Florida Grand Opera will finally be returning to the stage with live performances, after sitting out much of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, FGO General Director and CEO Susan T. Danis announced the upcoming “Season of Specials and Shorts,” a series of three-chamber operas and programming that would meet CDC guidelines.
“Even in this time of COVID and other calamities, our need for music and art is ever-present. We have carefully consulted with the experts, and after a successful fall season of concerts, we are so pleased to be presenting a ‘Season of Specials and Shorts,’” she said in an announcement.
Danis noted that most performances are slated for “intimate, yet socially distanced spaces that are perfect for a unique storytelling experience.”
FGO will open with four contemporary chamber operas, performed over three weekends in January, February and March at Miami Theater Center in Miami Shores.
Jake Heggie’s “Three Decembers,” based on Terrence McNally’s original script for “Some Christmas Letters,” opens the mini-season Jan. 30 – 31. This intimate, 90-minute chamber opera takes place over three decades during the AIDS crisis. Each section portrays events between a famous stage actress mother and her two adult children, and as family secrets are revealed, resentment grows and relationships become tested. The opera has been among the top 10 most performed North American works since 1991.
On Feb. 13 – 14, FGO will stage composer Daron Hagen’s “New York Stories,” a series of three intimate vignettes based on experiences of residents of the Big Apple. The first act introduces a woman living in the Upper West Side coupled with an Italian immigrant who arrives to do maintenance work, and the romantic moment they share. The second tells the story of an Upper East Side woman who receives a surprise visit from her brother. The third depicts a warm, domestic self-portrait of the composer and his spouse as new parents attempting to put their infant son to sleep after a night on the town.
The opera portion of the season wraps up with a double bill on March 20 – 21: Leonard Bernstein’s “Trouble in Tahiti” paints an intimate picture of the troubled marriage of young suburban couple Sam and Dinah, both longing for love and intimacy. “Signor Deluso” is a one-act opera by composer and librettist Thomas Pasatieri, loosely based on Molière’s 1660 comedy “Sganarelle, ou Le Cocu imaginaire” (“The Imaginary Cuckold”), sung in English.
Other upcoming special performances at venues across both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties include “An Evening of Zarzuela,” Friday, Feb. 5; Angela Brown in “Opera…From a Sistah’s Point of View,” Sunday, Feb. 28; “An Evening of Spirituals, Jazz and Opera,” Saturday, March 13; and “A Tribute to Latin American Composers,” Friday, March 26.
FGO will also offer concert series at the Art Deco Museum in Miami Beach, Feb. 3 – March 10, and ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale, Jan. 27 – March 27.
Tickets for “Season of Specials and Shorts” are $65 each for the opera performances and $10 – 20 for the individual special performances and concerts at FGO.org. Package discounts are also available.