Festival will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico

Wilmington, Del. — National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $10,000 to OperaDelaware to support new productions celebrating Puccini's Il Trittico ("The Triptych") and composer Michael Ching's Buoso's Ghost.

"We're delighted that the NEA has chosen to support our work for the third consecutive season,” said OperaDelaware General Director Brendan Cooke. “In addition to providing part of the financial resources to produce great opera in Delaware, winning these highly competitive awards has served as a great seal of approval, which can help us share our mission and build additional support.” 

The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. “It is energizing to see the impact that the arts are making throughout the United States. These NEA-supported projects, such as this one to OperaDelaware, are good examples of how the arts build stronger and more vibrant communities, improve well-being, prepare our children to succeed, and increase the quality of our lives,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “At the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe that all people should have access to the joy, opportunities and connections the arts bring.”


Building on the successes of its first two opera festivals, OperaDelaware will return to Wilmington’s Grand Opera House for the 2018 Festival, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Puccini’s Il Trittico (Triptych). Featuring seven acts -- six beloved Puccini works plus a Puccini-inspired extra -- over two weekends (April 28-May 6), this season’s festival aims to continue raising the company’s national profile while also growing audiences in the First State. The previous two festivals, which attracted over 1,500 patrons from outside a 30-mile radius of Wilmington and over 2,000 first-time ticket buyers, garnered national media attention and glowing reviews from outlets such as the Washington Post (“...not only a success story but an inspiration”) and Opera News (“OperaDelaware has become a regional company whose plans savvy opera-goers far and wide should follow”).

For the 2018 Festival, the tragedies Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica), which make up the first two acts of IlTrittico, will be presented together. The final opera in the trilogy, the uproarious comedy Gianni Schicchi, will be paired with Buoso’s Ghost, a contemporary “sequel” to Schicchi by composer Michael Ching. All four acts will be set in 1918 as an homage to the anniversary of the premiere of Trittico and will be presented fully-staged at Wilmington’s lovely Grand Opera House (818 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE). [See full performance schedule below.]

Soprano Eleni Calenos, whom the Wall Street Journal recently lauded for her “searing performance...with all the necessary vocal range, stamina and fire,” will star as both Giorgetta in Il Tabarro and the title role of Suor Angelica. Wilmington’s own Grant Youngblood (baritone) will sing the role of Michele in Il Tabarro, tenor Matthew Vickers (Amleto, 2016) returns to OperaDelaware to perform as Luigi in Il Tabarro, and mezzo-soprano Alissa Anderson will sing the roles of Frugola/La Zia Principessa. Il Tabarro and Suor Angelica will be directed by Crystal Manich and conducted by OperaDelaware’s new Music Director, Anthony Barrese.

Gianni Schicchi (Puccini) and Buoso’s Ghost (Ching) will star OperaDelaware favorites Sean Anderson (baritone) as Gianni Schicchi and Kirk Dougherty (tenor) as Rinuccio. Sara Duchovnay (soprano) makes her OperaDelaware debut as Lauretta. A. Scott Parry (La Cenerentola, 2017) returns to direct, and Michael Ching (composer of Buoso’s Ghost) will conduct. These productions will be designed by Stephen Dobay, with lighting by Driscoll Otto, and costume design by Howard Tsvi Kaplan, supplied by Malabar Limited. 

In addition to the fully-staged Festival productions at the Grand Opera House, OperaDelaware will also offer A Flight of Puccini at the company’s Riverfront Studios (4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington) on May 3 and May 4. The final installment of this season’s popular “Opera Uncorked” concert series, A Flight of Puccini will feature members of both Festival casts performing Act I of La Bohème, Act II of Tosca, and Act III of Madama Butterfly -- each paired with a special wine tasting selected by Swigg - Fine Wine and Craft Spirits.

“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 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.”

Festival tickets are on sale now. Tickets 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

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visit


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

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.


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