Jake Heggie’s chamber opera, Three Decembers, continues the Company’s dētour Series when it opens on Friday, March 8, 2019 at PHAME (Patrick Henry Arts, Music, Entertainment) Theatre for three performances. Additional performances are March 9 and 10 (matinee), 2019. This chamber opera, which is a meditation on the family we want versus the family we actually have, marks the welcome return of legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade as Madeline Mitchell, reprising the role she created for the world premiere of this opera. Also reprising the role she created for the world premiere is soprano Kristin Clayton in her house debut as Beatrice Mitchell. Baritone Steven LaBriealso makes his Company debut as Charlie Mitchell. Conductor Adam Turner makes his Company debut alongside stage director Karen Tiller. The scenic, lighting, and projection designer is Peter Dean Beck and the costume designer is Helen E. Rodgers.

Three Decembers takes place in the month of December over the years 1986, 1996 and 2006 and tells the story of Madeline Mitchell, a famous actress, and her two adult children as they struggle to know and love each other.

San Diego Opera is incredibly excited to present at the PHAME Theatre for the first time in the Company’s history. Located on the campus of Patrick Henry High School (6702 Wandermere Dr,, San Diego, CA 92120) this brand-new 500 seat facility includes state-of-the-art acoustic architecture and lighting while retaining its intimacy to make it an exciting new venue for the Company to perform in.

Performed in English with English text above the stage, these are the first performances of Three Decembers by the Company.

Three Decembers will have a radio broadcast on Saturday, June 29, 2019 at 8 PM on KPBS radio, 89.5 FM (97.7 FM Calexico) and online at www.kpbs.org

The Cast

Frederica von Stade, Madeleine Mitchell

American mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade made her Company debut in 2016 as Mrs. Winnie Flato in Jake Heggie’s Great Scott. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 1970 and she has sung nearly all of her great roles with that company. In January 2000, the company celebrated the 30th anniversary of her debut with a new production of The Merry Widow specifically for her, and in 1995, as a celebration of her 25th anniversary, the Metropolitan Opera created a new production of Pelléas et Mélisande for her. In addition, she has appeared with every leading American opera company, including San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Los Angeles Opera. Her career in Europe has been no less spectacular, with new productions mounted for her at Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, the Vienna Staatsoper, and the Paris Opera. She is invited regularly by the finest conductors, among them Claudio Abbado, Charles Dutoit, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Leonard Slatkin, and Michael Tilson Thomas, to appear in concert with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, London Symphony Orchestra, Washington’s National Symphony, and the Orchestra of La Scala. A noted bel canto specialist, she excelled as the heroines of Rossini’s La Cenerentola and The Barber of Seville and Bellini’s La sonnambula and is noted for her Marguerite in Berlioz’ La damnation de Faust. Other notable roles in her repertory include title role in The Merry Widow and Desirée Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Her repertoire is continually expanding with the works of contemporary composers. She created the role of Tina in The Dallas Opera’s world premiere production of The Aspern Papers, and Madame de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons and Mrs. Patrick De Rocher inDead Man Walking, both for San Francisco Opera.

Kristin Clayton, Beatrice Mitchell

San Diego Opera debut. Notable appearances for American lyric soprano Kristin Clayton include the world premiere of Jake Heggie and Terrence McNally’s At the Statue of Venusfor the grand opening of Denver’s new Caulkins Opera House, Beatrice Mitchell with Houston Grand Opera and the San Francisco Opera, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni for Walnut Creek Opera, Nedda in Pagliacci, Fiordilgi in Così fan tutte, Madame de Tourvel in The Dangerous Liaisons, Wellgunde in Das Rheingold for San Francisco Opera, Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos, Mimì in La bohème, Violetta in La traviata and Magda in La rondine for Chautauqua Opera, Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang with the Kalamazoo Symphony, Norina in Don Pasquale and Micaëla in The Tragedy of Carmen with Festival Opera in Walnut Creek. While a member of the San Francisco Opera Center and an Adler Fellow, she performed in Showcase productions of  King Priam as Andromache and Ezio as Onoria. At Wolftrap Opera, she sang Donna Anna and the First Lady in The Magic Flute and as a member of San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, she sang Rosalinde and Adele in Die Fledermaus with Western Opera Theatre. Additional opera credits include the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Micaëla in Carmen, Virtue in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, the title roles in Zaïde and Suor Angelica and a Wood Nymph in Rusalka for the San Francisco Opera. Her orchestral engagements with the San Francisco Symphony have included a tribute to Leonard Bernstein and a semi-staged revival of On the Town. She recently performed the VerdiRequiem with Modesto Symphony and Poulenc`s Gloria and Orff`s Carmina Burana with the San Mateo Masterworks Chorale.

Steven LaBrie, Charlie Mitchell

San Diego Opera debut. American baritone Steven LaBrie’s notable appearances include Escamillo in Carmen with Sarasota Opera, Riolobo in Florencia en el Amazonas with Florida Grand Opera, Figaro in The Barber of Seville with Opera Hong Kong and Lyric Opera Baltimore, Marcello in La bohème with Opera Omaha, and the Count in The Marriage of Figaro with North Carolina Opera. In concert, he has been heard in Carmina Burana with the San Antonio Symphony and Brahms’s Requiem with the Tulsa Symphony. He has also appeared with the New York City Ballet singing the baritone solos of Estancia both in New York City and on tour in Paris, and made his Carnegie Hall debut as the soloist in Matthias Pintscher’s Songs from Solomon’s Garden with the American Composers Orchestra. He has received numerous awards and honors including a 2016 Top Prize Award and a 2013 Encouragement Grant from the George London Music Foundation, Second Place from the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition as well as the Judges Award with the Opera Index Competition. In 2010, he was an Encouragement Award winner in Washington, DC for the Metropolitan Opera National Council. He was also awarded First Place in The Dallas Opera Guild Vocal Competition and Second Place in the Palm Beach Opera Competition in 2008, where he performed in the grand winner’s concert accompanied by the Palm Beach Opera Orchestra. That same year, he was awarded Second Place at the Parkinson Competition and was a recipient of the Sergio Franchi Scholarship. In 2006, Mr. LaBrie was a Third Place winner of The Dallas Opera Vocal Competition, where he was also awarded The Mozart Award for best aria interpretation. Additionally, he has been awarded the Grand Prize at the Florida Grand Opera Young Patronesses of the Opera Competition, Fourth Prize at both the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation Competition and the Giulio Gari Foundation Competition and recently the 2015 Gilda Morelli Prize for Best Vocal and Dramatic Interpretation of an Aria at the Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morelli in Mexico City, which was especially chosen by Francisco Araiza.

Adam Turner, Conductor

San Diego Opera debut. American conductor Adam Turner is the Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor at Virginia Opera. Notable appearances there include Der Freischütz, Samson and Delilah, The Seven Deadly Sins/PagliacciA Midsummer Night’s DreamLa bohèmeRoméo and Juliette and The Flying Dutchman. Other engagements include Händel’s Messiah with the Virginia Symphony and Theo Popov’s The Halloween Tree, which he also conducted with the American Lyric Theater at Arizona State University, Three Decembers and Sweeney Todd with Hawaii Opera Theatre, a Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program Holiday Concert with Washington National Opera, Carmen with Central City Opera, Roméo and Juliette at Lyric Opera Baltimore, Lost in the Stars at Washington National Opera, Sweeney Todd for Eugene Opera, The Marriage of Figaro, Dead Man Walking,CarmenLa bohèmeMan of La Mancha, and Oklahoma! with Central City Opera, Don GiovanniThe Marriage of FigaroCarmenBrigadoonMy Fair LadyCamelot, and Noye’s Fludde during his tenure as Resident Conductor at Ash Lawn Opera, and H.M.S. PinaforeCarmenAriadne auf NaxosThe MikadoCarousel, and Camelot for Virginia Opera. He first gained recognition during his tenure at Stadttheater Pforzheim in Germany while taking over conducting responsibilities of a production of Les Misérables. Prior to his appointment to Virginia Opera he held administrative and music staff appointments at houses across the country including Seattle Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Central City Opera, Portland Opera, Tulsa Opera, Syracuse Opera, and Ash Lawn Opera.

Karen Tiller, Director

San Diego Opera debut. Stage director Karen Tiller has directed several Hawaii Opera Theatre productions including SusannahMadama ButterflyThe Pearl FishersTurandot,Three DecembersDialogues of the Carmelites, and Sweeny Todd.  Other notable productions include The Turn of the Screw at Opera Memphis and Orpheo et Euridice at the Opera Festival of New Jersey. Before directing, Ms. Tiller served as Hawaii Opera Theatre’s Executive Director for almost ten years.

Peter Dean Beck, Scenic/Lighting/Projection Designer

San Diego Opera debut. Peter Dean Beck has designed scenery and/or lighting for over three hundred productions around the country. Among his opera credits are Falstaff, Turandot, Manon, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly, Hansel and Gretel, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliette for such companies as Atlanta Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Virginia Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. He has designed productions of Andrea Chenier, L’Italiana in Algeri, Macbeth, Elektra, and Tristan and Isolde for Hawaii Opera Theatre, where he has been principal designer for twenty-five seasons. He has also been designing opera productions for the University of Colorado for sixteen seasons. His other musical theater credits include West Side Story, Guys and Dolls, Candide, The King and I, and Fiddler on the Roof. He designed The Indigo Girls Project for Atlanta Ballet and Nutcracker for Ballet Hawaii. He designed a double bill of le Rossignol and Cavalleria Rusticana for Sakai City Opera in Japan and lit Cavalleria rusticana/Pagliacci in Macao and Don Carlo in Hong Kong.

Helen E. Rodgers, Costume Designer

San Diego Opera debut. Recent work by costume designer Helen E. Rodgers includes Così fan tutte and Falstaff for Mannes Opera, Street Scene for the Manhattan School of Music and Chautauqua Opera, the Christmas Spectacular for Radio City Music Hall, and Die WalküreLa bohèmeCosì fan tutte, and Susanna for Hawaii Opera Theatre where she has been a costumer since 2002.

Performance Schedule

Friday               March 8, 2019              7 PM

Saturday           March 9, 2019              7 PM

Sunday             March 10, 2019             2 PM


San Diego Opera Podcast Series

Get to know the artists and operas of the 2018-2019 Season. These insights into the singers and productions can be enjoyed by opera fans as well as those who are new to the art form. Casual and fun, this is a great way to learn about our artists and the operas they star in. Watch online at http://www.sdopera.org/Company/Education/Podcasts. These videos are also available on our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/SanDiegoOpera

Purchasing Tickets

Subscriptions to the 2018-2019 season are now on sale. Single tickets are on sale in the summer.

Single tickets start at $49 for all mainstage performances. Single tickets start at $35 for all dētour Series operas. Children prices exist, please visit www.sdopera.org or call 619.533.7000 for more information.

Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Senior citizen discounts of 15% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.

Military discounts (active and retired) of 50% are available to the Main Stage series on Tuesday and Friday subscription packages. Military discounts of 50% are available to the dētour Series on Saturday subscription packages.

For information about tickets please visit www.sdopera.org or call 619.533.7000

The 2018-2019 Season

The Marriage of Figaro                                      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  October 20, 23, 26, and 28 (mat), 2018

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914          Peter Rothstein                      December 7, 8, and 9 (mat), 2018

Rigoletto                                                             Giuseppe Verdi                     February 2, 5, 8, and 10 (mat), 2019

Three Decembers                                                Jake Heggie                          March 8, 9, 10 (mat), 2019

Carmen                                                               Georges Bizet                       March 30, April 2, 5, and 7 (mat) 2019

One Amazing Night –Stephen Powell and Stephen Costello                            May 15, 2019