San Diego gets new opera company
City Opera will debut as part of La Jolla Playhouse's Without Walls Festival
By James Chute | 6 a.m. July 29, 2015
San Diego has a new opera company: City Opera.
Founded by director Cynthia Stokes and composer, writer and performer Cory Hibbs, the “artist driven” company will make its debut Oct. 9-11 on the UC San Diego campus as part of the La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival.
As part of the festival, City Opera will present “Queen of Carthage,” a “re-imagining” by Hibbs of Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” The production will retain Purcell’s music and feature a new libretto by Hibbs.
The fledgling company has also planned a Dec. 11-13 production of “The Andrée Expedition” based on music by Dominick Argento at Bread & Salt in Logan Heights, and a Spring, 2016 production of Robert X. Rodriguez’s “La Curandera” at a venue to be determined.
“The work we selected for this first season reflects our passion for championing new and contemporary works in English, works by American composers, nontraditional repertoire, and fundamental re-conceptualizations of standard operas,” said Hibbs in a statement. “This is a very different model for presenting live performance. City Opera is building community by inviting diverse audiences to attend exciting, intimate, and cutting-edge productions mounted in locations throughout San Diego.”
Hibbs teaches at SDSU, where he earned his bachelors degree in composition and vocal performance before earning graduate degrees from Boston University (in composition) and the Peabody Conservatory (in music theory and composition).
Stokes has an MFA in directing from UC San Diego and has been associated with the La Jolla Playhouse and other local theaters. In addition, she’s frequently directed regional opera and theater companies including Opera San Jose, Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Philadelphia and the now defunct San Antonio Opera.
“City Opera tells stories through music that are rooted in San Diego’s unique citizenry and promotes opera as a living and essential art form, which provokes, thrills and transforms human lives,” said Stokes. “As a parent, I want my family to have great cultural experiences. City Opera’s productions have a price point that family audiences can afford.”
City Opera’s inaugural season is in part underwritten by Allianz Global Investors.
More information: sdcityopera.org