Arizona Opera Expands the Re-Imagined 2020/2021 Season with Innovative New Programs and Performances


The Two Gay Geeks received this press release from our good friends at Arizona Opera about more events planned for the Re-Imagined 20/21 Season.

As always we encourage you to check out the new offerings from Arizona Opera.

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Newly-announced offerings include an Outdoor Opera Film Festival in collaboration with The Metropolitan Opera, the debut of two new exciting video series, details of Pullin Studio Spotlight performances in November and December, and the digital reinvention of Education and Community Engagement initiatives


PHOENIX AND TUCSON, ARIZONA – Following the recent launch of Arizona Opera OnDemand channel and its successful inaugural Studio Spotlight Series concert in early October, the company is proud to announce an array of new programs and performances.

Presented in a first of its kind collaboration between Arizona Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, a new Outdoor Opera Film Festival will take place outside at The Pavilion at the Herberger Theater Center in front of a paid, socially-distanced audience from November 20-22. The new festival, part of Arizona Opera’s Connection Lab and scheduled to help launch the holiday season, will feature screenings of The Metropolitan Opera’s popular Live in HD productions of La Traviata, The Barber of Seville, and a family-friendly, English language version of Hansel and Gretel.

In addition to continuing its robust array of virtual education programs targeted at K-12 students and community engagement programs, Arizona Opera announces the launch of three new podcast series. A new video series, UnMic’d, hosted by Arizona Opera’s President and General Director, Joseph Specter, will find the blurry edge that connect the world of opera to just about everything else.

Additionally, in early 2021, the company will premiere a new and timely video series, LOUD! (Living Opera, Understanding Diversity), which will include a series of digital programs that are focused on music and the arts and designed to connect communities near and far via discussions with diverse cross-sections of the community in Arizona and beyond.

These two new series join the recently launched podcast, Arizona Opera: Behind the Scenes! hosted by director of education and community engagement, Cassie Robel, and Kathleen Trott, the Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Costume Artisan Workshop Manager.

Finally, Arizona Opera will present new Studio Spotlight Series concerts on Friday, November 6 at 6 PM MST from Phoenix with a live concert of the same program in Tucson on Sunday, November 8 at 3 PM. December performances will follow on Friday, December 4 at 6pm MST, and Sunday, December 6 at 3PM. The December performance from Tucson will be filmed and aired later in the month on Arizona Opera OnDemand (

Just in time for the holidays, Arizona Opera is proud to announce a new collaboration with The Metropolitan Opera on an outdoor opera film festival in late-November, adding another family-friendly program to its Reimagined 2020/21 Season and its Connection Lab.

This new twist on Arizona Opera’s popular summer opera film festivals will bring the art form to the newly created outdoor Pavilion at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix (222 E. Monroe Street). The first such collaboration of its kind between the Met and a regional US opera company will present socially distanced screenings of three titles from the popular series, The Met: Live in HD for the weekend of November 20-22.

The festival will showcase the Met’s productions of Verdi’s La Traviata featuring Diana Damrau, Juan Diego Floréz and Quinn Kelsey; Rossini’s The Barber of Seville with Juan Diego Floréz, Joyce DiDonato and Peter Mattei; and an English-language version of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel featuring Alice Coote, Christine Schäfer and Philip Langridge.

Joseph Specter, President and General Director of Arizona Opera, commented, “We are delighted to be the first company in the nation to partner with The Metropolitan Opera on screening these beloved Live in HD productions via this new, outdoor festival approach. We are grateful to the Met for working with us to make this program a reality, allowing us to more fully serve our community during this challenging time.”

Peter Gelb, General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera, said, “We’re happy to collaborate with Arizona Opera and to share the Met with its audiences.”

A limited number of individual screening tickets – which will be $15 for adults and $7 for children or students with a valid ID – will be available for purchase on Arizona Opera’s website ( in early November. The screenings will take place on Friday, November 20; Saturday, November 21; and Sunday, November 22. All screenings will begin at 6 PM, and a list of health and safety protocols that will be followed for these engagements will also be available on Arizona Opera’s website.

Connecting communities in Arizona and beyond continues to be a major priority for Arizona Opera during the ongoing pandemic. In this spirit, the company is announcing the launch of three new, exciting series: Arizona Opera: Behind the Scenes, UnMic’D, and LOUD! as part of its Connection Lab. All three shows will be available for viewing free of charge on Arizona Opera OnDemand (

Arizona Opera: Behind the Scenes! A Podcast hosted by Cassie Robel, Arizona Opera’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, and Kathleen Trott, The Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Costume Artisan Workshop Manager. In the episodes, Cassie and Kathleen delve into all of Arizona Opera’s departments and talk to many of the people who work to create the operas that audiences know and enjoy.

Hosted by Arizona Opera’s General Director Joseph Specter and scheduled to be launched in November, the new video series UnMic’d, will explore the blurry edges that connect to world of opera to, well, just about everything else. In each episode, Mr. Specter will be joined by a recognized professional from the opera field and an individual from another field who engages in similar work to demonstrate how the elements of opera are the elements of our everyday lives.

The inaugural episode on UnMic’d will feature a discussion about the art of orchestration, with Clint Borzoni, the composer of Arizona Opera’s second world premiere commission, The Copper Queen (being adapted for film and scheduled for release in spring 2021); and Alex Lacamoire, the Grammy and Tony Award winning music director of Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, In the Heights, and other acclaimed works.

Premiering in early 2021 will be Arizona Opera’s new video series, LOUD! (Living Opera, Understanding Diversity). LOUD! is the brain child of Teniqua Broughton (founder and CEO of VerveSimone Consulting) and Luis “Weezy” Egurrola (Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Epik Dance Company and coach of the Hip Hop Squads of both the Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns). This new video series is designed to connect communities near and far through discussions with diverse cross-sections of the community, showcasing arts and culture in the West, and highlighting stories that are focused on music and grounded in their sometimes-surprising connections to the world of opera.

Teniqua Broughton said, “I applaud Arizona Opera and its management team for not only embracing, but showcasing the importance of celebrating the diversity of BIPOC people through this new video series. Our goal is to shine a light on a number of robust BIPOC arts and cultural organizations, businesses, and people that truly give each of our ‘cities of focus’ their flavor, their spice, and their ultimate uniqueness.”

“Weezy” Egurrola commented, “Music – including opera – is a great equalizer. It will be fascinating to discover and share how music and the arts overall enhance not only people’s lives in general, but how they help to define specific communities throughout our country.”

Throughout the season, Arizona Opera will continue its robust assortment of K-12 Education Outreach initiatives, in addition to others targeted at the community-at-large. These programs, newly adapted for our digitally connected world, include:
Virtual Masterclasses

Arizona Opera’s Education Teaching Artists virtually join area school classes to provide a Masterclass on the topic of the teacher’s choice. Masterclass topics include vocal technique, acting, opera history, career development/ marketing/networking, performance anxiety, mental/physical health relating to performers, and individual or group coaching for classical singers, musical theatre and mariachi. This program is available for all cities in Arizona, and bilingual Masterclasses are available.
Musical Storytime

The Arizona Opera Education Department will release a new Musical Storytime every two weeks through the end of 2020. Students will digitally travel with the opera to visit Cinderella, explore the forest with Hansel and Gretel, take up residence at The Metropolitan Opera House, and more. Each selected story is woven together with musical experts to enhance the story being presented.
Book Club

Opera is all about telling compelling stories through music. And, most of the stories audiences see on stage have been inspired by great literary works, historical events, legendary people, or better yet, current issues. Book Club Membership is free, and all meetings and events will be held online and through Arizona Opera’s Book Club Facebook group.
Coffee @ Kerr

In partnership with ASU Kerr Cultural Center, Arizona Opera’s popular Coffee @ Kerr series will continue through the 2020/21 Season. The programs will feature virtual lectures designed to enhance the viewer’s understanding of the music, themes, and history behind opera, capped off by a musical selection performed by an Arizona Opera Marion Roose Pullin Studio Artist.


Featuring members of Arizona Opera’s prestigious Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, the inaugural Studio Spotlight Series stream on October 2 reached an estimated 4,000 viewers from Arizona and around the world. In addition to those in the U.S., the stream also reached audiences in Canada, France, Switzerland, Mexico, Jordan, Portugal, and beyond.

The upcoming November 6 Studio Spotlight Series recital will take place at 6 PM MST (8 PM EST) at the Shoshana B. and Robert S. Tancer Plaza at the Arizona Opera Center in front of a limited number of socially distanced guests. As with the October livestream, it will be available at no cost on Arizona Opera’s new online channel, Arizona Opera OnDemand ( The program will be dedicated to the memory of Joel Revzen, Arizona Opera’s former Artistic Director and Principal Conductor (2003-2010).

This Studio Spotlight Series recital will feature performances by 2020/21 Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio Artists Cheyanne Coss (soprano), Caitlin Gotimer (soprano), Michaela Wolz (mezzo-soprano), Terrence Chin-Loy (tenor), Rob McGinness (baritone), and Robert Bosworth (pianist). This year’s Studio also includes Haley Stamats, the program’s first assistant stage director, whose work will be featured in various programs over the course of the season.

Each of these artists went through a rigorous process to be accepted into the prestigious program, which provides well-rounded, personalized instruction that helps to propel each artist to the next level of their performance career. The Pullin Studio helps to bridge the gap between academic studies and a professional career in the operatic field.

Christopher Cano, Arizona Opera’s Head of Music & Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, said, “We are truly blessed not only to have such an incredible cadre of wonderful singers via this year’s Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio Artists, but having the ability to once again showcase their many talents to a local, national and even international audience is thrilling.”

Joseph Specter also commented, “We humbly dedicate these performances to the memory of Joel Revzen, a superb musician and leader, who was beloved by our Arizona Opera family, and by colleagues and companies throughout our field. It is only appropriate that we honor Joel with this particular dedication, given his leadership of our organization during the time that the Studio was founded alongside its visionary namesake, Marion Roose Pullin.”

The final Studio Spotlight Series concerts of calendar 2020 will take place in Phoenix on Friday, December 4 at 6 PM MST and in Tucson on Sunday, December 6 at 3 PM. The Tucson recital will be taped “live to broadcast” and aired at a later date (TBA) on Arizona Opera’s new digital channel, Arizona Opera OnDemand, a vibrant online video platform that brings the works of one of the world’s most treasured art forms into homes across the state and the world via streaming devices, including computers, phones, tablets and televisions.

Arizona Opera is deeply grateful to our 2020/21 Reimagined Season Lead Digital Sponsors, Ron and Kay McDougall.

Studio Spotlight Series

The Studio Spotlight Series is sponsored by Scott Stallard and Marlu Allan, with additional generous support provided by Marlys A. Beider.

Marion Roose Pullin Arizona Opera Studio

Christopher Cano, Director of the Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio
Sponsored by Karen Fruen

Cheyanne Coss, soprano
Sponsored by Norman C. and Donna L. Harbert

Caitlin Gotimer, soprano
Sponsored by Peter and Lee Larson

Michaela Wolz, mezzo-soprano
Sponsored by Drs. Tom and Ginger Collier

Terrence Chin-Loy, tenor
Sponsored by Don Williams and Dan A. Klingenberg*, and Alan and Linda Englander

Rob McGinness, baritone
Sponsored by Roma Wittcoff

Robert Bosworth, pianist
Sponsored by Karen Fruen

Haley Stamats, assistant stage director
Sponsored by Helen Pierson, Shoshana B. Tancer, and Ole and Teresa Thienhaus

Education and Community Engagement Programs

Arizona Opera’s Education and Community Engagement Programs – part of the NextGen Initiative – are made possible through the generous support of APS, The Arizona Republic, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Dr. Rex Brewster, The City of Peoria, Desert Diamond Casino West Valley, Fillman Gorin Fund held at the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, Karen Fruen, Invest in Kids Charitable Gift Fund, The Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, The Moreno Family Foundation, Jody Pelusi, Jeannette J. Segel, the Valentine Family Foundation, and Roma Wittcoff. To learn more about the programs that are part of Arizona Opera NextGen, please visit


Arizona Opera, entering its 49th 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 performs annually 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 opera’s traditional repertoire featuring baroque, bel canto, and verismo works, turn-of-the-century masterpieces, operettas, and contemporary operas.

In the spirit of transparency, The Two Gay Geeks are donors to Arizona Opera.

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