The curtain will rise on Vashon Opera’s spring production of Franz Lehár’s masterpiece, “The Merry Widow,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 6, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 8, at Vashon Center for the Arts.
“The Merry Widow,” a frothy operetta set in Paris that comes complete with waltzes, mazurkas, polkas and can-can dances galore, has charmed audiences worldwide since its debut in 1905.
The opera tells the story of Hanna Glawari, a fabulously wealthy widow, and the attempts of an ambassador to find her a new husband to keep her fortune in his country.
At press time, tickets are still available for what Vashon Opera founder and star Jennifer Krikawa promised is “a beautiful Belle Epoch production,” complete with exquisite costume design by Alex Lewingson and Frances Ranks and lively choreography by Julie Gibson.
Principals in the production include many accomplished stars who have previously graced Vashon Opera productions as well as important regional, national and international stages.
This includes include Krikawa in the title role of the show. She is an accomplished soprano who appeared in most of Vashon Opera’s productions and has also sung for numerous opera companies including New York City Opera, Virginia Opera, Connecticut Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Annapolis Opera and Israel Vocal Arts Institute.
Tenor Brendan Touchy, singing the role of Danilo in “The Merry Widow,” last appeared in Vashon Opera’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” and has also appeared in several other Vashon Opera productions. His career has included multiple high-profile productions in Europe as well as in the United States.
The cast also features rising stars, including Namarea Randolph-Yosea, a native of Tacoma who is making his professional debut, as Camille, in Vashon Opera’s “Merry Widow.” He is currently completing his Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Houston.
Another thrill for islanders is embedded in the cast — another Vashon Opera performance by 2017 Vashon High School graduate Hugh Davis, the son of accomplished island cellists Rowena Hamill and Douglas Davis.
Davis, currently studying at Pacific Lutheran University, was a semi-finalist in the 2021 National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition and a semifinalist in the 2019 James Toland Vocal Arts Competition. He has also spent two consecutive years at the prestigious summer program Songfest, where he’s performed in Schubert masterclasses and concerts curated by Graham Johnson, one of the world’s leading experts in Art Song.
In “The Merry Widow,” Davis will be joined by his fiance, Mackenzie Taylor, who is a soprano student at Pacific Lutheran University. She has garnered many principal roles and honors in her collegiate years, and will make her professional debut as in the role of Valencienne in “The Merry Widow.”
The company’s conductor and music director, James Brown, will once again wield the baton, with able assistance from performance and rehearsal pianist Even Stults.
For tickets, visit vashonopera.org.