By Giacomo Puccini
San Diego Civic Theatre
1100 Third Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
Suor Angelica tells the story of a woman (Marina Costa-Jackson) who bears a child out of wedlock and is sent to a convent for penance. After seven years, she is visited by her aunt, the Principessa, who brings tragic news of her son, which sets in motion a series of dire actions that ultimately result in tragedy, forgiveness, and peace.
The comic-opera Gianni Schicchi begins with the death of wealthy Florentine Buoso Donati, and his distraught family who are upset about being forgotten in his will. So they enlist the help of fixer Gianni Schicchi who helps turn the tables, but not in the way they expect. Considered a comic masterpiece, this is a dark satire based on a real story mentioned in Dante’s Inferno and includes the famous aria “O mio babbino caro.”
Making a welcome return for these performances is mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, who will sing the role of the Principessa in Suor Angelica, and will take on the title role of Gianni Schicchi, a role traditionally sung by a baritone, for an opera first! Directed by Kyle Lang and with the San Diego Symphony conducted by Yves Abel, San Diego Opera’s Principal Conductor.
LANGUAGE – Sung in Italian with English and Spanish text projected above the stage
RUN TIME – 2 hours and 15 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission
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 Dress Circle 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!
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe made her Company debut in 2014’s A Masked Ball as Ulrica, sang in the Company’s Verdi Requiem in 2014, returned in recital that same year for We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith, and was last heard in 2021 in concert performing the songs of Johnny Mercer. Ms. Blythe has sung in many of the renowned opera houses in the US and Europe including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Opera National de Paris. Her many roles include the title roles in Carmen, Samson et Dalila, Orfeo ed Euridice, La Grande Duchesse, Tancredi, Mignon, and Giulio Cesare; Frugola, Principessa, and Zita in Il Trittico, Fricka in both Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, Waltraute in Götterdämmerung, Azucena in Il trovatore, Ulrica, Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress, Ježibaba in Rusalka, Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites; Mistress Quickly in Falstaff, and Ino/Juno in Semele. She also created the role of Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Ms. Blythe has also appeared with many of the world’s finest orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Orchestra of New York, Minnesota Orchestra, Halle Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Ensemble Orchestre de Paris, and the Concertgerbouworkest. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, and Ravinia festivals, and at the BBC Proms. The many conductors with whom she has worked include Harry Bicket, James Conlon, Charles Dutoit, Mark Elder, Christoph Eschenbach, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Alan Gilbert, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Nicola Luisotti, Sir Charles Mackerras, John Nelson, Antonio Pappano, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers, and Michael Tilson Thomas. A frequent recitalist, Ms. Blythe has been presented in recital in New York by Carnegie Hall in Stern Auditorium and Zankel Hall, Lincoln Center in both its Great Performers Series at Alice Tully Hall and its American Songbook Series at the Allen Room, Town Hall, the 92nd Street Y, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has also been a performer at the Vocal Arts Society and at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC; the Cleveland Art Song Festival, the University Musical Society in Ann Arbor, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Shriver Hall in Baltimore, and San Francisco Performances. A champion of American song, Ms. Blythe has premiered several song cycles written for her including Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson by the late James Legg, Covered Wagon Woman by Alan Smith which was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and recorded with the ensemble (CMS Studio Recordings); and Vignettes: Ellis Island, also by Alan Smith and featured in a special television program entitled Vignettes: An Evening with Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones. Ms. Blythe starred in the Metropolitan Opera’s live HD broadcasts of Orfeo ed Euridice, Il Trittico, Rodelinda, and the complete Ring Cycle. She also appeared in PBS’s Live From Lincoln Center broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Carousel and her acclaimed show, We’ll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith. Her recordings include her solo album, as long as there are songs (Innova), and works by Mahler, Brahms, Wagner, Handel and Bach (Virgin Classics). Ms. Blythe’s many engagements have also included her return to the Metropolitan Opera for The Rake’s Progress, the Lyric Opera of Chicago for Il trovatore, the Seattle Opera for Semele, Samson and Dalilah with the Atlanta Symphony, and Carnegie Hall for a recital in Stern Auditorium. She recently performed with the San Francisco Opera as Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and the Houston Grand Opera as Nettie Fowler in Carousel. She also performed her new program, Sing, America! at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Blythe was named Musical America’s Vocalist of the Year for 2009. Her other awards include the 2007 Opera News Award and the 1999 Richard Tucker Award. She is also the Artistic Director of the Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar at the Crane School of Music.
San Diego Opera debut. Soprano Marina Costa-Jackson’s recent appearances include Mimi in La bohème for Los Angeles Opera, Amelia in Simon Boccanegra with Washington Concert Opera, her debut as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin for Seattle Opera, and a return to L’Opera de Paris as Mimi. Other notable appearances include Elisabetta in Don Carlo with Grange Park Opera, Desdemona in Otello in Savonlinna, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, and Utah Opera. She also made her debut in concert at the Royal Concertgebuow for A Village Romeo and Juliette, and as Violetta in La traviata in Lisbon. Other recent performances include Maria di Rohan with Washington Concert Opera, Fiordiligi with Seattle Opera, the role of Violetta with Opera Köln, Nedda in I Pagliacci with Utah Opera, her debut with Opera de Paris as Micaela in Carmen, Mimi at Opera Köln and with the Welsh National Opera, and Adalgisa in Norma at The Dallas Opera for which she was awarded the 2017 Maria Callas Debut Artist of the Year. She made her professional debut as Musetta with Michigan Opera Theatre in La bohème. She also sang Verdi’s Requiem with Teatro Municipal de Santiago, performed in concert with Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Minsk, with Andrea Bocelli in Madison Square Garden, debuted as one of the Costa-Jackson trio of opera-singing sisters in the International Festival “Palaces of St. Petersburg” concerts, and performed at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall. She graduated in 2016 from the Academy of Vocal Arts where she performed Mimi in La bohème, Marguerite in Faust and the title role in Iolanta. In 2015 Marina was a Metropolitan Opera National Council winner. In 2016 she was a second place winner of Operalia. In 2014 she won the Giulio Gari Foundation International Competition, and was awarded second prize in the 2014 Marcello Giordani Foundation Vocal Competition. She was also a finalist in the Belvedere Competition, and a major award winner in the Opera Index Vocal Competition. The Mario Lanza Institute, the Sergio Franchi Music Foundation, the George London Foundation have given her additional awards.
San Diego Opera debut. A 2019 Metropolitan National Council and Operalia finalist, Polish tenor Piotr Buszewski made his professional US debut in 2018 in the title role of Donizetti’s Il Pigmalione with the New York City Opera. That was followed by his role debut as the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto at the Wolftrap Festival, Leandre in Le médicine malgré lui by Charles Gounod in Boston, Berlioz’s Te deum for the Memphis Symphony, and Tybalt in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden. He also has appeared as Nemorino in a new production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love for Opera Leipzig directed by Rolando Villazon and Camille in The Merry Widow in Hong Kong. Piotr is currently completing his residency at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where he sang outstanding performances of Edgardo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. This season at AVA he will sing Romeo in Roméo et Juliette, the Prince in Rusalka and Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. In the summer of 2017 Piotr performed the role of Ernesto in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at Brevard Music Center. Prior to that, he debuted the role of Nemorino with Oberlin in Italy, and Rinuccio at the Trentino Music Festival. Prior to AVA, Piotr studied at the Juilliard School of Music with Doctor Robert C. White, and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia Opera Studio in Rome under the tutelage of Renata Scotto. Prior to that, Piotr studied at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University in Warsaw. Other recent engagements include Rinuccio, Tinca in Il Tabarro and Flaminio in L’amore dei tre re at the Academy of Vocal Arts. In 2019 he received first prize at the Loren Zachary Competition, 3 prizes at the Moniuszko Competition including Audience Favorite, and was a National Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He won third prize in the Zinka Milanov International Voice Competition, as well as Special Prize at the Otto Edelmann Voice Competition. In 2015 he was awarded second prize in the Marcella Sembrich International Voice Competition and the Hal Leonard Voice Competition. Piotr has sung in master classes with Renata Scotto, Deborah Voigt, Tito Capobianco, and Christopher Macatsoris. He is a student of Bill Schuman.
La Maestra delle Novizie
La Maestra delle Novizie
Mezzo-soprano Guadalupe Paz made her Company debut as Mercedes in Carmen in 2019 and created the role of Frida Kahlo earlier this season in the world premiere of El ultimó sueño de Frida y Diego. Notable appearances include Melibea in Il Viaggio a Reims and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Bellas Artes National Opera, Rosina in The Barber of Seville and Angelina in Cinderella with Teatro del Bicentenario and Bellas Artes National Opera, Isolier in Le Comte Ory with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Jalisco, and Maddalena in Il Viaggio a Reims at the Rossini Opera Festival. Her concert repertory includes Glagolitic Mass at the International Cervantino Festival, Ode to Common Things with La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, Tres Canciones para Orquestra y Mezzosoprano at International Festival Instrumenta, and Seven Deadly Sins at the Aspen Music Festival.
Maestro Yves Abel is San Diego Opera’s Principal Conductor. He made his Company debut in 2013 for performances of The Daughter of the Regiment. He returned in 2014 for Pagliacci, in 2016 for Madama Butterfly, and was last heard locally in 2019 for performances of Carmen. He is the Chief Conductor designate of the NordwestDeutsche Philarmonie, Germany. A frequent guest with the world’s great opera companies, Yves Abel has conducted performances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; La Scala, Milan; the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Lyric Opera of Chicago; San Francisco Opera; Seattle Opera; Glyndebourne Festival; Bayerische Staatsoper; Opéra National de Paris; Netherlands Opera; Grand Théatre de Génève; Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Teatro Communale Bologna; New National Theatre, Tokyo; Welsh National Opera and Opera North. He has conducted new productions in Liceo (The Pearl Fishers), Munich (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Geneva (Les Vêpres Siciliennes), Barcelona (Madama Butterfly), Bilbao (Norma), Toulouse (Lalo’s Le Roi d’Ys and The Tales of Hoffmann), Lisbon (Il Turco in Italia), Naples (Gounod’s Faust), Dallas (Ermione), Seattle (Il trovatore and Heggie’s The End of Affair), Monte Carlo Opera (Il Turco in Italia) and Santa Fe (Così fan tutte), and at the festivals of Pesaro, Caramoor, the Menuhin festival in Gstaad, and the Spoleto festival in Charleston and Spoleto, Italy. As Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin from 2005 to 2011, he conducted new productions of Don Pasquale, Simon Boccanegra, d’Albert’s Tiefland, and Carmen, as well as performances of The Marriage of Figaro, La traviata, Dialogues des Carmélites, La bohème and Carmina Burana. He is a frequent guest at the Vienna Staatsoper where his repertoire includes The Daughter of the Regiment, The Elixir of Love, Carmen, Madama Butterfly, Simon Boccanegra, A Masked Ball, and L’italiana in Algeri. In concerts he has performed with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra at the Tivoli Festival, the RTE National Symphony Orchestra, Dublin, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchèstre du Capitole de Toulouse, the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, and the Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini in Parma. He has also conducted the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Orchèstre National de Lyon, Orchestra of St. Luke’s New York, the Royal Liverpool, the Haydn Orchestra in Bolzano and the orchestras of Genoa, Naples, and Palermo among others. A Franco-Canadian, he has a particular affinity with the French repertoire and has won significant critical acclaim for his achievements as founder and Music Director of L’Opéra Francais de New York, with whom he has regenerated rare French operas and also performed the world premiere of Dusapin’s To be Sung. Since 1994, the company has performed regularly to capacity audiences at the Lincoln Center. He conducts at various festivals around the world including the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro and the Glyndebourne festival, among others. His recordings include Thaïs with Renée Fleming and Werther with Andrea Bocelli (Decca), Madama Butterfly with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Chandos), and two discs of French arias, one with Susan Graham and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (Erato) and the other with Patricia Petibon and the Orchestra of the Opera National de Lyon (Decca). His most recent recording, ‘Romantique’, is a disc of romantic arias with Elīna Garanča on Deutsche Grammophon. In 2009 he was awarded the title Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government.
Kyle Lang made his San Diego Opera directing debut with 2017’s As One and directed 2019’s Carmen. He was an assistant director for the Company starting with La bohème in 2015 and in that capacity worked on Nixon in China, Don Giovanni, Tosca, and Falstaff. His directing credits include La bohème for Virginia Opera, The Bear for Wexford Festival Opera, Don Quixote and the Duchess for Central City Opera, L’enfant et les sortilège and Gianni Schicchi for Simpson College, Dead Man Walking for Opera Fayetteville, Apprentice Showcase for Santa Fe Opera, The Face on the Barroom Floor for Tulsa Opera, and Short Works for Central City Opera. His choreographic credits include Vanessa for Wexford Festival Opera, The Merry Widow for Boston Lyric Opera and Utah Opera, La traviata for Fort Worth Opera, Des Moines Opera, and Lyric Opera of Baltimore, Jenůfa for Des Moines Metro Opera, The Last Savage for Indiana University, Sweeney Todd for Virginia Opera, Ariadne auf Naxos for Virginia Opera, Carmen for Opera Omaha, Falstaff and The Marriage of Figaro for Virginia Opera, and Die Fledermaus for Opera Memphis. He is privileged to have danced as a soloist and in the corps de ballet with ZviDance, the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and with Christopher K. Morgan, performing in countries across Europe, South America, and the Middle East.
Company work: As One, stage director (2017); Carmen (2019) assistant director (2015)
Notable work director: La bohème (Virginia Opera); The Bear (Wexford Festival Opera); Don Quixote and the Duchess (Central City Opera); L’enfant et les sortilege, Gianni Schicchi (Simpson College); Dead Man Walking (Opera Fayetteville); Apprentice Showcase (Santa Fe Opera); The Face on the Barroom Floor (Tulsa Opera); Short Works (Central City Opera).
Notable work, choreographer: Vanessa (Wexford Festival Opera); The Merry Widow (Boston Lyric Opera, Utah Opera); La traviata (Fort Worth Opera, Des Moines Opera, Lyric Opera of Baltimore); Jenůfa (Des Moines Metro Opera); The Last Savage (Indiana University); Sweeney Todd, Ariadne auf Naxos, Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro (Virginia Opera); Carmen (Opera Omaha); Die Fledermaus (Opera Memphis).
Set in Italy at the end of the 17th century Suor Angelica is the tragic tale of a Florentine noblewoman who bears a child out of wedlock and is sent to a convent to repent for her sins. Angelica’s Aunt, The Princess, visits, her first visitor in seven years. She asks frantically for news of her son. The Aunt’s response is devastating. Two years previously, he was stricken with a mortal sickness, and nothing could save him. Sister Angelica is seized by a heavenly vision – believes she hears her son calling for her to meet him in paradise. She makes a poison and drinks it, but realizes that suicide is a mortal sin and has damned herself to eternal separation from her son. Praying for forgiveness she dies with a vision of her son greeting her in heaven.
Wealthy Florentine Buoso Donati is dead and his greedy relatives discover that he has left his fortune to the church. His nephew, Rinuccio suggests that his girlfriend’s father can help them. Enter Gianni Schicchi, a shrewd, self-made man with his daughter, Lauretta. Reading the will, Schicchi devises a plan. The relatives send for the notary and Schicchi, disguised as the Buosi, wearing his nightshirt and cap, dictates a new will from his “sickbed”, in which he leaves the greater part of the estate, including Buoso’s house, to his “dear friend Gianni Schicchi.” The relatives are furious, and stealing what they can from the house, are chased out by Schicchi who remains with the happy lovers, Rinuccio and Lauretta. Given their happiness, he turns to the audience and pleads that he not be judged too harshly.
La obra tiene lugar a finales del siglo XVII, Sor Angelica es la trágica historia de una dama Florentina quien tiene un hijo fuera del matrimonio y es enviada a un convento a arrepentirse de sus pecados. La tía de Angelica, la Princesa, la visita, es su primera visita desde hace siete años. Ella le pide desesperadamente que le noticias de su hijo. La respuesta de la tía es devastadora. Hacía dos años que había tenido una enfermedad mortal y nada lo pudo salvar. La hermana Angelica es presa de una visión divina – y cree que escucha la voz de su hijo que la llama para que lo encuentre en el paraíso. Hace un veneno y lo bebe, pero se da cuenta que el suicidio es un pecado mortal y por lo tanto se ha condenado a estar eternamente separada de su hijo. Suplicando el perdón muere con la imagen de su hijo que la recibe en el cielo.
El millonario florentino Buoso Donati está muerto y sus ambiciosos familiares descubren que le ha dejado su fortuna a la iglesia. Su sobrino, Rinuccio les sugiere que el papá de su novia puede ayudarles. Entra a la escena Gianni Schicchi con su hija Lauretta, él es un hombre astuto que ha salido adelante por sí mismo. Al leer el testamento, Schicchi concibe un plan. Los familiares mandan traer a un notario y Schicchi se disfraza como Buoso, usando su camisón y corro para dormir y dicta un nuevo testamento desde su” lecho de enfermo”, en el cual él deja la mayor parte de herencia, incluyendo su casa, a su “querido amigo Gianni Schicchi”. Los familiares están furiosos, y robándose lo que pueden de la casa, son lazados fuera por Schicchi quien se queda con los felices enamorados, Rinuccio y Lauretta. Dada su felicidad, él se vuelve al público y les suplica que no lo juzguen tan severamente.