Beautiful music. Compelling stories. Stirring drama.
These forces come together to make opera one of the most engaging art forms the human experience has ever known, with music that takes us to places deep in our heart we didn’t know existed.
It is in this spirit that we are incredibly excited to announce our 2016/17 season at Fresno Grand Opera. With a continued passion for telling timeless stories with transcendent music, this coming season marks the beginning of a unique two-year journey that joins together the glorious tradition of opera with amazing stories about the Central Valley. We will present three traditional operas by renowned composers in the next two seasons that collectively tell the story of the people in our community, how our community became what it is today, and the important role that agriculture has, and continues, to play in our community.
In January 2017, we’ll present Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Ned Rorem’s elegant opera Our Town, based on the famous Thornton Wilder play, which accentuates the little things in every day life that define the American experience in small towns across the country. Carlisle Floyd’s opera Of Mice and Men, based on the celebrated novel by Pulitzer and Nobel-Prize winning author John Steinbeck, tells the dramatic story about the life of migrant workers who helped to make the Central Valley the agricultural hub of the world in the early 20th century. In January 2018, we’ll present the West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, based on the John Steinbeck novel about the mass migration that shaped the Central Valley as we know it today. All three works are filled with the beautiful music we expect from opera, with stories that impact our lives still today.
After exploring how opera can illuminate our region’s history, we’ll revel in the long history of opera by traveling back in time for a very traditional performance of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in May 2018. With this exciting performance, we’ll recreate the experience of going to a world premiere of an opera in Mozart’s time, complete with a candlelit theatre, period costumes for performer and audience alike, and extended intermissions for eating and drinking with friends. For traditional opera lovers, this will be the experience of a lifetime!
Having fun and enjoying musical performances in comfortable environments will continue in the 2016/17 season. In that vein, we’ll kick off our season with a Roaring ‘20s Theme Party at the historic Frank’s Place at Warnors Theatre, with a special appearance by composer Ricky Ian Gordon (The Grapes of Wrath) and soprano Carrie Hennessey (A Streetcar Named Desire, 2015). Along with continuing our popular recital series at Mia Cuppa Caffe, we’re introducing a Cabaret Series this season featuring popular singers from the past two seasons. And with great anticipation, we’re expanding the Van Ness Series to include an additional performance – Gospel on Van Ness!
If you want to deepen your experience with the opera, I would encourage you to become a member of Friends of Fresno Grand Opera. With that group you can enjoy midday and evening social engagements every month, programs with singers, stage directors and conductors working with FGO, and special behind-the-scenes access to the company.
Lastly, if you appreciate having an opera company in your community, I would ask you to support the opera with a tax-deductible contribution to the annual fund. Fresno, along with its partner company in Modesto, can take pride in being the only community between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles with an opera company. There is only one opera company in the entire Central Valley, and it’s ours. We deeply believe that a vibrant arts community makes our city a better place to work and live, and we strive every day to make sure our community continues to be culturally rich and diverse. We’d like your help in ensuring opera’s place in Fresno.
I am very excited to share these experiences with you next year, and truly hope you’ll join us for this journey into what opera can mean for our community. I am always happy to discuss our opera company in more detail, and welcome your contact if you have thoughts or ideas you would like to share. You may reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to talk more about Fresno Grand Opera.