Love Lost and Found: Opera Orlando’s 2nd Season

Eric Jacobson leads the Orlando Philharmonic for Cinderella in March, 2018

Cecilia Violetta Lopez - Mimi in “La Bohème”  & Eric Jacobsen - Conductor for "Cinderella" & Amanda Crider - Cinderella

The inaugural season of Opera Orlando has been distinguished by critical and audience acclaim and sold out houses. For a myriad of reasons, the 2017-2018 season will have an even greater impact in Central Florida.

“From the moment we launched Opera Orlando on the coattails of Florida Opera Theatre a year ago January, our primary goal was to become the leading voice for the art form in the region,” said Gabriel Preisser, the Executive and Artistic Director of the company. “Through the hard work of our staff and board and the stalwart support from so many in the community, we have shown that opera can have a powerful impact in Central Florida."

In January, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced that it would no longer produce operas, rather preferring to “... hand off the artistic and administrative leadership (of opera) to the capable hands of Opera Orlando,” according to RK Kelley, the orchestra’s board president. But out of this decision has come a new partnership between the organizations that assures the artistic quality of all main-stage productions will be on a consistently high level.

“The Philharmonic will be our orchestra and we couldn’t be more delighted,” said Robin Jensen, Opera Orlando’s Music Director. “And for our upcoming season, we’ll have their Music Director, Eric Jacobson, conducting Rossini’s ‘Cinderella.’ Also by adding the Orlando Ballet to any productions that have dance episodes, we feel we’re putting the best that Orlando has to offer together for our community.”

The 2017-18 season kicks off in an intimate manner with “Opera on Park,” three vocal recitals featuring nationally-renowned artists on Sundays at 2 pm on August 6, 20 and 27. This is a mainstay of the company and will once again be held at the University Club of Winter Park (841 N. Park Ave, 32789). An additional release will be issued as all artists are confirmed.

The company then moves into the Alexis and Jim Pugh Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando for the rest of its season where the Orlando Philharmonic will join them for each of three fully-staged and costumed productions.

Giacomo Puccini’s beloved “La Bohème” opens the main-stage season on November 15-19. We’ll be in Paris, but the original story’s 1830 setting for the colorful ensemble of struggling artists will be transported to the Roaring 20s in the “city of Lights.”. Metropolitan Opera Roster Artist Cecilia Violetta Lopez will make her Opera Orlando debut in the iconic soprano role of the doomed Mimi (love lost). Preisser will take the stage and perform the key baritone role of Marcello. Other confirmed principals include bass-baritone Nathan Stark as Colline and baritone Brian James Myer as Schaunard. All three men were featured this past August in an “Opera on Park” recital.

Opera Orlando set out to create a holiday tradition through performances of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in December, 2016.  Audiences, young and old alike, were delighted by a series of performances throughout Orlando. The same formula will be put to work in 2017 and Jensen will once again be music director and conductor while the Orlando Ballet will add dance. Three Pugh Theater performances are slated for December 9-10.

Then for March 21-25, a fantastical production of Gioachino Rossini’s “Cinderella” (“La Cenerentola” in Italian) will conclude the 2017-18 season with a happy ending when our heroine is reunited with Prince Ramiro in this cartoon-like comedy (love found). Conductor Jacobsen will make his Opera Orlando debut and the company welcomes back mezzo soprano Amanda Crider in the title role. Crider sang for the company’s first annual Gala and gave a recital for “Opera on Park.” Internationally-renowned stage director Ophelie Wolf will make her Opera Orlando debut for this production.

Opera Orlando will also be heard throughout Central Florida in the 2017-18 with ongoing presentations including a series of special lead-up events for “La Bohème” and “Cinderella.”

“We were founded with the mission to inject new life and energy into the traditional operatic repertoire,” explained Gabriel Preisser. “We feel that in the 2017-18 season we’ll hit our stride as our production concepts challenge us at every turn. We couldn’t be happier.”

Season tickets for the 2017-18 Opera Orlando will go on sale March 31 and are available by visiting or calling the Dr. Phillips Center Box Office at 445 South Magnolia Ave. in Orlando or 844-513-2014.   

Opera Orlando: Where the City Goes for Opera

In only its second year, Opera Orlando has established itself as the standard bearer of the art form in Central Florida. As its 2016-17 season comes to a close with the March 24-26 performances of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” the company looks forward to continuing its track record of sold out houses, fresh theatrical realizations and critical acclaim. All productions include musicians from the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and are held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. It was in the Center’s Walt Disney Theater this past September that Opera Orlando assembled some of the nation’s and state’s finest operatic talent for a community-building benefit in response to the Pulse Night Club Tragedy: “One Voice Orlando: A Celebration in Song.” This stellar and powerful event inspired one of the art form’s leading national advocates, Marc Scorca of OPERA America, to declare that “In its brief existence, Opera Orlando has demonstrated its ability to bring high-quality performances to Orlando and to lift the spirit of the city through the power of opera.”