SAN JOSE, CA — Opera San José is highlighting the raw emotions that drive Giuseppe Verdi’s turbulent tale of love and revenge in its production of Il trovatore. Featuring an emotional, heart-stopping score, this mesmerizing story of romance, obsession and retribution has six performances at the magnificent California Theatre from February 15–March 1. [Click here for event information]
Based on the play El trovador by Spanish playwright Antonio García Gutiérrez, Il trovatore is known for its powerful score full of breathtakingly beautiful arias and one of the most famous choral melodies ever written, the “Anvil Chorus.” Mixing personal vendetta, a doomed love triangle and a gypsy’s lifelong obsession for revenge into one dramatic love story, this classic four-act Italian opera has become a beloved favorite of audiences around the world.
Opera San José (OSJ) is bringing a cast of accomplished artists to the stage in this production. American soprano Kerriann Otaño stars as Leonora, a noble lady-in-waiting to the Queen of Aragon. A current member of OSJ’s resident company, Otaño won raves recently as the Mother and the Witch in the company’s well-received production of Hansel and Gretel. She was a 2017 National Semi-Finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and a recent graduate of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera.
Il trovatore, by composer Giuseppe Verdi and librettist Salvatore Cammarano, will be sung in Italian with English supertitles with a run time of approximately three hours, including intermission. The creative team includes Joseph Marcheso (Conductor), Brad Dalton (Stage Director), Steven Kemp (Set Designer), Elizabeth Poindexter (Costume Design), Alyssa Oania (Costume Director), Michael Palumbo (Lighting Designer), Christina Martin (Wigs/Makeup), and Christopher James Ray (Chorus Master). Christopher Ray, Opera San José’s current Resident Conductor, will be conducting on February 28 and March 1.
Mezzo-soprano Daryl Freedman fills the second female lead role as Azucena, the gypsy. A recent graduate of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program at Washington National Opera, Freedman has performed at major opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Washington National Opera.
Tenors Mackenzie Gotcher and Alexander Boyer alternate as Manrico, a troubadour and officer in the army of the Prince of Urgel. Gotcher made his debut with the Santa Fe Opera as Captain James Nolan in Doctor Atomic, and is currently a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He is an alumnus of the Wolf Trap Opera Filene Artist Program, the Santa Fe Apprentice Program, and the Sarasota Opera, where he was awarded the Silver Award for Apprentice Artists. A former OSJ resident artist, Boyer returns to OSJ this season as a guest artist, seen earlier this season as Alfred in Die Fledermaus. He is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program and Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers, and holds degrees from Boston University and the Manhattan School of Music.
Baritones SeungHyeon Baek and Eugene Brancoveanu alternate as Count di Luna, a nobleman in the service of the Prince of Aragon. Quickly gaining recognition throughout the American Opera circuit, Baek has been applauded and recognized for his recent performances as the title role in Giannni Schicchi with St. Petersburg Opera and as Marcello in La bohème with Opera Ithaca. He won the New Jersey State Opera’s Alfredo Silipigni Competition in 2017 and Career Bridges Competition in 2015. Brancoveanu’s career highlights include receiving a Tony Award for his role in Baz Luhrmann’s production of Broadway’s La bohème, and his performance in the title role of Shostakovich’s Orango with the Los Angeles Symphony under the direction of Esa-Pekka Salonen and Peter Sellers, recorded for Deutsche Grammophon.
Returning to OSJ as a guest artist this season, American bass Nathan Stark appears as Count di Luna’s officer, Ferrando. Stark’s past appearances with OSJ include the roles of Pasha Selim in The Abduction from the Seraglio, the King in the North American premiere of Deutscher’s Cinderella, and General Audebert in OSJ’s West Coast premiere of Puts and Campbell’s Silent Night. Stark has also performed on the opera stages of the Metropolitan Opera, Atlanta Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Arizona Opera, among many others.
Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Sanchez stars as Ines, Leonora’s confidante. Sanchez made her OSJ debut earlier this year as a new member of the 2019-20 resident company, and has been featured as Prince Orlofsky in Die Fledermaus and Hansel in Hansel and Gretel. She was recently chosen as the sole recipient of the prestigious 2018 Igor Gorin Memorial Competition, an award given yearly to a promising singer at the start of his/her career.
Mason Gates returns as an associate member of OSJ’s resident company this season, appearing as Ruiz in Il trovatore. A two-time recipient of the encouragement award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Gates was also a festival artist at Utah Arts Festival two years in a row, as well as a Vocal Fellow at the esteemed Music Academy of the West. He received his Bachelors of Music from Brigham Young University in Utah, and his Masters of Music from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
General Director Emeritus Larry Hancock will present a free 45-minute talk to ticket holders about the opera at the California Theatre before each performance. The talk begins at 6:30pm prior to evening performances and at 1:30pm prior to Sunday matinees.
Opera San José, performing at the beautiful California Theatre in downtown San Jose, is a professional, regional opera company that is unique in the United States. Maintaining a resident company of principal artists, Opera San José specializes in showcasing professional singers. In addition to mainstage performances, Opera San José maintains extensive educational programs in schools and in the community at large, and it offers preview lectures and Introduction to Opera talks for all mainstage productions.