Pittsburgh Opera is proud to announce our 2016-17 Season; The season includes the very first world premiere in our 78 year history and two Pennsylvania premieres

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Pittsburgh Opera is proud to announce our 2016-17 Season.

The season includes the very first world premiere in our 78 year history and two Pennsylvania premieres.

The world premiere is of Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king>, which is based on the life of baseball Hall of Famer Josh Gibson. Information about The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king> is below the Season Overview section of this email.

Season Overview

Benedum Center Productions :

Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/la-traviata>

* Sat, Oct. 8, 2016 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, Oct. 11, 2016 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, Oct. 14, 2016 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, Oct. 16, 2016 * 2:00 PM

Richard Strauss’ Salome<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/salome>

* Sat, Nov. 5, 2016 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, Nov. 8, 2016 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, Nov. 11, 2016 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, Nov. 13, 2016 * 2:00 PM

Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/turandot>

* Sat, Mar 25, 2017 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, Mar 28, 2017 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, Mar 31, 2017 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, Apr 2, 2017 * 2:00 PM

World premiere of Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king> – The Josh Gibson Story

* Sat, Apr 29, 2017 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, May 2, 2017 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, May 5, 2017 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, May 7, 2017 * 2:00 PM

CAPA Theater Production:

Pennsylvania premiere of George Frideric Handel’s Richard the Lionheart<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/richard-the-lionheart>

* Sat, Jan 21, 2017 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, Jan 24, 2017 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, Jan 27, 2017 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, Jan 29, 2017 * 2:00 PM

Second Stage Project:

Pennsylvania premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/as-one>

* Sat, Feb 18, 2017 * 8:00 PM
* Tue, Feb 21, 2017 * 7:00 PM
* Fri, Feb 24, 2017 * 7:30 PM
* Sun, Feb 26, 2017 * 2:00 PM

Special Events:

63rd Annual Diamond Horseshoe Ball – Friday., Sept. 30th, 2016

New Year’s Eve Celebration at Carnegie Music Hall, Oakland – Sat., Dec. 31, 2016

Maecenas Ball XXXIII – Saturday, May 13th, 2017

Free, Low Cost and Other Events:

FREE Pre-Opera Talks<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/about/community-events/>- One hour before each performance
FREE Meet The Artists<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/about/community-events/> – Following each Tuesday evening performance
FREE Rising Stars concert<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/2015-16-season/free-low-cost-events/> – Sunday, Sept. 28th, 2016 at Pittsburgh Opera headquarters
FREE Brown Bag Concerts<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/2015-16-season/free-low-cost-events/> – selected Saturdays during the season at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
Art Song Recitals<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/2015-16-season/free-low-cost-events/> – selected Sundays during the season at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters.
Opera Up Close<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/2015-16-season/free-low-cost-events/> – selected Sundays during the season at Pittsburgh Opera Headquarters
Friends of Pittsburgh Opera<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/about/friends-of-pittsburgh-opera/> events
WQED previews and broadcasts


Single tickets for the Benedum Center productions will again start at just $12. Season tickets (subscriptions) for the four Benedum productions range from $43 – $639. Single ticket sales tentatively begin August 29, 2016. Group Discounts available.

The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king> – World Premiere
by Daniel Sonenberg<http://www.danielsonenberg.org/>
Libretto by Daniel Sonenberg<http://www.danielsonenberg.org/> and Daniel Nester<http://danielnester.com/>
Based on the life of baseball Hall of Famer Josh Gibson
Sung in English with English texts projected above the stage

Overview of The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king>

Pittsburgh Opera’s 2016-2017 season concludes with the first world premiere in our illustrious 78 year history. Opera lovers, baseball fans, and Pittsburghers of all stripes will be dazzled by Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King, the Josh Gibson story.

The Summer King was commissioned by Portland Ovations<http://portlandovations.org/>, with development by American Opera Projects<http://aopopera.org/> and deeply appreciated continuing support for the Pittsburgh Opera world premiere from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation<https://mellon.org/>. The Summer King has received major support from American Opera Projects<http://aopopera.org/>, the National Endowment for the Arts<https://www.arts.gov/>, Bob Crewe Foundation<http://www.bobcrewefoundation.org/>, Maine Arts Commission<http://mainearts.maine.gov/> and University of Southern Maine<https://usm.maine.edu/>. The Summer King received its first public presentation as a concert performance on May 8, 2014 at Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine under the auspices of Portland Ovations<http://portlandovations.org/> in collaboration with the University of Southern Maine<https://usm.maine.edu/>. Pittsburgh Opera is turning it into a full stage production, with lighting, costumes, sets, a full orchestra in the pit, and so forth for its world premiere in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh Opera is also working with the composer to continue to develop material for the world premiere.

As baseball fans and proud Pittsburgh history enthusiasts know, Josh went from the sandlots of Pittsburgh’s North Side to the pinnacle of greatness on the baseball diamond in the Negro Leagues, before ultimately being enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The opera begins with a father and son debating about great baseball players. When the father mentions Josh Gibson, the son thinks his father is living in the past. But as his father retorts, “Who’s got those numbers today?”

The Summer King follows Josh at key points in his life, including his playing days in the Negro Leagues as well as in Mexico, where he was awarded the MVP award while playing for the Veracruz Azules. The robust supporting characters include his wife Helen, who dies in childbirth, his girlfriend Grace (sung by the amazing Denyce Graves<http://www.denycegraves.com/>), and teammates such as Sam Bankhead and Cool Papa Bell.

Also featured in prominent roles are the gregarious Gus Greenlee, who owned not just the Pittsburgh Crawfords but also the legendary Crawford Grill in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, and Wendell Smith, an intrepid reporter for the celebrated African American newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier.

Like all African Americans at the time, Josh was prohibited from playing in the Major Leagues by what was disingenuously referred to as a “gentlemen’s agreement” among the Major League clubs. Sadly, Josh died at the age of 35, felled by a stroke shortly before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Pittsburgh Opera is proud and privileged to premiere The Summer King, Josh Gibson’s story. Josh Gibson™ used with permission of Josh Gibson Enterprise, Inc., c/o Luminary Group LLC, www.JoshGibson.org<http://www.JoshGibson.org>

Cast and Artistic Team: The Summer King<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/show/the-summer-king>

Josh Gibson TBA
Sam Bankhead Kenneth Kellogg<http://www.kennethkellogg.com/>+
Gus Greenlee Norman Shankle<http://www.uzanartists.com/portfolio/norman-shankle/>+
Cool Papa Bell Phillip Gay<http://www.phillipngay.com/>**
Grace Denyce Graves<http://www.denycegraves.com/home.aspx>+
Wendell Smith TBA
Hattie Jasmine Muhammad<http://www.jasminemuhammad.com/>**

Conductor Antony Walker<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/resident-artists/faculty-administration/>
Stage Director Sam Helfrich<http://www.samhelfrich.com/>
Set Designer Andrew Lieberman<http://www.aoiagency.com/andrew-lieberman/>
Costume Designer Kay Voyce<http://kayevoyce.com/>
Lighting Designer TBA
Asst. Conductor Glenn Lewis<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/resident-artists/faculty-administration/>
Chorus Master Mark Trawka<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/resident-artists/faculty-administration/>
Associate Coach/Pianist James Lesniak<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/resident-artists/faculty-administration/>

+ Pittsburgh Opera<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/> debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/pages/resident-artists>
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni<http://www.pittsburghopera.org/pages/history-and-alumni>

2425 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15222

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