Otello

Giuseppe Verdi

Mar 3 & 5, 2023

A passionate retelling of the great tragedy of jealousy, deception, and murder, Verdi’s Otello delivers a thrilling response to Shakespeare’s play, from the violent storm that opens the opera, through to Iago’s blood-chilling “Credo,” and Otello’s increasingly desperate duets with Desdemona. Verdi’s score abounds with fiery ardor, penetrating the darkest reaches of the soul to illuminate the fear and fragility of the heart.

Sung in Italian, with projected English supertitles

Running time 2 hours 45 minutes, with one 20-minute intermission

The Music Center at Strathmore

Mar 3, 2023

Friday,
7:30 PM

The Music Center at Strathmore

Tickets on sale soon!
Tickets start at $60. With Student ID, $10.

Mar 5, 2023

Sunday,
2:00 PM

The Music Center at Strathmore

Tickets on sale soon!
Tickets start at $60. With Student ID, $10.

Meet the Artists

Gregory Kunde

Gregory Kunde

Tenor

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Regarded as one of the most accomplished singers on the international opera stage today, the American tenor Gregory Kunde appears regularly at the most prestigious opera houses around the world, working with conductors and orchestras of the highest calibre. Kunde’s achievements have been recognised with a number of awards, most recently ‘Male Singer of the Year’ at the 2016 International Opera Awards.

Highlights of the 2021/22 season include Manrico Il Trovatore for LA Opera, Title Role Otello at the Wiener Staatsoper, Canio Pagliacci at the Semperoper Dresden, Calaf Turandot for Hamburg State Opera and Énée Les Troyens and Title Role Otello for the Bayerische Staatsoper.

Recent highlights include the title role Otello at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Calaf Turandot and title role Otello at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Jean de Leyden Le prophète at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the title role Don Carlos for Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège, Samson Samson et Dalila at the Metropolitan Opera, title role Otello for Opéra national de Paris and Opéra de Monte-Carlo, title role Andrea Chénier and Radames Aida at the Wiener Staatsoper, Calaf Turandot at the Teatro Real, Madrid, Renato des Grieux Manon Lescaut in concert for Dallas Opera, Don Alvaro La forza del destino at the Semperoper Dresden, title role Peter Grimes at the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, Valencia, Radames Aida at the Teatro Real, Madrid, and a return to the podium to conduct Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro La Fenice.

On the concert platform, recent highlights include Title Role Ernani for the Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos, Verdi Requiem and Calaf Turandot with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Zubin Mehta, Das Lied von der Erde at the BBC Proms, Verdi Requiem in Bilbao, the title role Verdi Otello at the Cincinnati May Festival, title role Peter Grimes with Sir Antonio Pappano at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and Faust La damnation de Faust in concert at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Charles Dutoit.

Acclaimed throughout his earlier career for his performances in French and Italian bel canto roles, Kunde has now established himself as a leading exponent of many of the Verdi roles and other such dramatic repertoire. Since his critically acclaimed debut as Verdi Otello at La Fenice in 2012, he has performed this signature role in Valencia, Genoa, Salerno, Florence, Turin, Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Seoul, and São Paulo. Since moving into this repertoire, Kunde earned the unique distinction of being the only tenor in recorded history to perform both Rossini Otello and Verdi Otello in the same season (2014/15 and 2015/16).

Kunde’s discography includes his solo album Vincerò! (Universal Music Group), Verdi Il Trovatore at Royal Opera House London (Opus Arte DVD), Berlioz Les Troyens at the Théâtre du Châtelet (Opus Arte DVD, Gramophone magazine’s ‘DVD of the Year’), Benvenuto Cellini (Virgin Classics CD, Gramophone’s ‘Opera Recording of the Year’), Benvenuto Cellini with Sir Colin Davis (LSO Live CD), and Verdi Otello from the Palazzo Ducale in Venice (Unitel DVD).

Eleni Calenos

Eleni Calenos

Soprano

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Greek soprano Eleni Calenos is capturing admiration from critics and audiences for the clarity, warmth and beauty of her voice, and for her dignified characterizations. Of her performance as Tosca, Opera News said: "Eleni Calenos gave a performance for the ages, both vocally and dramatically", and The Wall Street Journal: "The real standout, however, was soprano Eleni Calenos' searing performance as Tosca — passionate, mercurial, heart-on-the-sleeve, with all the necessary vocal range, stamina and fire." In Madama Butterfly, the Houston Press said: "The phenomenon was the Cio-Cio San of Greek soprano Eleni Calenos, whose nuanced characterization was a true wonder to hear. She sailed through her dramatic arias as if buoyed by the stirring music."

This season, Ms. Calenos appeared as a soloist in The Seven Deaths of Maria Callas, a Marina Abramovic project with the Greek National Opera singing Tosca. She also created the role of Crise Bozzari in the world premiere of the opera Marco Bozzari with the Athens Philharmonia Orchestra. Upcoming performances include Beethoven's 9th Symphony with the Athens State Symphony under the baton of maestro Mihkel Kütson, the role of Liu in Turandot with the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the role of Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth with Opera Idaho.

In the 2019-2020, she made her debut with the Greek National Opera as Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus. She also appeared as Mimi in La Bohème with the Cleveland Opera Theater, as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Opera Santa Barbara, was a featured soloist for Opera Omaha's Opera Outdoors concert. Due to COVID-19 she was not able to resume her role of the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro with Shreveport Opera, as well as the 2020 fall tour in Glyndebourne as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly.

In recent seasons, Ms. Calenos appeared as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Eptapyrgion Festival in Thessaloniki, Greece, as Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Santa Barbara, and as Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with Shreveport Opera. She was the soprano soloist in the Maria Callas gala anniversary concert with the Thessaloniki State Symphony Orchestra of Greece, in her native city, and covered the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly at the Glyndebourne Festival. In the fall of 2017, she had her debut in Germany with the Wiesbaden Staatstheater as Saida in the world premiere of the opera Schönerland by Søren Nils Eichberg. Other recent appearances include Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role in Suor Angelica (Opera Delaware & Opera Company of Middlebury), Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly (Annapolis Opera & Ash Lawn Opera), Tosca (Opera Idaho & LOFT Opera), Mimi in La Bohème (Shreveport Opera & Palm Beach Opera), Desdemona in Otello (Phoenicia International Festival), Micaëla in Carmen (Palm Beach Opera), a New Year's Opera Gala at Athens' Megaron Concert Hall with the Athens State Symphony Orchestra of Greece, Mimi in La Bohème and an Opera in the Park concert (Madison Opera), the role of L'Infante in Le Cid (Odyssey Opera), and Liù in Turandot (Opera Company of Middlebury).

In past seasons, Ms. Calenos performed Silvia in Mascagni's Zanetto (Odyssey Opera), Antonia in Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Palm Beach Opera), Lia in Debussy's L' Enfant Prodigue (Metro Chamber Orchestra of NY), Liù in Turandot (Shreveport Opera & Boston Chorus Pro Musica), Micaëla in Carmen (Opera Idaho), Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro (Tulsa Opera & Austin Opera), Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly (Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Idaho, Shreveport Opera, Mississippi Opera, & Opera in the Heights), Nedda in I Pagliacci(Shreveport Opera), Gilda in Rigoletto (Sarasota Opera), Hanna Glawari in Die lustige Witwe (Zomeropera, Belgium), Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Valencienne in The Merry Widow (Utah Festival Opera), Mimi in La Bohème (Opera Idaho), Donna Anna in Don Giovanni (Shreveport Opera), Fiordiligi in Così Fan Tutte (Barbados Music Festival), Medora in Il Corsaro (Hellenic Music Foundation, NY), Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and the title role of Suor Angelica with Boston University's Opera Institute, as well as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Martina Arroyo Foundation. Of her performance, The New York Times said, "Eleni Calenos sang with a strong, clear soprano and was persuasive as a suffering yet haughty Donna Elvira."Equally consummate in the concert/recital repertoire, Ms. Calenos has performed Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Missa Solemnis (Queens College Choral Society, NY), Mahler's Symphony No. 2 (Queens College Choral Society), Verdi's Messa da Requiem (Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra, Queens College's Choral Society, Penn State University, Masterworks Chorale, Boston University Symphony at Boston Symphony Hall), Respighi's Lauda per la Natività del Signore and Vivaldi's Gloria (Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra), and Libby Larsen's cycle Try me, Good King (National Opera Center, NY). She was also the soprano soloist in The Bells by Rachmaninov, and in Ein Deutsches Requiem by Brahms (Lancaster Symphony Orchestra). In the summer of 2013, ms. Calenos appeared at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the soloist in J.Rutter's Magnificat. Her concert repertoire also includes Strauss' Vier letzte Lieder (Cambridge Symphony Orchestra), Poulenc's Gloria, Barber's Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Nielsen's Hymnus Amoris and the title role in Händel's oratorio Theodora (Hudson Valley Singers). Eleni participated in the Meyerbeer Retrospective concert with Mo Eve Queler with Opera Orchestra of New York, and appeared as the principal soloist with Greek composer A. Paraskevas at Weil Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall (Distinguished Concerts International New York).

Her recordings include Mascagni's Zanetto with Odyssey Opera of Boston, and George Tsontakis' Mirologhia, which was released on the KOCH International Classics label with the Albany Symphony Orchestra.

Ms. Calenos boasts a long list of awards including the Gerda Lissner Foundation award (2010), and the "Judges Award" from the Connecticut Opera Guild Competition (2009). She also won the Audience Favorite award at the Irma Cooper Competition in Columbus, Ohio (2008), the Schyler Foundation "Career Bridges" Award (2006-2008). She was a finalist of the Oratorio Society of NY competition (2010), the Renata Tebaldi International Vocal Competition in San Marino (2009), and the Concurso del Canto de Bilbao (2008). She was one of the Young American Artists of Glimmerglass in 2010, and a participant of the Martina Arroyo Foundation program “Prelude to Performance” in 2006.

Eleni was a member of Boston University's Opera Institute between the years 2006 and 2008, and holds a Master's Degree in Vocal Performance from Queens College in New York, as well as a Diploma in Violoncello Performance form the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Mark Delavan

Mark Delavan

Bass-baritone

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Mark Delavan, a singer of “incisive vocal power and fierce theatrical acuity,” is sought after throughout the United States and Europe for the most demanding roles in his operatic repertoire. He regularly appears in the title roles of Der fliegende Holländer, Falstaff, and Rigoletto, and as Iago in Otello, Scarpia in Tosca, Jochanaan in Salome, and Amonasro in Aida.  In addition, as a strong character actor on stages throughout the country, he has proved himself a crossover artist of immense skill. Most recently, Delavan starred as Phil Arkin in Milk and Honey with York Theatre Company, to critical acclaim. Of his performance, critics hailed his “rich, resonant voice,” with “impressively clear high notes.”

This season, Mr. Delavan performs the role of Michele/Alfio in Tabbaro/Cavalleria Rusticana with Maryland Lyric Opera, Amfortas in Parsifal with Indiana University Opera Theater, Jocanaan in Salome with the Dallas Symphony, Tonio in I Pagliacci with Michigan Opera Theater, and joins The Metropolitan Opera for their production of Tosca. Last season, Delavan returned to The Metropolitan Opera for their productions of La Fanciulla del West, Aida and Falstaff, performed in a concert performance of La Fanciulla del Westas Jack Rance in the Inaugural Season of Maryland Lyric Opera and reprised the title role of Falstaff with Dallas Opera.  He will return to Dallas Opera in 2020.

At the Metropolitan Opera, Mr. Delavan took his interpretation of Wotan in cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen under Fabio Luisi to critical acclaim.  He has also performed at the esteemed house, the title roles of Simon Boccanegra and Nabucco, and has appeared as Scarpia in Tosca, Amonasro in Aida, Tomsky in Pique Dame, Alfio in Cavalleria rusticana, Carlo in La forza del destino, Gianciotto in Zandonai’s Francesca da Rimini, and as Gerard in a major revival of Andrea Chénier.

Internationally, Delavan has worked most frequently with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in performances of Wotan in Der Ring des Nibelungen, as well as in stand-alone performances of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre led by Donald Runnicles, as Scarpia in Tosca, Jupiter in Die Liebe der Danae, Alfio/Tonio in the double-bill of Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci, and Iago in Otello.  He débuted as Jochanaan in Salome at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova under Fabio Luisi and went on to perform the role in productions with Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu and in concert with the Prague State Opera.  He also has sung Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West for Den Jyske Opera and Scarpia in Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company.

With the San Francisco Opera he created the role of Giovanni in the world première of Marco Tutino’s Two Women (La Ciociara) and has appeared there as Scarpia in Tosca and Wotan in Die Walküre.  With the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Delavan was most praised for his creation of the role of Snooks Brenner in the world première of William Bolcom’s A Wedding, directed by Robert Altman and conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.  He has also appeared with the company as Amfortas in Parsifal, Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/I pagliacci, Scarpia in Tosca, Germont in La Traviata, Renato in Un ballo in Maschera, Robert Carsens staging of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride (Louis Langrèe conducting) and David McVicar’s production of Verdi’s Il trovatore (Bruno Bartoletti conducting).

Notable engagements in the US also include, Don Carlo in La forza del destino at Washington National Opera, the title role of Der fliegende Holländer with Arizona Opera, the Four Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann at Palm Beach Opera, Jack Rance in La faniculla del West for Michigan Opera Theatre, Iago in Otello for Opera Philadelphia, and the title roles in Rigoletto, Nabucco and Falstaff, as well as Scarpia in Tosca for Pittsburgh Opera. He has made several appearances with Santa Fe Opera including Mandryka in a new production of Arabella and Jack Rance in La faniculla del West, performed Amonasro in Aida for Atlanta Opera and at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under James Conlon, and performed Kurt Weill’s The Road of Promise with the Collegiate Chorale at Carnegie Hall and with the New York Choral Society in Mendelssohn’s St. Paul.

A popular performer with the former New York City Opera, Mr. Delavan has sung in numerous productions with the company, including the title roles in Der fliegende Holländer, Rigoletto, Macbeth, and Falstaff, as well as starring in the title role of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd to great critical acclaim. Mr. Delavan’s NYCO credits also include the roles of the four villains in Les contes d’Hoffman, Scarpia (telecast live on PBS for ‘Live From Lincoln Center’), Ezio in Attila, Escamillo in Carmen, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux and in new productions of The Ballad of Baby Doe as Horace Tabor, Il trittico as Michele and Gianni Schicchi, and Salome.

Born in Princeton, New Jersey, Mr. Delavan earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oral Roberts University. He was a national finalist of the Metropolitan Opera auditions and an Adler Fellow with the San Francisco Opera.

Patricia Schuman

Patricia Schuman

Mezzo-Soprano

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Miss Schuman began her career as a mezzo-soprano singing Rossini and Mozart roles, as well as her signature role at that time, Carmen. Engaged by Peter Brook to perform the title role in his production of La Tragedie de Carmen, Miss Schuman sang in Paris, on a world tour, and at the Lincoln Center Theater. After switching to soprano, Schuman enjoying a career at the highest international level, specializing in the Mozartean repertoire, singing Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Contessa Almaviva in Le nozzle di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera with James Levine conducting; Ilia in Idomeneo at La Scala with Riccardo Muti; and Ilia and Pamina at Vienna State Opera, under the baton of Nikolaus Harnencourt. She made her debut at the Salzburg Festival as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito, to great critical and popular acclaim. She repeated the role at Covent Garden, Glyndebourne, Madrid, and Lyon.

In a continually expanding repertoire, Mis Schuman debuted the role of Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff at the Covent Garden with Bernard Haitink conducting; Rezia in Weber’s Oberon with Marc Minkowski at the Flemish Opera; the title role in Schumann’s Genoveva with the Edinburgh Festival and Opera North; Blanche in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites with Rome Opera and Seattle Opera; Madeleine in Strauss’ Capriccio in Toulouse and the Marshallin in Der Rosenkavalier at Pittsburgh Opera. She has sung the Puccini roles Liu in Turandot and Mimi in La Boheme in Zurich; Poppea in Cologne and Bologna; and the role of The Commander in the world premiere of Philip Glass’ The Voyage at the Metropolitan Opera.

After the birth of twins, Miss Schuman made the decision to stay home and raise her children, once they began school. After almost a decade, Schuman returned to the opera, once again as a mezzo, to sing opposite her husband, David Pittsinger, as Carlotta and Eugene O’Neill in the world premiere Blizzard on Marblehead Neck by Jeanine Tesori at the Glimmerglass Festival. Also, in that season, she appeared as Estelle Oglethorpe in John Musto’s Later the same evening. She returned to Glimmerglass to sing Elvira Griffiths in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy. Soon thereafter, Miss Schuman made her role debut as The Duchess of Argyll in Thomas Ades’ Powder her Face with Opera Philadelphia, to great acclaim. Returning there in 2016, she sang the role of The Mother in Missy Mazzoli’s world premiere opera, Breaking the Waves.

At the Ivoryton Playhouse, Schuman made her first professional foray into musical theater, as Bloody Mary in South Pacific, for which she received a Critic’s Circle nomination. She also sang the world premiere oratorio Letter from Italy by composer Sarah Meneely-Kyder, singing the role of Delia.

Recently, Miss Schuman sang and recorded the role of Grandma Mills in Ricky Ian Gordon’s world premiere The House without a Christmas Tree at Houston Grand Opera before returning to the Ivoryton Playhouse for The Fantasticks. Schuman returned to Opera Theater of St. Louis, after many years, to debut the role of Arnalta in The Coronation of Poppea. The same season, she sang The Countess in a newly realized version of Pique Dame at the Glimmerglass Festival.

On recording, Miss Schuman can be heard in the title role of Florencia en el Amazonas by Daniel Catan, which she recorded live at Houston Grand Opera (Albany records). She has also recorded the soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah (Koch) and the Bertoni mass, Veni Creator (Erato) under the baton of Claudio Scimone, and the role, Ruggiero, in Rossini’s Tancredi with Marilyn Horne (Sony). She can be seen on video as Poppea (Schwetzingen Fetstival), Donna Elvira (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Countess Almaviva (Madrid Opera), and in Letter from Italy. Recently released is Ricky Gordon’s House without a Christmas Tree on Pentatone.

Yi Li

Yi Li

Tenor

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Proving himself a formidable talent and a rising star to watch in the opera world, Tenor Yi Li is quickly gaining attention across the globe. Most recently, Li débuted the role of Cheng Quing in Meredith Monk’s ATLAS with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and moved into bigger repertoire, debuting the role of Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West in Maryland Lyric Opera’s inaugural season. He subsequently returned there as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and Turridu/Luigi in Il Tabarro/Cavalleria Rusticana as well as returned to The Metropolitan Opera as the Young Lover in Il tabarro.

Upcoming engagements include a return to Maryland Lyric Opera for Turandot and his debut at Opera Tampa in Cavalleria Rusticana.

Other operatic engagements include the role of Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles with Toledo Opera; Nicias in Thaïs with China National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Nashville Opera, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Cassio in Otello at The National Center Performing Arts in Beijing; the role of Alfredo in La traviata with Finger Lakes Opera; and his performance in Huang Ruo’s innovative contemporary opera, Paradise Interrupted. Mr. Li has also joined the esteemed roster of The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Manon Lescaut, Roméo et Juliette, and Der fliegende Holländer.

Concert engagements include Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 with Canterbury Chorale at Carnegie Hall, Indianapolis Opera’s Opera’s Rising Stars Concert and a Chinese New Year Concert with Shenzen Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

Mr. Li recently graduated from Washington National Opera’s revered Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program where his assignments included Rodolfo in La bohème and productions of Die Zauberflöte and Dialogues des Carmélites. At San Francisco Opera’s world-renowned Merola Program, assignments included Belfiore in La finta giardiniera, Smith in Bizet’s La jolie fille de Perth, and Lionel in Martha.

Mr. Li’s training includes an Artist Diploma in Voice from University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he performed Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, and Ruggero in La rondine. During his time there, he also performed The Duke in Rigoletto at Cincinnati Opera and Don José in Carmen at CCM Spoleto Festival. He also holds Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Sichuan Conservatory in China, where performances include Alfredo in La traviata, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, Rodolfo in La bohème, and Cavradossi in Tosca.

Finding success on the emerging artist competition circuit, Yi Li’s talent has been recognized by several elite foundations and organizations. Mr. Li was a Grand Final Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist at Operalia: The World Opera Competition, Winner of the Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, China’s representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, 3rd Prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition, Finalist in the 49th International Singing Competition of Toulouse, and won the Grand Prize in Opera Columbus Irma M. Cooper Vocal Competition and CCM’s Corbett Scholarship Competition. He also received a grant from Giulio Gari Foundation and performed at their annual gala.

David Gately

David Gately

Visual Supervisor

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Stage director David Gately is known for his vivid story-telling and lively and clever productions. Recent reviews have called his staging “fresh, amusing and energetic,” and praised his direction which used “nuance and creative physical comedy, resulting in a superb production brimming with energy.”

The Director’s hugely successful “Wild West” production of Don Pasquale which was hailed as a “contemporary classic” by the Denver Post has been mounted by San Diego Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Colorado, Calgary Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Virginia Opera, Dayton Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Omaha, Edmonton Opera and the Fort Worth Opera. In addition to these performances, the last several seasons are highlighted by productions of La Traviata with The Academy of Vocal Arts and Atlanta Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte, Giulio Cesare and Ariadne auf Naxos with Fort Worth Opera, L’Italiana in Algeri with Seagle Music Colony, and Massenet’s Le Portrait de Manon with Boston University’s Fringe Festival.

Career milestones include his staging of L’Elisir d’Amore with Dallas Opera and Atlanta Opera, Madama Butterfly with Seattle Opera, La Boheme with Florida Grand Opera, Carmen in New Orleans, Les Contes D’Hoffman in Edmonton and Tulsa, Die Zauberflote with the Cincinnati and Vancouver Operas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with both the Florentine Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Falstaff with Opera Omaha, and Rigoletto with Utah Opera and Arizona Opera. He has directed productions of Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Washington National Opera, Opera Colorado and Manitoba Opera, Simon Boccanegra for its premiere with L’Opera de Montreal, and the World Premiere production of Before Night Falls with the Forth Worth Opera where the Dallas Morning News wrote that he “supplies a physically gripping staging.” In addition, he directed Angels in America with Fort Worth Opera for its North American Premiere, as well as its UK premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican Centre in London.

Stuart Duke

Stuart Duke

Lighting Designer

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Stuart Duke, Lighting Designer, is delighted to return to MDLO for the 2022-2023 Season. Having lit productions of Puccini's Turandot and Verdi's Don Carlo in the Spring 2022 Season, he has become a regular fixture at Maryland Lyric Opera. Recent designs include The Merry Widow and Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Palm Beach Opera, Fun Home at Weston Playhouse, and Matilda at Walnut Street Theatre.

His regional opera credits include Indianapolis Opera, Opera Company of Philadelphia and Opera Memphis. He designed lighting for Kathleen Battle and Grover Washington Jr. in concert at Carnegie Hall and for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s Yuletide Celebration. In New York, Stuart has designed lighting for Orwell in America, The Rothschilds, Cast of Characters, Home Games, The Matchmaker, Frankie (directed by George Abbott) and jon & jen.

His regional credits include the world premiere of The Night Seasons, written and directed by Horton Foote,, a revival of Rags for the Paper Mill Playhouse, and Christopher Lloyd in Death of a Salesman. Stuart has been nominated three times for the Helen Hayes Award for his work at D.C.'s Studio Theatre and Folger Shakespeare Theatre.

Sarah Tundermann

Sarah Tundermann

Projection Designer

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Sarah is delighted to make her projection design debut with MDLO. Previous MDLO credits include Turandot as assistant lighting designer. Recent designs include America's Requiem: A Knee on The Neck (World Premiere, Lighting Design, National Philharmonic); Fidelio (Lighting and Projection Design, Houston Symphony Orchestra); Die Fledermaus (Lighting Design, Stanford LIVE).

Sarah also served as the Assistant Lighting Designer for the San Francisco Opera for the 2014 - 2016 Spring and Fall seasons including productions of Two Woman (World Premiere), Sweeney Todd, La Boheme, Norma, Madame Butterfly, and Showboat. Recent regional projection design credits for theatre include Tomas and the Library Lady, And in this Corner: Cassius Clay, School House Rock Live, and Snowy Day (Children's Theatre of Charlotte); Corduroy, Escape from Peligro Island (Imagination Stage); Becoming Dr. Ruther (Theatre J); She the People (Second City at Woolly Mammoth); Watsons go to Birmingham (Kennedy Center); E2, All She Must Possess, The Other Place (Rep Stage); Queens Girl in the World, Queens Girl in Africa (Everyman Theatre); Paper Dolls, Queens Girl in Africa (Mosaic Theatre Company); Sarah resides in Baltimore with her dog and two pandemic kittens. www.sarahtundermann.com

Otello:

Cast

Otello: Gregory Kunde
Desdemona: Eleni Calenos
Iago: Mark Delavan
Emilia: Patricia Schumann
Cassio: Yi Li

Conductor: TBA
Visual Supervisor: David Gately
Lighting Designer: Stuart Duke
Projection Designer: Sarah Tundermann
MDLO Orchestra
MDLO Chorus

Synopsis

Act I

On a stormy evening, the people of Cyprus anxiously await the arrival of the new governor, Otello, from a naval battle with the Turks. For a moment it seems as if Otello’s ship will founder, to the delight of Otello’s treacherous ensign, Iago, but Otello arrives safely and announces that the Turkish fleet has been destroyed, and the Cypriots cheer. Iago offers to help the young Venetian gentleman Roderigo in his seduction of Otello’s wife, Desdemona – Iago envies Otello his success and longs to destroy the Moor. Among his grievances, Iago is outraged that Otello has appointed Cassio to be the captain of the navy, a position that Iago hoped to have. The people of Cyprus celebrate the safe return of Otello and his men by lighting a bonfire and drinking. Iago proposes a toast to Otello and his wife, while Cassio praises Desdemona. Iago offers Cassio more wine, but Cassio says he has had enough. Iago pressures him and offers a toast to Otello and Desdemona. Cassio gives in. Iago sings a drinking song and continues to pour Cassio wine.

Montano enters and calls for Cassio to begin his watch; he is surprised to find Cassio drunk and barely able to stand upright. Iago lies to Montano, telling him that this is how Cassio spends every evening. Roderigo laughs at Cassio’s drunkenness and Cassio attacks him. Montano tells Cassio to calm down, but Cassio draws his sword and threatens to crack open Montano’s head. Cassio and Montano begin to duel, and Iago sends Roderigo to call the alarm. Montano is wounded and the fight is stopped only by the appearance of Otello. Otello orders Montano and Cassio to lower their swords. He then asks “honest Iago” to explain how the duel began, but Iago says he doesn’t know. Otello then turns to Cassio, who is embarrassed and cannot excuse his actions. When Otello discovers that Montano is wounded, he becomes enraged. Desdemona enters, and, upon seeing that his bride’s rest has been disturbed, Otello declares that Cassio is no longer Captain. He tells Iago to patrol the town to restore quiet, calls for help for Montano and orders everyone to return to their houses. The Cypriots leave Otello alone with Desdemona. Together Otello and Desdemona recall why they fell in love. Otello, in an ecstasy of joy, invites death, fearing that he will never know such happiness again. Desdemona prays that their love will remain unchanged. They kiss, overcome with love for each other.

Act II

Iago suggests to Cassio that he should ask Desdemona to talk to Otello about his demotion; Desdemona can influence her husband to reinstate him. Desdemona and Emilia can be seen walking the garden. Cassio approaches Desdemona. Watching from the room, Iago voices his nihilistic beliefs and hatred of humankind. Otello enters the room; Iago, pretending not to notice him, says that he is deeply troubled. Cassio sees Otello from afar and goes discreetly away. Otello asks what’s wrong, but Iago gives only vague answers. Finally, he hints that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair. Otello begins to get suspicious, but declares that he needs proof before believing that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Iago warns Otello against jealousy, but also advises him to be vigilant.

A crowd of children, sailors, and Cypriots sing to Desdemona, praising her beauty and purity. They present her with gifts and wish her happiness before leaving. Desdemona carries Cassio’s request for reinstatement to Otello. Otello sourly tells her to ask him another time; as she persists, he grows impatient and says he has a headache. Desdemona offers to wrap his head in a handkerchief Otello once gave her, linen embroidered with strawberries. Otello throws it to the ground and says he doesn’t need it. Emilia picks up the handkerchief. Desdemona asks for Otello’s forgiveness. Aside, Iago demands that Emilia give him the handkerchief. When she refuses, Iago forcibly takes it from her.

Otello dismisses the others, and declares that he now believes that Desdemona may be deceiving him. Iago returns, and the jealous Otello demands proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. Iago says that once, when he and Cassio were sleeping in the same room, he heard Cassio talking to Desdemona in a dream. In the dream, says Iago, Cassio told Desdemona that they must be careful to conceal their love. Iago says that dreams don’t prove anything, but remarks that he saw Cassio carrying Desdemona’s strawberry-embroidered handkerchief just the day before. Otello swears vengeance on Desdemona and Cassio, and Iago joins him in his vow.

Act III

A herald brings news of the approach of ambassadors from Venice. Iago explains to Otello that he will lure Cassio here and talk with him while Otello watches, hidden. He leaves to go get Cassio. Desdemona enters and reminds Otello of Cassio’s request. Otello says that his headache has returned, and asks Desdemona to wrap her handkerchief around his head. When Desdemona produces a different handkerchief, Otello demands the one with strawberries. When she says she does not have it, Otello says that it was a talisman, and troubles will befall her if she loses it. Desdemona says that he is trying to ignore Cassio’s plea, and as she asks him about Cassio, he demands the handkerchief ever more insistently. Desdemona protests that she is faithful; Otello sends her away.

Otello laments his fate. When Iago calls out “Cassio is here!” Otello hides as Iago and Cassio enter. Cassio says he had hoped to see Desdemona here, for he wanted to know whether she had been successful with Otello. Iago asks him to tell of his adventures with that woman. Cassio asks which woman, and, softly, so that Otello cannot hear, Iago says “Bianca” (the name of Cassio’s actual lover). As Cassio laughs about his romantic adventures, Otello assumes he is speaking of Desdemona. In a conversation only partially heard, Cassio seems to be telling Iago that another woman, a secret admirer, left him a handkerchief as a token. At Iago’s urging, Cassio produces it, whereupon Iago seizes it—for it is Desdemona’s and holds it out where he knows Otello can see it. He then returns it to Cassio and teases him, while in his hiding place Otello fumes.

Bugles sound, announcing the arrival of the Venetian ambassador, Lodovico. Iago warns Cassio that he should leave unless he wants to see Otello. Cassio exits, and Otello asks Iago how he should kill his wife. Iago advises Otello to kill Desdemona by suffocating her in her bed, while he will take care of Cassio. Otello promotes Iago to Captain.

Lodovico, Desdemona, Emilia, Roderigo, and other dignitaries enter. When Lodovico notes Cassio’s absence, Iago tells him that Cassio is out of favor. Desdemona interrupts, telling Lodovico that she hopes he will soon be restored. Otello calls her a demon and almost strikes her violently but is held back by Lodovico. Otello then calls for Cassio. Cassio enters and Otello reads (mixing in insults to Desdemona) a letter from the Doge, announcing that he (Otello) has been called back to Venice and Cassio is to succeed him as governor of Cyprus. Enraged, Otello throws Desdemona to the ground. Desdemona, on the ground, laments. The various characters express their feelings: Emilia and Lodovico express their sympathy for Desdemona, Cassio marvels at his sudden change of fortune, and Roderigo laments that Desdemona will soon depart. In separate asides, Iago urges Otello to take his revenge as soon as possible, while he will take care of Cassio. He advises Roderigo that the only way to prevent Desdemona from leaving is for Cassio, the new Duke, to die, and suggests that Roderigo murder Cassio that night. In a fury, Otello orders everyone to leave. Desdemona goes to comfort him, but Lodovico pulls her away as Otello curses her. As the others leave, Otello raves about the handkerchief, then collapses. Outside, the crowd of Cypriots hails the victory and glory for Otello, whom they call “the Lion of Venice”. Iago presses Otello’s forehead with his heel, and snarls, with contemptuous irony: “Ecco il Leone! (“This is the lion!”), and then walks away.

Act IV

Desdemona is preparing for bed with the assistance of Emilia. She asks Emilia to put out the bridal gown she used on her wedding day, and says that if she dies, she wants to be buried in it. Emilia tells her not to talk about such things. Desdemona recalls how her mother’s servant Barbara was abandoned by her lover, and how she used to sing the Willow Song. After Emilia leaves, Desdemona prays (Ave Maria) and then falls asleep. Silently, Otello enters, with a sword. He kisses his wife three times; she awakens. Otello asks her if she has prayed tonight; she must die, and he does not wish to condemn her soul. She asks God for mercy, both for her and for Otello. Otello accuses her of sin, saying that he must kill her because she loves Cassio. Desdemona denies it and asks that he summon Cassio to testify to her innocence. Otello says that Cassio is already dead. Desdemona, horrified, pleads for mercy, but Otello tells her it’s too late and strangles her.

Emilia knocks at the door announcing that Cassio has killed Roderigo. Desdemona softly calls out that she has been unjustly accused, but refuses to blame Otello. She dies. Emilia calls Otello a murderer; he retorts that Iago gave him proof of Desdemona’s infidelity. Otello begins to threaten Emilia, who calls for help. Iago, Cassio, and Lodovico enter. Emilia demands that Iago deny Otello’s accusation; he refuses. Otello says that the handkerchief Desdemona gave to Cassio is proof enough. Emilia, horrified, explains that Iago stole the handkerchief from her. Cassio confirms that the handkerchief appeared mysteriously in his lodgings. Montano enters and says that Roderigo, with his dying breath, has revealed Iago’s plot. Iago, brandishing his sword, runs away.

After he realizes what has happened, Otello grieves over Desdemona’s death. Initially he draws his scimitar but then relinquishes it. He then stealthily draws a dagger from his robe and stabs himself. Others try to stop him, but it is too late. Before he dies, he drags himself next to his wife and kisses her. He lies dead next to Desdemona.

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