Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Steve Jobs bio powers up next Austin Opera season

by Michael Barnes,
Edward Parks as Steve Jobs in Santa Fe Opera's world premiere of Mason Bates and Mark Campbell's “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs" Austin Opera will produce this very current show during its 2020-2021 season. [Contributed by Ken Howard/Santa Fe Opera

Something old, something new ... take that back, two things old, two things new.

Austin Opera’s 2020-2021 season, announced to backers Thursday night before the opening of “Everest,” tackles two big classics as well as two smaller operatic treats not seen before in Austin.

Right up front, the company will unpack the latest edition of the Opera ATX series that places operas in venues away from its performance home at the Long Center for the Performing Art.

“Penelope,” about an hour in length, was composed by Sarah Kirkland Snider with lyrics by Ellen McLaughlin. The modern twist on the tale of Odysseus’ wife will be presented in collaboration with Fusebox, a leading Austin advocate for innovative performance, at the North Door events venue Oct. 1-2. It is the first opera in the company’s history written by a woman.

Mozart’s cherished comedy “The Marriage of Figaro” follows Nov. 7-15. The big news here is the hometown debut of Lauren Snouffer, an Austin native, in the role of Susanna. Stars more familiar to the stage of New York’s Metropolitan Opera than to Austin will fill out the principal roles.

Mozart will be followed by the decidedly current “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” an opera in one act by Mason Bates and Mark Campbell. It plays Jan. 28-31. Given that Austin is home to thousands of Apple employees, this one might be the breakout box-office winner of the season. Tomer Svulun, whose “Silent Night” won loud plaudits from audiences and critics last season, directs.

Puccini’s luscious “Tosca” is next up April 24-May 2. With sets from Kansas City and costumes from Washington D.C., this staging will be directed by David Lefkowich, who will be remembered for his “La Traviata” in 2017. Several international stars will take on the parts of Tosca, Cavaradossi and Scarpia.

“Next season will serve as a new high-water mark for artistic excellence at Austin Opera,” said Annie Burridge, General Director & CEO of the company, “with an unprecedented number of Austin Opera debuts by established operatic stars, exceptional production quality, and trailblazing local and national partnerships. We continue to push for the excellence that our audiences have come to expect, as well as break new ground for the field of opera.”

More information:

Austin Opera 2020-2021 season