DAYTON, OH (February 10, 2019) – On Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 3 p.m. in the Mead Theatre of the Schuster Center, Dayton Opera, under the leadership of Artistic Director Thomas Bankston, will present Gilbert and Sullivan’s delightful operetta The Pirates of Penzance.
Principal Sponsor for this production of The Pirates of Penzance is Opera Guild of Dayton. Leadership Sponsors are The Bill and Jackie Lockwood Family Foundation and Dr. Edward and Margaret Hughes First Dayton CyberKnife. Performance Sponsor is Crowne Plaza, and Associate Sponsors are 10 Wilmington Place and Bob Ross Auto Group. Surtitles are in English and are sponsored by Opera Guild of Dayton.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s rollicking comedy centers on the romantic misadventures of Mabel and Frederic, who was mistakenly apprenticed to a band of “reluctant” pirates. Add to that a very model of a modern Major-General, his bevy of beautiful daughters, and a bungling bunch of Keystone Cops–style police, and you have the delightfully wacky operetta that has amused audiences since its 1879 debut.
Twists and turns abound, interspersed with some of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most delightful melodies. Who could remain unmoved when Frederic woos his future bride with “Oh! Is there not one maiden breast?” Certainly not Mabel, who offers Frederic hope with “Poor wand’ring one.”
Returning to Dayton Opera for an unprecedented fifteenth time to direct this boisterous comedic operetta is the one and only Gary Briggle. Gary was most recently in Dayton last season to direct the gripping production of The Consul. Prior to then, he has tackled some of Dayton Opera’s most challenging productions, including the unique presentation of Stella Sung’s The Book Collector paired with Carl Orff’s impeccable Carmina Burana in May 2016, as well as the groundbreaking Dayton premiere of Dead Man Walking in February 2015. Gary is a phenomenal performer as well, and with this production he takes the stage with masterful command as Major-General Stanley, having performed the role countless times in his career. Dayton is certainly in for a treat to see Gary on stage at the Schuster this March.
Former Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence soprano Olivia Yokers returns to Dayton Opera to perform the lead role of Mabel for this production. Praised for singing with “gorgeous vulnerability” by the Richmond Times, Olivia is well regarded for her thrilling voice and versatility onstage. Last summer, she performed the role of Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Utah Festival Opera, and Dayton Opera is looking forward to her return to the Schuster center to perform the role here in Dayton.
Making his Dayton Opera mainstage debut is current Dayton Opera Artist-in-Residence tenor Jacob Ryan Wright in the principal role of wayward pirate Frederic. In 2018, Jacob made a “smashing Piedmont Opera debut as Frederic,” according to the Winston-Salem Journal. He has also been performing a modified version of Frederic for an in-school production of The Pirates of Penzance that the four Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence have been performing for students across the Dayton area over the last several weeks.
Baritone Tyler Alessi returns to Dayton Opera for the third time, with recent performances as Dancairo in the 2017 production of Carmen and the troubled John Sorel in last season’s gripping drama The Consul, and he has appeared in the role of Dracula in Dayton Ballet’s Dracula: Bloodlines. He takes on the role of the confident and charismatic yet tenderhearted Pirate King for this production.
Praised for her “powerful, rangy mezzo-soprano” by the New York Times, Noragh Devlin returns to Dayton Opera as Ruth, the pirate maid who is madly in love with dear Frederic and who is left feeling betrayed as he falls in love with the lovely Mabel. Noragh spent last winter with Dayton Opera as an Artist-in-Residence, and she has graced the mainstage with Dayton Opera as Berta in last season’s The Barber of Seville and as a soloist in this past September’s Season Opening Spectacular, Beethoven’s beautiful Symphony No. 9.
Dayton Opera’s three additional Artists-in-Residence round out the cast with roles in this mainstage production. Hailing from Mannes School of Music and Yale University, soprano Marisa Karchin makes her Dayton Opera mainstage debut as the General’s down-to-earth daughter Edith. Mezzo-soprano Courtney Elvira performs the role of the General’s romantic daughter Kate. Courtney had a busy fall season with Dayton Opera, performing the role of Giovanna in November’s Rigoletto and the role of Lilith in Dayton Ballet’s Dracula: Bloodlines in October. Bass-baritone Michael Colman has been hamming it up as The Pirate King in the Artists-in-Residence’s in-school production of The Pirates of Penzance. He makes his Dayton Opera mainstage debut as the loyal and good-natured Sergeant of Police, struggling to manage his team of bumbling policemen. The Pirate King’s right-hand man Samuel is sung by baritone Schyler Vargas, and another of the General’s daughters, Isabel, is sung by soprano Megan L. Rehberg, who appeared as the Countess Ceprano in last fall’s Rigoletto.
The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Patrick Reynolds, will give life to Gilbert and Sullivan’s beloved operetta through its delightful and most recognizable musical score.
The ever-versatile women and men of the Dayton Opera Chorus, under the direction and leadership of Chorus Master Jeffrey Powell, take to the stage again to add their choral expertise.
Set sail with the jolliest group of pirates to swab a stage! It’s a voyage perfect for the whole family!
Want to learn even more about The Pirates of Penzance? Come one hour prior to both performances to hear pre-performance talks presented by UD Music Professor Dr. Sam Dorf inside the Mead Theatre.
Tickets for The Pirates of Penzance start at $29 and are available at www.daytonperformingarts.org or by calling Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630. Senior, student, and military discounts are available. For more information on tickets to remaining Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances for the 17-18 Vistas Season or subscriptions to the 19–20 Titans Season, visit www.daytonperformingarts.org.
About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio’s cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents. In 2013, The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was thrilled to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year “Music Alive” grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is the proud recipient of a 2017-2018 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.