Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Center Stage Opera, CA)
Tamino is a human boy who is pulled from reality into a fantastical, cartoonish world full of animal/human hybrids. As a family-focused production, Dylan focuses on the comedy and the magical aspects of this fairytale. Throughout the opera, we see Tamino grow from a boy into a man.
Gounod’s Faust (Center Stage Opera, CA)
Set to resemble a Twilight Zone episode with the live staged production presented in black and white (using sets, costumes, makeup, and lighting), this production emphasizes the cruel, petty game played by God and the Devil, and their utter disregard for the innocent people they use as pawns in their battle to prove their power. But what is real and what is imagined? Audiences can decide for themselves once they see the quintessential Twilight Zone ending.
Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (Center Stage Opera, CA)
This hilarious comedy is told through some of TV’s most popular and ridiculous reality shows, including “The Bachelor”, “The Jerry Springer Show”, “American Idol”, and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”, with a special appearance by Consuela from “Family Guy”.
J. Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus (Center Stage Opera, CA)
Dylan F. Thomas sets this operetta as a 1970’s sitcom, similar to “Three’s Company”. Die Fledermaus is a farce, and the most visually stunning and easily accessible example of a farce to our modern audience is the 1970’s sitcom, which utilizes mistaken identity, innuendo, and physical comedy to get the audience cackling.
Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (Center Stage Opera, CA)
Set in Nagasaki in 1953, at the end of the Korean War: The people of Nagasaki were the second to be hit with the atom bomb during WWII, and therefore had a heightened distrust of America. They were weak and wounded — the perfect reason for Cio-Cio San’s family to hate the Americans and to ostracize her for falling in love with one.
Verdi’s La traviata (Center Stage Opera, CA)
Set in France in the late 1930s, before the Nazi invasion of France, this setting illustrates how the Vichy and the Nazis were slowly killing France from the inside, just as Violetta’s illness is slowly killing her from the inside. As Violetta begins to recover, there is hope for her, just as there is hope for France. Violetta, though, decides to sacrifice herself to save Alfredo’s family. In the final act of the opera, we see Alfredo return to Violetta only as a hallucination and Violetta dies alone, thus making her sacrifice even more meaningful and tragic.
Puccini’s Tosca (Center Stage Opera, CA)
In this production, we see Scarpia as a Cardinal of the church which highlights the evil and hypocrisy of those who use the guise of religion as a scapegoat for their hunger for power and to satiate their most animalistic desires.
Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Center Stage Opera, CA – first premiered in 2008)
Updated to a high school campus in 1985, this production takes inspiration from the John Hughes teen comedies of the ’80s – Adina becomes the head cheerleader, Nemorino is the nerdy school mascot, Belcore is the football quarterback, Giannetta is Adina’s best gal pal, and Dulcamara is the sleazy substitute teacher who goes from school to school peddling his performance enhancing drugs (who ultimately gets arrested in the end).
Westin/Thomas’ Marie’s Orchard (Center Stage Opera (CA) World Premiere 2011)
Inspired by Willa Cather’s novel, O, Pioneers, this new opera, with a libretto by Dylan F. Thomas, focuses on the love triangle between Marie, her abusive husband, and the man she truly loves. This opera takes a hard look at relationships, love, and loss, with poetic text and gloriously sweeping orchestral and vocal lines.