San Diego Opera Cancels Performances of “The Falling and the Rising”

A scene from THE FALLING AND THE RISING, May 2020. Photo courtesy of SFC Ben Hilgert.

PRESS RELEASE San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera has canceled performances of The Falling and the Rising. Originally scheduled for 2020 and delayed because of COVID, The Falling and the Rising was co-commissioned by San Diego Opera, which also created the production seen around the country.

San Diego Opera was excited to share this new work with the community, but as the Company navigates the new post-COVID world, with the cost of producing opera skyrocketing and box-office revenue down from pre-pandemic levels, the fiscally responsible action is to cancel these performances. The Falling and the Rising was part of an ambitious 2022-2023 season featuring two world premieres, in addition to a new production of The Puccini Duo, and a production of Tosca, a major financial and artistic undertaking for any opera company.

One of San Diego Opera’s core values is: “Through fiscal responsibility and nimble adaptation to changing environments, we ensure the future of San Diego Opera for our community.”  Cancelling these performances, although difficult, is the correct thing to do. Ticket revenue only covers approximately 20% of expenses this year, down from 35% pre-COVID, and San Diego Opera, like every opera company in America, relies on generous donations from our community to balance our budget each season.

Ticket holders to The Falling and the Rising are being contacted by San Diego Opera’s Patron Services Department with options to apply their ticket credit.

 Original Press Release: San Diego Opera’s Season Closes with The Falling and the Rising

New Opera by Zach Redler captures the spirit of the U.S. Military and explores themes of family, service, and sacrifice

Production to feature active service member in lead role

 San Diego, CA – San Diego Opera’s 2022-2023 season comes to a close with Zach Redler’s opera about military spirit with The Falling and the Rising.

The Falling and the Rising opens May 12, 2022 at 7:30 PM at the Balboa Theatre as part of the dētour Series. Additional performances are May 13 at 7:30 PM and May 14 at 1 PM.

The Falling and the Rising is a co-commission between San Diego Opera, the US Army Field Band and Soldier’s Chorus, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, Opera Memphis, TCU, and Seagle Music Colony. The Falling and the Rising centers around an unnamed female Soldier who is severely wounded by a roadside IED. Placed in an induced coma to help minimize the extensive trauma to her brain, the soldier must now make a journey towards both healing and home.

With a libretto taken from dozens of interviews with active duty soldiers and veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, The Old Guard at Fort Myer, and Fort Meade, Maryland, The Falling and the Rising tells a story of family, service, and sacrifice inside a period of great uncertainty.

The opera stars Master Sergeant Teresa Alzadon (soprano) as the Soldier. She is joined by Gabriela Flores as Toledo/Doctor 1, Benjamin Hilgert as Jumper/Doctor 2, LaMarcus Miller as Homecoming Solider/Doctor 3, and Walter DuMelle Colonel/Doctor 4. Alan E. Hicks, who directs Tosca this season, returns to stage the action. Bruce Stasyna, Resident Conductor and Chorus Master, whose recent works as the Company’s resident conductor includes 2023’s Ghosts and last season’s Così fan tutte, returns to lead these performances.

These are the first San Diego performances of The Falling and the Rising. The opera received its world premiere in 2018 at Texas Christian University. The Falling and the Rising will be performed in English with English and Spanish text above the stage.   

A scene from the opera.

About the Artists

Teresa Alzadon, Soldier

San Diego Opera debut. Soprano Teresa Alzadon has performed with Opera in the Ozarks, New York Opera Studio, Knoxville Opera, Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Sacred Winds Ensemble, Jenny Wiley Theatre, and Seattle Bach Festival. Opera roles include Violetta  in La traviata, Anna Maurrant in Street Scene, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, Despina in Così fan tutte, and title roles in The Merry Widow, and Dido and Aeneas. Professional theatre credits include Marian in The Music Man and Rosa Bud in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. She was the recipient of a Mary Levine Career Performance Grant, an Encouragement Award from the Metropolitan Opera National Council, and a Lori Mayer Fellowship. As a soprano in the Soldiers’ Chorus of the United States Army Field Band, Sergeant First Class Alzadon is a frequent soloist in such venues as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and in collaboration with such esteemed musical organizations as the National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Pops, and Columbus Pops. She was the recipient of the 2015 Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award. Originally from the Seattle area, Ms. Alzadon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music and theatre arts from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She earned a Master of Music in voice performance from the University of Tennessee as a Knoxville Opera Studio Artist.

Gabriela Flores, Toledo/Doctor 1

San Diego Opera debut. Mezzo-soprano Gabriela Flores joined the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program for the seasons 19-20, 20-21 and 21-22. With Los Angeles Opera she performed the roles of Aurora and Calliope in The Death of Orpheus, Jeannette in The Anonymous Lover, Tisbe in Cinderella, and Love in The three women of Jerusalem. She was a recent finalist at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition. She sang the title role in Carmen with Universidad de Xalapa and Armando Mora Producciones in Xalapa, Veracruz. She studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where she made her debut as Azucena in Il Trovatore. At AVA she performed Erda in Das Rheingold, Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos, Annina in La traviata, the Mistress of Novices in Suor Angelica, the Third Wood Sprite in Rusalka, Dorabella in Così fan tutte and Stéphano in Roméo and Juliette. Prior to her performances in Philadelphia, she performed in renowned theaters in Mexico including the Palacio de Bellas Artes, where she sang Giannetta in The Elixir of Love, Maddalena in Il Viaggio a Reims, and Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor. Other roles she has performed include Amastre in Xerses with Oberlin in Italy, Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana, Carmelita in Misa de seis, Baucis in Haydn’s Philemon und Bausis, and Rosita in La Creciente in its world premiere at the Festival Internacional Cervantino. Concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah with the Politecnico Nacional Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Requiem with Celaya Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven’sNinth Symphony with Yucatan Symphony Orchestra, Haydn’s Die sieben letzten worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze with Mexico’s National Symphony Orchestra, and the opera gala “Voces del Siglo XXI” conducted by Srba Dinic at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. She was a finalist in the renowned Mexican competition “Concurso Nacional de Canto Carlo Morelli”, she is an encouragement award winner in the Middle Atlantic Regional Auditions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council, also she won first prize at the “Meistersinger Competitions AIMS in Graz.”

 Benjamin Hilgert, Jumper / Doctor 2

San Diego Opera debut. Before joining the Soldiers’ Chorus in 2010, tenor Ben Hilgert performed principal operatic roles with Theater Goerlitz, Lyric Opera Kansas City, Central City Opera, Cedar Rapids Opera, and the Aspen Music Festival. He earned his Master of Music degree from Chicago College of Performing Arts and his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Indianapolis.

LaMarcus Miller, Homecoming Soldier / Doctor 3

San Diego Opera debut. Notable appearances by American Bass-Baritone LaMarcus Miller include Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center (alongside Wynton Marsalis), The Famed Dolby Theatre, home of the Oscars and TEDMED in Washington D.C.  His operatic credits include Lance Corporal Philip Houston in Fallujah, for New York City Opera, Long Beach Opera, and theKennedy Center; Freddie Stowers (Cover) in Los Angeles Opera’s acclaimed concert production of Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing; Alidoro in Cinderella for Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee; Count Des Grieux in Manon; both Il Commendatore and the title role in Don Giovanni for New York Lyric Opera; Montano in Otello for Utah Festival Opera; both Albert and Johann in Werther for Martha Cardona Opera; Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus for Sugar Creek Opera; Palemon in Thaïs and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor for MSM Opera (Manhattan School of Music); and Barone di Trombonok in Il Viaggio a Reims for Mannes Opera. His oratorio credits include bass solo’s in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Jenkins Armed Man Mass for Peace, Xinghai’s Yellow River Cantata and an appearance with the Eorzean Symphony as guest soloist for Final Fantasy XIV (music by Masayoshi Soken) performed at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Walter DuMelle – Colonel/Doctor 4

 San Diego Opera appearances for bass Walter DuMelle include Pinellino in Gianni Schicchi earlier this season, Baron Douphol, La traviata (2017); The Conquistador, Carmen (1997), and Maria de Buenos Aires (2018). Local engagements include performances with Lyric Opera SD, and Opera de Tijuana. In 2012 he co-founded with his wife Diana DuMelle Bodhi Tree Concerts, with whom he has performed numerous roles and concerts. In 2017 he performed the title role in BTC’s production of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ 8 Songs for a Mad King, winning “Best in Fest” and “Best Actor in a Musical/Opera” at the San Diego International Fringe Festival. In 2018 he was seen as Benjamin Stone in Coronado Playhouse’s production of Follies. He recently made his New York City Opera debut as the Doctor in La Traviata. He received his Master’s in Music from the Eastman School of Music.

Another scene from the opera.

Bruce Stasyna, ConductorConductor Bruce Stasyna made his Company conducting debut with As One in 2017, returned to conduct Maria de Buenos Aires in 2018, and conducted One Amazing Night with Stephen Costello and Stephen Powell in 2019, the holiday sing along concert for All is Calm in 2020, One Amazing Night: When I See Your Face Again and The Barber of Seville in 2021, Così fan tutte in 2022, and the world premiere of Ghosts earlier this season. He has been on the conducting rosters of the New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, and Sugar Creek Opera, and has held positions as Chorus Master for New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, Wolf Trap Opera and Des Moines Opera. He was Artistic Director and Principal Conductor for the Green Mountain Opera Festival, and Head of Music and Director of the Young Artist Program at Palm Beach Opera. He has collaborated on many notable North American premieres including Anna Nicole, The Handmaid’s Tale, Orazi e Curiazi, and Joseph Merrick dit Elephant Man. As a pianist he has concertized with such artists as Marcello Giordani, Deborah Voigt, J’nai Bridges, Irene Roberts, Marina Costa-Jackson, and Richard Troxell.  The Canadian born conductor is currently the Chorus Master and Music Administrator for San Diego Opera, Chorus Master and Assistant Conductor for Washington Concert Opera, and Music Director of Vero Beach Opera

 Alan E. Hicks, DirectorAlan E. Hicks, stage director, currently serves as Resident Stage Director at San Diego Opera, a position he has held since the 2018-19 season. For SDO, Alan has directed All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and Aida, co-conceived, wrote the script, and served as Visual Supervisor for When I See Your Face Again: Unmasking the Music of Notorious Pandemics and Tosca in the 2022-23 season. He also served as Assistant Stage Director for El Último Sueño de Frida y Diego, Roméo et Juliette, Così fan tutte, The Barber of Seville, La bohème, Carmen, Three Decembers, and Rigoletto. As a joint hire between organizations, Alan also serves as Director of Opera Theatre at San Diego State University where he has directed L’Amant Anonyme, La Verbena de la Paloma, The Seven Deadly Sins (film), RE: Euridice/Orfeo: The Orpheus Operas of Peri and Gluck, and Flight. Additionally, he has directed productions for organizations throughout the United States and in Europe including Minnesota Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Tulsa Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, the Berlin Opera Academy, the Franco-American Vocal Academy in Salzburg, and Music Academy International in Italy. Alan has also served on the directing and production staffs of Central City Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Michigan Opera Theatre, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, and Tulsa Opera.

Chris Rynne, Set and Lighting Designer

American lighting designer Chris Rynne was the assistant lighting designer for the Company from 2000-2008. He has lit La traviata in 2004, La bohème in 2005, Aida in 2008, Madama Butterfly in 2016, As One in 2017, and Aida in 2019. He has designed for Madison Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, and Houston Grand Opera.  His off-Broadway credits include The Pianist of Willesden Lane.  Regional/Local Theatre lighting credits include: The Old Globe, San Diego Rep, Berkeley Rep, Pasadena Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Laguna Playhouse, Geffen Playhouse, Cygnet Theatre, North Coast Rep, Diversionary Playhouse, Starlight Theatre, San Diego Musical Theatre. He also designs lighting for museum exhibitions, special events, architectural features, and lighting systems for new venues.


Performance Schedule

Friday              May 12, 2023               7:30 PM

Saturday          May 13, 2023               7:30 PM

Sunday            May 14, 2023               1:00 PM

Purchasing Tickets

Single tickets start at $30.

For our most current information about tickets please visit or call 619.533.7000


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