Vegas City Opera (VCO) continues their mission to offer opera and classical music to the public “in fresh and exciting new ways”, dedicating their new season to the voices of the community.
In a press release, the Artistic Director for the alternative, immersive operatic company, Skip Galla Katipunan, shared that the company has “always been inspired by our community and invested in our artists”.
"This pandemic has led us all to dig deep into our creative wells, where we have crafted a grippingly innovative season like you've never seen before,” Katipunan said. “We will use every tool at our disposal to be there for you and for each other, as we find new and enriching ways to connect again through the arts."
After a successful summer of Wine Wednesday Facebook Live concerts with over 10,000 views, and hiring more than 25 local artists, VCO’s 11th season launches with a new approach to Richard Wagner’s The Ring Cycle - a German epic drama presented in four parts, also known as Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Ring of the Nibelung.
This production is condensed into “the highlights of theme, story, and leitmotif, as the Gods, Heroes, Valkyries, and Rhinemaidens scour the Las Vegas Valley on their quest for possession of the ring.”
The new 3-hour long Ring saga will be unveiled as part of two online watch party events with the first installment of Das Rheingold & Die Walküre, December 12th, 2020 at 6:00pm, and Siegfried & Götterdämmerung, January 2nd, 2021 at 6:00pm.
Audience members purchased advanced, tiered tickets which allowed them varying degrees of involvement with the production including performers arriving on their doorstep to “Ring” the bell to film a section of the digital broadcast..
The ticket tier packages still available are as follows:
VALKYRIES: $40 per household. Includes invitation to BOTH digital performances with cast and crew. Official Vegas City Opera RING movie credit.
RHINEMAIDENS: $25 per household. Invitation to one digital performance with cast and crew.
Along with the new season, Vegas City Opera announced a new Music Director in their recent release - Grammy Award winning pianist and conductor, Maestro Dennis Doubin. A familiar face at companies like the San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, San Diego Opera, and Opera San Jose, Maestro Doubin is also a Las Vegas local and supporter of the arts community.
“Vegas City Opera is just what this town needs to push the innovation and accessibility of classical arts, as well as shape our future operatic professionals,” Said Doubin. “Their dedication to local singers’ development and financial support has been their main focus through the pandemic.”
Three new concerts are also on offer in 2021 as part of the Voices of Women Concert Series, with Dr. Richard L. Hodges returns to direct the series. In February, The Women of the Black Panthers will premiere, followed by Women with Drive in March, and Harriet Tubman, Conductor of Freedom premiering later in June for Juneteenth (June 19th, 2021).
“Dr. Hodges will create and adapt music and story-telling into new productions for the stage, as we proudly celebrate these women and especially women of color with an in-depth look at their influence and shaping of our nation and our very own state of Nevada.”
Tickets to this series will be free, and the productions will be presented at the Summerlin Library & Performing Arts Center, and West Las Vegas Library during their respective runs.
The first-ever operatic presentation to be shown at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts (COVID conditions permitting), Gaetano Donizetti’s The Daughters of the Regiment is prospectively scheduled for March 19th and 20th, 2021 as a ticketed in-person and live-stream event. L.A. Opera’s Dennis Doubin will conduct the 90-minute comedy where “you will be whisked away to gay Paris in this hilarious love story, complete with vocal fireworks and a vibrant new book, in English with enough French to make it fancy!”
This production features operatic legend and Vegas local, Luana Davol, as the Marquise of Berkenfield; Athena Mertes as her daughter; Ryan Glover, as Tonio the peasant-turned-officer; and Nathan Van Arsdale who plays Sulpice, leader of the regiment.
VCO’s final offering of the season is 2020: The Song Cycle, in May 2021. Their first collaborative composer presentation, the production includes selected original submissions from Nevada artists that touch on “the challenges and changes arising from the ashes of 2020.”
“From coronavirus and quarantine to the 2020 presidential election, with cancel culture and worldwide #BlackLivesMatter protests, this landmark year is just begging for the arts to come forward and give it a voice,” says the press release. “Vegas City Opera wants to be that voice, to uplift our community and hold up our very own local artists by pushing them and supporting them to develop and create this collaborative work.”
Those who wish to learn more about the production or view the submission guidelines can visit vegascityopera.org/2020-the-song-cycle.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, VCO relies on donations to cover their expenses and productions, and keep artists employed. The ensemble’s statement expressed that it “hopes to provide a nurturing environment in which performers can take chances and flourish in their craft, all the while sharing the excitement and vibrancy of contemporary opera with audiences of the Las Vegas Valley, tirelessly working toward a future where our communities embrace and seek out the opera arts.” You can help support them and the work they do in the community by becoming a donor.