Tacoma Opera’s 2018-19 season marks the 50th anniversary of this Tacoma cultural treasure. In the fall, timed to go with the Halloween season, is Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor.” The winter opera in early 2019 will be “The Rape of Lucretia,” a Benjamin Britten work about an event that resulted in a Mediterranean kingdom becoming the Roman Republic. Spring of 2019 brings “The Elixir of Love,” a Gaetano Donizetti comedy.
Tacoma Opera 2018-19 season schedule:
“Lucia di Lammermoor” by Gaetano Donizetti
- Sunday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m.
- Friday, Nov. 2, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 4, 2 p.m.
- Oct. 28 – Theater on the Square, Tacoma
- Nov. 2 and 4 – Performing Arts & Events Center, Federal Way
“Lucia di Lammermoor,” Donizetti’s tragic masterpiece, is an archetype of 19th century romantic opera. In the foggy atmosphere of medieval Scotland, the pure and passionate love between Lucia and Edgardo emerges – a love like that of Romeo and Juliette, which was too beautiful to last and too dangerous for their families. After being torn from her true love, Lucia is forced to marry Arturo Bucklaw for political reasons. Betrayed, hurt, and stripped of her reason for living, she loses her mind in the famous “mad scene,” which is a supreme challenge for any soprano who dares to tackle the role and a much-anticipated delight for audiences. The scene is the climax of the opera – a bloody, graphic ritual wrapped in heavenly bel canto music. It’s a perfect opera for the Halloween season.
“The Rape of Lucretia” by Benjamin Britten
- Sunday, Feb. 3, 2 p.m.
- Friday, Feb. 8, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Feb. 10, 2 p.m.
- Theater on the Square
First performed at Glyndbourne in England on July 12, 1946, “The Rape of Lucretia” is the first of several chamber operas Britten wrote during his distinguished career. According to Roman tradition, Lucretia, who died around 510 B.C. was a noblewoman in ancient Rome whose rape by Sextus Tarquinius, an Etruscan king’s son, was the cause of a rebellion that overthrew the Roman monarchy and led to the transition of Roman government from a kingdom to a republic. Britten takes this ancient Roman tale and transforms it into a dramatic work of misguided hubris and great human suffering, narrated by two compassionate storytellers, male and female. The work is one of Britten’s most intimate and moving works and is a masterpiece of the chamber opera genre.
“The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti
- Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m.
- Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m.
- April 7 – Theater on the Square, Tacoma
- April 12 and 14 – Performing Arts & Events Center, Federal Way
At the other end of the spectrum from “Lucia di Lammermoor,” “L’Elisir d’amore” or “The Elixir of Love,” is one of the sunniest and sweetest comic operas ever written. It is the story of a simple country farm hand named Nemorino, who falls head over heels in love with the farm owner’s rich and haughty daughter, Adina. He is so desperately in love that he gives up everything he owns to buy a mysterious “elixir of love” from a traveling salesman, not knowing it is really just a bottle of country red wine. After a number of unexpected comic twists and turns, true love wins out and Adina finally admits she loves Nemorino. The music from this opera is possibly the most lyrical and sweetly beautiful of all bel canto operas and Nemorino’s aria, “Una furtiva lagrima (A Furtive Tear),” in act two is one of the best known and beloved opera arias of all time. “The Elixir of Love” is a perfect opera for spring and a lovely way to end a highly dramatic season.
For information, visit tacomaopera.com.