Tulsa Opera concludes its 2018-19 season this May with performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, featuring American-born, Germany-based transgender baritone Lucia Lucas in the title role, which marks her main-stage U.S. operatic debut and role debut.
Performances take place at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m.
Tulsa Opera Artistic Director Tobias Picker said:
“Making history, Tulsa Opera presents baritone Lucia Lucas in her American operatic debut as a transgender woman. Lucia Lucas’s appearance here will mark the first time a trans woman has performed a principal role on the operatic stage in the United States.”
She has performed in opera houses around the world, including Deutsche Oper Berlin, Dublin’s National Opera House, and Theater und Orchester Heidelberg. In an interview with NBC News about the upcoming Tulsa Opera production, she said:
“I left my home country to perfect my craft, and I can’t wait to come home to share it with Tulsa. In addition to simply my debut, I can’t wait to show off what I have learned over the 10 years since I left to pursue my career. I know this opera like the back of my hand, but this will be my first time in the title role.”
Under the direction of Denni Sayers, the opera is staged in a recent, film noir-inspired production that sets the action in the shadowy streets and speakeasies of a mid-century American metropolis. Ms. Sayers returns to Tulsa Opera after directing 2016’s production of Les Pêcheurs de perles. She has also directed productions at the Canadian Opera Company, BBC Proms, and in Tel Aviv. Also a renowned choreographer, she has long-standing collaborations with many leading directors‚ including Francesca Zambello‚ Jonathan Kent‚ Niel Armfield‚ David Pountney and the late Nikolaus Lehnhoff.
In addition to Ms. Lucas, the cast comprises baritone Anthony Clark Evans (Leporello), who makes his company debut and has also appeared at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Metropolitan Opera, and San Francisco Opera, among other companies; bass and Tulsa Opera Resident Artist Hidenori Inoue (Commendatore), whose season also includes performances with Anchorage Opera, Opera Steamboat, and Virgina Opera; soprano and Tulsa Opera Resident Artist Karlye Whitt (Donna Anna); soprano Pamela Armstrong (Donna Elvira), who has performed with companies around the world, including the Dresden Semperoper, Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, and Wiener Staatsoper; and baritone and Tulsa Opera Resident Artist Michael Gracco (Masetto), who returns to Tulsa Opera after singing in February’s The Little Prince. Zerlina to be announced.
Uruguayan conductor Andrés Cladera leads the orchestra in his company debut. He is the Artistic Director of Opera Steamboat in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The Tulsa Opera Chorus is directed by the company’s Chorus Master Lyndon Meyer.
This production of Don Giovanni was originally premiered in 2015 by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The premiere was directed by Kristine McIntyre with sets and costumes designed by Keith Brumley and Mary Traylor, respectively.