Press Room

The Atlanta Opera Opens 2023-24 Season with Paul Moravec’s The Shining (Sep 15–Oct 1)

(August 2023) — The Atlanta Opera – “one of the most exciting opera companies in America” (OperaWire) – opens its 2023-24 season in collaboration with Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center for the East Coast premiere of Paul Moravec’s The Shining, a chilling new production of the opera based on Stephen King’s 1977 bestselling novel, with a libretto by Mark Campbell (Sep 15–Oct 1). Directed by Brian Staufenbiel, a specialist in multimedia, immersive and interdisciplinary productions, The Shining has been called “the scariest opera you may ever experience” ( The opera will be presented in eleven performances, with two stellar casts sharing the main roles: Craig Irvin and Thomas Glass in the role of Jack Torrance, Kelly Kaduce and Kearstin Piper Brown as Wendy Torrance, and Kevin Deas and Aubrey Allicock as Dick Hallorann. The Shining is the first of the “thriller three” spine-chilling fall productions from The Atlanta Opera, followed by an opera-film, newly composed by Michael Shapiro to the 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein, performed live to picture; and a surrealism-inspired take on Verdi’s Rigoletto, starring George Gagnidze in the title role and Jasmine Habersham as Gilda.

The Atlanta Opera’s Carl W. Knobloch Jr. General and Artistic Director, Tomer Zvulun, elaborates:

“This collaboration with the Alliance Theatre has been a joy for us and an opportunity to return to this special theatre while forging a partnership with a genuinely exciting new artistic leadership. The story of The Shining did not only spawn a truly masterful book, but also a film that became a phenomenon. The powerful new opera we are presenting in Atlanta this fall captures a fresh new facet of this story. In Moravec and [librettist Mark] Campbell’s work, the depth of the characters, the themes of human struggle with alcoholism, mental illness, child abuse are as raw today as they were in the 1970s. We are honored to share the East Coast premiere of this work with Atlanta audiences.”

The Shining, presented with Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center (Sep 15–Oct 1)

The Atlanta Opera Discoveries series, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this season, has been widely recognized for presenting new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives, as well as for performances in alternative venues that bring opera to new audiences across the Atlanta metro area. Opening the Discoveries series, as well as both The Atlanta Opera and Alliance Theatre’s 2023-24 seasons, is The Shiningpremiered at Minnesota Opera in 2016 – in a new production from San Francisco’s Opera Parallèle with a reduced score for chamber orchestra.

Co-produced by Opera Parallèle, Hawai’i Opera Theatre, and Portland Opera, The Shining is directed by Brian Staufenbiel, Opera Parallèle’s creative director since its founding in 2010, joined by a team that includes scenic designer Jacquelyn Scott, projection designer David Murakami, lighting designer Jim French, costume designer Alina Bokovikova and wigs and makeup designer Y. Sharon Peng. Austin Opera Music Director Timothy Myers, who recently led The Atlanta Opera’s 2022 production of Madama Butterfly, conducts the production.

Craig Irvin, familiar at Atlanta Opera after performances in The Pirates of Penzance and Kevin Puts’s Silent Night and praised by Opera News for his “rich, resonant baritone,” shares the role of Jack Torrance with baritone Thomas Glass, Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, who reprises the role he first sang in the Minnesota Opera’s 2021 remounting of The Shining. Kelly Kaduce – another Atlanta Opera favorite, who portrayed Liù in 2017’s Turandot and Polly in 2021’s Threepenny Opera – sings Wendy Torrance, a role she created for the 2016 world premiere. Kearstin Piper Brown makes her debut with The Atlanta Opera in the same role, after performing it to rave reviews at Opera Parallèle. Sharing the role of Dick Hallorann, the telepathic head chef at the Overlook Hotel, Kevin Deas and Aubrey Allicock are both making their debuts with The Atlanta Opera. Deas, best known for his signature portrayal of the title role in Porgy & Bess in performances across the nation, previously sang Dick Hallorann with Opera Colorado; Allicock, whom the New York Times praises as “sturdy,” “dynamic,” and “excellent,” reprises a role he first performed with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

The Shining is not recommended for children under 12 years old. Parental discretion is advised.

Frankenstein and Rigoletto

Continuing the cinematic theme of the season and getting into the Halloween spirit a few days early, The Atlanta Opera Discoveries series brings a new innovation to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre with the opera-film Frankenstein. Composer-conductor Michael Shapiro wrote the score for this operatic adaptation of James Whale’s 1931 film version of Mary Shelley’s horror classic, which starred Boris Karloff as the monster. Shapiro conducts the Atlanta Opera orchestra and five soloists live to picture in a score that Cashbox magazine found “hypnotic.” The review continued: “The audience was riveted to their seats. … His score is majestic and flowing when set against the flickering image on the screen, touching during tender moments, harrowing during disturbing ones” (Oct 28).

The Atlanta Opera’s 44th mainstage season begins with Verdi’s Rigoletto, directed by Zvulun in a co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Dallas Opera. Inspired by German surrealist painters Otto Dix and George Grosz and their cinematic successors Fellini and Buñuel, the stark, monumental sets, designed by Zvulun’s frequent collaborator Erhard Rom, hearken back to fascist Italy in the 1920s and ’30s, as well as evoking the gritty atmosphere that prevails in Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy, while Jessica Jahn’s costumes emphasize the idea of literal and figurative masks. The production is also conceived as an allegory of class division: Rigoletto, Sparafucile and Maddalena represent characters on the fringe of society, while the Duke and his cronies embody power and privilege, with Gilda trapped in the struggle between them. Georgia native and The Atlanta Opera regular Jasmine Habersham, who most recently sang Cleopatra in Zvulun’s staging of Handel’s Giulio Cesare and was a member of the Company Players earlier in the pandemic, returns to sing the role of Gilda. Celebrated Georgian baritone George Gagnidze portrays the title character, a signature role he has sung more than 100 times, 25 of them in two different stagings at the Metropolitan Opera. Korean tenor Won Whi Choi, praised by the New York Observer for a “big, virile sound that rocketed fearlessly up to a high C,” sings the Duke of Mantua, and Roberto Kalb, music director of Detroit Opera, is on the podium (Nov 4–12).

Spring productions: dreams, fantasy and storytelling

Highlighting the spring season are two new blockbuster productions directed by Zvulun: Die Walküre, the second installment of The Atlanta Opera’s Ring cycle, with Greer Grimsley returning as Wotan after making his company debut in last season’s production of Das Rheingold, Wendy Bryn Harmer in her company debut as Brünnhilde, and Laura Wilde in her company debut as Sieglinde (April 27–May 5); and a high-fantasy, high-tech conception for a new Tomer Zvulun production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring the company debuts of countertenor Iestyn Davies and soprano Liv Redpath and co-directed by rising star Bruno Baker (March 2–10). Puccini’s La bohème, with acclaimed Chinese tenor Long Long making his company debut as Rodolfo, rounds out The Atlanta Opera’s spring season (Jan 20–28).

About the Alliance Theatre

Founded in 1968, the Alliance Theatre is the leading producing theater in the Southeast, reaching more than 165,000 patrons annually.  The Alliance is a recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award® for sustained excellence in programming, education, and community engagement.  In January 2019, the Alliance opened its new, state-of-the-art performance space, the Coca-Cola Stage at Alliance Theatre.  Known for its high artistic standards and national role in creating significant theatrical works, the Alliance has premiered more than 120 productions including nine that have transferred to Broadway.  The Alliance education department reaches 90,000 students annually through performances, classes, camps, and in-school initiatives designed to support teachers and enhance student learning.  The Alliance Theatre values community, curiosity, collaboration, and excellence, and is dedicated to representing Atlanta’s diverse community with the stories told, the artists, staff, and leadership employed, and audiences served.

About The Atlanta Opera

The Atlanta Opera’s mission is to break boundaries in opera to create exceptional experiences for audiences everywhere. 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” event series and the innovative 96-Hour Opera Project. 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 and crew members and staff. The critically acclaimed productions and concerts were streamed in HD in the newly created streaming platform “Atlanta Opera Film Studio,” allowing The Atlanta Opera to reach a global audience. The Film Studio celebrates its third anniversary as an integral division of The Atlanta Opera with more than 350 produced shorts, interviews, and feature opera film available on the company’s streaming platform. National media coverage of the “pandemic season” included features by the Wall Street Journal and PBS NewsHour.

Atlanta Opera: 2023-24 Mainstage and Discoveries season
All performances take place in the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre unless otherwise specified
Sep 15, 16, 17m, 20, 22, 23, 24m, 26, 28, 30; Oct 1m
Atlanta Opera season-opening celebration Sep 23
Alliance Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center
Paul Moravec: The Shining
Sung in English with English supertitles
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Director: Brian Staufenbiel
Set design: Jacquelyn Scott
Costume design: Alina Bokovikova
Wigs and makeup design: Y. Sharon Peng
Projection design: David Murakami
Lighting design: Jim French
Jack Torrance: Craig Irvin
Jack Torrance: Thomas Glass
Wendy Torrance: Kearstin Piper Brown
Wendy Torrance: Kelly Kaduce
Dick Hallorann: Aubrey Allicock
Dick Hallorann: Kevin Deas

Oct 28
Michael Shapiro: Frankenstein
New score by Michael Shapiro performed with 1931 film Frankenstein
Conductor: Michael Shapiro
Atlanta Opera Orchestra
Soloists: Amanda Sheriff, soprano; Aubrey Odle, mezzo-soprano, Kameron Lopreore, tenor; Andrew Gilstrap, baritone; Jason Zacher, bass-baritone

Nov 4, 7, 10, 12m
Livestream: Nov 10
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
Co-production with Houston Grand Opera and Dallas Opera
In Italian with English supertitles
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Based on Le roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo
Conductor: Roberto Kalb
Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set design: Erhard Rom
Costume design: Jessica Jahn
Lighting design: Robert Wierzel
Rigoletto: George Gagnidze
Gilda: Jasmine Habersham
Duke of Mantua: Won Whi Choi
Giovanna: Rehanna Thelwell

Jan 20, 23, 26, 28m
Livestream: Jan 26
Giacomo Puccini: La bohème
In Italian with English supertitles
Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa
Conductor: Jonathan Brandani
Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set and projection design: Erhard Rom
Costume design: Martin Pakledinaz
Lighting design: Robert Wierzel
Rodolfo: Long Long*
Marcello: Zachary Nelson
Musetta: Madison Leonard
Colline: Christian Simmons

March 2, 5, 8, 10m
Livestream: March 8
Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
In English with English supertitles
Libretto by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
Conductor: Louis Lohraseb
Production Director: Tomer Zvulun
Co-Director: Bruno Baker
Scenic design: Steven Kemp
Costume design: Erik Teague
Lighting design: Thomas Hase
Oberon: Iestyn Davies*
Tytania: Liv Redpath*
Demetrius: Luke Sutliff
Lysander: Kameron Lopreore
Hermia: Susanne Burgess
Puck: Megan Marino
Bottom: Kevin Burdette

April 27, 30; May 3, 5
Livestream: May 3
Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
In German with English supertitles
Conductor: Arthur Fagen
Director: Tomer Zvulun
Set and projection design: Erhard Rom
Lighting design: Robert Wierzel
Costume design: Mattie Ullrich
Wotan: Greer Grimsley
Siegmund: Viktor Antipenko*
Brünnhilde: Wendy Bryn Harmer*
Sieglinde: Laura Wilde
*The Atlanta Opera debut

© 21C Media Group, August 2023


Return to Press Room