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Seattle Opera.

Flight

Overview

Adventurous and highly entertaining. A genuine audience-pleaser.”

OPERA NEWS

Flight is that rarest thing, a popular new comic opera… Dove’s music flies, the opera is fun, and people are going to love it.”

The Evening Standard


Music by Jonathan Dove; Libretto by April De Angelis

What would you do if you were stranded indefinitely? Based on actual events—stateless refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri’s 18-year forced residency at Charles de Gaulle airport—this ensemble dramedy “soars high” (Opera Today), with “a colorful, energetic, tonally accessible score and a relatable, witty libretto” (OPERA NEWS). An omniscient air traffic controller watches over a departure lounge bustling with cynical flight attendants, an excitable couple on vacation, a mysterious older woman, and an Eastern European diplomat and his expectant wife, all of whom must wait out a storm. Meanwhile, the hapless refugee plays cat and mouse with an immigration officer as the story darts deftly between humor and moving meditations on love, identity, and human connection.

Set in the everyday world of an airport terminal, the Seattle premiere of this “uniquely satisfying” (Guardian UK) production surprises with vibrant theatrical touches and energetic ensemble movement. The opera’s vignettes are presented with winning humor, but without easy resolutions. In the end we discover that it is compassion (both for ourselves and for one another) that will see us through to fly another day.

Listen to the music

Flight, Opera Parallèle, 2017 © Steve di Bartolomeo

Flight is currently available to purchase as part of a season ticket package. Individual opera tickets go on sale May 27. Remind Me

In English with English Subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 2 hours and 40 minutes including one intermission


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Synopsis

Act I
In an airport terminal, the Controller sits in her tower, observing a Refugee who has been living there for weeks. People start to arrive for their flights: a married couple, Bill and Tina, are going on holiday to rediscover romance; the Older Woman is meeting a young man whom she met on holiday; the Steward and Stewardess go about their business— some of the time. Another couple arrives, almost late for their flight to Minsk, Belarus to emigrate; the Minskwoman is pregnant. At the last moment, she refuses to board the plane and the Minskman leaves without her. The Refugee offers her a magic stone to comfort her. The travelers are preparing to depart when the Controller announces that, because of storms, flights are indefinitely delayed.

Act II
That night, a storm rages. Everyone tries to sleep—either in pairs or alone—and each secretly approaches the Refugee, fascinated by his magic stone. He gives them all what each thinks is a unique stone and they make wishes. Bill is restless and seeks out the Stewardess, but finds the Steward instead: they go off to explore the control tower. The women and the Refugee decide to get drunk, and, as they become more garrulous, the women discover that each of them has ‘the’ stone. They vent their anger, with dire consequences for the Refugee. The consequences of Bill and the Steward’s explorations are no less cataclysmic.

Act III
Flights resume the next morning. The Minskman returns, unable to face his separation. Bill and the Steward have a surprise for their partners. Tina has a nasty surprise for Bill. The Refugee has a surprise for the women. The Minskwoman has a surprise for everyone. When the Refugee tells his story, even the Immigration Officer has a surprising reaction. Flights are announced and under the Controller’s watchful eye, the airport returns to normal…

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Ways to Save

Seattle Opera believes in opera for all. There are many ways to attend for less, including $35 tickets for every performance; up to 35% off with season ticket packages; special pricing for patrons age 2139; and student, senior, military, teen, and group discounts.

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Cast

David DQ Lee

Refugee

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Refugee, Flight

Hometown: Vancouver, BC / Seoul, Korea
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Masha, Tri Sestry (Frankfurt Opera); Endimione, La Calisto (Nürnberg Opera), Disinganno, Il Trionfo del Tempo (Stanislavsky Opera, Moscow)
Upcoming: Tamerlano, Il Tamerlano (Nürnberg Opera), Akhnaten, Akhnaten (Dortmund Opera), Oreste, Irene (Theater an der Wien)

Last Updated: December 2019

David DQ Lee

Refugee

Seattle Opera Debut
Feb. 27
Mar. 3, 7, & 13

Randall Scotting

Refugee

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Refugee, Flight

Hometown: Grand Junction, CO
Seattle Opera Debut: Athamas, Semele ('15)
Recent: Apollo, Death in Venice (Royal Opera House); Hamor, Jephtha (Boston Baroque); Kassandra/Athena, The Oresteia (Christchurch Arts Festival)
Upcoming: San Giovanni, San Giovanni Battista (Opera Omaha); Soloist, Carmina Burana (Springfield Symphony); Eliogabalo, Eliogabalo (West Edge Opera)

Last updated: January 2020

Randall Scotting

Refugee

Feb. 28
Mar. 6, 10, & 12

Karen Vuong

Tina

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Tina, Flight

Hometown: New York, NY
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Criside, Satyricon (Oper Frankfurt); Micaëla, Carmen (Oper Frankfurt); Almirena, Rinaldo (Oper Frankfurt)
Upcoming: Rusalka, Rusalka (Tiroler Festspiele); Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni (Oper Frankfurt)

Last Updated: December 2019

Karen Vuong

Tina

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Joshua Kohl

Bill

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Bill, Flight

Hometown: Fargo, ND
Seattle Opera Debut:
Brighella, Ariadne auf Naxos (’15)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Kudrjas, Katya Kabanova ('17)
Recently: Rodolfo, La bohème (Theater Freiburg); Fenton, Falstaff (Theater Freiburg); Prologue/Peter Quint, The Turn of the Screw (Theater Freiburg)
Upcoming: Soloist, Das Lied von der Erde (Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg); Pinkerton, Madame Butterfly (Theater Freiburg); Soloist, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Philharmonisches Orchester Freiburg)

Last updated: January 2020

Joshua Kohl

Bill

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Joseph Lattanzi

Steward

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Steward, Flight

Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Seattle Opera Young Artist: 2011/12 
Seattle Opera Debut: Moralès, Carmen (’11) 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Kuligin, Katya Kabanova ('17); Assan, The Consul (’14); Registrar, Madama Butterfly (’12)  
Recently: Count Almaviva, The Marriage of Figaro (Cincinnati Opera); Hawkins Fuller, Fellow Travelers (Arizona Opera); Don Giovanni, Don Giovanni (Jacksonville Symphony)
Upcoming: Dandini, Cinderella (Virginia Opera); Hawkins Fuller, Fellow Travelers (Des Moines Metro Opera); Mercutio, Romeo and Juliet (Michigan Opera Theatre)  

Last Updated: January 2020

Joseph Lattanzi

Steward

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Renée Rapier

Minskwoman

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Minskwoman, Flight

Hometown: Boston, MA
Seattle Opera Debut: Anna, Mary Stuart (’16)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Suzuki, Madame Butterfly ('17)
Recently: Jezibaba, Rusalka (Steamboat Opera); Suzuki, Madame Butterfly (Opera San Jose); Soloist, Europeras 1 & 2 (Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Upcoming: Minkswoman, Flight (Minnesota Opera); Suzuki, Madame Butterfly (Tulsa Opera); Komponist, Ariadne auf Naxos (Calgary Opera)

Last updated: January 2020

Renée Rapier

Minskwoman

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Aubrey Allicock

Minskman

At Seattle Opera 2020/21: Minksman, Flight

Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Seattle Opera Debut: Cesare Angelotti, Tosca (15)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro ('16)
Recently: Young Emile, Champion (Opera de Montréal); Figaro, The Marriage of Figaro (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis); Argante, Rinaldo (Glyndebourne)
Upcoming: Young Emile, Champion (Michigan Opera Theater); Dick Halloran, The Shining (Lyric Opera Kansas City); Dick Halloran, The Shining (Minnesota Opera)

Last Updated: January 2020

Aubrey Allicock

Minskman

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Jeni Houser

Controller

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Controller, Flight

Hometown: Stougton, WI
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Dallas Opera); Franzi, Die Weiden (Wiener Staatsoper); Zerbinetta, Ariadne auf Naxos (Austin Opera); Olympia, The Tales of Hoffmann (Madison Opera)
Upcoming: Eurydice, Orpheus in the Underworld (Madison Opera); Queen of the Night, The Magic Flute (New Orleans Opera)

Last Updated: January 2020

Jeni Houser

Controller

Seattle Opera Debut
Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Damien Geter

Immigration Officer

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Immigration Officer, Flight

Hometown: Chesterfield County, VA
Seattle Opera Debut: Undertaker, Porgy and Bess (’18)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Colonel, The Falling & The Rising ('19)
Recently: Undertaker, Porgy and Bess (Metropolitan Opera) Soloist, Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (Bremerton Symphony Orchestra); Soloist, Bach Cantata No. 31 Der Himmel Lacht! Der Erde Jubilieret! (Orchestra Seattle) 
Upcoming: Undertaker, Porgy and Bess (Metropolitan Opera) Angelotti, Tosca (Eugene Opera) Reverend, Sanctuaries (Third Angle New Music)

Last updated: December 2019

Damien Geter

Immigration Officer

Feb. 27, 28
Mar. 3, 6, 7, 10, 12, & 13

Cast

Creative Team

Viswa Subbaraman

Conductor

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Hometown: Big Spring, TX
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: The Barber of Seville (Opera Columbus); We Shall Not Be Moved (Opera Philadelphia, Dutch National Opera); Voir Dire (Fort Worth Opera)
Upcoming: Blue (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Last Updated: December 2019

Viswa Subbaraman

Conductor

Seattle Opera Debut

Brian Staufenbiel

Director

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Director/Production Designer, Elektra (Minnesota Opera); Director/Production Designer, Das Rheingold (Minnesota Opera, Arizona Opera, L’Opéra de Montréal); Director, Scare Pair (LA Opera)
Upcoming: Director/Concept Designer, Harvey Milk (Opera Parallèle); Director/Production Designer, Golden City Suite (SFJazz); Concept Designer/Original Director, Flight (Minnesota Opera)

Last Updated: December 2019

Brian Staufenbiel

Director

Seattle Opera Debut

Dave Dunning

Set Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: 
Set Designer, Flight (Opera Parallèle)

Last Updated: December 2019

Dave Dunning

Set Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Alina Bokovikova

Costume Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Hometown: Cupertino, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: If I Were You (San Francisco Opera); Today It Rains (Opera Parallele); Pelleas and Mellisande (West Edge Opera)
Upcoming: Harvey Milk (Opera Parallele); Costume director, The Elixir of Love (UC Santa Cruz)

Last updated: November 2019

Alina Bokovikova

Costume Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

David Murakami

Projection Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Hometown: Los Angeles
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Elektra (Minnesota Opera); Dead Man Walking (Opera Parallèle); The Scare Pair (LA Opera Off-Grand)
Upcoming: Harvey Milk (Opera Parallèle); Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Outerlands Productions)

Last Updated: November 2019

David Murakami

Projection Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Matthew Antaky

Lighting Designer

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Flight

Hometown: Ventura, CA
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Romeo and Juliette, (Utah Opera); Susanna (Festival Opera); The Marriage of Figaro (San Francisco Conservatory)
Upcoming: Carmen (Festival Opera); Die Fleidermaus (San Francisco Conservatory)

Last Updated: December 2019

Matthew Antaky

Lighting Designer

Seattle Opera Debut

Creative Team

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Plan Your Visit

Performances take place at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer Street, Seattle. Join our email list to receive personalized alerts with updates on traffic, dining, and parking for your specific performance, or choose a topic below to learn more.

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Season Sponsor

Barbara Stephanus

Production Sponsor

Tagney Jones Family Fund at Seattle Foundation
with support from the National Endowment for the Arts

 

Main Image © Philip Newton | Photos: Flight, Opera Parallèle, 2017 © Steve di Bartolomeo