Michigan Opera Theatre is excited to announce its 2019-20 season, featuring long-absent works, company premieres and the return of American Ballet Theatre and the Joffrey Ballet! The season opens Oct. 12 with a gala concert featuring acclaimed American tenor Michael Fabiano and principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre.
The opera line-up includes dark comedies Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Puccini’s only comedy Gianni Schicchi. It also includes Leoncavallo’s classic tragedy Pagliacci and the MOT premiere of Champion, an “opera in jazz” about the life of boxer Emile Griffith, composed by jazz musician Terence Blanchard and starring Denyce Graves!
The dance series features the return of American Ballet Theatre with Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Dance Theatre of Harlem. It also includes contemporary programs with Joffrey Ballet and French company Malandain Ballet Biarritz.
See full details below!
Don Giovanni (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Oct. 19-27, 2019
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
Mozart’s classic dark comedy follows the notorious philanderer as he faces the consequences of messing with the wrong people. The bad guy meets his due in this satisfying tale of revenge.
• Cast: Dan Okulitch (Don Giovanni), Ellie Dehn (Donna Anna), Nicole Cabell (Donna Elvira)
• Conductor: Christopher Allen
Sweeney Todd (Stephen Sondheim), Nov. 16-24, 2019
Performed in English
Everyone’s favorite diabolical barber comes to the Detroit Opera House, serving up Mrs. Lovett’s questionable pies and a large helping of satire. Sweeney Todd follows the title character’s thrilling journey into insanity in the name of vengeance, challenging audiences not to cringe. Featuring “Johanna,” “Not While I’m Around” and “The Worst Pies in London,” "Sweeney Todd" is Steven Sondheim at his best.
• Cast: Featuring Michigan native and Tony Award-winner Karen Ziemba as Mrs. Lovett and Stephen Powell as Sweeney Todd
• Director: Ron Daniels
• Includes Sondheim hits “Johanna,” “Not While I’m Around” and “The Worst Pies in London”
Gianni Schicchi (Giacomo Puccini), Feb. 29 - Mar. 1, 2020
Performed in Italian with English Supertitles
Wealthy Florentine Buoso Donati has just died but all his greedy relatives can think about is their neglect in his will. The tables turn with the help of the mischievous Gianni Schicchi but not in the way that they expect. Considered one of the funniest operas of all time, "Gianni Schicchi" is a dark farce based on a real story included in Dante’s Inferno. The opera includes some of Puccini’s best music, including the famous aria "O mio babbino caro.”
• Performed by Michigan Opera Theatre Studio Artists
• Presented at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts
• Features “O mio babbino caro” aria
Champion (Terence Blanchard), March 28-April 5, 2020
Performed in English
Terence Blanchard’s “opera in jazz” makes its Detroit Opera House debut March 26. Based on the real story of prized fighter Emile Griffith, "Champion" is a reflection on the boxer’s life as he struggles with regret, prejudice and the fluidity of sexual and societal morality. Featuring opera star Denyce Graves, "Champion" is a self-reflective work not to be missed.
• Featuring Denyce Graves as Emelda Griffith and Arthur Woodley Emile Griffith
• “Opera in jazz” composed by jazz musician Terence Blanchard
• Conductor: Kazem Abdullah
• Director: James Robinson
Pagliacci (Ruggero Leoncavallo), May 9-17, 2020
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
Leoncavallo's “Pagliacci” closes the season with the tragic tale of the tears of a clown. The audience favorite tells of a clown who becomes embroiled in a fatal love triangle. The first opera ever to be recorded in its entirety, “Pagliacci,” with its famous “Vesti la giubba” aria, was the first opera to sell a million copies.
• Featuring Diego Torre as Canio, Mark Delavan as Tonio and Marina Costa-Jackson as Nedda
• Director: Elaine Tyler-Hall
• Features “Vesti la giubba” aria
Joffrey Ballet’s “Beyond the Shore,” Nov. 2-3, 2019
Chicago’s renowned Joffrey Ballet company performs an exciting program featuring dynamic young choreographers from Europe. Works include Liam Scarlett's sensual "Vespertine,” Alexander Ekman’s uplifting “Joy” and Nicolas Blanc’s “Beyond the Shore,” which will take audiences through five mesmerizing worlds set to an orchestral and electronic soundscape by Mason Bates.
BalletMet’s “The Nutcracker,” Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2019
BalletMet returns for its eighth visit to the Detroit Opera House with its beloved traditional production of "The Nutcracker." The ballet follows young Clara and her Nutcracker Prince through a magical journey in the Land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The event features live accompaniment from the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra as well as complimentary children’s activities before the performance at during intermission.
Malandain Ballet Biarritz, Feb. 15, 2020
French contemporary dance company Malandain Ballet Biarritz makes its Detroit Opera House debut February 15. Known for their celebration of sensuality and humanity, the repertory program is a perfect date for Valentine’s weekend, performing emotive works from classic composers including Vivaldi, Chopin and Ravel.
Dance Theatre of Harlem, March 14-15, 2020
Celebrating its golden anniversary, Dance Theatre of Harlem returns to the Detroit Opera House with a program showcasing 50 years of their commitment to access, opportunity and excellence. Using the language of ballet they celebrate African-American culture and bring new life to the art form. Audiences have come to love their thrilling performances that empower and inspire.
American Ballet Theatre’s “Swan Lake,” April 16-19, 2020
A co-presentation with University Musical Society
American Ballet Theatre returns with the ultimate storybook ballet, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The ballet features America’s biggest ballet stars portraying the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette and their attempt to break the spell that turns her into a swan each morning. With its iconic “Dance of the Little Swans” and its famous 32 fouetté turns, "Swan Lake" is a must-see ballet experience.
Season Opening Gala with Michael Fabiano, Oct. 12, 2019
Michigan Opera Theatre opens its 2019-20 season with opera’s hottest young tenor, Michael Fabiano. Called “one of the most exciting, sought-after singers in the world” by the New York Times, Fabiano has graced the stages of the world’s leading operas houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera and La Scala. Accompanied by the MOT Orchestra, he is joined by renowned soprano Leah Crocetto for an evening of opera and musical theater’s greatest works. The evening will also include a special ballet section featuring principal dancers from American Ballet Theatre.
Too Hot To Handel, Dec. 14, 2019
Featuring renowned soloists Roderick Dixon, Alfreda Burke and Karen Marie Richardson and an all-star ensemble of Detroit jazz legends Marion Hayden, Alvin Waddles, and Dave Taylor.
An annual Detroit holiday tradition! 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 Symphony Choir, the Too Hot Orchestra and an all-star cast of soloists. This is a celebration unlike any other.
“The Very Last Green Thing"(Cary John Franklin) April 25, 2020
The Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus presents the futuristic story of Cary John Franklin’s “The Very Last Green Thing.” The year is 2413 where students are taught and raised by an android with rare opportunities to go “outside.” After encountering a time capsule from the early 21st century, the children find a withered plant and the secrets unlocked from the planet’s past.
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