Theater News

Deaf West and LA Philharmonic's Fidelio Announces Cast

A combination of Deaf and hearing performers will present Beethoven’s only opera at Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Broadway veteran Russell Harvard will perform in the Deaf West production of Beethoven's Fidelio.
Broadway veteran Russell Harvard will perform in the Deaf West production of Beethoven's Fidelio.
(© Tricia Baron)

Casting has been announced for the upcoming West Coast production Beethoven's only opera Fidelio, produced in collaboration with Los Angeles's Deaf West Theatre and Deaf performers of El Sistema's Coro de Manos Blancas. Performances will run at Walt Disney Concert Hall from April 14-16.

Directed by Alberto Arvelo and co-directed by Joaquín Solano, the opera will feature the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by artistic director Gustavo Dudamel.

Created for both Deaf and hearing audiences, the semi-staged production draws on both American Sign Language's (ASL) expressive, gestural poetry and Beethoven's music to tell the powerful tale of redemption and liberation. The idea for the production was originally developed by Gustavo Dudamel through his Foundation, which he co-chairs with his wife, actor María Valverde, as a means of elevating Deaf artistry to illuminate the opera's central theme: the fight to overcome obstacles in order to discover one's own personal freedom. Fidelio premiered in 1805 as Beethoven was reckoning with his own deafness.

The cast of Fidelio will feature Amelia Hensley (actor) and Christiane Libor (soprano) as Leonore, Josh Castille (actor) and Ian Koziara (tenor) as Florestan, Russell Harvard (actor) and Ryan Speedo Green (bass-baritone) as Rocco, Indi Robinson (actor) and Gabriella Reyes (soprano) as Marzelline, Gregor Lopes (actor) and José Simerilla-Romero (tenor) as Jaquino, Gabriel Silva (actor) and Shenyang (bass-baritone) as Don Pizarro, and Michael Anthony Spady (actor) and Ethan Vincent (baritone) as Don Fernando.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale is led by artistic director Grant Gershon, and artistic director María Inmaculada Velásquez is directing the Coro de Manos Blancas. The entire performance will be signed and sung, with subtitles also provided.