Music by Pietro Mascagni
Libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti and Guido Menasci
Premiered May 17, 1890, Teatro Costanzi (Rome, Italy)
Mascagni’s classic verismo tale shines a light on rustic life in an idyllic Sicilian village—a closer look reveals jealousy, betrayal, and secrets lurking beneath the pastoral facade. Rebuked by both the church and her lover, Turridu, the pious Santuzza must decide whose secrets to keep. What will the consequences be for the faithless Turridu and the adulterous Lola?
February 20, 23, 26, 28 | 2021
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House at Denver Performing Arts Complex
Performed in Italian, with English and Spanish subtitles at every seat
Estimated Length: 1 hour, 45 minutes, including one 25-minute intermission
*Join us one hour prior to each performance at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House of a free and insightful pre-performance discussion led by opera historian Betsy Schwarm.
Sets courtesy of New Orleans Opera
Costumes courtesy of Opera de Montreal
Michelle DeYoung has already established herself as one of the most
exciting artists of her generation. She appears frequently with many of the world’s leading orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Met Orchestra (in Carnegie Hall), the Met Chamber Ensemble, Vienna Philharmonic, BBC Symphony Orchestra,
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris,
Bayerische Staatsoper Orchestra, Berliner Staatskapelle, Sao Paulo Symphony, and the Concertgebouworkest.
She has also appeared in the prestigious festivals of Ravinia, Tanglewood, Aspen, Cincinnati, Saito Kinen, Edinburgh, Salzburg, St Denis, and Lucerne.
The conductors with whom she has worked include Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, James Conlon, Sir Colin Davis, Stéphane Denève, Christoph von Dohnányi, Gustavo Dudamel, Christoph Eschenbach, Daniele Gatti, Alan
Gilbert, Bernard Haitink, Manfred Honeck, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, Seiji Ozawa, Antonio Pappano, Andre Previn, David Robertson, Donald Runnicles, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Mariss Jansons, Michael
Tilson Thomas, Franz Welser-Möst, and Jaap van Zweden.
Ms. DeYoung has also appeared with many of the finest opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, La
Scala, Bayreuth Festival, Berliner Staatsoper, Hamburg State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Thèâtre du Châtelet, Opéra de Nice, Theater Basel, and the Tokyo Opera. She was also named the 2015 Artist in Residence at Wolf Trap
Opera. Her many roles include the title roles in Samson et Dalila and The Rape of Lucretia, Fricka, Sieglinde and Waltraute in The Ring Cycle; Kundry in Parsifal, Venus in Tannhäuser, Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde, Herodias
in Salome, Eboli in Don Carlos, Amneris in Aida, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Marguerite in Le Damnation de Faust, Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, Didon in Les Troyens, Gertrude in Hamlet, and Jocaste in Oedipus Rex. She also created the role of the Shaman in Tan Dun’s The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera.
In recital, Ms. DeYoung has been presented by the University of Chicago Presents series, the Ravinia Festival, Weill Recital Hall, Alice Tully Hall, San Francisco Symphony’s Great Performances series, Cal Performances in
Berkeley, SUNY Purchase, Calvin College, the Pittsburgh Symphony, Roy Thomson Hall, the Thèâtre du Châtelet, the Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon) the Edinburgh Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall and Brussels’s La Monnaie.
Ms. DeYoung’s recording of Kindertotenlieder and Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS Media) was awarded the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Album. She has
also been awarded the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO Live). Her growing discography also includes
recordings of Mahler Symphony No. 3 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Bernard Haitink (CSO Resound) and with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck (PID); Bernstein’s Symphony No. 1, ‘Jeremiah’ with the
BBC Symphony Orchestra and Leonard Slatkin (Chandos), Das Klagende Lied with the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas (BMG),and Das Lied von der Erde with the Minnesota Orchestra (Reference
Her first solo disc was released on the EMI label. In the 17/18 season, Ms. DeYoung made her debut at the English National Opera as Amneris in a new production of Aida. She also appeared in concert with the Sydney Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. This summer she tours with the Philharmonia
Orchestra and returns to the both the Ravinia Festival and the Colorado Music Festival, and next season her many appearances include concerts with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, the Los Angeles
Chamber Orchestra, and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Roberto De Biasio only made his debut in December 2006, singing Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Donizetti of Bergamo, yet he has already found incredible success and has been catapulted to the forefront of today’s Verdi tenors. His ‘virile, glistening voice’ (New York Times), ‘appealingly natural sense of Italianate phrasing!’ (Boston Globe), ‘fluid phrasing and an exciting, ringing top’ (San Francisco Chronicle), are celebrated by press and audiences alike.
Before his singing career Roberto was a professional flautist and teacher of History of Modern and Contemporary Music at University of Cassino. After winning prestigious musical competitions (“E lucevan le stelle” Award, “Beniamino Gigli” Award…), it did not take long for Roberto to be appreciated by such conductors as Myung-Whun Chung, James Levine, Fabio Luisi, Lorin Maazel, Riccardo Muti.
Whilst singing predominately in Italy, he soon made his international debuts at Grand Théâtre de Genève, Opernhaus Zurich, Opéra de Montreal, Wiener Staatsoper, Opéra Bastille, Tokyo Bunka Kaikan, Sejong Theater in Seoul and Poly Theatre of Beijing. Italian venues include Teatro La Fenice Venice, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, Arena di Verona, Teatro Verdi of Trieste, Teatro Regio di Torino, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro Pavarotti of Modena, Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Regio di Parma and Teatro Bellini of Catania.
The season 2010/11 saw him give two critically acclaimed debuts: at the Metropolitan Opera New York singing Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra conducted by James Levine ‘a notable Met debut’ (New York Times), ‘It’s his house debut, and he couldn’t have provided a better one’ (Huffington Post) and at Opéra Bastille Paris singing Rodolfo in Luisa Miller.
Other notable appearances include Verdi’s Messa da Requiem conducted by Lorin Maazel at the Festival Verdi of Parma and Alfredo in La Traviata at Teatro La Fenice conducted by Myung Whun Chung and directed by Robert Carsen and a concert version of Bellini’s Norma at the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s opening event at the Tanglewood Festival conducted by Charles Dutoit, where Roberto had a tremendous success as Pollione.
Last season’s highlights included La Traviata at the Opéra de Montreal and at the Theatro Municipal São Paulo, Ernani and Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera New York.
Most recently Roberto debuted at Teatro Comunale di Bologna in Macbeth directed by Robert Wilson and conducted by Roberto Abbado, at the Wiener Staatsoper in Simon Boccanegra conducted by Evelino Pidò and at the Musikverein of Vienna with the Wiener Symphoniker conducted by Fabio Luisi to great success.
Kira Dills-DeSurra is a vibrant American mezzo-soprano whose magnetic stage presence communicates effortless charm and truth. A champion of new and rarely performed works, Dills-DeSurra has appeared in many American premieres, and she also cultivates skills in musical improvisation and circus arts as part of her broad-ranging palate of storytelling tools.
In 2019/20 Dills-DeSurra returns to Opera Colorado as an Artist in Residence, singing a performance of Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Shepherd Boy (Tosca) and principal roles in touring productions. Fall 2019 she joins San Diego Symphony as the mezzo-soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream under Maestro Rafael Payare.
Summer of 2019 Dills-DeSurra endeavored into early music, playing Diana/Giove in Diana in La Calisto with Opera NEO. The 2018/19 season marked her debut with Opera Colorado, singing Flora (La traviata), Gertrude Stein (Tom Cipullo’s After Life), and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro). She was also featured in touring productions as Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette) and Hansel (Hansel and Gretel).
Dills-DeSurra was an Apprentice Artist in Central City Opera’s 2018 and 2017 summer festivals, performing Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflöte), covering Ines (Il trovatore), featuring as a soloist in Encore: A Musical Revue, and singing Mercédès (Carmen).
She made her role debut as Vera Boronel in a Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera co-production of The Consul in 2017. With Chicago Opera Theater/Long Beach Opera she was also featured as Nurse and Secretary in Glass’s The Perfect American, Isolde of the White Hands in Frank Martin’s Le Vin Herbé, and Lysander (cover) in The Fairy Queen. Additional credits with Chicago Opera Theater include La Ciesca in Gianni Schicchi, Cecilio (cover) in Mozart’s Lucio Silla, and Mary in the Chicago premiere of Amy Beach’s Cabildo. Dills-DeSurra is a graduate of the Chicago Opera Theater Young Artist Program.
A gifted singing actress in a wide range of repertoire, Dills-DeSurra’s role highlights also include Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette (Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival), Chewy in the world premiere of Hand to Mouth (First Look Sonoma), and an Actress in Sir David McVicar’s production of Elektra (Lyric Opera of Chicago). She is also a founding member of Forte Chicago, an all-female opera improv troupe with whom she has collaboratively created and starred in four major productions. Dills-DeSurra’s love and affinity for comedy began with operetta; she has performed many Gilbert and Sullivan roles, including The Fairy Queen in Iolanthe, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, the title character in Patience, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Mad Margaret in Ruddigore, and Casilda in The Gondoliers.
Dills-DeSurra’s artistic achievement has been recognized through success in competition and various awards. She was a National Finalist in the Classical Singer Music Vocal Competition (2017), and she won first place in both the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition, Chicago (2016) and Evanston Music Club/North Shore Musicians Club Competition (2016). Other accolades include the Metropolitan Opera National Council St. Louis District Encouragement Award (2016), Central City Opera John Vivian Richard Award (2018) and Central City Opera Guild Award (2017).
Hailing from Petaluma, California, Dills-DeSurra earned a Master of Music and Artist Diploma from Roosevelt University: Chicago College of Performing Arts and a Bachelor of Music from University of Southern California.
American mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook has excelled in a wide range of roles with leading companies throughout the United States. Opera Today wrote that “to say that Ms. Cook was a revelation is an understatement, since she stamped the part as her own, and experienced a triumph for her sensational performance…. Ms. Cook is possessed of a round mezzo tone of great beauty, admirable control and potent power in all ranges and at any volume.” Among her engagements in the 2019-20 season are returns to San Francisco Opera as Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro and to Opera Parallèle as Mama in Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk and Julia Child in Lee Hoiby’s Bon Appetit!.
Ms. Cook’s engagements in the 2018-19 season included Mother Bailey in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life with San Francisco Opera, Death in the world premiere of Tom Cipullo’s The Parting with Music of Remembrance in Seattle, as well as its recording on Naxos Records, and Mrs. Peachum in The Threepenny Opera with West Edge Opera in Berkeley. In the 2017-18 season, Ms. Cook returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Camila in Thomas Adès’ critically acclaimed opera The Exterminating Angel, and sang the Innkeeper in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov with the San Francisco Symphony, Michael Tilson Thomas conducting.
Ms. Cook’s engagements in the 2016-17 season included performances as Countess de Coigny in Andrea Chénier with San Francisco Opera, the Witch in Humpderdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel with San Francisco Symphony, Older Woman in Dove’s Flight with Opera Parallèle, and recitals with the San Francisco Symphony and with Seattle’s Music of Remembrance. In the summer of 2016, she sang Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd with Mill City Summer Opera, and was soloist in David Gockley’s Farewell Opera Gala Concert with San Francisco Opera. Her engagements in the 2015-16 season included Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera; Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro with Houston Grand Opera; Zosha in Heggie’s Out of Darkness with Music of Remembrance; and Gertrude Stein in Cipullo’s After Life with Urban Arias. Ms. Cook can be heard as Gertrude in the world premiere recording with Music of Remembrance, recently released by Naxos.
Ms. Cook is known as “San Francisco Opera’s go-to choice” for a wide range of roles (San Francisco Chronicle), with recent highlights as the title role in Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne; La Frugola in Il tabarro; Mrs. McLean in Floyd’s Susannah; and Marcellina. Past highlights with the company include Arlene Kamen and Wang Tai Tai in the world premiere of Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter; Jade Boucher in the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking which was recorded and released by ERATO; Annina in Der Rosenkavalier; and Mother Goose in The Rake’s Progress.
Recent performances include Marthe in Faust with the Metropolitan Opera; Mrs. De Rocher in Dead Man Walking with Opera Parallèle; Berta with Houston Grand Opera; and Ježibaba in Rusalka with Opera Colorado. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Kát’a Kabanová; was Marcellina with Santa Fe Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre; Auntie in Peter Grimes and the Innkeeper in Boris Godunov with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Tisbe in La Cenerentola with Houston Grand Opera; and soloist in Stravinsky’s Le chant du rossignol with the San Francisco Symphony. Catherine Cook has also appeared with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. She can be heard as soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Cincinnati Philharmonia Orchestra, released by Centaur Records.
Ms. Cook was a participant of San Francisco Opera’s prestigious Adler Fellowship and Merola Opera Program where she sang the title role in Ariodante and presented a Schwabacher Debut Recital. She is a winner of the Metropolitan National Council Auditions as well as the Merola Chicago Regional Auditions Yoder Award. Ms. Cook holds a Master of Music from Wichita State University and an Artist Diploma from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, where she won the Normal Treigle Award. Catherine Cook is a Professor of Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where she holds the Frederica von Stade Distinguished Chair in Voice.
With a voice described as having a “rich vocal range full of inviting nuance,” Malcolm MacKenzie is quickly capturing attention in the dramatic baritone repertoire. Opera News recently praised him as a “confident, commanding Count di Luna…of robust tone, ardent address, arching phrases and genuine baritonal squillo.” Mr. MacKenzie has been heard at leading opera houses throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing at the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Paris Opera (Bastille), Finland’s Savonlinna Festival, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, San Diego Opera, Arizona Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera, in roles including Simon Boccanegra, Iago, Tonio, Baron Scarpia, Don Giovanni, Count di Luna, Renato, Jack Rance, Marcello, Germont, and Count Almaviva. Engagements for his 2019-2020 season include Scarpia in Tosca with Eugene Opera and Mark Torrance in The Shining with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.
Recent engagements for Mr. MacKenzie have included returns to Colorado Opera as Germont in La Traviata, and to Pittsburgh Opera as Stubb in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick; as well as role debuts in North Carolina Opera’s Rigoletto in the title role, Baron Scarpia in Opera Omaha’s Tosca, and with Opera San Jose as Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte; returning Dayton Opera as Tonio in I pagliacci; creating the role of Roger Chillingworth in Opera Colorado’s world premiere of The Scarlet Letter by Lori Laitman; returning to LA Opera as Stubb in Jake Heggie’s Moby-Dick; Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with Eugene Opera; Giorgio Germont in La Traviata with Virginia Opera; and Schaunard in La bohème with San Diego Opera; a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Dancaïro in Carmen; the title role in Simon Boccanegra with Kentucky Opera; Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with San Diego Opera; Iago in Otello with Nashville Opera; Count di Luna in Il trovatore with Arizona Opera; Alfio/Tonio in Cavalleria rusticana/I pagliacci with Arizona Opera; and Jack Rance in La fanciulla del West with Nashville Opera.
Appointed in 2015 as Opera Colorado’s first-ever music director, Ari Pelto’s “breathtaking wizardry in the pit” (The Denver Post) has been widely celebrated, with Pelto in demand at opera houses and concert halls throughout the United States. At the age of 24, Pelto was appointed Assistant Conductor at the Spoleto Festival and he has since gone on to conduct worldwide. International engagements include performances with Bochumer Philharmoniker and opera productions at New National Theatre of Tokyo and the Teatro Nacional Sucre in Quito, Ecuador. In 2004 he made his highly-praised debut with New York City Opera, conducting La Traviata, after which he became a regular, returning for productions of Madama Butterfly, La Bohème, and Carmen. Recent successes include Eugene Onegin at Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Lucia di Lammermoor at Virginia Opera, and La Voix Humaine at Chicago Opera Theater. Here in Denver, he has led many acclaimed performances, including this season’s La Traviata. Opera Colorado is pleased to announce an extension of Pelto’s contract through the 2023-24 season.
David Lefkowich is an accomplished stage director, choreographer, and fight choreographer and has enjoyed success with different companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Teatre alla Scala, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera.
Directing credits include Don Giovanni at L’Opéra de Montréal, Don Giovanni, Idomeneo, Le Nozze di Figaro and L’Histoire du Soldat at the Ravinia Music Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Maestro James Conlon conducting. Lefkowich also directed and choreographed L’Histoire du Soldat at the Juilliard School, with Maestro Conlon. He made his European debut directing Le Portrait de Manon at the Gran Teatre Liceu in Barcelona, Spain and followed with The Rake’s Progress at La Monnaie in Brussels, Belgium. Other credits include directing and choreographing new productions of La Traviata (Austin Opera, Opera Birmingham, San Francisco Opera, Lake George Opera), Carmen (Fort Worth Opera, Anchorage Opera), Lucia de Lammermoor (Eugene Opera), Simon Boccanegra (Kentucky Opera), La Bohème, La fille du Regiment and Acis and Galatea (Madison Opera), Salome (Minnesota Opera), Roméo et Juliette (Florida Grand Opera, Minnesota Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Tampa, Seagle Music Colony), Tosca at Boston Lyric Opera, Cosi Fan Tutte (Opera Saratoga), Le Portrait de Manon (Glimmerglass Opera), and Il Trovatore (New Orleans Opera, Fort Worth Opera). He was thrilled to fight direct the world premieres of Appomattox (Philip Glass) at San Francisco Opera, and Miss Lonelyhearts at the Juilliard Opera Center, La fanciulla del west at the New York City Opera and the New York off-Broadway run of A Clockwork Orange.
Opera Colorado debut