Speakeysie News Desk
Two New Productions Include Blockbuster Musical Cabaret and Critically Acclaimed Chamber Opera As One, Plus a cabaret concert featuring Jay Hunter Morris
Atlanta-March 31, 2022
ATLANTA – March 30, 2022 – The Atlanta Opera brings its 2021-22 season to a close at the Historic Rail Park at Pullman Yard with its “Come As You Are” festival, featuring a new production of the blockbuster musical Cabaret performed in repertoire with the critically acclaimed chamber opera As One. A special Saturday matinee features Atlanta Opera favorite, Jay Hunter Morris, in a cabaret-style concert.
The “Come As You Are” festival builds on company’s wildly successful Discoveries Series, which has a decade-long tradition of bringing bold and adventurous works to unexpected locations throughout metro Atlanta. Most recently, the opera set up a gigantic “Big Tent” to persevere by performing during the pandemic. Other Discoveries performances have taken place at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, Paris on Ponce and other locations both downtown and further afield in Sandy Springs. The opera estimates that half of its new audience members come to the organization from the Discoveries Series.
“There’s a different kind of electricity between singers and audience when you are in an unexpected space. That is the essence of the Discoveries Series,” said Carl W. Knobloch Jr. General and Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun. “Pullman Yards offers us not only a historic, raw space that would be ideal for Cabaret’s Kit Kat Club, but also provides us an opportunity to reach out to a community and a neighborhood we have never interacted with. We have made it our mission at The Atlanta Opera to truly be embedded in the fabric of this city, and our residence in Pullman Yards is another testament to that commitment.”
The Atlanta Opera will present Cabaret on June 2, 3, 5, 10, 12 (matinee), 16, 17, and 19 (matinee) and will present As One on June 9 and 11 (matinee). The CabaretEvening with Jay Hunter Morris is at 2pm on Saturday, June 18th. Tickets for Cabaretand As One start at $20 for standing-room only tickets and range to $250 for premium cabaret tables in the Kit Kat Club itself. Tickets will go on sale mid-April. Both operas will be performed in English with English supertitles.
Located in the Kirkwood neighborhood, Pullman Yards has ample parking and easy access to two MARTA stations. Pullman Yards recently hosted the North American Premiere of The Van Gogh Immersive Experience to over 425,000 visitors and has most recently opened Imagine Picasso, one of only two Immersive Picasso experiences currently opened in the U.S.
Two new restaurants are opening on site in the coming weeks helmed by executive chef, Chris Hughes (St. Cecilia, Ecco Midtown and Lyla Lila).
The Atlanta Opera’s production of Cabaretis adapted from 1998 Broadway revival that ran for more than 2,377 performances at Studio 54 in New York. Zvulun will direct this entirely new production, which will embrace the gritty atmosphere of the Pullman Yards pavilion. In 2020-21, Zvulun created the Molly Blank Big Tent Series, which allowed the opera to perform four all-new productions, all of which he directed and created with talented collaborators during the darkest days of the pandemic.
Francesco Milioto, music director of OPERA San Antonio and artistic advisor to the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee who recently conducted The Atlanta Opera’s productions of The Threepenny Opera and The Pirates of Penzance, conducts the production. Award-winning set designer Alexander Dodge will transform a portion of the historic building into the Kit Kat Klub, a decadent cabaret where singer Sally Bowles entertained Berlin’s elite in the 1930s. Erik Teague, the designer responsible for the whimsical costumes from this spring’s production of The Threepenny Opera, will handle the costumes. Marcy Barbeau, a veteran of the Big Tent Series, designs the lighting.
A versatile singing actor equally capable in opera houses and Broadway, Curt Olds will sing the role of the flamboyant Emcee. He has been seen in productions ranging from Don Pasquale and The Magic Flute to musicals such as Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, The Threepenny Opera, andBroadway’s Riverdance. Hailed by Opera News as “A wonderful singing actor, as adept in pointing dialogue as in phrasing song,” In Atlanta, Olds most recently performed the role of Major General Stanley in The Pirates of Penzance.
Atlanta Opera newcomer Aja Goes, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “glamourous” with a “creamy belt”, will sing the role of English chanteuse Sally Bowles. A versatile actor, singer, and dancer, Goes wowed Chicago audiences as Dyanne in Million Dollar Quartet, the elegant, sultry jazz singer who accompanies Elvis Presley to Sun Records’ historic 1956 recording session.
Actor and tenor Anthony Luciura will sing the role of Herr Schultz, the elderly fruit shop owner. With more than 800 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Luciura has taken his operatic skills around the world singing supporting roles in many of the best-known operas in the canon including The Marriage of Figaro, The Magic Flute, Carmen, Turandot, and Falstaff. From 2010 to 2013 he was seen in the HBO television series Boardwalk Empire as butler Eddie Kessler.
The Atlanta Opera audiences will also see the Atlanta premiere of the critically acclaimed chamber opera As One (2014) by Laura Kaminsky, “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music” (Washington Post), librettist Mark Campbell and transgender filmmaker-librettist Kimberly Reed. Sung in two voices – Hannah After (mezzo-soprano) and Hannah Before (baritone) – who share the part of a sole transgender protagonist, Kaminsky’s music is set to a libretto by Campbell and Reed, one of Filmmaker magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film,” who also created the multimedia opera’s film. Hailed as “the hottest title in opera right now” (Denver Post), since its world premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, As One has become the most-produced modern opera in America.
Stephanie Havey directs the production. Havey is sought after as a collaborator for the development of new opera, staging new works with Opera Philadelphia for their Double Exposure event, OPERA America’s New Works Forum, and is in her fourth season of developing new works as the Resident Stage Director for North American New Opera Workshop. Alexandra Enyarthas been called “one of Chicago’s greatest operatic gifts” (Chicago Theatre Review) and “a podium talent to watch”(Chicago Classical Review).As a transgender conductor Alexandra strives to create a more equitable and diverse musical world. As such she has successfully chartered “Faulty Systems,” an annual program in which activists and artists come together to share stories of underrepresented communities or ideas through music, speech, poetry, dance and other mediums. Erik Teague, host of The Atlanta Opera Come As You Are podcast and trans man, will design the costumes.
Transgender baritone Lucia Lucas will sing the role of Hannah Before. Recognized as a “rising star” (The Guardian) with “a voice that can rattle the rafters with its power, without ever sacrificing subtlety of expression” (Tulsa World), Lucas became the first trans woman to sing a principal opera role on an American stage in 2019, singing the title role of Don Giovanni with the Tulsa Opera, a performance that was the subject of a feature-length documentary, James Kicklighter’s “The Sound of Identity”.
Blythe Gaissert, an American mezzo-soprano and expert in new classical music, will sing the role of Hanna After, a role that she has sung in eight previous productions. Known for her warm tone, powerful stage presence, and impeccable musicianship and technical prowess, Gaissert is “impossible to ignore” (Denver Post). Broadway World, in a review of As One at New York City Opera, admired Gaissert’s “rich, earthy voice and dramatic skills” in a role that she knows intimately.
Special Cabaret Concert with Jay Hunter Morris
The matinee concert on June 18th features Jay Hunter Morris, internationally-acclaimed tenor and raconteur. Known for his Metropolitan Opera performances as the title character in Richard Wagner’s Siegfried, Morris has performed at San Francisco Opera and Seattle Opera in other major roles. He lives in Roswell, Georgia currently and will bring his considerable self-described “redneck opera zinger” talents to a fun and unique concert of standards.
About The Atlanta Opera
The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to build the major international opera company that Atlanta deserves, while reimagining what opera can be. Founded in 1979, the company works with world-renowned singers, conductors, directors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form. Under the leadership of internationally recognized stage director and Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. General & Artistic Director Tomer Zvulun, The Atlanta Opera expanded from three to four mainstage productions at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and launched the acclaimed Discoveries series. In recent years, the company has been named among the “Best of 2015” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been nominated for a 2016 International Opera Award, and won ArtsATL’s 2019 Luminary Award for Community Engagement in recognition of its successful Veterans Program in partnership with the Home Depot Foundation. In addition, The Atlanta Opera was featured in a 2018 Harvard Business School case study about successful organizational growth, and Zvulun presented a TEDx Talk at Emory University titled “The Ambidextrous Opera Company, or Opera in the Age of iPhones.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, The Atlanta Opera was one of the only companies in the world to create a full, alternative season, consisting of no less than 40 live performances in two different outdoor venues, including a revolutionary custom-designed circus tent. The fundraising goal was tripled, and four new productions were created, each of which employed 150 cast, crew and staff. The critically acclaimed productions and concerts were streamed in HD in the newly created streaming platform “Spotlight Media,” allowing The Atlanta Opera to reach a global audience. National media coverage of the “pandemic season” included features in the Wall Street Journal and PBS Newshour. For more information, visit atlantaopera.org
About Pullman Yards
This historic property, spanning 27 acres in the City of Atlanta, has been at the forefront of technology and innovation since the property was originally built in 1904 by Pratt Engineering and remains true to its innovative roots today, serving as the backdrop of major motion pictures, television shows and renowned art exhibitions
Pullman Yards recently hosted the North American Premiere of The Van Gogh Immersive Experience to over 425,000 visitors and has most recently opened Imagine Picasso, one of only two Immersive Picasso experiences currently opened in the U.S.
Two new restaurants are opening on site in the coming weeks helmed by executive chef, Chris Hughes (St. Cecilia, Ecco Midtown and Lyla Lila), Dailies and Sides will pay tribute to the site’s significant film heritage as one of the country’s most hot feature film locations and will feature family friendly lunch and dinner dining experience featuring local, seasonal ingredients with a menu consisting of soups, salads sandwiches and entrees. Homage will be tapas style dining prepared with time honored, classic methods as an “homage” to the more than a century of significant civil rights and architectural history at the site.
Later this Spring at Pullman Yards, Emory University will be opening science Gallery: Part of the Science Gallery Network. Science Gallery at Emory University is one of eight unique partnerships across the world creating one-of-a-kind, interdisciplinary, learning experiences for teens and young adults. By merging science, art, and technology, Science Gallery will showcase a variety of exhibits and programs created to provoke thoughtful dialogue and enrich the minds of its target audience.