Sunday, January 14, 1990 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Seattle Opera Has Some New Sings To Show You

Six productions and a lot of chances: Seattle Opera's 1990-91 season, announced today, offers three operas the company has never presented before.

Beginning with the already-announced summer presentation of Prokofiev's ``War and Peace'' - the only production of the Goodwill Games Arts Festival that's genuinely a joint Soviet-U.S. artistic effort - Seattle Opera will go on to present Dvorak's fairy tale ``Rusalka'' and Donizetti's colorful treatment of the Anne Boleyn story, ``Anna Bolena.'' None of these operas has ever been presented at Seattle Opera (although the University of Washington produced ``Rusalka'' a decade ago).

Also on the agenda will be a new production of Mascagni's ``Cavalleria Rusticana,'' a short opera usually paired with ``I Pagliacci''; this time, however, ``Cavalleria'' will join Puccini's comic opera, ``Gianni Schicchi,'' on the double-bill program. The company's highly successful ``Tannhauser'' will be revived, with a new cast headed by conductor Hermann Michael, and a new production of Mozart's ``Don Giovanni'' will be unveiled, with Seattle Symphony maestro Gerard Schwarz behind the baton for his fourth Mozart production with Seattle Opera.

The artists' roster includes some frequently heard Seattle Opera favorites. Baritone Dale Duesing undertakes the title role in ``Don Giovanni,'' and soprano Carol Vaness essays Anna in ``Anna Bolena'' - a production which also includes Dolores Ziegler and Vinson

Cole in the cast. Heldentenor Ben Heppner, who turned many heads in the company's ``Die Meistersinger'' this past summer, returns in ``Rusalka'' (an opera which, as general director Speight Jenkins points out, is ``the unhappy version'' of the legend upon which the current animated film ``The Little Mermaid'' is based). Tenor Neil Shicoff will take on the role of Turiddu for the first time in ``Cavalleria Rusticana.''

``I'm happy about the balance of this season,'' says Jenkins, ``with proven successes as well as three firsts. We're trying to keep within the same budget as this year, which isn't easy. One thing that helps is co-productions: Our `War and Peace' will be a co-production with the New York City Opera, and `Rusalka' is a co-production with Houston Grand Opera, which is splitting the `Rusalka' costs with us.''

That production also will present the stage directing debut of noted set designer Gunther Schneider-Siemssen, whose sets and lighting also will be featured.

Fans of Northwest singers will note the return of Pamela Casella (formerly Pamela LaSalle), alternating with Dolora Zajick in the role of Santuzza in ``Cavalleria Rusticana,'' and tenor Maurice Stern, alternating with Klaus Koenig in the title role in ``Tannhauser.''

The details of the season follow.

-- ``War and Peace,'' by Prokofiev: July 22, 25, 27, 29, Aug. 2, 4, 6. Mark Ermler conducting; staging by Francesca Zambello, sets by John Conklin; Sheri Greenawald (Natasha), Vladimir Chernov (Prince Andre), Nikolai Ohotnikov (Kutuzov), Peter Kazaras (Pierre Bezoukhov), Victoria Vergara (Princess Helena), Julian Patrick (Denisov).

-- ``Cavalleria Rusticana''/

``Gianni Schicchi,'' by Mascagni and Puccini; Sept. 22, 26, 29, Oct. 3 (Gold Series), Sept. 23, 28 (Silver Series). Cal Stewart Kellogg conducting; staging by Zambello. Dolora Zajick/Pamela Casella (Santuzza); Neil Shicoff/Stephen O'Mara (Turiddu), Ron Peo (Alfio), Julian Patric (Schicchi), Cynthia Haymon (Lauretta), Joseph Wolverton (Rinuccio).

-- ``Rusalka,'' by Dvorak; Oct. 27, 31, Nov. 3, 7 (Gold Series); Oct. 28, Nov. 2 (Silver Series). Bruce Ferden conducting; Schneider-Siemssen, sets and direction. Renee Fleming/Nicole Philibosian (Rusalka), Ben Heppner/David Bender (Prince), Richard Van Allan (Spirit of the Lake); Sheila Nadler (Jezibaba), Susan Graham (Kitchen Boy).

-- ``Tannhauser,'' by Wagner; Jan. 19, 23, 26, 30, 1991 (Golde Series); Jan. 20, 25, 1991 (Silver Series). Hermann Michael conducts; staging by Sonja Frisell, sets by Robert Darling. Klaus Koenig/

Maurice Stern (Tannhauser); Nadine Secunde/Christine Seitz (Elisabeth); Kathryn Bouleyn (Venus), Thomas Woodman/Vladimir Chernov (Wolfram), Gabor Andrasy (Hermann).

-- ``Anna Bolena,'' by Donizetti; March 2, 6, 9, 13, 1991 (Gold Series); March 3, 8 (Silver Series). Edoardo Mueller conducts; staging by Patrick Bakman and sets from John Pascoe of Canadian Opera. Carol Vaness/Nova Thomas (Anna Bolena); Delores Ziegler/Mimi Lerner (Jane Seymour); Vinson Cole/Don Bernadini (Lord Percy), Jeffrey Wells/Henry Runey (Henry VIII).

-- ``Don Giovanni,'' by Mozart; May 4, 8, 11, 15, 1991 (Gold Series, Vienna version of the score); May 5, 10, 1991 (Silver Series, Prague version of the score). Gerard Schwarz conducts; staging by Stephen Wadsworth, sets by Thomas Lynch. Sheri Greenawald/Lauren Flanigan (Donna Anna); Mari-Anne Haggender (Donna Elvira), Anna Steiger (Zerlina), Dale Duesing (Don Ottavio), Gabriel Sade (Don Ottavio), Hector Guedes (Leporello), Gabor Andrasy (Commendatore).

Copyright (c) 1990 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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