The Asheville Lyric Opera (ALO) breaks new ground with a rare double bill of two one-act operas at 8pm on Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Diana Wortham Theater in Asheville, North Carolina. The evening begins with a performance of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, a tragedy about a traveling band of performers; and is followed by Puccini’s Suor Angelica, a story of an exiled princess turned nun who finds redemption through tragic circumstances. Both operas feature the incredible talent of nationally acclaimed soprano Jennifer Davison who played Cho-Cho San in the title role of ALO’s 2011 production of Madame Butterfly.
In I Pagliacci, Ms. Davison plays Nedda, the unfaithful wife of Canio, the hot-tempered leader of their traveling acting troupe. Nedda, who appears to be the fixation of many men, plans to run away with her lover. Her husband, goaded by the treacherous Tonio, plot to catch the lovers in the act. Ms. Davison then transforms into the title role of Puccini’s Suor Angelica. We’re introduced to Angelica several years after she has taken her solemn vows. It’s unclear as to how she ended up at the cloistered convent, but what is clear is that she has a heavy heart and dark secrets in her past.
Suor Angelica features not only Jennifer Davison, but also nationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Barbara LeMay (Principessa). Joining Ms. Davison and Ms. LeMay are an incredible cast of local professional and up-and-coming artists including two Asheville favorites, Karen Svites (Sister Genevieve) and Heather Ferguson (The Monitor).
I Pagliacci cast features ALO favorites tenor Brian Cheney (Canio) and baritone Mark Owen Davis (Tonio), both last seen in ALO’s Madame Butterfly; as well as baritone Jon Truitt (Silvio), and tenor Wayne Hobbs (Beppe), recently seen in Carousel as Enoch Snow.
The artistic staff for both operas features returning director Jon Truitt and Asheville Symphony conductor Daniel Meyer. Truitt directed and performed in last April’s production of La Traviatta. Truitt is the artistic director of ALO’s Summer Artist Training Program. Julie K. Ross returns as scenic designer alongside Hair & Makeup Designer Patricia Zinke and Costume Coordinator Jayne Harnett-Hargrove.
Performances begin at 8pm on both Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5, 2013 at the Diana Wortham Theater in Asheville, NC. Both operas will be performed in original Italian with English supertitles provided throughout. Tickets are available at the theatre box office: 828-257-4530. Student tickets to the October 2, 2013 Preview Dress Rehearsal at 7pm are available through the opera office. Call the Asheville Lyric Opera at 828-236-0670 to make preview dress rehearsal reservations. For more information, visit www.ashevillelyric.org.