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The Flying Dutchman

November 11, 14, 17 & 19, 2023

Your timbers will shiver.
Every seven years a ghostly ship pulls into port captained by a man known simply as The Dutchman. Condemned to eternally roam the seven seas, only the pure heart of a faithful bride can free The Dutchman from a demonic curse. In a windswept fishing village, he finds Senta, a young woman obsessed with his dark legend. But can this match made in heaven truly save him from his hellish fate?

Wagner’s thunderous score brings this haunting tale to life with all the power of a stormy and turbulent sea.

Pittsburgh Opera is proud to present Wagner’s sweeping epic The Flying Dutchman for the first time in over 20 years.

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Iphigénie en Tauride

January 20, 23, 26, 28, 2024

Blood is thicker…
In the aftermath of the Trojan War, the priestess Iphigénie is tasked to kill any strangers who land on Scythia’s shores. But as Fate would have it, her brother Oreste is the first to be shipwrecked on the peninsula and brought to the sacrificial altar.

The priestess believes her brother to be dead and responsible for the death of their mother. Oreste in turn believes that Iphigénie had been sacrificed to the goddess Diana by their father Agamemnon in return for favorable winds. The siblings fail to recognize each other yet Iphigénie feels a strange kinship with the ill-fated stranger. She wishes to spare him, but Oreste—driven mad by grief and guilt over his family’s compounding tragedy—welcomes death. Will they discover the truth before it is too late?

Showcasing the transition from baroque to classical opera, Christoph Gluck reimagines Euripides’ great Greek drama and reignites it in true operatic form.

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Proving Up

February 17, 20, 23 & 25, 2024

An American Dream as fragile as glass.
A family of Nebraskan homesteaders in the 1870s dreams of “proving up.” They endeavor to obtain the deed to the land they’ve settled by fulfilling the requirements of the Homestead Act: five years of harvest, a sod house dwelling, and perhaps the most elusive element—a glass window.

With their eldest son incapacitated, Ma and Pa send their youngest living child Miles on a mission to share the valuable commodity with their distant neighbors who are expecting a visit from a government inspector. Miles’ journey brings him face to face with the remnants of a shattered past—the ghost of a neighboring farmer driven mad by the requirements of “proving up.” The willowy figure knows all too well the cost of the American Dream, and the coveted window soon becomes a broken mirror reflecting great tragedy.

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La Traviata

March 16, 19, 22 & 24, 2024

Hedonism, hypocrisy, and high society
A courtesan among the decadent elite, Violetta Valéry knows that she will die soon so she lives life to the fullest. Only the love of the doting Alfredo can sweep her away from these sensual delights. But while she is a trophy to be won amongst the balls and frivolities of Paris, she is nothing but a scandalous “fallen woman” to genteel society. Violetta and Alfredo’s love threatens to bring shame to his family and ruin his sister’s marriage prospects. In secret, Alfredo’s father presses Violetta to shun Alfredo and save the family’s reputation. Heartbroken and health failing, Violetta retreats to her old life of empty pleasures. As her illness worsens, will love slip away as well?

Verdi’s exquisite tragedy juxtaposes rousing numbers like the joyous Brindisi with heart-wrenching arias to create a shattering emotional portrait like no other.

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The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson

April 27, 30 & May 3 ,5, 2024

Pittsburgh’s unsung heroine who taught America to sing
In 1943, the National Negro Opera Company is set to perform on a floating barge to evade racially-segregated venues. But when bad weather threatens—pushing the performance to a segregated performance hall—visionary impressaria Mary Cardwell Dawson must find a way forward.

Mary Cardwell Dawson’s dream to provide access for African Americans to perform on stages for all audiences changed the future of opera. Having founded the longest-running, all-Black opera company here in Pittsburgh and organizing opera guilds in the country’s biggest cities, Mary Cardwell Dawson would go on to train hundreds of African American youth to sing.

Written by Mark Twain Award-winning playwright and librettist Sandra Seaton, The Passion of Mary Cardwell Dawson celebrates the remarkable founder of Pittsburgh’s historic and groundbreaking National Negro Opera Company. This play with music includes selections from Carmen as well as original music by award-winning Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Carlos Simon.

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