A new opera based on the acclaimed Italian novel “The Leopard” is making its world debut in South Florida.
Based on the 1958 novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, the opera premieres March 5 and 6 at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay, which is south of Miami. The music was written by Michael Dellaira with the libretto by J. D. McClatchy. The show is being performed by students and faculty members from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami.
“Opera is a complicated medium, with lots of moving parts, all delicately interconnected, and for the characters to come to life on the stage requires an extraordinary coordination of talent and experience from a great number of people,” Dellaira said. “Lucky for me all that talent and experience is right here at the Frost School.”
Performing with the University of Miami students are faculty members that include baritone Kim Josephson, mezzo-soprano Robynne Redmon, tenor Frank Ragsdale and bass-baritone Kevin Short.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this world premiere and excited to be performing with the extraordinary students of the Frost Opera Theater and Maestro Gerard Schwarz and the Frost Symphony Orchestra,” Josephson said.
The production is being led by music director Alan Johnson and stage director Jeffrey Buchman.
“The Leopard,” or “Il Gattopardo” in Italian, is set in Sicily in 1860. The story follows Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina, who is also known as the Leopard. Corbera, a member of an impoverished, nearly obsolete Sicilian aristocracy, faces a society in upheaval. He is forced to choose between decay and progress, as well as between the downfall of the nobility and the future of his family.
The novel set sales records in Italy after its release and won the Strega Prize, which is Italy’s highest award for fiction. Director Luchino Visconti adapted the book into a 1963 film starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon.
Opera based on Italian novel ‘The Leopard’ debuts in South Florida