75th Anniversary Year Builds on Tradition While Exploring New Creativity
Tulsa Opera’s upcoming season will be a vibrant mix of performance styles and music genres, focusing on diversifying spectator experiences.
The schedule of performances ranges from a spooky operatic séance in the East Village to traditional audience favorites in the Lorton Performance Center at the University of Tulsa.
“Tulsa Opera is exploring fun ways to engage with new audiences in new venues while also staying true to the long-held tradition of opera,” said Artistic and Interim General Director Aaron Beck. “Expectations are changing, and people want different experiences for their entertainment choices. Like any organization, we must meet the customer’s changing interests, and we’re excited because it gives us a chance to be even more creative and innovative.”
According to Beck, opera is experiencing a remarkable evolution across the country, and Tulsa is no exception. Opera companies are challenged with finding a unique balance of protecting the rich history of their art form while also presenting powerful musical performances in more intimate venues and with a new mix of music styles.
“Some of the nation’s most revered opera organizations are wowing audiences with fresh, imaginative performances,” said Tulsa Opera Board President Steve Walton. “There’s nothing quite like the classically trained operatic voice. While we are looking forward to producing grand opera in large venues again, people are realizing you can experience that same sound in a smaller venue where the audience feels a much deeper connection with the performers.”
For Tulsa Opera, that new approach means scheduling shows at known venues like the Tulsa Performing Arts Center and new locations like Studio 308 and the Lynn Riggs Theater. In February, the company will produce the 1990s hit musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change for Valentine’s Day weekend. In addition to general admission, couples have the opportunity to purchase a classic Gen-X date-night experience, all wrapped in a bow with a box of chocolates and roses at a table for two.
Beck says that’s just one new and different experience in store for audiences this year. The season also includes a family holiday performance by Tulsa Youth Opera, a collection of opera and cabaret standards at Living Arts Tulsa, and a performance at the Church Studio.
In addition to these performances, Oklahoma-native soprano Sarah Coburn will present a benefit concert of opera favorites on behalf of the company in early December. Coburn will also serve as a goodwill ambassador for Tulsa Opera throughout this important anniversary season.
“Since the early days of my career, Tulsa Opera has been a firm foundation,” said Coburn. “Of course, the company is based in my home state, but Tulsa Opera is known throughout the world as a top-tier opera company presenting innovative productions and invaluable educational and community engagement programming. I am so grateful every time I get to sing on the Tulsa Opera stage. We need music, beauty, and community now more than ever. I believe in the power of opera to bring people together in a magical way, and I am delighted to serve as the company’s ambassador this season.”
In celebration of its 75 years in Tulsa, the company has committed to presenting 75 performances this season. Performances will take place throughout the Tulsa metro area and will include pop-up concerts at community events, the annual Raise Your Voice Tour for children, and Songs by Heart, the company’s therapeutic program for those living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Details for the season performances are below.
The Medium by Gian Carlo Menotti
Friday and Saturday, October 20-21, 7:30 p.m.
In Gian Carlo Menotti’s chilling opera, fake séances are business as usual for Madame Flora. However, on a fateful night, the usual façade shatters, leading to a series of events that promise to send shivers down your spine. Join this immersive audience experience and become part of the séance. Mary Ann Stewart plays Madame Flora and Bree Nichols plays Monica. Stage director is Jen Alden and music director is Lyndon Meyer. General admission tickets are $35.
Sarah Coburn: A Benefit Concert for Tulsa Opera
Saturday, December 2, 7:30 p.m.
Lorton Performance Center at the University of Tulsa
Tulsa Opera returns to the Lorton Performance Center for a truly unforgettable evening of music. Oklahoma’s star soprano Sarah Coburn will grace the stage for one night only. Accompanied by Tulsa Opera Principal Pianist Lyndon Meyer, this exceptional program promises to transport you through a journey of operatic classics, making this night of exquisite music an all-encompassing experience for all to cherish. Tickets are $50-$100.
Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian Carlo Menotti
Saturday, January 6, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, January 7, 2:30 p.m.
Liddy Doenges Theatre at Tulsa Performing Arts Center
Tulsa Youth Opera presents its annual family holiday production. The opera tells the story of a young boy named Amahl who lives in poverty with his mother. One night, their home is visited by the Three Kings, who are seeking shelter on their way to Bethlehem. This heavenly story about giving to others perfectly captures the Christmas spirit, no matter the time of year! Conductor is Aaron Beck and stage director is Dani Keil. Tickets are $15.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music by Jimmy Roberts
Friday and Saturday, February 9-10, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, February 11, 2:30 p.m.
Lynn Riggs Theater at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center
This hilarious, hit off-Broadway musical comedy explores the ups and downs of love, lust and modern relationships. With catchy songs and witty dialogue, this show will have you laughing and nodding in agreement from beginning to end. It whirls into Tulsa just in time for Valentine’s Day! Stage director is Jeremy Stevens and music director is Lyndon Meyer. General admission tickets are $35.
Opera Fizz: A Bubbly Night of Music and Mixology
Saturday, April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Living Arts of Tulsa
Experience the perfect blend of music and mixology with a night of opera and cocktails. Sip on expertly crafted drinks while enjoying stunning performances of beloved arias and duets, creating a truly unforgettable evening at the gorgeous Living Arts of Tulsa. General admission tickets are $35.
Opera Rocks the Country
DATE CHANGE: Saturday, June 1, 6 p.m. doors open, 7 p.m. showtime
The Church Studio
Come to rock legend Leon Russell’s sanctuary for a night of opera and country music. The night begins with Henry Mollicone’s short Wild West opera The Face on the Barroom Floor, followed by dancing, drinks, and live country music by Oklahoma honky-tonk band Three Chord Justice. Tickets are $75.