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SFO to premiere opera based on Oscar Wilde in 2013

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The world premiere of “Oscar” with countertenor David Daniels in the title role will be a highlight of the Santa Fe Opera’s 2013 season.

SFO General Director Charles MacKay announced the season at a news conference Thursday.

The new opera and four other productions will be staged in the 2013 festival season. They are:

♦ Jacques Offenbach’s “The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein,” which will have mezzo-soprano Susan Graham as the Grand Duchess.

♦ The remounting of Jonathan Kent’s production of W.A. Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” with Susanna Phillips as the Countess Almaviva.

♦ A revival of Giuseppe Verdi’s “La traviata.”

♦ And the first SFO performances of Gioachino Rossini’s “La Donna del Lago,” featuring Joyce DiDonato.

MacKay said that DiDonato has championed “La Donna del Lago” and has performed and recorded the work.

The two-act “Oscar” depicts 19th-century playwright-poet Oscar Wilde reflecting on his life during his imprisonment. MacKay said Theodore Morrison composed the work for Daniels.

At the University of Michigan, Daniels was a student of Morrison, who has also written a song cycle for him. The cycle is based on the poems of James Joyce.

Morrison and John Cox have been writing the libretto for “Oscar.” The work is co-commissioned and co-produced by the Santa Fe Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

The 2013 SFO season will include two special concerts.

One is an Aug. 4 concert honoring the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten.

The other is an Aug. 18 concert, titled “Stravinsky Commemoration,” at the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis. It will re-create the concert that Igor Stravinksy conducted on that date in 1963; it was his last appearance in Santa Fe. The program will have Stravinsky’s Mass and selections from Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers.

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