After a 29-year absence from the Lyric Opera of Kansas City repertoire, the Company presents Verdi's Il Trovatore tonight, November 3 and November 7, 9 & 11, 2012 at the Kauffman Center of the Performing Arts.
"Verdi's opera of lust, love, power and vengeance has thrilled audiences since its premiere," notes Lyric Opera General Director and CEO Deborah Sandler. "We have assembled a talented artistic team which is integrating new theatrical technologies into this popular work. This production will be a memorable reintroduction of Verdi's masterpiece to Kansas City audiences."
This traditional production of Il Trovatore will combine new technologies with customary scenic design to present the story in a manner which could not have been realized before the Company moved its productions to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. This production will utilize front and rear projections inspired by the Spanish painter El Greco and created especially for this Lyric Opera production.
"Our Il Trovatore will be opera presented in a grand way. The projections will heighten the deep emotional torment felt by the opera's characters as opposed to showing literal scene locations." notes R. Keith Brumley, Lyric Opera Director of Design and Technical Production. Mr. Brumley is working closely with the stage director to create this new interpretation while preserving the traditional nature of the opera.
Visionary stage director Kathleen Smith Belcher will return to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City to direct this production, having last directed La Traviata with the Company in 2009. Ms. Belcher is in her 11th year as a member of the directing staff at The Metropolitan Opera and is a resident of Liberty, Missouri. She has worked extensively with the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and the San Diego Opera. Ms. Belcher assisted Peter Sellars on the world premiere of John Adams' Dr. Atomic in San Francisco and has worked with acclaimed directors Woody Allen, Anthony Minghella, Bartlett Sher and Julie Taymor.
Guest Conductor John Keenan will make his Company debut and international production debut conducting Il Trovatore with this production. Mr. Keenan has a long – standing relationship with the Metropolitan Opera, having made his debut with that company at 26 years old. Recent credits with The Metropolitan Opera include Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Das Rheingold with James Morris and Gotterdämmerüng with Deborah Voigt.
"It was with thoughtful consideration that we engaged guest conductor John Keenan," noted Artistic Director Ward Holmquist. "John's incredible skills as a conductor are suited perfectly to this work – a composition that includes the singular greatest string of memorable opera melodies Verdi composed."
Mr. Keenan is a frequent guest conductor at the prestigious Kirov Opera (Mariinsky Theatre) in St. Petersburg, Russia. He also has conducted with the Canadian Opera Company, Opéra de Montréal, Los Angeles Opera, New Zealand Symphony, and Santa Fe Opera, among many others.
Russian baritone Roman Burdenko will sing the role of Count di Luna. Mr. Burdenko makes his Lyric Opera debut with this role, and his appearance with the Company marks his second engagement within the United States. He has sung in houses across Europe and Asia, including at Opera de Strasbourg and Teatro Calderon Valladolid. Mr. Burdenko placed third in Placido Domingo's Operalia competition in Beijing, China this year and has covered roles at The Metropolitan Opera, and will perform at the Glyndebourne Festival, Komische Oper Berlin, and Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in upcoming seasons.