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Familiar faces and new adventures shape KKN Artists 2018 - 2019 Season

Italian conductor RICCARDO FRIZZA (Photo © by János Posztós, Müpa Budapest)
Maestro in action: Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza, returning to American theatres in 2018 - 2019 to conduct productions of Donizetti's Roberto Devereux and Verdi's Falstaff
Photo © by János Posztós, Müpa Budapest

Continuing the journey that took him to Lyric Opera of Chicago in January and February 2017 to lead performances of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma, Italian conductor Riccardo Frizza returns to the KKN Enterprises roster for representation in the United States in conjunction with his American engagements in the 2018 - 2019 Season. His pacing of LOC’s Norma prompted John von Rhein to write in The Chicago Tribune that, under Maestro Frizza’s baton, ‘no musical gesture was perfunctory, no interpretive decision ill-chosen.’

The mastery of Italian repertory also lauded in von Rhein’s assessment of Maestro Frizza’s conducting of Norma will again be shared with American audiences in performances of powerhouse scores by two of the Nineteenth Century’s most acclaimed composers of opera. First, amidst prestigious engagements at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, Riccardo visits the English Tudor court in San Francisco Opera's production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux, featuring Sondra Radvanovsky as Elisabetta (8, 11, 14, 18, 23, 27 September 2018).

Later in the season, he advances in operatic chronology but regresses in British history with performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff with The Dallas Opera (26, 28 April and 1, 4 May 2019). TDO’s production assembles an exciting cast around baritone Mark Delavan’s spirited portrayal of Shakespeare’s, Boito’s, and Verdi’s boisterous knight.

American tenor RUSSELL THOMAS (Photo © by Fay Fox)
Tenor triumphant: American tenor Russell Thomas, conquering music by Donizetti, Mahler, Mozart, and Verdi in the 2018 - 2019 Season
Photo © by Fay Fox

Renewing an acquaintance with the tenets of bel canto that yielded a portrayal of Pollione in LOC’s Norma that Lori Dana described for Chicago Stage Review as ‘beautifully polished and authoritative,’ tenor Russell Thomas débuts in the demanding title rôle of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux with San Francisco Opera (8, 11, 14, 18, 23, 27 September 2018).

Transitioning from bel canto to Verdi repertory, his performances of which have garnered acclaim throughout the world, Russell returns to the Windy City to lend his clarion tones to Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Il trovatore, in which his Manrico will be partnered by a strong cast of fellow Verdians including Tamara Wilson, Jamie Barton, and George Petean (17, 22, 25, 30 November and 3, 6, 9 December 2018).

Tamara Wilson will also be Desdemona to Russell’s Otello in his first fully-staged performances of the title rôle in Verdi’s Otello with Toronto’s Canadian Opera Company (27, 30 April and 3, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21 May 2019). His 2017 rôle début as Oello in Atlanta Symphony’s concert performances was hailed by ArtsATL’s Mark Gresham as ‘a strong showing’ in which he gave the part ‘a more lyrical quality than the more purely forceful approach more commonly heard in this physically demanding role.’

Russell welcomes 2019 with three performances of Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Donald Runnicles (10, 11, 13 January 2019). He then returns to the West Coast to reprise another rôle for which he has earned critical plaudits, the name part in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito. James Conlon conducts Los Angeles Opera’s production of the opera (2, 7, 10, 13, 16, 24 March 2019).

[Updated 15 March 2018]

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