2019 Festival to feature law-themed operas. Just added to Festival lineup: LEADING LADIES OFFSTAGE

Wilmington, Del. OperaDelaware’s 2019 Festival (April 27-May 4), a bold exploration of law, redemption, and unlikely friendships in a divided world, spotlights works that are accessible to newcomers but will also thrill lifelong opera fans. On the docket: a delightful double bill of SCALIA/GINSBURG (composer Derrick Wang's one-act opera about the friendship between Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia) paired with TRIAL BY JURY (Gilbert & Sullivan's hilarious courtroom comedy). The company will also present one of the most successful contemporary operas of our time, Jake Heggie’s DEAD MAN WALKING. Based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean with a libretto by Terrence McNally, this modern masterpiece about a death row inmate and the nun who becomes his reluctant spiritual adviser “makes the most concentrated impact of any piece of American music theater since West Side Story.” [The Guardian] Performances will take place at The Grand (818 N. Market St., Wilmington). Tickets are now on sale at or by calling OperaDelaware’s Box Office at 302-442-7807.

“We are beyond excited to bring these works to Delaware,” says OperaDelaware’s General Director, Brendan Cooke. “DEAD MAN WALKING is one of the most successful operas of our time, and we’re also delighted to present the world premiere of a new orchestration of Derrick Wang’s brilliant SCALIA/GINSBURG, paired with Gilbert & Sullivan’s hilarious TRIAL BY JURY. Opera is an incredible vehicle for telling stories, and what stories we have to tell! These works — written in English, on (mostly) contemporary subjects — don’t preach about politics, the Constitution, or the death penalty, but they will certainly spark dialogue and challenge perspectives. The unifying theme of SCALIA/GINSBURG is ‘We are different, we are one,’ and we hope that our presentation of these works serves as a reminder that there are multiple valid viewpoints on every topic.”

DEAD MAN WALKING stars OperaDelaware audience favorites Timothy Mix (Amleto, 2016) as Joseph De Rocher and Aleks Romano (Semiramide, 2017) as Sister Helen Prejean. Adrienne Danrich (This Little Light of Mine, 2015) returns to sing the role of Sister Rose. Mezzo-soprano Jenni Bank makes her OperaDelaware debut as Mrs. De Rocher. Maestro Jerome Shannon (L’elisir d’amore, 2014) conducts the OperaDelaware Chorus and Orchestra, and Octavio Cardenas directs.

Due to mature content, this opera is not recommended for patrons under the age of 15.

Comic double bill: SCALIA/GINSBURG will feature Soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A frequent performer at the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Zetlan, a Delaware native, got her start in OperaDelaware’s Family Opera Theater Program, starring in the world premiere of Libby Larsen’s A Wrinkle in Time (1992). The role of Justice Antonin Scalia will be sung by Brian Cheney (Werther, 2017), and the Commentator will be sung by OperaDelaware favorite Ben Wager, a graduate of Philadelphia’s prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, who started his impressive career as a member of OperaDelaware’s chorus. SCALIA/GINSBURG will be directed by Fenlon Lamb and conducted by Sara Jobin. Ms. Jobin also conducts Gilbert & Sullivan’s TRIAL BY JURY, which will be directed by Cynthia du Pont Tobias, and features artists from the company’s new Young Artist Training Program along with the OperaDelaware Chorus and Orchestra. This production is funded in part by a $14,000 Art Works Grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, marking the fourth year in a row that OperaDelaware has been awarded this prestigious grant. 

Added performance! LEADING LADIES OFFSTAGE on May 2: OperaDelaware is thrilled to announce an addition to the 2019 Festival lineup, LEADING LADIES OFFSTAGE, featuring Aleks Romano (DEAD MAN WALKING) and Jennifer Zetlan (SCALIA/GINSBURG). Ms. Romano will perform Jake Heggie's Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, with texts by Gene Scheer; based on the life and work of French sculptor Claudel. Ms. Zetlan will sing Nico Muhly's Far Away Songs, which were written for her by the composer in 2012, accompanied by string quartet and piano. LEADING LADIES OFFSTAGE will also feature OperaDelaware Principal Pianist & Chorus Master, Aurelien Eulert. This special, one-night-only performance will take place on Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 pm at the OperaDelaware Studios (4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington, DE). Tickets, now on sale, are $45, General Admission.

2019 FESTIVAL (April 27-May 4)

Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 4 at 2 pm

Sunday, April 28 at 2 pm
Friday, May 3 at 7:30 pm

Performances at The Grand, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE

Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 pm

Performance at the OperaDelaware Studios, 4 S. Poplar St., Wilmington, DE

BOX OFFICE 302-442-7807



Top row, left to right: DEAD MAN WALKING’s Timothy Mix (baritone), Aleks Romano (mezzo soprano), Adrienne Danrich (soprano); Bottom row, left to right: SCALIA/GINSBURG’s Jennifer Zetlan (soprano), Brian Cheney (tenor), Ben Wager (bass baritone)

OperaDelaware celebrates its 74rd season in 2018-2019. 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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