Music by Michael Dellaira

Libretto by J. D. McClatchy


South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

10950 SW 211 St. Cutler Bay, FL 33189

786-573-5300/ SMDCAC.ORG

Showtime: 3 p.m.

  • MET OPERA Baritone Kim Josephson joins star colleagues Robynne Redmon, Frank Ragsdale, and Kevin Short, with the rising students of the Frost Opera Theater
  • World Renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz Conducts the Frost Symphony Orchestra
  • Alan Johnson, Music Director
  • Jeffrey Buchman, Stage Director
  • Award-winning film The Leopard—special single engagement at Coral Gables Art Cinema Feb. 27

MIAMI (Jan. 25, 2022) — With South Florida establishing itself as one of the premiere performing arts destinations in the world, it is befitting that an important work is having its world premiere in the Magic City. An opera adapted from one of the greatest novels has awarded its debut to the world-renowned artist faculty and gifted students of the Frost Opera Theater and Frost Symphony Orchestra of the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. With members of its faculty led by Metropolitan Opera baritone Kim Josephson in the title role and 9-time Emmy Winning internationally renowned Maestro Gerard Schwarz conducting the Frost Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of the opera, THE LEOPARD will take place March 5 and 6, 2022 at the South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center; 10950 SW 211 St., Cutler Bay, FL 33189. Showtime for both shows is 3 p.m. For tickets call 786-573-5300 or visit SMDCAC.ORG.

Set in Sicily in the year 1860, the opera is told through the eyes of Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina (also known as the Leopard). Known for his commanding personality, he is a member of an impoverished Sicilian aristocracy soon to be obsolete. Now facing a society in upheaval, he is forced to choose between decay and progress, and between the downfall of the nobility and the future of his family.

This highly anticipated opera, THE LEOPARD is the third and last collaboration between Michael Dellaira and American poet, librettist, and literary critic J. D. McClatchy. Dellaira completed the score in February 2018, just two months before McClatchy’s death.  He is also the first composer granted operatic rights to The Leopard in over 50 years. The opera was commissioned by American Opera Projects, with funds provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation and the Paul Underwood Charitable Trust.

“This world premiere of a significant opera provides a rare opportunity for our gifted students to create roles that have never been performed before, working alongside their famous faculty mentors, under one of the greatest conductors of our time," said Shelly Berg, dean of the Frost School of Music. "I couldn’t be more excited for them."


About the Artists

Composer Michael Dellaira’s awards include First Prize for his monodrama, Maud from the Society of Composers, an ASCAP Morton Gould Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, grants from the Ford and Mellon Foundations, the New Jersey Arts Council, Cary Trust, the American Music Center, and a Jerome Commission from the American Composers Forum. His Chéri was a finalist for the American Academy of Arts and Letters Richard Rodgers Award in Musical Theater. The Secret Agent was named the Armel International Opera Festival’s “Laureat”. Dellaira has taught music at The George Washington University, Princeton University, and Union College.

“Opera is a complicated medium, with lots of moving parts, all delicately interconnected, and for the characters to come to life on the stage requires an extraordinary coordination of talent and experience from a great number of people. Lucky for me all that talent and experience is right here at the Frost School. I am thrilled and honored that they will be giving the world premiere of my new opera, The Leopard.” — Dellaira

J.D. “Sandy” McClatchy was an American poet, opera librettist and literary critic. He authored six collections of poetry, the fifth of which, Hazmat, was a finalist for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize. He wrote texts for musical settings, including ten opera libretti for such composers as Michael Dellaira, Elliot Goldenthal, Daron Hagen, Lowell Libermann, Lorin Maazel, Tobias Picker, Bernard Rands, Ned Rorem, Bruce Saylor, William Schuman and Francis Thorne. His honors include an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1991). McClatchy was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets.           

Gerard Schwarz holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music; Conducting and Orchestral Studies at Frost School of Music at University of Miami and Music Director of the Frost Symphony Orchestra. A champion of American composers, past and present, he has been Music Director of the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Seattle Symphony (for 26 years), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, New York Chamber Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic and is currently Music Director of the Palm Beach Symphony. Schwarz has received hundreds of honors and accolades including 9 Emmy Awards, GRAMMY nominations, ASCAP Awards, and the Ditson Conductor’s Award.

“The students of the Frost Symphony Orchestra have been involved with many extraordinary productions. Performing in this world premiere with the Frost Opera Theater to the music of composer Michael Dellaira with Kim Josephson in the lead role is thrilling and what musicians’ dreams are made of.” — Schwarz

Jeffrey Buchman, Stage Director—In contemporary opera, he has created productions of A Streetcar Named Desire (Andre Previn), 27 and Three Decembers (Ricky Ian Gordan), As One (Laura Kaminsky), New York Stories (Daron Hagen), No Exit (Andy Vores), as well as the world-premieres of TeslaIntelligent Systems, and Fairy Tales: Songs of the Dandelion Woman (Carson Kievman). His productions have garnered critical acclaim at companies such as Atlanta Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, Hawaii Opera Theatre, Opera Carolina, Sarasota Opera, Toledo Opera, and Florida Grand Opera, among many others.

“I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work on this world premiere with Gerard Schwarz conducting, stated “Music is what inspires me to do what I do and it is what draws me to the theater as a vehicle for telling story.  Being able to craft a production with Maestro Schwarz on the podium bringing Michael Dellaira’s music and J.D. McClatchy’s libretto into our hearts is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.” — Buchman

Alan Johnson, Music Director—Throughout his 30-year career, he has collaborated with distinguished singers in both concert and opera, both nationally and internationally. Johnson’s work has garnered Bessie and Drama Desk awards as well as an OBIE Award for Sustained Excellence Music Direction and many honors including University of Miami Provost Research Awards featuring the opera music of Philip Glass and Anthony Davis. He has a long-standing association with Philip Glass and is the recipient of a Joseph Jefferson Award for Outstanding Music Direction for the premieres of operas by Philip Glass and David Henry Hwang. Since 2008, he has held the position of Music Director at the John Duffy Institute for New Opera at the Virginia Arts Festival.

“The spring Frost Opera Theater production is the singular marquee event for student performance. The Frost creative and performing forces making this premiere possible are all dedicated toward a common purpose of enriching the living tradition of opera for this and future generations.” — Johnson

About the Singers

Kim Josephson, baritone (Don Fabrizio Corbera, Prince of Salina) has sung in more than 250 performances at the Metropolitan Opera, including the title role of Rigoletto, Germont in La Traviata, Enrio in Lucia di Lamermoor and Belcore in L’Elisir d’Amore, to name a few. He has also championed contemporary operas roles including creating the role of Eddie Carbone in William Bolcom’s A View from the Bridge for the Chicago Lyric Opera and the Italian premiere in Rome, as well as Fred Jesson in the world premiere of Andre Previn’s Brief Encounter, Billy Foster in Stephen Schwartz’s Seance on a Wet Afternoon for Opera Santa Barbara and New York City Opera, and at the Metropolitan Opera as Mr. Kallenbach in Satyagraha, and Tony in The Most Happy Fella at Tulsa Opera. He is a Professor of Voice at the Frost School of Music.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this world premiere and excited to be performing with the extraordinary students of the Frost Opera Theater and Maestro Gerard Schwarz and the Frost Symphony Orchestra.  The story of the Leopard is world renowned and I look forward to performing the music of Michael Dellaira and the late J.D. McClatchy’s libretto.” — Josephson

Robynne Redmon, mezzo-soprano (Princess Stella, Don Frabizio’s wife) has appeared on the opera world’s greatest stages, including the Metropolitan Opera as Marina in Boris Goduov, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, and Maddalena in Rigoletto, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, La Scala, and Staatsoper Berlin, among others. At Santa Fe Opera she created the role of Madame Mao in Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao, and at Fort Worth Opera she created the role of Sister Prejean in Jake Haggie’s Dead Man Walking. Ms. Redmon serves as director of the Frost School of Music’s summer program in Salzburg, Austria.

Frank Ragsdale, tenor (Father Pirrone) is a versatile performer of opera, oratorio, musicals (as well as pop, rock and country music), and has performed in such notable venue as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, Cairo Opera House, Mechanics Hall, Notre Dame, San Marco (Venice) and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. Frank Ragsdale is an Associate Professor of Voice, Department Chair, and Program Director at the Frost School of Music. 

Kevin Short, bass-baritone (Chevalley di Monterzuolo) has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera where he has sung some 129 roles including creating the role of Joseph in the world premiere of John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versaille. He sings around the globe in repertoire ranging from Mozart and Monteverdi to Verdi, Bizet and Wagner. He has graced the stages of New York City Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seattle Opera, Spoletto, Washington National Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and has worked actively with opera houses internationally with Theatre Basel, Vienna Volksoper, Bern Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Zurich Opera, among others. 

About The Book & Movie

Il Gattopardo became the top-selling novel in Italian history. Considered one of the most important novels in modern Italian literature, Il Gattopardo won The Strega Prize, which is Italy’s highest award for fiction. In 1963, director Luchino Visconti turned the novel into an award-winning film starring Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale, and Alain Delon. The film debuted later that year at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the prestigious Palme d’Or. The masterpiece garnered two Academy Award nominations and won three Golden Globe Awards. British Film Institute has named it the 57th greatest film of all time and its reputation continues to rise with director Martin Scorcese considering it to be one of the greatest ever made.


Complete cast and production credits, bios, photos and video can be accessed here:

For tickets to attend, to arrange an interview or for further information contact:
Sheryl Feuerstein 310-650-8668, [email protected]

# # # 


Register for reporter access to contact details