Friday, February 15, 2013

New director, new philosophy for Opera Tampa

     Katherine Jenkins

   For the first 17 years of its existence, Opera Tampa pretty much focused on uber-familiar operas. There were fewer than 30 productions in those years, and “Carmen,” “La Boheme,” “Tosca,” “La Traviata,” the double-feature of  “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “I Pagliacci” (which opera buffs collectively call “Cav/Pag”) were each staged twice.
   Founding artistic director Anton Coppola resigned at the end of last season, and his successor Daniel Lipton is building on that groundwork, mixing classics with rarer works. “Every season I want to do one opera that everyone knows and one that has never been performed in Tampa before,” Maestro Lipton said. He’s also switched from a year-‘round season to a festival-style season, called the Florida Opera Festival, that starts in January and runs until March. The festival opened with Verdi’s “A Masked Ball” – that was the opera that hasn’t been staged in Tampa before – and continues this weekend with “Popera,” Lipton’s anthology of operatic arias and melodies that have been translated into mainstream songs. The second grand opera of the festival is “La Boheme,” which opens March 7.
   The festival is also presenting Katherine Jenkins, the Welsh mezzo-soprano who mixes opera with popular Music, March 1, and “Bon Appetit!,” a comic opera about Julia Child, Feb. 22.
   You can see a full schedule of events here:
   Oh, by the way, next year's schedule includes "The Magic Flute." Believe it or not, that's the 
one that Tampa audiences have seen before   All the performances are at the Straz Center at 1010 N. MacInnes Place in downtown Tampa. That’s a 50-minute drive from Bradenton, but well worth it if you love quality opera.

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