Opera Tampa will expand its season in 2008-09, according to the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, which operates the opera company. There will be three operas, one more than the company has produced in recent seasons, as well as a concert of American music by mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and bass-baritone Samuel Ramey.
For a company that has rarely deviated from the tried and true, the season represents a modest breakout into less familiar territory, with a Puccini double bill — Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi — and Gounod's Faust. These operas, while certainly popular and firmly in the standard repertory, are not as recognizable to a wide audience as La Boheme and Tosca, the stalwarts in the current season's lineup.
The Barber of Seville by Rossini will open the season. The two Puccini operas will be staged in TBPAC's smaller Ferguson Hall. The other productions will be in Morsani Hall.
TBPAC president Judy Lisi and conductor Anton Coppola (who turns 91 Friday) continue to lead the company. For the second season, legendary baritone Sherrill Milnes and his wife, soprano Maria Zouves, will be artistic adviser and associate director, respectively.
John Fleming can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8716.