FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - November 12, 2014


Company Sets Sights on Bright Future With a Lineup of  Innovative Offerings

WILMINGTON, Del. - OperaDelaware (OD)  announced today that it completed its 2014 fiscal year in the black, thanks to increased support from individual donors, the State of Delaware, and others.  Moving forward, OperaDelaware will shift the majority of its artistic output to a "festival" format designed to attract opera lovers to the Brandywine Valley.

"We have a lot to celebrate at OperaDelaware today," said Brendan Cooke, OperaDelaware's General Director.  "The enthusiasm about our future grows daily and we are eagerly awaiting the launch of our first Spring Opera Festival.  This new structure will allow us to continue to bring opera of the highest quality to Delaware while shining a light on the Brandywine Valley as a terrific tourist destination."

Season Kicked off With a Look at Opera in Pop Culture

October's opening performances of OD's 70th season were both sold out, with waiting lists of patrons hoping to get a ticket.  As part of Opera America's "National Opera Week," OD presentedWho's Afraid of Opera?, a lighthearted romp through opera's role in popular culture, at the OperaDelaware Studios  in Wilmington.  The Oct. 24 performance was set up "cabaret" style and featured dinner from Smokey's Brick Oven Pizza, which stationed its mobile brick oven in front of the venue.

OperaDelaware also held an open rehearsal of this program at the Methodist Country House, and took a modified version of the program to the Smyrna Opera House as part of ongoing efforts to reach new patrons statewide.

 Popularity of Early Season Offerings Leads to Additional Performances

OperaDelaware is pleased to announce Sunday Artist Spotlight, a new recital series at the OperaDelaware Studios, located at 4 South Poplar Street, Wilmington..  This series will feature well-loved soloists from OperaDelaware's past, present and future in informal, hour-long recitals, followed by moderated "talk-back" sessions that will enable audiences to really get to know the artist.  OperaDelaware's music director Jeffrey Miller will serve as accompanist at all performances.

The first show in the series takes place on Jan. 18, 2015. It features Grant Youngblood, a Wilmington resident who has performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as well as on the mainstage of the Grand.  Locally, Youngblood dazzled audiences in the title role of Macbeth in 2013.  OperaDelaware fans also will remember Youngblood's stunning performance as Scarpia in Tosca as well as many other roles.  Youngblood takes the stage at 2 p.m.

On Feb. 1, soprano Sharin Apostolou will sing at OperaDelaware studios at 2 p.m.  OperaDelaware fans will remember how Apostolou charmed audiences in the leading role of Adina in L'elisir d' Amorein 2013.  Apostolou has also appeared on the national stage in the Seattle Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.  

Bass Ben Wager, an international opera performer who started his singing career in the OperaDelaware chorus, will delight audiences on Mar. 22 at 2 p.m.  Wager most recently performed locally in the role of Banquo in Macbeth, and regionally with the Academy of Vocal Arts and Opera Philadelphia.

African-American Opera Legends Shine in February Tribute

In February, OperaDelaware will present This Little Light of Mine, a one-woman musical tribute to the groundbreaking careers of Leontyne Price and Marian Anderson, two African-American opera legends who overcame racial barriers to become international opera stars.  This inventive work was written by Adrienne Danrich under a commission from the Cincinnati Opera. The tribute performance will be held in observance of Black History Month and will take place at the OperaDelaware Studios onFeb. 20 at 7:30 p.m., and Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.

Spring Opera Festival Offers Three Captivating Shows

The 2014 season ends with a two-weekend festival that culminates in a celebration of one of opera's most beguiling women, Carmen.

La tragédie de Carmen is a stage version of Peter Brook's amazing adaptation of the full-length opera.  Audrey Babcock leads a stellar cast as Carmen, and the show features OperaDelaware favorite Alok Kumar as Don Jose, Michael Mayes as Escamillo, and Victoria Cannizzo as Micaela.  Maestro Anthony Barrese will lead the OperaDelaware Orchestra, and Cynthia duPont Tobias directs.  OperaDelaware presents La tragédie de Carmen at Tatnall School's Laird Center for the Performing Arts on May 9 at 7:30 p.m., May 15 at 7:30 p.m., and May 17 at 2 p.m.

A concert performance of Delibes' rarely seen masterpiece Lakmé will also be showcased as part of  the Spring Opera Festival, with Sharon Cheng in the title role.  Shows will be held at The Baby Grand in downtown Wilmington on May 8 at 7:30 p.m. and May 16 at 2 p.m.  The performance will feature the OperaDelaware Chorus prepared by Music Director Jeffrey Miller, and James Harp of Lyric Opera Baltimore at the piano.

On May 14 and 16, in celebration of the MidAtlantic Wine+ Food Festival, OperaDelaware presents Wine, Women, and Food - an evening of opera devoted to Wine, Women, and Food (in song). The centerpiece of the evening is Lee Hoiby's Bon Appétit, featuring Melissa Kornacki as Julia Child in a one-woman opera based on Child's famous chocolate cake episode.  The evening also will be filled out by other operatic "goodies for foodies." The show begins at 7:30 at the OperaDelaware studios.

Tickets for all 2014 performances can be purchased online at, or by calling 302-442.7807.


OperaDelaware, the nation's 11th oldest professional opera company, celebrates its 70th season in 2014-2015.  Our mission is to enrich the cultural life of people in the Mid-Atlantic region by producing opera and opera education programs at the highest artistic level.  The company presents new and traditional operas using a unique blend of established and emerging professional talent.