Opera Carolina will celebrate Verdi and Wagner’s 200th birthdays and check three Puccini operas off its list in the 2013-2014 season.
Opera Carolina begins the season in October with “Aida,” Verdi’s tragic story of wartime love set in ancient Egypt. This production stars Opéra de Montréal’s Othalie Graham in the title role, the Metropolitan Opera’s Irina Mishura as Amneris and Teatro alla Scala’s Antonello Palombia as Ramades.
Two years ago, Opera Carolina committed to perform all of Puccini’s operas by 2017. Next season, the company will knock out three one-act operas in January. “Il Tabarro,” “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi,” collectively called “Il Trittico” or “the triptych,” were written to be played together. Though Schicchi (pronounced skee-kee) is less familiar than some of Puccini’s longer works, it contains “O mio babbino caro,” arguably opera’s most well-known aria.
The season concludes in March 2014 with Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman,” a tale of a dreamer leaving her lover for the lure of a legendary ship captain. The Dutchman is played by Greer Grimsley of the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera’s Elizabeth Kataria plays Senta and Kristopher Irmiter of the San Francisco Opera plays Daland.
Opera Carolina last performed a Wagner work in 1997. Because the German composer’s work requires scenic elements and a large orchestra beyond most standard grand operas, these works are rarely seen in Charlotte. “The Flying Dutchman” is smaller than other Wagner operas.
Celebrating birthdays, said Opera Carolina director James Meena, is a responsibility.
“Our institutions, like Opera Carolina, have a different mission in the 21st century than the opera houses had 200 years ago,” he said.
“An anniversary is the occasion for society to say, ‘We have done a good job. We have highlighted these works for another generation. We have kept their beauty alive.’ ”