The month of May features the final opera performance of the Michigan Opera Theatres’ spring season: Ruggero Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci. The production, running from May 12th through the 20th, will feature Antonello Palombi and John Pickle splitting the famous tenor role of Canio, with Jill Gardner (Nedda), Gordon Hawkins (Tonio), Luis Ledesma (Silvio), and Phillippe Pierce (Beppe) rounding out the cast.
I Pagliacci rounds off the spring MOT “fate” season, kicked off last month by George Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. The critically-acclaimed production seemed to represent what the Michigan Opera Theatre does best: high quality productions, not centered on big-named stars, but on solid performances and lavish sets, all designed to best serve the drama and music.
Although Pearl Fishers was not my favorite opera of the 2011-12 season, it reaffirmed the notion that MOT, as well as the Detroit Opera House itself, is a rare gem in the city of Detroit. Much like the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Michigan Opera Theatre seems to be one of those wonderful institutions that we often associate with “bigger” cities such as New York or Chicago, but often forget we have right here at home.
The Michigan Opera Theatre is just past halfway through its “Preserve the Legacy” timetable. The fundraising campaign, set to end May 31st, was started to help retire $11 million in bank debt on the Detroit Opera House. Donations are currently being matched, dollar for dollar, thanks to an anonymous donation of $100,000.