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Mozart performances highlight Greek talent in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Thessaloniki-born soprano Eleni Calenos stars and Athens-born conductor Kostis Protopapas leads a production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” presented October 18 and 20 by Tulsa Opera.
Calenos graduated from the Municipal Conservatory of Thessaloniki and moved to the US in 2002, where she pursued graduate study at Boston University. She currently lives in New York City and has performed across the United States in leading roles by Mozart and Puccini.
Protopapas moved to the United States in 1993 with a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation to pursue graduate study in piano and conducting at The Boston Conservatory and Boston University. He has been the Artistic Director of Tulsa Opera since 2008. He previously served as an assistant conductor with the opera companies of Chicago, Los Angeles and Santa Fe among others.
“The Marriage of Figaro” is a story of love and forgiveness featuring some of the composer’s most beloved arias and ensembles. Ravishing melodies accompany a farcical story surrounding the wedding day of Seville’s favorite barber, Figaro, to the winsome Susanna, maid to the Countess Almaviva. The only fly in the ointment is the Countess’s errant husband, the Count, who has designs of his own on Susanna.
The plot thickens, with a randy pageboy hiding in a cupboard, a drunken gardener making a nuisance of himself, bridesmaids, letters, midnight trysts in the garden, shocking revelations, and, eventually, a happy ending.
The universally recognized music is sung in Italian with English surtitles projected above the stage. Adult ticket prices begin at just $25 and are available at www.tulsaopera.com, or by phone at (918) 587-4811.
In addition to Ms. Calenos and Maestro Protopapas, Tulsa Opera’s production features a cast of other artists, including Seth Carico (Figaro), Ava Pine (Susanna), Lauren McNeese (Cherubino) and Marc Schapman (Don Basilio). The company welcomes back former Tulsa Opera Studio Artist Alexander Elliott (Count Almaviva) and Tulsa-based singers Peter Strummer (Dr. Bartolo) and Linda Roark Strummer (Marcellina). Tulsa Opera Studio Artists appearing in the production are Timothy Petty (Antonio), Stefan Michael Barner (Don Curzio), Elizabeth Fischborn (Barbarina) and Ashley Cutright (bridesmaid).
Directing the production will be Elise Sandell.
The Friday opening night performance is at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday begins at 2:30 p.m. Patrons may enjoy a free pre-performance lecture an hour before curtain in the Westby Pavilion at the Performing Arts Center.
Founded in 1948, Tulsa Opera is the 15th oldest opera company in the nation and enhances the cultural landscape of Oklahoma by providing high quality, locally produced lyrical theater. Tulsa Opera places special emphasis on contributing to the future of the operatic art form by educating the community about opera and its role in our culture.
For more information about Tulsa Opera, their website is tulsaopera.com.