By Nicolas Reveles
868 Fourth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Friday, April 14, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 15, 2023 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 16, 2023 at 1:00 pm
Comprised of the works Eden, Dormir and House, San Diego Opera is excited to present the world premiere of these operas. Eden, which features a libretto by director John De Los Santos, explores the boundaries of madness and obsession and is a tribute to Edgar Allan Poe. Dormir, libretto by Michael Vegas Mussman, is an imaginative exploration of what might happen when Old World spiritual practices meet the Christian belief system, when portals open and unknown, powerful entities appear. House, with a libretto by the composer, explores the idea that trauma haunts many of us, and that trauma remains in our bodies like ghosts.
Ghosts welcomes the return of mezzo-soprano Emily Fons and baritone Michael Sokol. Directed by John de los Santos and conducted by Bruce Stasyna.
LANGUAGE – Sung in English with English and Spanish text projected above the stage
RUN TIME – 1 hour and 45 minutes, with no intermission
The pre-opera talk begins at 6:40 pm before the 7:30 pm evening performances. The Sunday matinee pre-opera lecture begins at 12:10 pm before the 1:00 pm curtain.
POST-OPERA TALK-BACK (Saturday and Sunday performances only)
Stay after the performance for a Talk-Back. Once the curtain falls, there will be a 10-minute break, then join us in the front of the main floor Orchestra section where you can ask questions of the stars and cast (subject to availability), and find out what really happened onstage and backstage during the performance!
To ensure the success of Ghosts, and allow us to continue commissioning new, innovative works, we ask you to consider making a gift to San Diego Opera.
San Diego Opera debut. Composer, opera educator and pianist Nicolas Reveles began his composing career at the age of 8 by entering a Young Composer’s Competition for the San Diego Symphony in 1956, taking away second place and having the honor of his composition (Arabian Dance) performed by the symphony at a Young People’s Concert. He continued to compose for the piano, and in a long career as an organist and choirmaster, he produced numerous sacred works for choir, congregation and organ. His compositions were featured during the visit of Pope John Paul II to California (Monterey) in 1987. Many of his sacred works, including The Passion According to St. John for chorus, soloists, string quartet and percussion, were published by Cooperative Ministries in Washington, DC. His first two operas, with librettist J. Sherwood Montgomery, The Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin, were written for family audiences and were performed over four touring seasons by the San Diego Opera Ensemble (2004-2008). His theatre credits include scores and musical arrangements for The Old Globe Theatre, North Coast Repertory Theatre and Arizona Repertory Theatre, where his mariachi score for Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro was cited ‘Best Musical of the Year’ by the Arizona Republic. His opera Sextet: A Queer Opera in Six Scenes for Six Singers was produced by Diversionary Theatre in 2010 through a grant given by the Irvine Foundation (2010). A fully orchestrated version of Rumpelstilstkin was produced by Lyric Opera San Diego the same year. His opera Aftermath (music and libretto both by the composer) is being produced by Bodhi Tree Concerts for the San Diego International Fringe Festival in June 2022. Ghosts includes his fifth, sixth and seventh operas: Eden (librettist John De Los Santos), Dormir (librettist Michael Vegas Mussman) and House, to the composer’s own libretto.
American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons made her Company debut as Zerlina in 2015’s Don Giovanni and returned as Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro in 2018, and Rosina in The Barber of Seville in 2021. Notable appearances include Ruby Thewes in Cold Mountain for the world premiere at Santa Fe Opera and again for Opera North Carolina, Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking for Kentucky Opera, the title role in Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges, with the Berlin Philharmonic, and in Japan as part of the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nagoya, the title role in Cinderella for Opéra de Lille, Stéphano in Roméo and Juliette with the Santa Fe Opera, Cherubino for the Canadian Opera Company and The Dallas Opera, Dorabella in Opera Omaha’s Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with the Florentine Opera, the title roles in Handel’s Susanna and Faramondo with the International Händel Festspiele, Sièbel in Faust with the Atlanta Opera, Prince Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus, and Nicklausse in The Tales of Hoffmann with Chicago Opera Theatre. She made her European debut in the role of Megacle in Vivaldiʼs LʼOlimpiade with Garsington Opera. She also appeared as Sesto in Michigan Opera Theatreʼs production of Julius Caesar. From 2010-2012 Fons was a member of the Ryan Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago where she portrayed, among others, Fyodor in Boris Godnuov, Mercedes in Carmen, and Peep Bo in The Mikado.
Michael Sokol, Baritone
Company appearances: Sergeant of Police, The Pirates of Penzance (2017), Ensemble, All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (2018); soloist, When I See Your Face Again (2021); Maestro Spinelloccio, Gianni Schicchi (2023), A Sacristan, Tosca (2023).
Notable appearances: Metropolitan Opera; Philadelphia Orchestra; Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago; Frank Lloyd Wright, Shining Brow (Madison Opera); director, San Diego Summer Gilbert and Sullivan Workshop.
Ann McMahon Quintero
Yadira / Caregiver
Yadira / Caregiver
San Diego Opera debut. Recent engagement for Mezzo-soprano Ann McMahon Quintero include Mistress Quickly in Falstaff at Santa Fe Opera, and Madame Flora in The Medium with Chelsea Opera. She is known for her Verdi and Baroque work. Her previous work has included many enjoyable turns with Boston Baroque singing their annual Messiah as well as performances of Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9., M. Haydn’s Requiem in c minor, Cornelia in Giulio Cesare, Juditha in Juditha Triumphans, and Storgé in Jephtha. She enjoys a rewarding relationship with the Defiant Requiem Foundation, performing their special presentation of the Verdi Requiem in Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezín. In addition, she has also performed the piece Hours of Freedom: The Story of the Terezín Composer, a program of music composed at Terezín.She has performed the Verdi Requiem with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Cathedral Choral Society Washington D.C., Brevard Music Center, Berkshire Choral International, Southwest Florida Symphony, the South Bend Symphony, and the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, with whom she also performed de Falla’s El amor brujo. Her operatic roles include Azucena Il trovatore at both Musica Viva Hong Kong and Opéra Royal de Wallonie; Amneris in Aida with Annapolis Opera; Mistress Quickly with Virginia Opera, Opera Delaware and Opéra de Lausanne; Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera with Austin Lyric Opera, Suor Pazienza in Mese Mariano with the Spoleto Festival USA, Mary in The Flying Dutchman and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Boston Lyric Opera; and The Old Lady in Candide with Arizona and Portland Operas. She made her international operatic debut with New Israeli Opera as La Haine in Armide and returned to the company as Marquise Melibea in Il viaggio a Reims. She sang Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress with Angers Nantes Opera; Olga Olsen in Street Scene with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Isabella in L’italiana in Algeri with Palm Beach Opera; Gertrude in Roméo et Juliette with Toledo Opera; and Glaša in Kátya Kabanová and Teresa in La sonnambula with The Santa Fe Opera. Other roles include Auntie in Peter Grimes, Tisbe in La Cenerentola, and Dritte Dame in The Magic Flute with Washington National Opera. She is a 2006 winner of the Sara Tucker Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Music Foundation; second place winner of the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Vocal Competition; the George London Foundation; Sullivan Foundation and was a semi-finalist in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia. She sang at the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors Inaugural Awards Concert in 2008. She was a 2002 Grand National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and made her first appearance on the MET stage in the Grand Finals Concert with Julius Rudel.
Javier, her son / Clay
Javier, her son / Clay
San Diego Opera debut. Recent engagements by Cuban-American tenor Andres Acosta include appearances at Madison Opera for his role debut as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor and to Houston Grand Opera for the world premiere of The Snowy Day. He workshopped the role of the Pigeon Keeper in Santa Fe Opera’s commission of The Pigeon Keeper by David Hanlon and Stephanie Fleischmann and made house debuts with Bard SummerScape Festival, San Antonio Opera, and Florentine Opera. He made his debut with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis in the world premiere of Awakenings. Other engagements include his Ravinia Festival debut in Bernstein’s Mass, his Atlanta Opera debut as Alejandro in Frida, the role of Arcadio in Florencia en el Amazonas in his house debut with Pittsburgh Opera, his Houston Grand Opera debut as Father Matias in El Milagro del Recuerdo, the role of Timothy Laughlin in Fellow Travelers in his house debut with Madison Opera. Other appearances include Timothy Laughlin at Minnesota Opera, and Arcadio with Pensacola Opera. In concert he debuted with the Cincinnati Symphony for their autumn Pops Concert, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti, and LOFTrecital for Bernstein’s Songfest. He was part of Theatre Latté Da’s national tour of Peter Rothsteins’s All is Calm as Victor Granier. He is a recipient of Opera America’s 2018 Career Blueprints grant and a Gerda Lissner and Sullivan Foundation Award semifinalist. He received an Encouragement award as a Central Regional finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council competition in 2017 and won awards in the Dorothy Lincoln-Smith competition and the National Society of Arts and Letters competition. He was awarded the Judy George Junior Young Artist First Prize Award in the 2015 Young Patronesses of the Arts competition and is recognized as a Braulecht Estate Endowed and Music Guild Scholar. Acosta attended Indiana University for his Masters of Music as a student of Carol Vaness.
John de los Santos
Director/choreographer John de los Santos made his Company choreography debut in 2016 with Great Scott and his Company directorial debut with 2018’s Maria de Buenos Aires. He has staged the world premieres of Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun (Santa Fe Opera), Pure Country (Lyric Stage), and The Astronaut Love Show (Kraine Theater, NYC). Other productions include Le Comte Ory and Otello (LoftOpera), Cag + Pag, and L’heure Espagnol (New Camerata Opera), La Cage Aux Folles (Skylight Music Theatre), La Fille du Regiment (Minnesota Opera), Kinky Boots (Uptown Players), Carousel (Charlottesville Opera), and Maria de Buenos Aires (Arizona Opera). As a librettist John de los Santos’ first collaboration with composer Clint Borzoni, When Adonis Calls, had its stage premiere under John’s direction at Asheville Lyric Opera. His second collaboration with Borzoni, The Copper Queen, premiered as a feature film in October 2021, and had it staged premiere at Marble City Opera under John’s direction. His latest libretto with Borzoni, The Christmas Spider, will premiere with The American Opera Project. In 2015, he was commissioned by Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative to create an original work with composer Christopher Weiss. The resulting piece, Service Provider, premiered at The Kennedy Center, and has since had over a dozen productions. Over the summer of 2020, John and composer Marc Migó were commissioned by UrbanArias to write an operatic film as part of Decameron Opera Project. The film, The Roost, was directed by John and was recently included in the archives of the Library of Congress. John is a librettist with Minnesota Operas New Works Initiative. John has also written and directed opera for The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music.
Conductor Bruce Stasyna made his Company conducting debut with As One in 2017 and returned to conduct Maria de Buenos Aires in 2018 and conducted One Amazing Night with Stephen Costello and Stephen Powell in 2019. He has been on the conducting rosters of the New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Sugar Creek Opera, and has held positions as Chorus Master for New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Des Moines Opera. He was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for the Green Mountain Opera Festival, and Head of Music and Director of the Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera. He has collaborated on many notable North American premieres including Anna Nicole, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orazi e Curiazi, and Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man. As a pianist he has concertized with such artists as Marcello Giordani, Deborah Voigt, J’nai Bridges, Irene Roberts, Marina Costa-Jackson, and Richard Troxell. The Canadian born conductor is currently the Chorus Master and Music Administrator for San Diego Opera, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor for Washington Concert Opera, and Music Director of Vero Beach Opera.
Synopsis for Eden
Clay lives as a bachelor in an old family home. He has amassed an enormous collection of paintings, with space for only one remaining. His friend and art-dealer Granada gifts him an unusual canvas that depicts a strange, leafless tree that seems to reach for the viewer. Clay is so overjoyed by his completed hoard of art that he stops leaving the house, neglecting his work and health. His impatient cousin, Sondra, arrives to demand answers, and before storming out, informs Clay that Granada has disappeared. All the other paintings slowly begin to change. A doctor arrives to diagnose Clay but becomes violently ill when he touches Clay’s new painting. Alone again, Clay’s world and paradise wither into a diseased hell, all while the leafless tree continues to reach for him.
Synopsis for Dormir
Yadira, an immigrant caregiver, patiently tries to get Mr. Costello into bed for the night, but he resists and insults her. Costello accuses her of conspiring to kill him. Alone, Yadira reminisces about her upbringing in Mexico, and the mysterious legends told by her grandmother. She remembers that tonight is June 21st, “la noche de San Juan”, the Feast of John the Baptist and summer solstice. Yadira’s son, Javier, with whom she has been planning to murder Costello, arrives to save his mother from her abusive employer. Javier enters the bedroom and smothers Costello with a pillow. Almost as soon as her son leaves, Yadira is overwhelmed with guilt. She then hears strange noises and a voice that sounds like the old man calling her name.
Synopsis for House
In Providence, Kentucky, an unnamed woman and her two children arrive at an old, two-story country house in the dead of winter. They settle in and retire for the night. Trying to sleep, the woman hears a mysterious scratching which at first, she can’t identify. Mice? Rats behind the walls, or under the floorboards? Spring arrives and the garden surrounding the house bursts into life. The woman sees a lone figure wandering the grounds. She thinks perhaps he can help her with the house, the yard…maybe even the mysterious nightly sounds. Approaching him she seems to get no response, but she gives him instruction about the garden and asks him to return. At night, the scratching persists. One day while waiting for her mysterious gardener, she sees something extraordinary, something that both attracts and repels her. Then she remembers…
Sinopsis de Eden
Clay es un soltero que vive en una casa vieja de la familia. Él ha acumulado una enorme colección de pinturas, le queda espacio solamente para una más. Su amigo, Granada, un vendedor de arte, le regala un lienzo raro que muestra un extraño árbol sin hojas que parece tratar de tocar al espectador. Clay está tan encantado por haber completado su colección de arte, que deja de salir de la casa, abandonando su trabajo y descuidando su salud. Sondra, su impaciente prima llega y le exige explicaciones, y antes de salir furiosa le informa a Clay que Granada ha desparecido. Todas las otras pinturas lentamente empiezan a cambiar. El doctor llega para diagnosticar a Clay, pero se pone gravemente enfermo cuando toca la nueva pintura de Clay. De nuevo solo, el mundo y el paraíso de Clay se van apagando en un infierno de enfermedad, todo esto mientras el árbol sin hojas continua tratando de alcanzarlo.
Sinopsis de Dormir
Yadira, una cuidadora inmigrante, pacientemente trata de acostar por la noche a Mr. Costello, pero él se resiste y la insulta. Costello la acusa de querer matarlo. Ya sola, Yadira recuerda su infancia en México, y las misteriosas leyendas que le contara su abuela. Se acuerda que esta noche es junio 21, “la noche de San Juan” , la fiesta de San Juan Bautista y el solsticio de verano. El hijo de Yadira, Javier con quien ella ha estado planeando matar a Costello, llega para rescatar a su madre de su abusivo jefe. Javier entra a la habitación y asfixia a Costello con una almohada. Tan pronto como su hijo se va, Yadira se siente agobiada por la culpa. Entonces ella escucha ruidos extraños y una voz que suena como la del anciano que la llama por su nombre.
Sinopsis de La Casa
En Providence, Kentuckey, un invierno helado, una mujer sin nombre y sus dos hijos llegan a una casa de campo vieja de dos pisos. Se acomodan y se van a dormir. Tratando de dormir la mujer escucha un misteriosos rasguños que en un principio no pudo identificar. ¿Ratones? ¿Ratas detrás de las paredes o debajo de las duelas? La primavera llega y el jardín que rodea la casa se llena de vida. La mujer ve una figura solitaria deambulando por la casa. Ella piensa que quizá la pueda ayudar con la casa, el jardín… quizá también con los misteriosos ruidos nocturnos. Cuando se acerca a él parece no obtener respuesta, pero ella le da instrucciones acerca del jardín y le pide que regrese. Esa noche los ruidos persisten. Un día mientras esperaba a su misterioso jardinero, ve algo extraordinario, algo que le atrae y al mismo tiempo la ahuyenta. Entonces, ella se acuerda…