Operagoers should prepare to journey to biblical Babylonia, ancient China and 17th-century Scotland during Opera Carolina’s 2014-15 season.

The season featuring Italian composers kicks off with “Nabucco” by Giuseppe Verdi in October, the Giacomo Puccini masterwork, “Turandot,” in January, and lesser-known Gaetano Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” in April.

One of the Metropolitan Opera’s leading tenors, Marcello Giordani, makes his Charlotte debut as Calaf in “Turandot,” Puccini’s last opera. Left unfinished at his death, it was completed by one of his students with notes left by the composer.

“Marcello is a great artist and an old friend,” said James Meena, Opera Carolina’s general director. “We share an interest in advancing the career of soprano Othalie Graham, who we both believe can be a mega-star.”

Graham co-stars in this production along with Dina Kuznetsova. Charlotte audiences may remember Graham from her Opera Carolina performance in the lead role of last season’s “Aida.”

Returning “Turandot” to Charlotte after it appeared here in 2008 represents the balance Meena is working to achieve between repertory staples and less-familiar works. He is committed to performing Puccini’s “Lescaut,” “La Fanciulla del West” and “La Rondine” in OC’s five-year Puccini cycle. Meena anticipates it will be the 2018-19 season.

Season opener “Nabucco” features Metropolitan Opera stars baritone Gordon Hawkins in the title role and soprano Brenda Harris.


By: Michael J. Solender

The Charlotte Observer

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