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Linda Cajigas
Jacobs School of Music

Alain Barker
Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009

2009-2010 IU Opera and Ballet Theater Season announced by the Jacobs School of Music

April 21, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Comedy, tragedy, magic, madness, jealousy, deceit and fantasy all will take center stage at IU Bloomington's Musical Arts Center during Indiana University Opera and Ballet Theater's 2009-2010 season.

Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story"

Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story"

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"We are very excited to announce the new season for IU Opera and Ballet Theater," said Jacobs School of Music Dean Gwyn Richards. "It offers a wealth of varied opportunities for both our students and our audience members. In addition to two brand new opera productions, we are particularly pleased to present West Side Story, in celebration of the recent unprecedented gift from the family of Leonard Bernstein that contains the contents of his Fairfield, Conn., composing studio, and the history of Bernstein's long association with the Jacobs School."

West Side Story, Bernstein's dynamic season closer in April 2010, is a modern version of Shakespeare's timeless Romeo and Juliet. It will be guest conducted by Rob Fisher and guest directed and choreographed by Joshua Bergasse, with set and costume designs by Jacobs Professor C. David Higgins.

In intriguing contrast to West Side Story, Charles Gounod's operatic version of the Shakespeare classic, Roméo et Juliette, will be presented in the fall. Designs again come from Higgins, with guest conductor Ronald Zollman and guest director Michael Ehrman.

Inspiring new productions of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) and Puccini's La Rondine (The Swallow) will be offered in the fall and spring, respectively.

"Die Zauberflöte" (Mozart's "The Magic Flute")

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A co-production with The Atlanta Opera, Die Zauberflöte will boast 13 different scenes, said Higgins, who is designer for the production. "Guest director Tomer Zvulun and I have developed the concept of a symbolic magical box transformed with pop-up and 18th-century theater elements -- such as sliding platforms and props moving on and off the stage -- to reveal an array of unusual environments," he said. Mark Gibson will return to guest conduct.

Jacobs faculty members David Effron and Vincent Liotta will team up as conductor and director, respectively, with new set designs from guest Bill Forrester and new costume designs from Linda Pisano, head of IU's Costume Design Program, for La Rondine.

"L'Italiana in Algeri" by Gioachino Rossini

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Opening the season in September will be the lighthearted comedy L'Italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini, which will be directed by Jacobs Professor Vincent Liotta and feature new faculty member Arthur Fagen on the podium, making his IU Opera Theater debut. Sets will come from the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Madness will reign as Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor kicks off the spring semester with conductor Fagen, returning guest director Tito Capobianco and set and costume designer Higgins.

IU Ballet Theater, directed by Ballet Department Chair Michael Vernon, continues its increasingly compelling programming next season.

"Diaghilev Tribute," celebrating the 100th anniversary of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, will be presented in the fall and feature George Balanchine's two different versions of Valse Fantasie back to back, with music by Mikhail Glinka; Jeux, with music by Claude Debussy and new choreography by Vernon; and Les Noces, with music by Igor Stravinsky and choreography by Bronislava Nijinska, in collaboration with the Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and University Singers, with distinguished pianists and percussionists, conducted by Professor Carmen Helena Tellez.

IU's beloved production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker returns in December, with choreography by Vernon, set and costume designs by Higgins and guest Jeff Cook in the pit.

Maestro Cook will return in the spring for "An American Evening," presenting creations by two icons of American choreography -- Balanchine and Agnes de Mille.

Balanchine's work will be featured in Serenade, with score by Tchaikovsky, and Rubies, with music by Stravinsky. Aaron Copland's Rodeo, choreographed by Agnes de Mille, will conclude the evening and the 2009-2010 IU Ballet Theater season.

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L'Italiana in Algeri by Gioachino Rossini
September 25, 26; October 2, 3, 2009

  • Sung in Italian with English supertitles
  • Conductor: Arthur Fagen
  • Stage Director: Vincent Liotta
  • Set Designer: Paul Shortt for Opera Company of Philadelphia

Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod
October 23, 24, 30, 31, 2009

  • Sung in French with English supertitles
  • Conductor: Ronald Zollman
  • Stage Director: Michael Ehrman
  • Set and Costume Designer: C. David Higgins

Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
November 13, 14, 20, 21, 2009

  • Sung in German with English dialogue and supertitles
  • Conductor: Mark Gibson
  • Stage Director: Tomer Zvulun
  • Set and Costume Designer: C. David Higgins

Lucia di Lammermoor by Gaetano Donizetti
February 5, 6, 12, 13, 2010

  • Sung in Italian with English supertitles
  • Conductor: Arthur Fagen
  • Stage Director: Tito Capobianco
  • Set and Costume Designer: C. David Higgins

La Rondine (The Swallow) by Giacomo Puccini
February 26, 27; March 5, 6, 2010

  • Sung in Italian with English supertitles
  • Conductor: David Effron
  • Stage Director: Vincent Liotta
  • Set and Costume Designers: Bill Forrester and Linda Pisano

West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein
April 9, 10, 16, 17, 2010

  • Sung in English with English supertitles
  • Conductor: Rob Fisher
  • Stage Director/Choreographer: Joshua Bergasse
  • Set and Costume Designer: C. David Higgins


Fall Ballet: Diaghilev Tribute. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes
October 9, 10, 2009

Valse Fantasie

  • Composer: Mikhail Glinka
  • Choreographer: George Balanchine
  • Balanchine's two versions will be performed back to back.


  • Composer: Claude Debussy
  • Choreographer: Michael Vernon

Les Noces

  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky
  • Choreographer: Bronislava Nijinska

The Nutcracker by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
December 4 and 5 at 8 p.m.; December 5 and 6 at 2 p.m., 2009

  • Conductor: Jeff Cook
  • Choreographer: Michael Vernon
  • Set and Costume Designer: C. David Higgins

Spring Ballet: An American Evening
March 26 and 27 at 8 p.m.; March 27 at 2 p.m., 2010
Conductor: Jeff Cook


  • Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
  • Choreographer: George Balanchine


  • Composer: Igor Stravinsky
  • Choreographer: George Balanchine


  • Composer: Aaron Copeland
  • Choreographer: Agnes de Mille