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Syracuse Opera presents company premiere of musical thriller,
“Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” February 8-17

January 17, 2013

(Syracuse, NY) Syracuse Opera is really heating things up for its audiences this winter. For the first time ever in the company’s 38-season history, Syracuse Opera will present Stephen Sondheim’s musical thriller, “Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” on Fridays, February 8 and 15 at 8 p.m., Sundays, February 10 and 17 at 2 p.m., and Tuesday and Wednesday, February 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., in the Carrier Theater of the Mulroy Civic Center in downtown Syracuse.

Syracuse Opera’s “Sweeney Todd” will be sung in English and feature internationally renowned artists, returning Syracuse Opera Resident Artists, the Syracuse Opera Chorus and professional musicians in the orchestra.

The story of "Sweeney Todd" centers on a tortured soul who returns to Victorian-era London in search of the family he has lost. A master barber, he wields his sharpened razor with laudable precision as he surgically removes any obstacles in his way.

Production Sponsors are Upstate Medical University, Carrier Corporation, The Syracuse Sounds of Music Association, , and Crucible Industries. Media Sponsors are the Post-Standard, Clear Channel Media & Communications, WCNY Classic FM, and syracuse.com.

“Sweeney Todd” is a departure for Syracuse Opera, but programming it is attractive for several reasons.

Douglas Kinney Frost, Syracuse Opera director of music, states “There’s no question about it, ‘Sweeney Todd’ is a musical masterpiece that deserves Syracuse Opera’s attention and treatment because of the ingenious music and haunting melodies by the brilliant American composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. ‘Sweeney’ takes audiences on a wild ride through a Gothic drama interspersed with healthy doses of much needed comedy that make the tragic tale all the more heart-wrenching in the end. It’s like a great roller coaster ride, haunted house and comedy club all set to glorious music and rolled into one. It’s irresistible.”

Catherine Wolff, Syracuse Opera general & artistic director, states, “‘Sweeney Todd’ marks the first time in more than 25 years that a Syracuse Opera mainstage production will be in the intimate Carrier Theater. This will give audiences the thrill of a more ‘up close and personal’ live opera experience. We also selected the venue to fit the piece so that we would not need to use amplification. We believe passionately that our artists are best experienced acoustically, which is something they don’t even do on Broadway.”

Wolff adds, “This production of ‘Sweeney Todd’ was specifically programmed to appeal to current audiences while attracting new audiences for Syracuse Opera. Advance ticket sales are already brisk with opera fans and novices alike.”

Leading the performances is conductor Brian DeMaris, who is making his Syracuse Opera mainstage debut. Stage director Patricia Weinmann returns to direct. Also returning is production designer Barry Steele and costume designer Patricia Hibbert.

Starring in the title role and making his Syracuse Opera debut is bass-baritone Kyle Albertson. Mr. Albertson joined both the Metropolitan Opera and Glimmerglass Festival last season, and has appeared with Chicago Opera Theater including performances as Henry Kissinger in Adams’“Nixon in China.”

Also making her Syracuse Opera debut is mezzo-soprano Jennifer Roderer as Sweeney Todd’s partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett. Ms. Roderer is well known for her signature role of The Witch in Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” which she has performed to acclaim with the New York City Opera and Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Also debuting is two time Grammy award winner, bass-baritone Jamie Offenbach, as the corrupt Judge Turpin.

Returning in principal roles are Syracuse Opera Resident Artists: baritone Jonathan Christopher as the ardent sailor Anthony Hope; soprano Angela Theis as Johanna, Anthony’s love interest and the sheltered ward of Judge Turpin; and tenor Cristopher Frisco as The Beadle.

Two principal cast members with direct ties to Syracuse include professional singer and Clay resident, tenor Jonathan Howell, who sings the role of Pirelli, the rival barber, and former Syracuse University student and Syracuse Opera Chorus member turned professional singing actor, tenor Michael Kuhn, who bows as the innocent Tobias Ragg.

Completing the principal cast and making his Syracuse Opera debut is baritone John Rozzoni as Jonas Fogg. Mr. Rozzoni is a native of Dryden, NY, studied voice performance at Ithaca College, and was a Resident Artist at Tri-Cities Opera.

For tickets to Syracuse Opera’s “Sweeney Todd,” call the Syracuse Opera box office at (315) 476-7372 or order online at SyracuseOpera.com.


FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Michael A. Connor
Director of Advancement
315-475-5915
mac@syracuseopera.com