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Intermountain Opera Bozeman kicks off 2021-22 season, featuring new adaption of The Mikado

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 10:53:04-04

BOZEMAN — After a season of smaller-scale community concerts and virtual events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans of opera will be returning to the Ellen Theatre and Willson Auditorium for the 2021-2022 season.

The Intermountain Opera Bozeman [IOB] is thrilled the upcoming season will return to three fully-staged productions - all of them light-hearted and familiar comedies, but presented in a manner unique to Montana.

“One of the big takeaways from our 2020-2021 season was how much Montanans love stories about Montana. Our two most popular events from the past season - the premiere of Eric Funk’s Requiem for a Forest and the recital of Indigenous songs performed by Indigenous singers - both connected to and reflected our community.”

The first production of the season - Rossini’s comedic masterpiece THE BARBER OF SEVILLE— will be set in the Wild West of the 1800s on a Montana ranch. Performances on September 10, 11, & 12, 2021 will take place at Hardscrabble Ranch at the base of the Bridger Mountains.

This family-friendly production is meant for audiences of all ages and will be performed in an English translation by Kelley Rourke (Opera Theatre of St. Louis). The all-star cast includes baritone Johnathan McCullough as the “Jack of all trades” Figaro, tenor Martin Bakari as the heartthrob Count Almaviva, soprano Vanessa Becerra as his spunky love interest Rosina, and bass Colin Ramsey as the conniving music teacher Basilio. Metropolitan Opera baritone Steven Condy returns to Bozeman as the blustering Dr. Bartolo following his title role performances in IOB’s Falstaff and The Mikado. Stage director Benjamin Wayne Smith also returns following five previous productions with IOB. Interim Artistic Director Michael Sakir returns to the podium to conduct.

“Take out the Japanese lords and schoolgirls and replace them with local Montanan hipsters, skiers, and ranchers. Adapting The Mikado in this way not only ‘fixes’ the problems of the original work, but offers a unique opportunity to laugh with each other at a time when we desperately need that kind of levity.”

In February 2022, IOB will return to The Ellen Theater with THE MONTANA MIKADO - a brand-new and revolutionary adaptation of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s 19th-century English comic opera. Avoiding the problematic negative stereotypes of its original Japanese setting, IOB will double-down on The Mikado’s satirical origins and re-conceive it in present-day Montana. “We want to eliminate every reference to Japan, change all the character and place names, and make fun of our region,” Sakir says. “Take out the Japanese lords and schoolgirls and replace them with local Montanan hipsters, skiers, and ranchers. Adapting The Mikado in this way not only ‘fixes’ the problems of the original work, but offers a unique opportunity to laugh with each other at a time when we desperately need that kind of levity.”

To accomplish this tremendous task, IOB has partnered with writer and playwright Soren

The final production of IOB’s 21/22 season will be Mozart’s brilliant comedy THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO on May 13 & 15, 2022 at the Willson Auditorium. This production was originally scheduled for April 2020 and was canceled due to the COVID pandemic. “What better way to celebrate our return to the Willson Auditorium than with this highly anticipated production postponed from two years ago?” says Sakir. The production’s concept will be based on post-Edwardian England popularized by the hit British television series Downton Abbey. Many of the same singers from the pre-pandemic production will be engaged to finally perform in Bozeman.

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THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Cesare Sterbini
Friday, September 10 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, September 11 at 6:00 PM
Sunday, September 12 at 3:00 PM
Performed at Hardscrabble Ranch (15660 Brackett Creed Road)
Sung in English

THE MONTANA MIKADO

Music by Arthur Sullivan
New Adaptation by Soren Kisiel
Friday, February 4 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 5 at 7:30 PM Sunday, February 6 at 3:00 PM
Friday, February 11 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, February 12 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, February 13 at 3:00 PM
Performed at The Ellen Theater
Sung in English with English supertitles

THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Friday, May 13 at 7:00 PM
Sunday, May 15 at 3:00 PM
Performed at Willson Auditorium
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Intermountain Opera Bozeman kicks off 2021-22 season, featuring new adaption of The Mikado