Man of la Mancha

ALO presents Tony Award winning "Man of La Mancha", July 15, 16, & 17.

2016 Summer Production

~ “Man of La Mancha” ~


Asheville Lyric Opera is thrilled to announce their debut production of Man of La Mancha. This Tony Award-winning musical will bring a distinguished cast of performers to Asheville from across the U.S.  Based on the novel Don Quixote, this timeless classic will take you on a mystical and lyrical journey of good versus evil.

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The story is based on Miguel de Cervantes’ novel, Don Quixote, during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. In this play-within-a-play, we see Cervantes as a prisoner awaiting trial by the inquisition.  When the other prisoners try to take his manuscript, he attempts to prove the work’s merit through reenactment, enlisting his fellow prisoners as characters.  Together, they tell the story of Alonso Quijana, who believes himself to be to be the knight errant Don Quixote.  Quixote, along with his “squire” Sancho Panza, set out on a journey of chivalry.  Through the story, all the prisoners, at least for a moment, are changed into something more. The mad Don Quixote transforms the world around him into something fantastic, turning windmills into giants and an old inn into a castle, but also changes a wretched woman into a beautiful lady and proves that the beliefs of one old man can make him a knight.

~ Meet the Cast ~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADavid Malis, Miguel de Cervantes/ Don Quixote

David Malis, the first American to win the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, began his operatic career with the San Francisco Opera, making his debut as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte. Mr. Malis’ made his Metropolitan Opera in the Parks debut as Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, in a production that included Luciano Pavarotti, Kathleen Battle and Giuseppe Taddei. This was quickly followed by his  Metropolitan Opera mainstage debut as Marcello in La Bohème. Over the next twelve seasons, Mr. Malis’ leading roles at the Metropolitan Opera included  Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos, Ned Keene in Peter Grimes, Marcello and Schaunard in La Bohème, Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus, and Papageno in Die Zauberflöte.  He has returned to San Francisco Opera to sing Marcello in La Bohème,  Silvio in Pagliacci, Ping in Turandot, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and  to reprise his critically acclaimed Papageno in the David Hockney production. He was chosen by Werner Herzog to sing Wolfram in a new production of Wagner’s Tannhäuser at the newly reopened Teatro Massimo in Palermo.  Recent engagements include the title role in Verdi’s Falstaff with Atlanta Opera,  the title role in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale in Lucca, Italy, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore with Cleveland Opera, Germont in La Traviata with Arizona Opera,  and a critically acclaimed role debut as Kurwenal in a recording of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde for Titanic Records.

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Donata Cucinotta-Headshot-Opera-682x1024Donata Cucinotta, Aldonza

Noted for her “particularly fine” soprano voice by Zachary Woolfe of The New York Times, Donata Cucinotta has been an active performer of both opera and musical theater throughout her 10 year career. This season’s notable engagements include several role and company debuts; as Nedda in Pagliacci at Opera in the Heights; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni at Opera Ithaca; Aunt Norris in Mansfield Park at Indianapolis Opera; Evangeline in Evangeline with The Longfellow Chorus; and Susan Lawrence in Big The Musical at Shadow Lawn Stage, as well as a featured role with Salt Mash Opera’s Broadway on the Lawn concert. She holds music degrees from Ithaca College and Mannes College of Music. A Philadelphia native, she greatly enjoyed her honeymoon in Asheville and is thrilled to be back!

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Scott Wichael, tenorScott Wichael, Sancho

Praised for his expressive voice and versatile stage presence, tenor Scott Wichael has appeared on stages throughout the United States with a repertoire ranging from Mozart to Floyd.  Recently he performed Pong in Turandot with Rimrock Opera and Spoletta in Tosca with The Lyric Opera of Kansas City where he also has performed Dr. Blind in Die Fledermaus and Pang in Turandot.  Recent roles include Little Bat in Susannah with St. Petersburg Opera and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel with the Soo Theatre Project.  During the 2011-2012 season he appeared with The Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Opera Omaha,  Die Knusperhexe in Hänsel und Gretel with the Eutiner Festspiele and #5 Magic Object in Transformations with the Kansas City Civic OperaThe 2010 season included Monostatos in Die Zauberflöte with Asheville Lyric Opera, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi with Soo Theatre Project and Nanki Poo in The Mikado with Kansas City Metro Opera.  In 2009 he was Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Mr. Angel in The Impresario with Rimrock Opera and Parpignol in La Boheme with Opera Omaha.  Other roles include Prunier in La Rondine, Beppe in Pagliacci, Scaramuccio and Tanzmeister in Ariadne auf Naxos and The Four Servants in Les Contes D’Hoffmann.

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Gerbrandt headshot - updatedGregory Gerbrandt, Governor

American baritone Gregory Gerbrandt has performed with opera and symphonic organizations on five continents, singing for ambassadors and other officials from all over the world.  Prior to earning the degree of Master of Music from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, Gerbrandt obtained a Bachelor of Music from the University of Northern Colorado, where he was twice awarded the prestigious distinction of Scholar of the Year.  Gerbrandt has created the lead baritone in four World Premiere operas, heading the original cast recording of Kamran Ince’s opera, Judgment of Midas, which was released in May of this past year on Albany Records.  By contrast, Gerbrandt is in high demand to perform the prominent standards of Italian, French, and Russian opera.  Highlighting last season Gerbrandt performed the title roles in Eugene Onegin and Elijah, Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, Jim Thompson in Glory Denied, and Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro.

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 Keith Chambers ConductorKeith Chambers, Conductor

Conductor Keith Chambers has been praised by the Dallas Morning News for the “taut and carefully scaled playing” of his orchestra. He has conducted for The Dallas Opera, Amarillo Opera, Asheville Lyric Opera, American Lyric Theater, Manhattan Opera Studio, The Living Opera, Martha Cardona Opera, Opera in the Ozarks, and American Opera Projects.  Mr. Chambers has been Assistant Conductor of The Dallas Opera and New York City Opera, as well as assistant to noted conductors Emmanuel Villaume, Patrick Summers, and Riccardo Frizza, among others.  He recently led Un giorno di regno for the Seattle Opera Young Artist Program and has conducted for Amarillo Opera (Tosca), Manhattan Opera Studio (Radamisto, Le nozze di Figaro), American Opera Projects (Nora, in the Great Outdoors), Martha Cardona Opera (Tosca, Gianni Schicchi, Cavalleria rusticana), Sugar Land Opera (The Impresario, The Station), New York Lyric Opera (The Barber of SevilleLe nozze di Figaro, Rigoletto, Hansel & Gretel), Opera in the Ozarks (Don Giovanni, L’elixir d’amore), and Halifax Summer Opera (Giulio Cesare). For Asheville Lyric Opera, he conducted performances of Roméo et Juliette.

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David StarkeyDavid Craig Starkey, Stage Director

David Craig Starkey has a diverse career spanning all aspects of opera, musical theater, and large entertainment production. Mr. Starkey is the founder and General & Artistic Director of the Asheville Lyric Opera in Asheville, North Carolina, a leader in regional opera and co-producing in the southeast. Mr. Starkey has enjoyed a successful transition from a professional operatic singer and director into a business leader with relationships throughout Western North Carolina and the greater southeast region. Mr. Starkey combines his producing and business experience from his mentors: Paul Kellogg, former director of New York City Opera and Lesley Koenig, former director of production of the Metropolitan Opera along with his affiliations with numerous institutions, including Manhattan School of Music, Indianapolis Opera, Yale Opera, Indiana University Opera Theatre, New Jersey State Opera, Opera North (US), and Brevard Music Center.  Mr. Starkey received a distinguished degree of Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Youngstown State University and a Master of Music degree in opera performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. His vocal studies have been with pioneers of the vocal arts; Giorgio Tozzi, Dale Moore, Mark Oswald, and his father, Dr. David E. Starkey. With over thirty baritone roles in his repertoire and performing career, Mr. Starkey has been at Amato Opera, New York City Opera, and made his European debut at the Bregenz Festspiele in Austria. He has been equally successful in theatre productions at the Huntington Theatre and North Shore Theatre in Boston, and as a soloist and collaborator with Erich Kunzel and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra marking his solo debut at Carnegie Hall and the Telarc Records.

Aldonza Sketch Quixote Sketch Sancho Sketch

Costume Design Sketches by Jayne Harnett-Hargrove



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