N.C. Opera Presents the Undead, Superheros, the Apocalypse and Creation in Its New Season | Music

N.C. Opera Presents the Undead, Superheros, the Apocalypse and Creation in Its New Season

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Joyce El-Khoury as Tatiana in N.C. Opera's presentation of Eugene Onegin in January - PHOTO BY CURTIS BROWN
  • Photo by Curtis Brown
  • Joyce El-Khoury as Tatiana in N.C. Opera's presentation of Eugene Onegin in January
Expanding upon an adventurous season that turned heads with its staging of Davis Miller’s boxing opera Approaching Ali, the North Carolina Opera keeps the pedal down in its 2016-17 season, which it announced this week.

The eyecatcher on the season is Patrick Morganelli's Hercules vs. Vampires, an act of sheer Technicolor multimedia madness, coming to Raleigh’s Meymandi Concert Hall for two nights around Halloween. Morganelli brings a bit of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to the hall, projecting Mario Bava’s 1961 popcorn film Hercules in the Haunted World and having the singers perform live over the silenced film actors speaking.

This mash-up of film camp and operatic talent promises a lot of fun moments, and should loosen the audience up in the same way that Approaching Ali did. The audience cheered and shouted affirmations when I saw Ali at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Shot in Italy with glistening bodybuilders in some of the roles, Bava’s film is his first in color, and has been described as slightly psychedelic.

The rest of the N.C. Opera season is far from quiet. It kicks off in September with two performances of a semi-staged production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, which only opens with the discordant creation of the world before finding Valhalla through a harrowing descent into the underworld. The first installment of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold has an edge. It also marks the first complete Wagner opera that the N.C. Opera has ever presented.

The season clams a bit next year, with five performances of Mozart’s romp The Marriage of Figaro in February and March 2017, and a pair of performances of Bizet’s tragic The Pearl Fishers in April.

Two special events were also announced for 2017. Celebrated tenor Michael Fabiano performs a recital in late March, and the ensemble tribute to Duke Ellington, On a Turquoise Cloud, is slated for a winter 2017 production.

N.C. Opera's 2016-2017 season:
Wagner's Das Rheingold
September 16 and 18, 2016
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh
*Semi-staged production
Patrick Morganelli's Hercules vs. Vampires
October 30 and 31, 2016
Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh
Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro
February 25 and 26, 2017
March 2, 3 and 5, 2017
Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh
Bizet's The Pearl Fishers
April 28 + 30, 2017
Memorial Auditorium, Raleigh

Special events:
Michael Fabiano in Recital
March 28, 2017 at Fletcher Opera Theater, Raleigh
On a Turquoise Cloud
Winter 2017 (date and location TBD)

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