Atlanta Opera turns to circus for ideas

Atlanta Opera turns to circus for ideas


norman lebrecht

September 01, 2020

Atlanta’s artistic director Tomer Zvulun is not sitting on his hands. He’s opening with Pagliacci (Oct 22–Nov 13) and The Kaiser of Atlantis (Oct 23–Nov 14) in a custom-designed open-air tent with audience on a baseball field.

The Big Tent will travel to three other Atlanta locations over the course of 2020-21. The season’s four remaining productions will be announced later this fall.

Zvulun says: “I believe that crisis reveals character and provides opportunities for change. This pandemic has devastated so many lives and businesses. But it has also been a major catalyst in accelerating a shift to a business model that we have been discussing for years: creating a company of players, performing in non-traditional spaces, and developing our video and streaming capabilities.’

Each production will be digitally captured by the company’s newly formed digital media department, with the goal of wide distribution. The cast for each of the six 2020-21 productions will be drawn from the Atlanta Opera Company Players: twelve world-class singers living in the Atlanta metro area or within a few hours’ drive, who have been hired for the duration of the season. Drawing on the region’s exceptional talent pool, and reflecting its vitality and diversity, these handpicked artists are sopranos Jasmine Habersham and Talise Trevigne; mezzos Jamie Barton, Daniela Mack and Megan Marino; tenors Alek Shrader and Richard Trey Smagur; baritones Michael Mayes and Reginald Smith Jr.; bass-baritone Ryan McKinny; and basses Kevin Burdette and Morris Robinson.



  • Tiredofitall says:

    Thank goodness for forward-thinking opera opera managers. Tomer was well-respected when he worked at the Met. He has since distinguished himself in Atlanta and it is wonderful to see him building both Atlanta Opera–despite the pandemic–and his career.

  • V. Lind says:

    Send in the clowns — by which of course I mean I Pagliacci!This sounds a most imaginative set of initiatives. Of course Atlanta was one of the first major orchestras to start holding concerts at 6:30 p.m. for the after-work crowd. They have always been one step ahead of the curve.

  • Edgar Self says:

    “Aida” with real elephants? “The Magic Flute” with live animals? My bags are packed.

    OpprtUnities abound for acrobats and clowns, peacocks’ brains and nightingales’ tongues, aWolf Glen, archery contest, trapeze Rhein Maidens, Valhalla right ahead over Bifrost, the rainbow bridge, and straight through the goalposts.

    Now where are Loge and those pyro-technicians? Selected scenes, alternative endings, ‘Turandot”‘or the avalanche from “La Villi” as grand finale. Make Oprra Grand Again!