singers of our time, soprano Renée Fleming captivates audiences with her sumptuous voice, consummate artistry, and compelling stage presence. At a White House ceremony in 2013, President Obama awarded her the National Medal of Arts, America’s highest honor for an individual artist. Winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, she brought her voice to a vast new audience in 2014, as the first classical artist ever to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl. The performance features the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, conducted by MOT Principal Conductor Stephen Lord.

Too Hot to Handel, Dec. 1, 2018

A holiday tradition too hot to miss! Under the baton of Suzanne Mallare Acton, this soul-stirring, toe-tapping rendition of Handel’s “Messiah” never fails to bring audiences to their feet. It’s an exhilarating fusion of gospel, jazz and classical music performed by the Rackham Choir, the Too Hot Orchestra and an all-star cast of soloists. This is a celebration unlike any other. The performance features tenor Rodrick Dixon, soprano Alfreda Burke, alto Karen Marie Richardson and pianist Alvin Waddles.

“The Secret World of Og,” March 23, 2019

The Canadian children’s classic comes to life in the opera version of the Pierre Berton novel. Performed by the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus, Dean Burry’s opera tells the story of a group of siblings who journey into an underground world of mushrooms in search of their baby brother. The story is a fantasy adventure the whole family can enjoy!