FGO Double Bill

Leoncavallo’s PAGLIACCI and Puccini’s SUOR ANGELICA

Florida Grand Opera will open its 69th season this coming Saturday, November 14, with a double-bill of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Puccini’s Suor Angelica featuring the outstanding American soprano Kelly Kaduce singing both Nedda in Pagliacci and Sister Angelica in Puccini’s gripping musical drama.

Ms. Kaduce will be joined in Suor Angelica by mezzo-soprano Mzia Nioradze as the Princess, Sister Angelica’s aunt, who visits the convent to demand that Angelica relinquish her inheritance. When Angelica begs for news of the son she bore seven years earlier, she is devastated to learn he has been dead for two years. Angelica’s desperate suicide is followed by a dispensation of grace that provides one of the most moving effects in all of opera.

Suor Angelica is one of three one-act operas, collectively known as Il trittico, that were given their world premiere at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1918. The others are Gianni Schicchi and Il tabarro. Mzia. Nioradze, a Georgian mezzo-soprano, made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002 in War and Peace and has performed with leading companies in the United States and Europe.

Tenor Jay Hunter Morris will join Ms. Kaduce in Pagliacci singing Canio, the leader of a group of itinerant performers. His rage at Nedda, who has betrayed him, spills over into their performance, resulting in the death of both Nedda and her lover, Silvio, before a stunned audience who realize that the arresting drama is in fact real life being played out before them. This verismo opera concludes with the famous words signaling the end of the play within a play as well as the opera, “La commedia è finita.”

Kelly Kaduce was seen this summer in the title role of Richard Strauss’ Salome at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, of which the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “Kaduce was simply stunning in the role.” Her previous engagements with Florida Grand Opera include Marguerite in Faust, Mimì in La bohème, the title role in the world premiere of Anna Karenina, and last season as the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro.

Jay Hunter Morris last appeared with Florida Grand Opera in the 2000 production of La traviata, and has since specialized in some of the tenor repertory’s most demanding roles for leading companies. Baritone Mark Rucker will return to Florida Grand Opera in his signature role of Tonio, who sings the famous prologue to Pagliacci, and later betrays Nedda’s infidelity to Canio.

Florida Grand Opera Resident Conductor Andrew Bisantz will conduct the double-bill. He made his FGO main-stage debut in 2006 conducting performances of Carmen, and has subsequently led FGO performances of Manon Lescaut, La bohème and La Cenerentola. He made his Glimmerglass Opera debut in 2004, conducting Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, and in 2005 conducted Massenet’s Le portrait de Manon, which was subsequently broadcast on NPR. He is currently Guest Music Director of Eugene Opera, where he conducted critically acclaimed productions of Orphée aux Enfers and Don Giovanni last season, and will return this season to conduct The Marriage of Figaro and Faust. Additionally, he returns to Portugal to lead the Orquestra Nacional do Porto and will make his Boston Lyric Opera debut conducting a new production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

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