By Barb Van Atta

Tri-Cities Opera’s 70th season will feature a repertoire classic, a world premiere and a genre-crossing musical. Casts are still being finalized but will feature both current and former TCO Resident Artists including nationally acclaimed soprano Jill Gardner in the titular role of the opening production, Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca.

The sole Tosca performance will be Sunday, Oct. 20, at The Forum, 236 Washington St., Binghamton, directed by David Lefkowich and conducted by Andrew Bisantz. As she did with La Boheme in 2017, Maria Aimoniotis will direct the children’s chorus.

Baritone Daniel Scofield will sing Scarpia, his debut in the role. Contract negotiations with a tenor are nearly complete, said TCO Artistic Director Susan Ashbaker at a press conference Tuesday afternoon (March 19) at the TCO Opera Center, 315 Clinton St., Binghamton.

The remaining two productions of the 2019-2020 will be presented at the opera center:

  • Marie Begins by Ellen Fishman, a world premiere, on Feb. 21, 23 and 28 and March 1, 2020, and
  • A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, April 24 and 26 and May 1 and 3, 2020.

Ashbaker spoke animatedly about the jazzy Marie, for which Fishman received an Opera America composer’s grant. The piece, described as “an interactive opera experience,” will break new ground at the intersection of technology and art as audience members choose the outcome by voting by text message.

The 2019-2020 Resident Artists will be soprano Gina Moscato, mezzo-soprano Chelsea Melamed, tenor Kevin Bryant and, to slip into sports parlance, a baritone to be named later. Moscato (as the title character), Bryant and Melamed will be in Marie Begins, as will 2018-19 Resident Artist Tesia Kwarteng, who is ending her residency this spring but will be returning as a guest artist.

Melamed, Moscato and Brant also will be featured in the Sondheim, which will be directed by James Kenon Mitchell and conducted by Braden Toan. Former Resident Artist Emily Gellar will star as Desiree and well-known regional actor Heidi Weeks will be a guest artist, playing Madame Armfeldt.

Season tickets will be available to current subscribers starting May 10 and to new subscribers June 1.

Tri-Cities Opera was founded in 1949 by Carmen Savoca (1924-1998) and Peyton Hibbitt, who died March 1 at the age of 93. Ashbaker said the entire season will be dedicated to Hibbitt.