The Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s 2019-20 season is built on the successful formula of previous seasons. Opera classics make up three quarters of the season, with one opera devoted to something more adventurous.
The three classic operas coming in the new season are Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio,” “La Bohème” and “Lucia di Lammermoor.” The newer, edgier work is “The Shining,” Paul Moravec’s operatic take on the Stephen King horror classic.
“I’m happy to say the season spans some 230-plus years of operatic styles and composers,” said Deborah Sandler, general director and CEO of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. “We begin with ‘The Abduction from the Seraglio’ written in 1792 and then we end with ‘The Shining,’ which was written in 2016. I’m very excited about our casting, I’m very excited that we have three female directors. We also have a distinguished roster of conductors, three of whom will be making their Kansas City debuts.”
Speaking of great casting, “Abduction from the Seraglio” will feature an internationally acclaimed tenor making his long-awaited hometown debut — Ben Bliss.
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Bliss is a Prairie Village native and has appeared at the Met and other places, Sandler said.
“His mother, Judy Bliss, has been a stalwart of our chorus,” she added. “So we’re very pleased to welcome him.”
In November, it’s Puccini’s “La Bohème,” a heart-tugging tale of Bohemians (aka 19th-century hipsters) trying to stay warm. It’s an all-time romantic classic.
“It’s been the inspiration for so many other things,” Sandler said. “It was the inspiration for ‘Rent,’ it was the inspiration for ‘Moulin Rouge,’ and it was done as a Broadway show for a run. It’s a masterpiece.”
As for “Lucia di Lammermoor,” composed by Donizetti in 1835, it’s been a while since it’s been done by the Lyric Opera. The piece is especially renowned for its mad scene.
“We’re way overdue for one of the great bel canto masterpieces,” Sandler said. “I’m excited because we have an audience that will go with us. They love the unusual, they love the new, but I tell you, they love classical opera rep and this is classical opera rep.”
Concluding the season is a rare bird: a horror opera. “The Shining” with music by Moravec and libretto by Mark Campbell was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera in 2016, Sandler said.
“This will only be its second outing nationally,” she said. “It was a great success for Minnesota Opera.”
The guest conductor for “The Shining” will be Gerard Schwarz, who was the music director of the Seattle Symphony for 26 years. He has a long history of collaborating with Moravec.
“The opera follows more closely the novel than the movie,” Sandler said. “Stephen King was very happy with the treatment. The show has a lot of atmosphere. Lots of bells and whistles in the orchestration. You will be suitably creeped out.”
“The Abduction from the Seraglio” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Sept. 21-29
“La Bohème” by Giacomo Puccini: Nov. 9-17
“Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti: March 7-15, 2020
“The Shining” by Paul Moravec: April 25-May 3
For more information, 816-471-7344 or www.kcopera.org.
Carlsen Center’s new season
There is something delightfully old-school show business about the Carlsen Center’s offerings. Its recently announced 2019-20 season is full of the kinds of variety and razzle dazzle that would have made Broadway’s Florenz Ziegfeld proud.
There’s New Dance Partners, National Dance Company of Siberia, Ensemble Iberica and violinist Bomsori Kim.
For those who like things that are a little off the beaten path, there’s the “master of the ukulele,” Jake Shimabukuro, the lively folk ensemble Russian Renaissance and master illusionist Rick Thomas.
And for those who just want a great time, there’s the Tony Award-winning “An American in Paris” and the colorful, show-stopping “Taj Express: Bollywood Musical Revue.”
The impresario behind this smorgasbord of entertainment is Emily Behrmann, general manager of the Carlsen Center.
“We like to say we have something for everyone!” Behrmann said.
Individual ticket prices to be announced. For more information, 913-469-4445 or https://tinyurl.com/yah5f4a4.
Ballet Nepantla-“Valentina”: Sept. 7 (Yardley Hall)
New Dance Partners-The Ultimate Collaboration: Sept. 27 and 28 (Yardley Hall)
Preston Singletary and Khu.éex’: Oct. 10 (Polsky Theatre)
Russian Renaissance: Oct. 11 (Polsky Theatre)
Master illusionist Rick Thomas: Oct. 19 (Yardley Hall)
Taj Express: Bollywood Musical Revue: Oct. 25 (Yardley Hall)
Pablo Ziegler Trio: Oct. 26 (Polsky Theatre)
Jake Shimabukuro, the “master of the ukulele”: Oct. 27 (Yardley Hall)
National Dance Company of Siberia: Nov. 2 (Yardley Hall)
Cirque Mechanics: “42FT – A Menagerie of Mechanical Marvels”: Nov. 8 (Yardley Hall)
Robert Randolph and the Family Band: Nov. 9 (Yardley Hall)
Harlem 100 – Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance: Nov. 10 (Yardley Hall)
Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: The Scared Scriptless Tour: Nov. 22 (Yardley Hall)
Winterlude – Ensemble Ibérica: Siento y Vivo (I Feel and Live): Dec. 8 (Polsky Theatre)
Bomsori Kim, violin: Jan. 18, 2020 (Polsky Theatre)
Winterlude – Eboni Fondren: Jan. 19 (Polsky Theatre)
Anderson & Roe, piano duo: Feb. 7 (Polsky Theatre)
Bobby McFerrin and Gimme5: Circlesongs: Feb. 9 (Yardley Hall)
“An American in Paris” – two shows: Feb. 15 (Yardley Hall)
Winterlude – Sax & Violins: Feb. 16 (Polsky Theatre)
The Choir of Man: Feb. 21 (Yardley Hall)
Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait: March 6 (Polsky Theatre)
Danú – St. Patrick’s Celebration: March 7 (Yardley Hall)
Seeds: March 11 (Polsky Theatre)
Winterlude – Nate Nall Quintet: March 15 (Polsky Theatre)
TAO: Drum Heart: March 20 and 21 (Yardley Hall)
Alonzo King LINES Ballet: May 9 (Polsky Theatre)
You can reach Patrick Neas at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at www.facebook.com/kcartsbeat.