Atlanta Opera opens 30th season in Cobb
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@mdjonline.com
October 04, 2009 01:00 AM | 2209 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘Elixir’ opened to a nearly sold-out crowd on Saturday. The opening was a milestone for the opera company: It has been three years since it became the first resident company at the Arts Centre.<br>Photo by Laura Moon
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The Atlanta Opera opened its 30th season on Saturday night at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre to a nearly sold-out audience.

In addition to marking 30 years of entertainment, the opening was also a milestone for the opera company in that it has now been three years since it became the first resident company of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which opened in 2007.

Before then, the Atlanta Opera was like a nomadic entertainer with no home. For three decades, it regularly performed in Atlanta at the Alliance Theatre, Symphony Hall, Fox Theatre and the Atlanta Civic Center.

"Until the last three years, we had no permanent home," said Atlanta Opera spokeswoman Cristina Herrera. One of the great things about performing at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre is that it was constructed with opera in mind, she said.

The Atlanta Opera is led by general director Dennis Hanthorn.

On Saturday, the opera presented "The Elixir of Love," by Gaetano Donizetti. It tells the story a love triangle in a small Italian village. A woman named Adina prefers a swaggering soldier to the shy Nemorino, who is smitten with her. But with the purchase of an 'elixir of love' - which is really just wine - Nemorino manages to win Adina's heart.

The opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage.

William and Margaret Duckworth of Marietta are season ticket holders to the Atlanta Opera and attended last night's season opening.

"It gets you away," said Margaret, a teacher. "The storylines are pretty simple, but the music reaches you."

Margaret, 58, said she has been attending opera performances since she was a girl and her uncle in West Palm Beach took her. She continued attending performances when she lived in Phoenix and eventually came to Marietta.

For Dr. Hitendra Patel, 48, of Marietta, Saturday's performance was the first opera he has ever attended. He bought tickets as a surprise for his wife, Asha, a pharmacist. They went to dinner beforehand and he said he didn't plan to tell her until they arrived.

"I just want to see if it's something we would like to do again if we enjoy it," he said.

Having grown up in Switzerland, Katherine Mattox of Vinings said she has an appreciation for classical music. She and her husband, a physician, have been Atlanta Opera season ticket holders for four years. They brought their daughter-in-law and son along, who made it known that he was sacrificing an Atlanta Thrashers hockey game.

"I think this season is just wonderful," Mattox said.

She said she was looking forward to seeing the opera's premiere of Christopher Willibald Gluck's "Orfeo & Euridice" in November.

Other performances in the 2009-10 30th anniversary season include Giuseppe Verdi's "Aida" in February and March, and a new production of Mozart's "The Magic Flute" in April and May.

For more performance details, show schedules and tickets, visit www.atlantaopera.org or call (404) 881-8801.
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