The Livermore Valley Opera (LVO) announces its 28th season, with two fully-staged operas directed by women. LVO’s 2019-2020 season tickets are now available for performances at the Bankhead Theater.

The season opens with Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin September 28, 7:30 pm, Opening night; September 29, 2 pm; October 5, 7:30 pm; and October 6, 2 pm.

Opening Night Gala dinner will be held at Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard, 4:00pm. (Separate ticket purchase required.)

The second production will feature An Opera Double-Bill: Zemlinksy’s A Florentine Tragedy & Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi March 7, 2020; 7:30pm, Opening night; March 8, 2020; 2 pm; March 14, 2020; 7:30pm; and March 15, 2020; 2 pm.

Opening Night Gala dinner will be held at Uncle Yu’s at the Vineyard, 4:00pm. (Separate ticket purchase required.)

For the first time in LVO’s 28-year history, women will direct both operas. Candace Evans (LVO's stage director for Lucia de Lammermoor, 2015), returns to stage Eugene Onegin and Layna Chianakas will stage the double bill: Zemlinksy’s A Florentine Tragedy and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Ms. Chianakas sang the role of Rosina in LVO's Barber of Seville in 2008, and she will sing the role of the Nurse, Filipievna, in Eugene Onegin.

The season opens with a Tchaikovsky jewel of the Russian operatic repertoire, a passionate drama filled with sweepingly beautiful and unabashedly romantic music. Tchaikovsky’s best-loved opera is based on Alexander Pushkin’s profoundly human verse drama. Packed with memorable music, dances and a heart-stopping duel, it tells the bittersweet tale of a love that could have been. Our extravagant production will transport audiences to the courtly elegance of nineteenth century Russia. Sung in Russian with English supertitles.

“This is a beautiful opera about love denied, unfulfilled, and love lost set to Tchaikovsky’s best music,” says Erie Mills, LVO Artistic Director. “This opera requires a powerful cast and LVO’s cast is wonderful!”

American baritone Morgan Smith, known for his dramatic portrayals and the power and beauty of his voice will perform the title role of Eugene Onegin, and received praise for his role as Starbuck in San Francisco Opera’s Moby Dick. Ukrainian-born soprano Antonina Chehovska sings the role of Tatiana, rejected by Onegin. Of her performance, the New York Times declared that her “heartfelt ‘Letter Scene’ from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin made her an audience favorite.”

About the Double Bill: Zemlinksy’s A Florentine Tragedy & Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi: This double bill is the West Coast premiere of a fully staged production of A Florentine Tragedy, as well as its pairing with Gianni Schicchi. One a tragedy, one a comedy, both are set in Florence, both composed in 1917 and both are based on fragmentary tales by two literary giants: Oscar Wilde in the first case, Dante Alighieri in the second. One tells a tale of jealousy and commerce, the other of greed and commerce. In A Florentine Tragedy, the music and drama is of Wagnerian intensity. Gianni Schicchi is a brilliant comedy with one of the most memorable arias in all of opera. Both operas are guaranteed to captivate in utterly different ways. Sung in German and Italian with English supertitles.

“We are very excited to premiere these operas,” explains Mills. “Again we have brought together a powerful cast, with returning favorites including bass Kirk Eichelberger (Don Basilio in LVO’s 2019 Barber of Seville), and debuting artists baritone Robert Mellon, soprano Anush Avetisyan and tenor Michael Day, a 2019 Merola artist.”

Opening Night Galas at Uncle’s Yu’s at the Vineyards: Gala ticket includes dinner at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard, followed by a dessert reception in the Bankhead Theater. The welcome reception with wine and appetizers begins at 4:00pm and dinner seating at 4:30 pm at Uncle Yu's, conveniently located one-half block from the theater. Guests will have a chance to meet the Stage Director and LVO’s Alexander Katsman. Gala Tickets are $95, and are available through Bankhead Theater box office. Opera performance tickets are a separate purchase.

Included in the ticket price are pre-opera talks held one hour prior to curtain time. LVO’s traditional artist’s reception is held in the lobby immediately following each performance.

Tickets are Adults $20-$90. Tickets can be purchased through the LVO website at www.LVOpera.com. New ticket pricing: $20 for age 20 and younger; $40 for age 40-20.

The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First Street, Livermore. Tickets are available at the box office, online at www.lvpac.org or by calling 373-6800.

ADDITIONAL OPERA EVENTS

Moulin Rouge 2020 at The Club at Ruby Hill: Join us for “The” fundraising party of the New Year. Games of chance, wine lottery, a cabaret show and of course the “cancan” dance. Dine on gourmet hors d’oeuvres, champagne and three-course dinner served with award- winning wines. Don’t miss a chance to wear a red dress and tuxedo with red tie to The Club at Ruby Hill on Saturday February 1, 2020 beginning at 5:00 pm.

Visit the LVO website at www.LVOpera.com for more information and tickets.

Student and Community outreach programs: Livermore Valley Opera continues to visit schools and expose a younger generation to the art of opera. This season the program will reach 10,000 students in 24 schools and colleges with LVO’s exquisite principal masterclasses program with the opera “The Telephone” by Gian Carlo Menotti. To make the story relevant to younger audiences, the opera is modified from a telephone into a smartphone. Principal artists will also perform at area Rotary Clubs and at Rossmoor Walnut Creek.

For information about this successful program, please contact our Outreach Director, Revital Shmerling at revital@livermorevalleyopera.com.