Anchorage, Alaska: Anchorage Opera has been selected by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of their 2022-23 Celebrating 60 Season on Friday, October 14 from 4 – 6 PM in the Discovery Theatre at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. General Director, Reed W. Smith will announce the dedication of AO’s milestone season to Ed and Cathy Rasmuson for their generous, continuous support of the company over the years. Cathy Rasmuson will be guest of honor at the event which will feature a behind-the-scenes look at AO’s season opener The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan (October 21, 22 & 23) currently in rehearsals at the PAC. Festivities in the Discovery Theatre lobby will include a PHOTO OP-era Booth for attendees to step into and channel their “inner pirate” and a 60th Anniversary birthday cake and libations, with the ribbon cutting at 5 PM. The doors to the theater will then be opened for guests to enjoy a sneak peek at the set in all its piratical glory. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP visit anchoragechamber.org
AO’s 2022-2023 Celebrating 60 Season includes a classic comedy, a powerful USA premiere, and a passionate blockbuster. For The Pirates of Penzance, AO has scheduled “Dress Like a Pirate” performances. The company will open its final dress rehearsal to K-12 students free of charge and invite them to dress the part when they attend. The stage will be set with the PHOTO OP-era Booth in the lobby to pose in and have their photo taken. The general public will also have a chance on Opening Night (October 21) to dress up and win prizes.
The USA premiere of Missing (March 10, 11 & 12, 2023) by distinguished First Nations playwright Marie Clements and Juno award winning composer Brian Current, gives voice, in English and Gitxsan, to the current, tragic missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) crisis. The production is Indigenous led; directed by Rhiana Yazzie, a Navajo Nation citizen, and conducted by Timothy Long, of Muscogee Creek and Choctaw descent, and Indigenous performers are cast, including Alaska Native, Kira Neta Apaachuaq Eckenweiler (Iñupiaq) of Unalakleet. AO is partnering with organizations, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Native Movement, Data for Indigenous Justice, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Alaska Native Justice Center, Native Peoples Action, and the Anchorage Museum, on projects surrounding the production. Voth Hall in the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts will serve as a space for opera attendees to view exhibits and informational tables from partners, and pre-performance traditional ceremonies and post-performance Talking Circles will connect the audience with Alaska Native culture and with the cast and artistic team of Missing. A private performance for survivors and families of MMIWG with on-site grief counselors will be presented. With support from Alaska Airlines, performances will engage audience from across the state of Alaska to experience the opera hailed as an “extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking work…a milestone for the opera world…a healing journey in a magnificent mélange of singing, acting and music”. A poetic expression of loss, hope and the spirit finding home, Missing speaks to the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people in Alaska and across the nation. AO hopes to raise awareness of the MMIWG tragedy and help with healing by presenting this opera. This production of Missing received funding from OPERA America’s Next Stage program, supported by Gene Kaufman, Terry Eder-Kaufman, and New Vision for NYC Opera, with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The company debut of Rhiana Yazzie was partially supported by OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Women Stage Directors and Conductors, generously funded by the Marineau Family Foundation. Quyana Initiative: a Commitment to Decolonization and Indigenization, received funding from a Civic Practice Grant from OPERA America’s Opera Fund.
AO’s mainstage season finale is the passionate blockbuster Bizet’s Carmen (May 5, 6 & 7, 2023). One of the most popular operas of all time, Bizet’s flamenco-infused music overflows with famous melodies including the ‘Habanera’ and Toreador Song.
Anchorage Opera is one of the largest producers of the performing arts in Alaska and the first opera company in North America founded in the circumpolar North in 1962. For additional information contact Judy Berry, Marketing & Development Director or visit anchorageopera.org.