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New ‘Bohème’, ‘Penzance’ and Modern Works Upcoming for Nashville Opera

Nashville OperaNashville Opera’s 2014-15 season brings new productions of classic works by Giacomo Puccini as well as Gilbert and Sullivan. It also brings contemporary pieces by Carly Simon (in a newly revised edition) and Daniel Catán to the Music City.

“I am excited about this season because of the diversity of programming,” General and Artistic Director John Hoomes tells ArtsNash. “We have a classic Italian opera, a well-loved comedy piece, our first Spanish-speaking opera and a work by one of our most popular singers.”

BohemeFirst there’s a fresh look at Puccini’s La Bohème, last performed by the opera during its 2008-09 slate. Young love in Paris never burned so brightly – or tragically! Sung in Italian with projected English translations the running time is about two-and-a-half hours with two 20-minute intermissions. The dates and times are Thursday, Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct.11 at 8 p.m. in Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall.

RomulusThen the annual Noah Liff Opera Center staging of non-traditional fare continues with singer-songwriter Simon’s Romulus Hunt: A Family Opera. The 1993 work (which Simon is revising for this production and which will also be recorded by the opera) was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and the Kennedy Center and concerns the 12-year-old titular character’s attempt to deal with his parents’ divorce. As Hoomes notes, it may sound like a show for kids, but Simon’s exploration of the theme is really geared for adults. The 75-minute opera is sung in English. Performances at the Liff are Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.

FlorenciaNext up is Catán’s impressionist opera Florencia en el Amazonas. The 1996 work co-commissioned by Houston Grand Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Seattle Opera was the first Spanish-language opera to be commissioned by major United States opera houses. The writings of Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez inspired the Mexican composer (who died in 2011) to craft this romantic tale set in the Amazon rain forest in 1910. This Spanish-sung opera with English translations runs about two hours with one 20-minute intermission. It plays on Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 at 8 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 at 7 p.m. in Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s James K. Polk Theater.

PenzanceThe season concludes with Gilbert and Sullivan’s 1879 comic opera The Pirates of Penzance. You certainly don’t have to be the very model of a modern major general to enjoy this beloved romantic romp with Frederic, Mabel, the Pirate King and others! Performances in Andrew Jackson Hall are Thursday, April 9, 2015 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 11, 2015 at 8 p.m. for shows that run a little over two hours with two 20-minute intermissions.

Nashville Opera’s current season has one more production: Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello bows on Friday, April 11 at 8 p.m., Sunday, April 13 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. in the Polk Theater.

For more information and tickets please visit NashvilleOpera.org.

*Artwork courtesy Nashville Opera.

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About Evans Donnell

Evans Donnell is the chief theater, film and opera critic as well as co-founder of ArtsNash. He wrote reviews and features about theater, opera and classical music for The Tennessean from 2002 to 2011. He was the theater, film and opera critic for ArtNowNashville.com from 2011 to 2012. Donnell has also contributed to The Sondheim Review, Back Stage, The City Paper (Nashville), the Nashville Banner, The (Bowling Green, Ky.) Daily News and several other publications since beginning his professional journalism career in 1985 with The Lebanon (Tenn.) Democrat. He was selected as a fellow for the 2004 National Critics Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and for National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) arts journalism institutes for theater and musical theater at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2006 and classical music and opera at the Columbia University School of Journalism in 2009. He has also been an actor (member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA), founding and running AthensSouth Theatre from 1996 to 2001 and appearing in Milos Forman's "The People vs Larry Flynt" among other credits. Donnell is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (www.americantheatrecritics.org).