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The fire of the gypsy’s curse is ablaze with


A heroic dueling troubadour
A fatal love triangle
The gypsies’ celebrated Anvil Chorus!

Friday, April 24, 2015 at 8:00pm
Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 2:30pm
at The Magnificent Tennessee Theatre
Opera preview hosted by Maestro Salesky begins 45 minutes prior to each performance

The Inquisition and civil war rage through 15th century Spain. A rivalry between brothers unknowingly separated at birth, a crazed gypsy woman, and a tyrannical count doom the love of a noblewoman for her ardent balladeer. Roman censors halted the 1853 premiere of this rousing opera about lust, madness, and murder!

A powerhouse cast delivers Verdi’s thrilling score, led by Rochelle Bard who dazzled Knoxville audiences last season as Norma, and Nelson Martinez, who gave a brilliant, heartbreaking performance as Knoxville Opera’s Rigoletto.

Performed in Italian with projected English translations

This just in……If you would like to attend one of our performances but don’t have anyone to go with you, join our Facebook group: Sempre Opera Society! S.O.S. is an opera-loving group that will meet for dinner and drinks prior to performances and sit together during the show. Join us on Facebook for more information.

Meet the Director!

Keturah-Stickann Recent credits for Ms. Stickann include Madama Butterfly for Opera Colorado, Don Giovanni and Sister Carrie for the Brevard Music Center, Don Quichotte for San Diego Opera, and La clemenza di Tito at Opera in the Heights. Her frequent collaboration with Leonard Foglia also put her at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC last January to remount their production of Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick for the 6th time. Coming up, Ms. Stickann will direct Macbeth for Kentucky Opera, L’enfant et les sortilèges for Emerald City Opera, and will join Mr. Foglia once again for both the world premiere of Jennifer Higdon’s Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera, and their 7th Moby-Dick at Los Angeles Opera. Other credits include Don Giovanni for the Janiec Opera Company, Flight for Opera Fayetteville, Rigoletto for Opera Memphis, The Tales of Hoffman and Manon for Knoxville Opera, Don Pasquale for Opera in the Heights, La tragédie de Carmen for the Janiec Opera Company, Madama Butterfly for Opera Santa Barbara, and directing and choreographing The Pearl Fishers for the Sarasota Opera.

Meet the Cast!

Rochelle-Bard ROCHELLE BARD (Leonora)
Ms. Bard’s appearance is sponsored thanks to the generosity of the Sood Family.

Birthplace: Worcester, Massachusetts
Foreign Opera Company: Opera Lirica (Orvieto)
Foreign Festival: Seoul International Music Festival
U.S. Opera Companies: Utah Festival Opera, Baltimore Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera Tampa, Opera San José, Opera Idaho, Ash Lawn Opera, Opera Providence, Maine Grand Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, Rockland Opera, Cape Cod Opera, St. Petersburg Opera, Longwood Opera, New England Light Opera
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Tanglewood Festival, Hartford Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, Wilmington Symphony, Cambridge Symphony, Sugar Creek Symphony, Pioneer Valley Symphony, Music by the Lake

Jonathan-Burton-124x150 JONATHAN BURTON (Manrico)
Mr. Burton’s appearance is sponsored thanks to the generosity of Dr. Monroe and Sandra Trout.
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Ohio
Foreign Opera Company: Royal Opera Muscat (Oman)
Foreign Orchestras: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, Teatro la Fenice (Venice), Sinfonica de Galicia (Spain), Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra
U.S. Opera Companies: Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Tulsa Opera, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Shreveport Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Phoenix Opera, Opera New Jersey, Dayton Opera, Opera Omaha, Annapolis Opera, Central City Opera, Lyric Opera Virginia, Opera Naples, Opera on the James, Southern Ohio Light Opera
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Kentucky Symphony, Springfield Symphony, Lexington Symphony, Southern Ohio Symphony, Castleton Festival
Nelson-Martinez2-124x150 NELSON MARTINEZ (Il Conte di Luna)
Mr. Martinez’s appearance is sponsored thanks to the generosity of Margaret L. Goodman.
Birthplace: Holguín, Cuba
Foreign Opera Companies: Greek National Opera, Opéra de Massy (Paris), Teatro Municipal de Sao Paulo, Teatro Lirico Nacional (Cuba), Teatro Lirico Holguín (Cuba)
Foreign Orchestras and Festivals: Cuban National Symphony, Youth Spring Festival of Pyong Yang (Korea)
U.S. Opera Companies: Florida Grand Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Company of North Carolina, Winter Opera St. Louis, Metro Lyric Opera (NJ), Baltimore Lyric Opera, Miami Lyric Opera, Sociedad Pro Arte Grateli (Miami), Teatro Grattacielo (NYC)
U.S. Orchestra: Orlando Philharmonic

Dana-Beth-Miller2-124x150 DANA BETH MILLER (Azucena)
Ms. Miller’s appearance is sponsored thanks to the generosity of Governor and Mrs. Bill Haslam.
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas
Foreign Opera Companies: Deutsche Oper Berlin, Badishe Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Edmonton Opera, Opéra de Montreal
Foreign Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic
U.S. Opera Companies: Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Dallas Opera, Cincinnati Opera, New York City Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Colorado, Florida Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Tulsa Opera, San Antonio Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Pensacola Opera, Sacramento Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Utah Opera
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: American Symphony (NYC), San Antonio Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Sacramento Philharmonic, Tulsa Symphony, Austin Symphony, Princeton Festival

Patrick-Blackwell2-124x150 PATRICK BLACKWELL (Ferrando)
Mr. Blackwell’s appearance is sponsored thanks to the generosity of Catherine and Mark Hill.
Foreign Opera Company: Porgy & Bess European Tour
Foreign Orchestra: Munich Philharmonic
U.S. Opera Companies: Lyric Opera of Chicago, New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, New Orleans Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Fresno Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Utah Opera, New Jersey State Opera, Florentine Opera (Milwaukee), Des Moines Opera, Toledo Opera, Augusta Opera, Opera Illinois, Chamber Opera Chicago, Ars Viva of Chicago, Union Avenue Opera (St. Louis)
U.S. Orchestras and Festivals: Boston Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Fresno Symphony, Castleton Festival

Birthplace: Massapequa, NY
Foreign Opera Company: International Opera Theatre (Italy)
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville, Shreveport, Asheville, Ithaca (NY), Summer Garden Opera (VA), Midwest Institute of Opera (IL), University of Houston, University of Tennessee
U.S. Orchestras: Hendersonville Symphony (NC), Knoxville Symphony, Rapides Symphony (LA)
U.S. Festivals: Brevard (NC), Ashlawn (VA)

Sarah-Fitch-124x150 SARAH FITCH (Ines)
Birthplace: Houston, Texas
Foreign Orchestra: AIMS Orchestra (Graz)
U.S. Opera Companies: Knoxville Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, Summer Garden Opera, Midwest Institute of Opera, University of North Texas, University of Tennessee
U.S. Orchestra: University of North Texas Symphony


Act I, Scene 1:

Outside the Aliafería Palace, Zaragoza, Spain, c. 1400.
Civil war rages between the houses of Aragón and Urgel. Ferrando, captain of the Count’s army, tells the troups a tale of the Count’s young brother, who fell ill after being cursed by a gypsy. The gypsy was caught and burned at the stake. It is said that her daughter, Azucena, kidnapped the ailing boy and threw him on top of her mother’s body. The Count’s father refused to believe the boy was dead and told his son to find his brother, and bring Azucena to justice.

Act I, Scene 2:

The gardens of the Aliafería Palace
Leonora expresses her love for a mysterious troubadour. After she retires, the Count enters looking for her and hears the troubadour’s voice, riling his jealousy. Leonora also hears it, and rushes outside and into the Count’s arms, mistaking him for her secret admirer. The troubadour enters, Leonora realizes her blunder, and the Count recognizes his romantic rival as Manrico, a gypsy fighting as a mercenary for Urgel. The Count challenges him to a duel.

Act II, Scene 1:

A gypsy camp in the Biscay Mountains
Azucena is haunted by a duty to avenge her mother’s death. She tells her son Manrico about kidnapping the Count’s brother to throw him in the fire with her mother, but in the confusion of the moment, threw her own son into the flames. Manrico questions his identity and recounts his duel with the Count, noting that he was mysteriously held back from killing him. Manrico receives a message that he has been ordered to defend Castellar Castle, and that Leonora believing him dead is to enter a convent. Manrico rushes off to stop her.

Act II, Scene 2:

Cloister of the Jerusalem Convent in Zaragoza
The Count arrives, intending to abduct Leonora. Leonora and the nuns appear, but Manrico and his men prevent the Count from carrying out his plans. In the melee, Manrico escapes with Leonora.

Act III, Scene 1:

The Count’s military encampment near Castellar Castle
As the Aragón army plans their attack on Castellar, Ferrando drags in Azucena and recognizes her as the murderer of the Count’s brother. Azucena cries out for Manrico, and the Count realizes he has the means to flush his enemy out of Castellar by threatening to burn her on a pyre in front of the castle.

Act III, Scene 2:

A room next to the chapel in Castellar Castle
Manrico has brought Leonora with him to Castellar where they share a private moment prior to marrying. When Ruiz informs him that Azucena is about to be burned at the stake, the troubadour runs off to save her.

Act IV, Scene 1:

A courtyard in the Aliafería Palace
Manrico has failed to free Azucena and both have been condemned to die. Ruiz brings Leonora to the prison tower, and she laments their fate as monks chant a prayer for their souls. The Count appears and Leonora barters Manrico’s freedom for her hand in marriage before secretly swallowing poison.

Act IV, Scene 2:

The prison tower in the Aliafería Palace
Azucena and Manrico are restless. Leonora enters with news of Manrico’s freedom, but his joy turns to despair when he learns of the price that must be paid. The Count overhears Leonora confess that she would rather die than marry another, and orders Manrico’s execution. Azucena wakes to witness his death, and proclaims that she has avenged her mother’s death because the Count has murdered his own brother!