Opera in the Ozarks announces 2017 summer schedule

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Opera in the Ozarks will have a female focus for its 2017 summer season.

The nationally acclaimed summer music festival and training program for the nation’s top emerging opera professionals will kick off its summer season in June with nearly two dozen performances of three of the world’s finest operas featuring strong and independent women, each navigating the complexities that accompanied power during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.

The 2017 season’s repertoire features W.A. Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah” and George Bizet’s “Carmen.” The operas contemplate the uses and abuses of power, each under unique circumstances.

Opera in the Ozarks general director Nancy Preis explains that “The Marriage of Figaro” features Count Almaviva trying to exercise his feudal right to sleep with his servant, Susanna.

“He gets outsmarted by the servant,” Preis said, “but not before he has emotionally abused his loving wife.”

In “Carmen,” the titular character uses her power over Don Jose to further her own wants, she said.

“Ultimately, her use of him ends in his death,” Preis said. “And in ’Susannah,’ the townspeople use their communal power, fueled by narrow-minded religious fervor, to try to control the free-spirited girl who wants to see the world. The other abuser of power here is truly the Rev. Olin Blitch, who assaults Susannah and then thinks she should forgive him.”

The season begins on Friday, June 23, and runs through Friday, July 21. There will be 22 fully staged and costumed performances — 19 at Opera in the Ozarks’ own mountainside venue at Inspiration Point and three at Bentonville’s Arend Arts Center.

More than 70 singers and musicians from across the country will take the stage during this 67th season of Opera in the Ozarks, performing under the baton of artistic director Thomas Cockrell. Audiences can look forward to vivid productions that spotlight the exceptional voices of tomorrow’s opera stars, accompanied by an orchestra of gifted professional musicians.

“Our 2017 company is made up of talented and exciting young vocalists from America’s top music schools and those launching careers in opera,” Cockrell says. “Following their summer at Inspiration Point, company members move into young artist programs and the profession, on the path to careers on the opera stages of the nation and the world. Many an opera-loving audience can say they’ve ‘seen them first’ here on the stage at Inspiration Point.”

This season also includes special opera performances and outreach events taking place across Northwest Arkansas.

Opera in the Ozarks will present Art and Opera, an afternoon of music and art, at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 11, at Crystal Bridges Museum of America Art in Bentonville. Admission to Crystal Bridges is free.

An Opera Sampler performance with selections from all three of the season’s main stage operas will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 3, at Inspiration Point. A lively Opera Scenes performance will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, at Inspiration Point.

The annual Chamber Music concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 17, at the Eureka Springs Auditorium. A Taste of Opera, an evening of delectable food, wine and opera entertainment, will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, at the 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs.

Opera in the Ozarks will additionally present a series of free or low-cost public outreach productions of “Jack and the Beanstalk” for children and families at locations across Northwest Arkansas. These special productions will be performed on Tuesday, June 6, at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville; Wednesday, June 7, at local libraries in Fayetteville; Tuesday, June 13, in Siloam Springs; Wednesday, June 14, in Berryville; Wednesday, June 28, in Eureka Springs; Thursday, July 6, in Springdale; Saturday, July 8, in Green Forest; Wednesday, July 12, in Rogers; and Thursday, July 13, in Bentonville. “Jack and the Beanstalk” also comes to the Eureka Springs Auditorium at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 1. It will be $10 for adults and free for children under 18. All other outreach performances are free.

Single tickets to main stage productions are $25 and $30 for adults and $10 for children and students with valid ID. Special discounted multi-ticket packages are also available so that patrons can enjoy each of the 2017 summer season’s main stage operas. For performances at Inspiration Point, three-ticket packages are $70 and $80, varying based on seating preference. For Arend Arts Center performances, patrons can purchase three-ticket packages for $60.

Tickets may be purchased online at Opera.org or by calling the Opera in the Ozarks box office at 479-253-8595. For more information or special packages, group rates and special events, visit Opera.org.

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