A NEW PRODUCTION OF TOBIAS PICKER’S FANTASTIC MR. FOX
OPENS HIS FIRST FULL SEASON AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
OF OPERA SAN ANTONIO ON SEPTEMBER 23 AT 7:30 P.M.
Fantastic Mr. Fox launches Opera San Antonio’s inaugural season
as resident opera company at the new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Mr. Picker celebrates his 60th birthday season in 2014-15 with four of his operas,
including Fantastic Mr. Fox, receiving new productions at opera companies across the US
NEW YORK, NY (August 27, 2014)—Opera San Antonio and Artistic Director Tobias Picker open the 2014-15 season with a new production of Mr. Picker’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the children’s book by Roald Dahl, in the Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater at San Antonio’s new Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, with four performances on September 23, 26, 27, and 28, 2014. The season marks Mr. Picker and Opera San Antonio’s first complete season and the company’s inaugural season as a founding resident organization of the Tobin Center.
The cast includes both rising and established stars, featuring baritone John Brancy, winner of the 2012 Sullivan Foundation Grand Prize and first prize in the 2013 Marilyn Horne Song Competition, in the title role, joined by mezzo-soprano Renée Rapier as Mrs. Fox, soprano Elizabeth Futral as Miss Hedgehog, and members of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio as the Fox cubs and the chorus of trees.
Erica Olden directs the Opera San Antonio production and Uruguayan conductor Andres Cladera, the new Opera San Antonio Resident Conductor, leads members of the San Antonio Symphony. The costumes and sets are designed by British visual artist Emily Carew Woodard, whose work is inspired by Victorian illustration (see Ms. Woodard’s illustrations for her costume and set design below), while lighting is designed by Chad R. Jung.
Ms. Olden and Mr. Cladera are longtime collaborators. In 2009, they cofounded and codirected the Microscopic Opera Company in Pittsburgh, where they presented the East Coast premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2011. Fantastic Mr. Fox was originally commissioned and premiered by LA Opera in 1998, with a libretto written by Donald Sturrock, Artistic Director of the Roald Dahl Foundation.
The new Fantastic Mr. Fox production opens on Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m., with subsequent performances on Friday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. (simulcast to an outdoor screen in Tobin Center’s River Plaza); and Sunday, September 28 at 2:00 p.m. The 70-minute opera is in three acts and performed without an intermission. Tickets are available through the Tobin Center box office online at www.tobincenter.org, by phone at (210) 223-8624, or in person at 100 Auditorium Circle, San Antonio, TX 78205. For more information about Opera San Antonio, visit operaSA.org.
Mr. Picker’s 2014-15 season as Opera San Antonio Artistic Director offers three new productions. In addition to Fantastic Mr. Fox, Mr. Picker has programmed Richard Strauss’ Salome, which runs in January, starring American soprano Patricia Racette in the title role, and a double bill of the Italian comic opera Il segreto di Susanna by Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari and the French tragic opera La voix humaine by Francis Poulenc, which runs in March, featuring Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci in both lead roles. The Opera San Antonio production of Salome celebrates the 150th anniversary of R. Strauss’ birth while marking Ms. Racette’s first performance of the title role in a staged production of the opera and the first time the opera has been heard in San Antonio in over thirty years. Additionally, four cast members—mezzo-soprano Michelle DeYoung, tenor Jay Hunter Morris, tenor Brian Jagde, and Ms. Rapier, who returns after performing in Fantastic Mr. Fox—make their role debuts as Herodias, Herod, Narraboth, and the Page, respectively.
The double bill of Il segreto di Susanna and La voix humaine is a vehicle for Ms. Antonacci, who performed in the same pairing at Opéra Comique in Paris and Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg in the spring of 2013.
From July 2014 to June 2015, four of Mr. Picker’s operas, including Fantastic Mr. Fox, are receiving new productions. A newly revised version of his 2005 opera An American Tragedy premiered at the 2014 Glimmerglass Festival, and there will be new productions of his 2001 opera Thérèse Raquin at the Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater in early 2015 and of his 1996 opera Emmeline at Opera Theatre of St. Louis in June 2015. San Francisco Opera presented the world premiere of Mr. Picker’s fifth opera, Dolores Claiborne, in September 2013.
About Tobias Picker
American composer Tobias Picker, who is celebrating his 60th birthday season, has been called “our finest composer for the lyric stage” by The Wall Street Journal. He has composed numerous works for nearly every genre including opera, orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo instrument, and voice, and has had works commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, and Helsinki Philharmonic. His scores have been called both theatrical and thrilling with a keen intuition for narrative and sturdy melodic architecture, and by employing themes that often personify live events and resonate with audiences of every age, Mr. Picker has become one of America’s most sought-after composers.
In March 2014, Tzadik Records released Mr. Picker’s Invisible Lilacs, a collection of four original chamber works that spans over four decades. He is currently composing an orchestral work for Christoph Eschenbach and the National Symphony Orchestra. The work receives its world premiere performance during the 2015-16 season.
# # #
Fantastic Mr. Fox (new production)
Music by Tobias Picker, Opera San Antonio Artistic Director
Libretto by Donald Sturrock
Based on the children’s book Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Presented by Opera San Antonio
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater
100 Auditorium Circle
San Antonio, TX 78205
Tuesday, September 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, September 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 27 at 7:30 p.m. (simulcast to an outdoor screen in Tobin Center’s River Plaza)
Sunday, September 28 at 2:00 p.m.
Andres Cladera, conductor
Members of the San Antonio Symphony
Fantastic Mr. Fox – John Brancy
Mrs. Fox – Renée Rapier
Miss Hedgehog – Elizabeth Futral
Farmer Boggis – Andrew Craig Brown
Farmer Bean – Gabriel Preisser
Farmer Bunce – Edwin Vega
Badger the Miner – Zachary Altman
Burrowing Mole – Jonathan Blalock
Rita the Rat – Tynan Davis
Mr. Porcupine – Theo Lebow
Agnes the Digger – Andrey Nemzer
Mavis the Tractor – Gail Novak Mosites
Jenny Foxcub – Morgan Teel
Penny Foxcub – Jenna Takach
Lenny Foxcub – Tony Rodriguez
Benny Foxcub – Hollis Wilkins
Fox Cubs – Members of the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio
Chorus of Trees – Children’s Chorus of San Antonio
Director – Erica Olden
Set and costume designer – Emily Carew Woodard
Lighting designer – Chad R. Jung