Donors have stepped up, says Arizona Opera's Ryan Taylor.


Arizona Opera has added a fifth opera to its 2013-14 Tucson season.

The company, which mounts performances in Tucson and Phoenix, will perform Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" April 26 and 27 at Tucson Music Hall.

When former General Director Scott Altman announced Arizona Opera's season in January, "Don Pasquale" was not on Tucson's lineup. Instead, Altman told season ticketholders and patrons that the company would hold nine performances of the opera in the black box theater of the new Arizona Opera Center in Phoenix, which opened this spring. The company said it would offer shuttle bus service to Tucsonans.

Altman resigned from the company in April on the eve of the season finale of Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro."

Interim General Director Ryan Taylor said the Tucson "Don Pasquale" was added after an anonymous Tucson donor pledged $25,000 of the $50,000 needed to bring the production to Tucson. Other Tucson donors have given most of the remaining money, he said.

"We're just a few thousand dollars away from goal and I have every confidence we will reach it," Taylor said.

Adding the fifth opera to Tucson's season is part of Taylor's and the company's focus on recommitting to Tucson, where Arizona Opera was founded in 1971.

"I was looking for a way to cement the relationship and stop the bleeding so to speak," Taylor said. "We have a bit of work to do in both cities repairing the relationships that were bruised in the last few years."

The bruised relationships were a result of harsh measures the company took to meet the economic challenges of the recession. Soon after Altman joined Arizona Opera in 2009, he announced plans to sell the Tucson headquarters on North Mountain Avenue and consolidate the Tucson and Phoenix operations in Phoenix. The moves, he said at the time, were necessary to shore up the company's finances and ensure its future, but some Tucson season ticketholders viewed it as a slap in the face to the city that gave birth to the company.

Altman's tenure also was marked early on by bitter contract disputes with the opera's union stage workers, choristers and orchestra musicians.

Season ticketholders can get "Don Pasquale" tickets now for $50 to $85. Single tickets for that opera, and the company's other 2013-14 performances, go on sale later this summer.

The 2013-14 season at a glance:

• Gilbert and Sullivan's "HMS Pinafore," Oct. 19 and 20.

•Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman," Nov. 23 and 24.

• Puccini's "La Bohéme," Feb. 1 and 2.

• Verdi's "La Traviata," March 8 and 9.

• Donizetti's "Don Pasquale," April 26 and 27.

For tickets, call 293-4336 or online to

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at or 573-4642.