The Dallas Opera today announced the cast of the inaugural presentation in the new Dallas Opera Chamber Opera Series: THE LIGHTHOUSE, opening in March 2012, in collaboration with the Dallas Theater Center.
Tenor Andrew Bidlack, who possesses a "bright, ping-y voice" (New York Post) will make his Dallas Opera debut in the dual roles of Officer 1 and Sandy.
Distinctive baritone Robert Orth, first heard on the Dallas Opera stage in the role of Mr. Stubb in 2010 world premiere-production of Moby-Dick, will be singing the roles of Officer 2 and Blazes. Orth's singing has been described as "immediately gripping (it) set the tone for the rest of an outstanding performance" (Review Vancouver).
Completing the cast is Bass Daniel Sumegi singing the roles of Officer 3, Arthur and Voice of the Cards. "Sumegi has a big, commanding voice and wields it with great skill...transforming his character into someone much larger than life, someone who convinces you that he has really seen God" (Washington Times). Sumegi last performed with the Dallas Opera in 2003 as Timur in Puccini's Turandot.
This new production, with support from Jessie and Charles Price (additional support from Mr. and Mrs. Edward W. Rose III and corporate sponsor, American Express) will open on Friday, March 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM in the Dallas Opera's first-ever performance in the high-tech Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre that serves as home to the Dallas Theater Center.
The work will be staged by the acclaimed artistic director of the DTC, Kevin Moriarty, in his opera debut, and conducted by the renowned Nicole Paiement, Artistic Director of Ensemble Parallèle (founded by Paiement in 1994 and dedicated to contemporary chamber opera and multidisciplinary projects) and the BluePrint Project, a San Francisco-based new music series, sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Scenic design for THE LIGHTHOUSE is by Tony Award nominee Beowulf Boritt, winner of a 2007 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Scenic Design. Creating costumes for this 1980 masterwork by British composer Peter Maxwell Davies will be the task of Claudia Stephens in her Dallas Opera debut. Lighting design is by Tyler Micoleau in his company debut, with wig and make-up design by Stephanie Williams.
Jonathan Pell, Artistic Director of the Dallas Opera had this to say about the cast he has put together for this extraordinary opera, "Since there are only three singers in The Lighthouse, and they portray different characters in the prologue and the opera itself, it was essential that we find three brilliant singing actors who could not only give voice to this challenging music, but could also bring the various characters to life in the intimate environs of the Wyly Theater.
"Robert Orth and Daniel Sumegi are as well known for their acting skills as for their wonderful voices, and both have sung with the Dallas Opera in the past. Andrew Bidlack, a recent graduate of the young artist program at the San Francisco Opera, will be making his TDO debut in this production, but has impressed me enormously in a variety of roles at other companies. He embodies the perfect combination of youthful innocence and a strong, lyric tenor that Peter Maxwell Davies' score requires."
"The three of them, under Nicole Paiement's baton and Kevin Moriarty's stage direction, should make a compelling trio in this intense, theatrical opera."
The Lighthouse is based on actual events. The story begins with a Prologue set in the Edinburgh Court of Enquiry. The remainder of the 90-minute opera occurs on a remote, wind-swept island (at what is here called "Fladda Isle Lighthouse"), where a trio of lighthouse keepers vanished without a trace. The plot of this chamber opera serves up the supernatural and the psychological, in equal measures, yet leaves the mystery at its core, unresolved.
From the composer's notes on the opera:
The original inspiration of this work came from reading Craig Mair's book on the Stevenson family of Edinburgh. This family, apart from producing the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, produced several generations of lighthouse and harbour engineers. In December 1900 the lighthouse and harbour supply ship "Hesperus" based in Stromness, Orkney, went on its routine tour of duty to the Flannan Isles light in the Outer Hebrides. The lighthouse was empty - all three beds and the table looked as if they had been left in a hurry, and the lamp, though out, was in perfect working order, but the men had disappeared into thin air.