Arizona Opera Press Release
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Arizona Opera Collaborates with Phoenix Symphony and Ballet Arizona with production of La Gioconda

DECEMBER 19, 1997

The production of La Gioconda marks the first collaborative effort between three major Arizona performing arts organizations. Arizona Opera's January opera will feature the talents of outstanding world class operatic stars, the excellent musicianship of The Phoenix Symphony, and showcase the accomplished Ballet Arizona dancers.

The Story

Sung in Italian with English surtitles. During the seventeenth century, life could be difficult. But in Venice at the height of the Inquisition, life could be downright dangerous. Through the watery streets, slips the evil spy Barnaba, who watches and observes everything including the beautiful Gioconda. Through the love and sacrifice of this woman, the reunited lovers, Laura and Enzo, escape the bonds of the city, Laura's husband and the manipulations of Barnaba.

Tucson:
January 16 & 17, 1998 at 7:30 PM;
January 18, 1998 at 2:00 PM

Phoenix:
January 22, 23 & 24, 1998 at 7:30 PM;
January 25, 1998 at 2:00 PM

The Sponsors

La Gioconda is made possible through a generous grant from the Flinn Foundation and is co-sponsored by the Arizona Community Foundation and American Express. Surtitles are made possible through the generous contribution of Angela and Leonard Singer.

Biographies

La Gioconda

Pamela Kucenic (January 16, 18, 23, 25) Pamela Kucenic most recently appeared with Arizona Opera as Leonora in Il Trovatore. Last season included debuts in both Hong Kong and with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra as Turandot and at the Hawaii Opera as Aida. She returned to the Baltimore Opera as Tosca and to the Palm Beach Opera where she reprised the role of Turandot. Ms. Kucenic was also invited to Madrid, Spain to record the Immolation Scene from Götterdämmerung and Strauss' Four Last Songs with Maestro Sergiu Commissiona.
Janine Bogardus (January 17, 22, 24) American dramatic soprano Janine Bogardus has been performing internationally to great acclaim in such roles as Aida, Tosca, Santuzza, Elizabeth, Venus, Turandot and the three Leonoras. She is much sought after for her brilliant portrayal of Abigaille in Nabucco, known to be one of the most demanding and treacherous of all the Verdi roles. She has performed with the opera houses of the Städtische Bühnen Munster, Stadttheater Bremerhaven, Stadtebundt Theater HOF; Kaiserslautern Stadttheater and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Her North American credits include West End Opera, Ontario, Redlands Bowl, Seattle Opera and New York Grand Opera.

Laura
Ann Plagianos (January 16, 18, 23, 25) Mezzo-soprano Ann Plagianos has debuted with Monserrat Caballe, Juan Pons, and Jose Carreras in the title role of the Teatro Dell'Opera production of Massenet's opera Herodiade in Rome, Italy. A graduate of Brooklyn College's School of Performing Arts, Ms. Plagianos has toured with New York City Opera in their production of Carmen. Gifted with both vocal beauty and versatility, Ms. Plagianos has performed throughout the United States and Europe in the roles that include Amneris in Aida, Laura in La Gioconda, Eboli in Don Carlo, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Frugola in Il Tabarro, Adalgisa in Norma, Maddalena in Rigoletto, and Suzuki in Madama Butterfly.

Korby Myrick (January 17, 22, 24)
After appearing in Arizona Opera's 1996-97 as The Third Lady in The Magic Flute and as Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Korby Myrick returns for the 1997-98 Season for the productions of Roméo et Juliette, Otello and La Gioconda. Ms. Myrick performed with Arizona Opera in the 1996 production of Das Rheingold as Flosshilde. This past summer, she returned to the Spoleto Festival in Italy, where she received rave reviews, to sing the role of Meg Page (Falstaff). Her European engagements included the Teatro Massimo Bellini, Italy in The Magic Flute, and Clarion in Strauss' Capriccio, and at L'Opera di Nice as Cherubino and several roles with the Spoleto Festival in Italy.

Enzo
Robin Reed (January 16, 18, 23, 25)
American spinto tenor Robin Reed began his 1996 season by performing Don Alvaro with the Sarasota Opera, appearing in both the standard as well as the original St. Petersburg version of Verdi's La Forza del Destino. During 1997, he returned to the Virginia Opera to perform Canio in I Pagliacci in addition to preparing the title role of Wagner's Tannhäuser and Walter in Die Meistersinger for future seasons. Mr. Reed's European successes include Florestan (Fidelio), Otello (Otello), Erik (Der Fliegende Hollander), Don Jose (Carmen), and Calaf (Turandot).

Gary Bachlund (January 17, 22, 24)
Since a Carnegie Hall debut in 1986, Gary Bachlund has appeared with leading opera companies throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, Opera de Paris (Bastille), Frankfurt Opera and Scottish National Opera. His extensive operatic roles include the title roles in Tannhäuser, Parsifal, Siegmund in Die Walküre, Loge and Froh in Das Rheingold, Erik in Der Fliegende Holländer, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos and Don Jose in Carmen.

Barnaba
Theodore Lambrinos (January 16, 18, 23, 25) Theodore Lambrinos, leading American baritone, has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and other companies throughout the United States and internationally. His repertoire of fifty major operatic roles includes Macbeth, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, Scarpia in Tosca, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, Tonio in Pagliacci, Iago in Otello, and the four villains in The Tales of Hoffman. Mr. Lambrinos' last performance with Arizona Opera occurred during the 1996-97 season in La Traviata where his portrayal of Germont was met with praise and enthusiasm.

Adib Fazah (January 17, 22, 24) The distinguished Lebanese-American baritone, Adib Fazah returns to Arizona Opera following his appearance as Iago in the November production of Otello. He has emerged as one of America's finest singing-actors and has received particular critical acclaimed for his portrayals of Rigoletto, Macbeth, Il Conte di Luna, Germont, Iago and Scarpia. He has also had outstanding success with the treacherously difficult title role in Wozzeck. Mr. Fazah was the leading baritone of the New York City Opera from 1973 to 1989. In addition to his appearances with the NYCO, Mr. Fazah has appeared and continues to appear with virtually every opera company in the United States. Internationally, he has sung with opera houses in Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, and South and Central America.

La Cieca
Mezzo-soprano Roberta Wain-Becker's first professional engagement was with the Israel National Opera Company where she appeared in Carmen, Rigoletto, Tales of Hoffman, Madama Butterfly, and many more. She subsequently performed with San Francisco Opera, Portland Opera, Mississippi Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and Oakland Opera. Arizona Opera's production of La Gioconda marks her Arizona debut.

Appearing as Alvise is Stefan Szkafarowsky. Benjamin Sorenson will appear as Zuane and Reynaldo Romo will sing the role of Isepo. Conducting The Phoenix Symphony is Arizona Opera's Maestro Byron Dean Ryan with stage direction by James Lucas.

Theaters:

Tucson:
Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, 260 S. Church

Phoenix:
Symphony Hall, Civic Plaza, 225 E. Adams

Arizona Opera Offices:

Tucson:
3501 N. Mountain Avenue,
Tucson AZ 85719;
(520) 293-4336
Fax 293-5097

Phoenix:
4600 N. 12th Street,
Phoenix AZ 85014;
(602) 266-SING (7464)
Fax 266-5806

La Gioconda Tickets

Call Arizona Opera (520) 293-4336 in Tucson or (602) 266-SING (7464) in Phoenix.

Tucson:
Ticket prices for the Opening Night/Sunday Matinee: $53, $40, $26, $14. Saturday:$56, $42, $28, $15

Phoenix:
Ticket prices for Opening Night/Sunday Matinee: $53, $40, $26, $14. Saturday/Friday: $56, $42, $28, $15

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