Mark Gresham | 10 MAR 2022
Following the announcement of their Mainstage productions for the 2022-23 season last week, The Atlanta Opera has now revealed details and dates for their two Discoveries Series productions: Bluebeard’s Castle and The Snowy Day.
October 7–9, 2022: Bluebeard’s Castle
Bela Bartók’s one-act Bluebeard’s Castle graces the Discoveries series in the U.S. premiere of a production from England’s Theatre of Sound. Longtime collaborators conductor Stephen Higgins and director Daisy Evans, both making their Atlanta Opera debuts, have reimagined the work as a tale of a husband and wife trying to cope with the implications of her dementia.
Instead of doors masking Bluebeard’s true soul, the audience encounters Judith’s fraught relationship with her memories and their effect on her husband. Baritone Michael Mayes and soprano Susan Bullock will reprise their roles from last fall’s London premiere. The opera will be sung in English, in a new translation commissioned for the occasion.
March 31–April 2, 2023: The Snowy Day
Morehouse College will host next year’s Discoveries Series production of Joel Thompson’s new opera, The Snowy Day, with a libretto by children’s author Andrea Davis Pinkney. The work premiered at Houston Grand Opera this past December.
The Snowy Day is based on the children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats, which communicates without dialogue the deep joy a young Black boy feels as he plays in the snow. The goal of Pinkney’s adaptation, as the New York Times puts it, is “to help change perceptions about Black identity and attract new audiences to opera at a time when the art form faces serious financial pressures and questions about its future.” Part of her challenge was to acknowledge the contemporary implications of the story without losing the book’s charming sense of innocence.
The Atlanta Opera first partnered with the School of Music at Morehouse College for this season’s “96-Hour Opera Project,” a competition for composer/librettist teams from historically underrepresented communities to write, cast, direct, and stage a compelling new ten-minute work in four days. ■