Festival celebrates the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico; Company announces speakers for pre-performance lectures, collaborates with Stitch House Brewery on custom ale to commemorate Festival

Wilmington, Del. — OperaDelaware returns to Wilmington’s Grand Opera House for the 2018 Festival (April 28-May 6), a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico. Seven acts of opera will be offered across two weekends including all three acts of Il Trittico (The Triptych) and Michael Ching's Buoso's Ghost, fully staged at the Grand Opera House, plus casual concerts at the OperaDelaware Studios featuring popular Puccini works. 

The first two acts of Il Trittico -- the tragedies Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) -- will be presented together in an emotional double-bill spotlighting some of Puccini's most stunning vocal writing. Il Tabarro is a story of love, adultery, and murder set on the banks of the Seine starring celebrated soprano Eleni Calenos as Giorgetta, Wilmington’s own Grant Youngblood (baritone) as Michele, and tenor Matthew Vickers (Amleto, 2016) as Luigi. Calenos will also take on the title role in Suor Angelica, the tragic opera about a young woman confined to a convent for having a child out of wedlock. Mezzo-soprano Alissa Anderson will sing the role of La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica (as well as Frugola in Il Tabarro). The production is directed by Crystal Manich and conducted by OperaDelaware Music Director Anthony Barrese.

The final opera of the trilogy, the uproarious comedy Gianni Schicchi, will be paired with Buoso’s Ghost, a contemporary Schicchi “sequel” by composer Michael Ching. Many opera fans are familiar with Schicchi, Puccini’s beloved comedy about a family fighting over a wealthy relative's estate -- but what happens next? Buoso's Ghost continues the fun by following the Donati family as they seek revenge on Gianni Schicchi for tricking them out of their inheritance. The double bill stars baritone Sean Anderson (La Cenerentola, 2017; Falstaff, 2016) as Gianni Schicchi and tenor Kirk Dougherty as Rinuccio. Rising star and Main Line native Sara Duchovnay (soprano) makes her OperaDelaware debut as Lauretta. Plus, in an inventive bit of stunt casting, New Castle County Register of Wills, Ciro Poppiti, will take on the role of Buoso Donati, the deceased uncle at the center of the inheritance drama in Gianni Schicchi and Buoso’s Ghost. A. Scott Parry (La Cenerentola, 2017) returns to direct this hilarious double bill, and Buoso's Ghost composer Michael Ching will conduct.

All four acts are set in the year 1918 (as an homage to the anniversary of Il Trittico’s premiere), with sets designed by Stephen Dobay, lighting by Tláloc López-Watermann, and costume design by Howard Tsvi Kaplan, supplied by Malabar Limited.

“We are beyond excited to present these thrilling and accessible masterpieces. There truly is something for everyone in these four operas, which feature some of Puccini’s most famous melodies and the full range of human emotion,” says OperaDelaware General Director Brendan Cooke. “A long-time opera lover will delight in the intimacy of the Grand Opera House and our extraordinary artistic teams. And those new to opera will find much to love about these timeless stories.”

Back by popular demand: OperaDelaware will offer informative pre-performance lectures by Festival directors and conductors, allowing patrons to learn more about Puccini and the history of the productions before the curtains rise. These free, 30-minute lectures will take place on the lower level of The Grand Opera House, one hour before curtain. Seating is limited, so patrons are encouraged to arrive early.

4/28 (6:30 pm): Crystal Manich (director, Il Tabarro / Suor Angelica)
4/29 (1 pm):  A. Scott Parry (director, Gianni Schicchi / Buoso’s Ghost)
5/5 (6:30 pm): Michael Ching (conductor, Gianni Schicchi / Buoso’s Ghost; composer of Buoso’s Ghost)
5/6 (1 pm): Anthony Barrese (OperaDelaware Music Director; conductor, Il Tabarro / Suor Angelica)

In addition to the fully-staged Festival productions at the Grand Opera House, OperaDelaware will also offer A Flight of Puccini in concert at the company’s Riverfront Studios on May 3 and May 4. The final installment of this season’s popular Opera Uncorked with Swigg concert series, A Flight of Puccini will feature members of both Festival casts plus fan favorites Timothy Mix and Victoria Cannizzo performing Act I of La Bohème, Act II of Tosca, and Act III of Madama Butterfly. Each act will be paired with a special wine tasting selected by Swigg - Fine Wine and Craft Spirits to complement the arias. (Please note: at publication, both A Flight of Puccini studio performances are sold out with a waiting list.)

As for our craft beer-loving patrons, OperaDelaware is excited to announce that Stitch House Brewery (829 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE) is creating a custom brew -- fittingly named High Note Abbey Dubbel -- to commemorate the Festival. Andrew Rutherford, Stitch House’s head brewmaster, says of the beer, “The style was created by benedictine monks located in Belgium. They make singles (for the monks daily drinking), Dubbel, Tripel, and Quad. The beer will have esters and phenols in the flavor from the yeast itself and will have a darker color.” High Note is currently in production, and Stitch House expects to have it on tap by April 24.

“Stitch House is a fantastic addition to Market Street, and we’re delighted to collaborate with them,” says Cooke. “And considering that one of our Festival operas, Suor Angelica, is set in an Italian convent, I love that Andrew picked an ale historically brewed by monks. I can’t think of a better way for patrons to toast our Festival than with custom brew celebrating Maestro Puccini.”

Tickets for Il Tabarro / Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi / Buoso’s Ghost start at $29 and can be purchased at or by calling OperaDelaware’s Box Office at (302) 442-7807.


Il Tabarro / Suor Angelica
Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Sunday, May 6, 2018 at 2 pm
The Grand Opera House, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE

Gianni Schicchi / Buoso’s Ghost
Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 2 pm
Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm
The Grand Opera House, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE

Opera Uncorked: A Flight of Puccini
Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 7:30 pm
Friday, May 4, 2018 at 7:30 pm
OperaDelaware Studios, 4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington, DE

BOX OFFICE 302-442-7807


From left to right: Sara Duchovnay, Sean Anderson, Eleni Calenos, Grant Youngblood.

OperaDelaware artists (clockwise from top: mezzo-soprano Alexandra Rodrick, tenor Matthew Vickers) sampling the High Note Abbey Dubbel at Stitch House Brewery. Expected on tap by April 24

OperaDelaware artists (clockwise from top: mezzo-soprano Alexandra Rodrick, tenor Matthew Vickers) sampling the High Note Abbey Dubbel at Stitch House Brewery. Expected on tap by April 24

OperaDelaware celebrates its 73rd season in 2017-2018. OperaDelaware is the nation's 11th oldest professional opera company. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people in the Mid-Atlantic region through meaningful arts education and the production of grand opera and intimate opera concerts, featuring established professional and emerging talent.


Press contact: For interview requests, please email us at or call 302-658-8063.

Organizational images: Available for download here

 Advertising inquiries: For advertising and sponsorship information, please contact Mary Wilcosky at