Arizona Opera Announces Vibrant, Multi-Faceted 2020 / 2021 Season

The Two Gay Geeks received this press release from our friends at Arizona Opera. We are very excited about this next season with the World Premiere of Copper Queen by Clint Borzoni and John De Los Santos, who we have interviewed a couple of times int he process of bringing this new opera to life.

We continue to support Arizona Opera, being season ticket holders for Friday and Saturday night performances and other ways.

Let us know what you think of this next season for the opera in the comments section below. As always, we welcome your feedback and input on our published content. Thank you.




Season to Include the Company’s Second World Premiere, the Regional Premiere of a New Mariachi Opera, a New Production of a Modern Masterwork and the Return of Two Beloved Classics

Also featured will be a wide variety of community and special events, music education for 50,000 students across Arizona, and a new year of the company’s Pullin Studio Artist Program


Arizona Opera’s President and General Director, Joseph Specter, officially announced the organization’s 2020/21 Season today, which will feature an exciting and diverse programming schedule of five productions, spanning across the third year of the McDougall RED Series and the company’s ongoing Main Stage Series.

“Arizona Opera continues to deepen its commitment to presenting the most vibrant programming possible on our stages and throughout the community. This spans the most important and beloved traditional works from the canon to new works that will empower us to broaden our reach across the state,” said Joseph Specter, the organization’s President and General Director.

McDougall RED Series

The 2020/21 Season opens with two productions in the McDougall RED Series, to be presented in fall 2020 at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix and the Temple of Music and Art in Tucson.

The RED Series begins with Arizona Opera’s second World Premiere commission, The Copper Queen. This opera originated as part of Arizona Opera’s SPARK initiative, which fosters the creation and support of new work, and features a score by Clint Borzoni, a libretto by John de los Santos and stage direction by Crystal Manich.

The RED Series continues with the Regional Premiere of a new, holiday-themed mariachi opera with music by Javier Martínez and production and libretto by Leonard Foglia, El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering), which Arizona Opera is co-producing with Houston Grand Opera and San Diego Opera. El Milagro del Recuerdo is a prequel to the hugely popular Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, which Arizona Opera presented to great critical and popular acclaim during its 2014/15 Season.

Main Stage Series

The season’s three Main Stage Series productions will be presented in Winter/Spring 2021 at Symphony Hall in Phoenix and at Tucson Music Hall.

Among the works to be featured are the return of one of the most popular operas in the entire canon, Bizet’s Carmen, and the romantic and charming comedy, The Elixir of Love, Donizetti’s frothy and fun concoction that will entertain and delight the entire family. The Main Stage season is completed by a new production of A Streetcar Named Desire, presented in the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series. Based upon the classic Tennessee William’s play, Streetcar features a musical score by film composer, André Previn, in a new production that will be directed by the internationally-acclaimed operatic artist, Patricia Racette.

Other Season Highlights

The season’s other notable highlights include the engagement of the first-ever all-female conductor/director/design team for an Arizona Opera production with The Copper Queen. Additionally, the season will feature a number of important company debuts – from Cecelia Violetta Lopez, Chelsea Basler, and Michael Mayes in The Copper Queen, to the Arizona Opera conducting debut of José Luis Gomez, Music Director of The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, in The Elixir of Love. The season will be rounded out by a year-long events program that will continue to broaden the organization’s community impact and bring people even closer to the art form.

Community and Patron Engagement

In addition to its on-stage programming, Arizona Opera will present a wide variety of community and special events during the season. Many of these events are free or low-cost and designed to welcome newcomers to the art form through lectures, the Arizona Opera Book Club, and live recitals that often feature artists and music from upcoming productions. The season will also include the return of Arizona Opera’s annual Gala Luncheon, which will take place in March 2021, and will continue to honor individuals and institutions who have deeply influenced the organization’s ability to realize its mission and vision.

Education Outreach

As part of its on-going commitment to education in Arizona, Arizona Opera plans once again to bring its OperaTunity in-school touring program and Student Night dress rehearsals to roughly 50,000 across the state. “Arizona Opera’s on-stage presence is a core aspect of our work, but we are equally proud of – and devoted to – our work in arts education. The scope of our efforts in this area places us among the top opera companies in the United States for program reach. These programs not only create the opportunity for a lifelong love of music and opera, but also support the full spectrum of learning across subject areas. Through our education programs, we aim to create truly meaningful impact that will last a lifetime,” commented Mr. Specter.

Pullin Studio Artist Program

The 2020/21 season marks the 13th year of the Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio. New to the studio are Cheyanne Coss (Soprano), Caitlin Gotimer (Soprano), Michaela Wolz (Mezzo Soprano), Terrence Chin-Loy (Tenor) and Haley Stamats (Assistant Director). Returning to the program are Rob McGinness (Baritone) and Robert Bosworth (Pianist).
Pullin Studio Artists play a key part in Arizona Opera’s season, including portraying a number of leading roles on the main stage, in addition to serving as ambassadors for both the company and the art form throughout the community. The studio program is also one of the most competitive of its kind in the country. This year alone, Arizona Opera received 552 applications for five coveted spots.


With its vibrant combination of both new and classic works of the highest quality, music education and community programs that reach tens of thousands across the state, and cultivation of rising talent to build a bright future for the art form, Arizona Opera’s 2020/21 Season promises to be one of its most significant and successful yet.

Stated Arizona Opera Board Chair, Sharon Landis, “Arizona Opera is not only a jewel in the crown of the state’s arts community, but it is helping to lead the charge in terms of making our wonderful state a ‘go-to’ destination for arts lovers, performers and creative visionaries who are looking to expand this incredible art form with compelling and vibrant new works. With the excitement and anticipation of our upcoming 50th Anniversary on the horizon, I am more confident than ever that Arizona Opera’s best days are still yet to come.”



The Copper Queen


Composer: Clint Borzoni
Libretto: John de los Santos
Conductor: Daniela Candillari
Stage Director: Crystal Manich
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Scenery Designer: Liliana Duque Piñeiro
Costume Designer: Alice Fredrickson
Lighting Designer: Cindy Limauro

Performed in English with English Supertitles
Performance Dates:
• Phoenix – September 25-27, 2020 – Herberger Theater Center
• Tucson – October 3-4, 2020 – Temple of Music and Art

What brought them together across a century?

In 1910, Bisbee, Arizona, was a bustling mining town where fortunes rose and fell with the desert sun. At Bisbee’s heart was The Copper Queen Hotel, where Julia Lowell was forced to live in captivity in service to the men of the town. A century later, Addison Moore, a stranger to Bisbee, visits Room 315, the site of Julia’s tragic death where her ghost now famously roams. Was it destiny that ultimately brought these two women together across the generations? Find out in this powerful tale of human bondage, furtive romance, secret connections, and ultimately – redemption.

Composer Clint Borzoni comments: “With a harrowing legend, complex characters, and a diverse score, The Copper Queen will be a unique and unforgettable theatrical experience led by two strong female roles.” Librettist John de los Santos added: “This opera explores such a trapping through the journey of two brave women, one living, one deceased, and the spiritual upheaval that follows the convergence of their souls.”

Please note: This production contains adult themes and suggestive dialogue. Audience discretion is advised.

Key Casting:
• Julia Lowell – Cecelia Violetta Lopez, Chelsea Basler
• Addison Moore – Sarah Coit
• Theodore Billings – Terrence Chin-Loy
• Daddy / Mr. Floyd – Michael Mayes
• Peter Ackerman. Man #1 – Rob McGinness
• Richie “Sugar Dog” – Brian James Myer

Appropriate for Ages High School and Up

Running Time: One hour and 50 minutes


Part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Lead underwriting provided by Matt and Ann Melsheimer. Production made possible, in part, through additional generous support from Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard, Milo and Kim Kauffman, Michael and Beth Kasser, Arlyn J. Imberman, Ron and Kay McDougall, Robert S. and Shoshana B. Tancer, Dr. Judith G. Wolf, and a consortium of donors.



El Milagro del Recuerdo (The Miracle of Remembering)


Composer: Javier Martinez
Production and Libretto: Leonard Foglia
Conductor: James Lowe
Stage Director: Leonard Foglia
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Scenery Designer: Neil Patel
Costume Designer: Gregory Gale
Lighting Designer: Ken Billington

Performed in Spanish with English Supertitles
Performance Dates:
• Phoenix – November 6-8, 2020 – Herberger Theater Center
• Tucson – November 14-15, 2020 – Temple of Music and Art

How does the journey of a lifetime begin?

A prequel to the sensational mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna that was presented
by Arizona Opera as part of its 2014/15 Season, El Milagro del Recuerdo brings audiences back to where the story of Cruzar all began: Michoacán, Mexico. Set during Christmas, the opera lovingly explores the themes of traditions and familial bonds while its characters deal with life-changing decisions and dream of something more.

Director and Librettist Leonard Foglia comments: “The piece deals with the basic issues surrounding the choices people have to make in life. It tells universal, human stories. How do we make decisions about what’s important? I hope it resonates with everyone.”

Key Casting:
• Renata – Cecelia Duarte
• Laurentino – Daniel Noyola
• Lupita – Vanessa Alonzo
• Chucho – Miguel de Aranda
• Aba – Héctor Vásquez
• Josefina – Claudia Chapa
• Father Matias – Rafael Moras

Appropriate for all ages

Running Time: One hour and 15 minutes with no intermission


Commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera

Premiered by Houston Grand Opera in December, 2019

A Co-Production of Arizona Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and San Diego Opera
Part of the McDougall Arizona Opera RED Series. Production made possible, in part, through additional generous support from Drs. Herschel and Jill Rosenzweig and Michael and Beth Kasser.





Composer: Georges Bizet
Libretto: Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy
Conductor: Christopher Allen
Stage Director: Stephanie Havey
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Scenery Designer: Allen Charles Klein

Performed in French with English Supertitles

Performance Dates:
• Phoenix – January 22-24, 2021 – Symphony Hall
• Tucson – January 30-31, 2021 – Tucson Music Hall

One of the most famous seductresses of all time is about to make her triumphant return.

The ultimate diva, the gypsy Carmen can ignite men’s desires and fill their hearts with passion at a single glance. When Don José, a naïve soldier fighting in the Spanish Civil War, gets caught in her web, jealousy rages and anarchy reigns supreme.

The thrilling score by French composer Georges Bizet includes some of the most popular and recognizable music in all of opera, including Habanera and The Toreadors Song.

Stage Director Stephanie Havey says of this beloved masterpiece: “Carmen juxtaposes the I of civilization and the mysterious forces of primitive desires. Carmen glorifies freedom above all else, challenging the norms that govern hearts and minds. I am looking forward to the challenge of bringing this iconic opera and its disruptive heroine to life.”

From its lighthearted beginnings to its tragic and destined climax, Carmen is not to be missed.
Do so at your peril.

Key Casting:
• Carmen – Maya Lahyani, Fleur Barron
• Don José – Arturo Chacón-Cruz, Matthew White
• Escamillo – Andrew Manea
• Micaela – Vanessa Vasquez, Caitlin Gotimer

Appropriate for ages High School and Up

Running time: Two hours and 45 minutes, including one intermission

Crediting: Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Marlys A. Beider and the Tucson Desert Song Festival.



A Streetcar Named Desire


Composer: Andre Previn
Libretto: Philip Littell, based on the play by Tennessee Williams
Conductor: Christopher Allen
Stage Director: Patricia Racette
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Scenery Designer: Steven C. Kemp
Performed in English with English Supertitles

Performance Dates:
• Phoenix – February 26-28, 2021 – Symphony Hall
• Tucson – March 6-7, 2021 – Tucson Music Hall


A gripping new operatic production of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece, complete with a musical score by renowned film composer, André Previn, and direction by internationally-acclaimed American soprano, Patricia Racette.

Set in New Orleans in the late 1940’s, A Streetcar Named Desire spins a tightening web around three classic characters: Blanche DuBois, a troubled former schoolteacher, her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley.

When Blanche leaves her home in a small Mississippi town to move in with the couple, her insecurity, indiscrete sexual behavior, drinking, and the terror of losing her fading Southern belle beauty, creates a cataclysmic scenario that threatens to destroy everyone in its path.

Arizona Opera’s production of A Streetcar Named Desire is to be directed by one of opera’s preeminent singing actresses of all time, Patricia Racette. Ms. Racette’s evolving career over three decades has expanded in recent years to broader arenas as both stage director and master teacher. Commented Ms. Racette: “I am thrilled to make my Arizona Opera debut in the creation and direction of this new production of Streetcar. As both a participant and proponent of telling our stories, I find it especially fitting that this important piece of American music theater is being mounted by a rising leader in the production of American opera.”

Key Casting:
• Blanche DuBois – Julie Adams, Marlen Nahhas
• Stella Kowalski – Caitlin Gotimer, Cheyanne Coss
• Stanley Kowalski – Thomas Glass, Brandon Morales
• Harold Mitchell – Brandon Russell
• Eunice Hubbell – Jill Grove

Appropriate for ages Middle School and Up

Running Time: Three Hours, including one intermission

Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series and the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Modern Masterworks Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Barbara D. Molotsky.



The Elixir of Love

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto: Felice Romani
Conductor: José Luis Gomez
Stage Director: Peggy Hickey
Assistant Stage Director: Haley Stamats
Scenery Designer: Constantinos Kritikos
Lighting Designer: Paul Black

Performed in Italian with English Subtitles
Performance Dates:
• Phoenix – April 2-4, 2021 – Symphony Hall
• Tucson – April 10-11, 2021 – Tucson Music Hall

A deliciously-frothy concoction of magic, misguided affections, mischievous charlatans, music, and – above all – love.

Is it a truly magic brew, or just a bottle of snake oil? Our hero, Nemorino, loves the wealthy Adina, but she is smitten with someone else. Can Dr. Dulcamara’s mysterious potion really make Adina fall in love with Nemorino within a day?

The Elixir of Love is a delightful blend of young love, endearing characters and exhilarating music. It’s the perfect way to end an opera season on a truly high note.

José Luis Gomez, the Music Director of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, makes his Arizona Opera debut at the podium with this production. Mr. Gomez commented: “While much of my work is certainly focused on works from the symphonic canon, opera is a form very dear to my heart. I am very much looking forward to leading Arizona Opera’s musical forces with this timeless classic from the Italian repertoire.”

Key Casting:
• Adina – Sarah Tucker, Cheyanne Coss
• Nemorino – Santiago Ballerini, Terrence Chin-Loy
• Sergeant Belcore – Rob McGinness
• Dulcamara – Patrick Carfizzi

Appropriate for all ages

Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes, with one intermission

Part of the Arizona Opera Main Stage Series. Production made possible, in part, through generous support from Marlys A. Beider.

Ticket Purchasing Information:

Season Tickets for Arizona Opera’s 2020/21 Season will go on sale starting January 10, 2020. Ticket purchasing access and priority seating will be given to current season subscribers. For more information, visit

For additional questions and PR requests about the information contained in this release, please contact Tom Michel, Arizona Opera’s Director of Marketing, Communications and PR at or 602.218.7341.

*All information contained herein is subject to change

About Arizona Opera

Arizona Opera, now in its 48th season, produces fully-staged operas, concerts, and collaborative programs throughout the state of Arizona each season, and is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that regularly performs in more than one city. Arizona Opera elevates the transformative power of storytelling through music, cultivating community and strengthening a state and people as adventurous and diverse as the place they call home. Since its inaugural year in 1971, Arizona Opera has produced more than 175 fully-staged operas and concerts. The company’s artistic history is rich with a blend of operas traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and American operas.

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