Home Arts & Culture Hammerstein’s Carousel comes to the Saenger

Hammerstein’s Carousel comes to the Saenger

Pensacola Opera closes its 40th Anniversary Season with Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel on March 17th & 19th, 2023, thanks to Presenting Sponsor David Richbourg in memory of Norman Ricks.

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Pensacola Opera is celebrating its 40th Anniversary Season with thrilling opera productions, new leadership, acclaimed education programs, the 20th Anniversary of the Jan Miller Studio Artist
Program, and a vision for the future.

Opportunities for emerging artists and new audiences to experience the excitement of opera will continue to increase in the years ahead. Pensacola Opera is committed to charting a course for meaningful change in the community, maintaining a focus on equitable and inclusive programming, while honoring the very best of our art form.

In celebration of the 40th Anniversary, the opera has selected a season that reflects the history of the organization while showcasing the progress made artistically as a company. Puccini’s La Bohème and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel are the perfect combination of music and drama, lush orchestrations, and powerful singing. The shows will feature some favorite
main-stage artists, alumni of the Studio Artist program, as well as local singers who are well-known to patrons.

About the Show
A story of love, loss, and redemption, Carousel changed the face of American musical theatre when it premiered on Broadway in 1945. In a Maine coastal village toward the end of the 19th century, the swaggering carousel barker Billy Bigelow falls for sweet mill worker Julie Jordan. After they get married, Billy loses his job and Julie becomes pregnant. In a desperate attempt to support his family, Billy makes a bad decision and tragedy strikes. Billy is given a chance to make good, but is it too little too late, or will a lucky star save him and those he loves?

Called the “greatest musical of the 20th century…” by Time Magazine, Carousel is a Tony award-winning production and one of the most famous classical musicals of all time with the writing of Oscar Hammerstein II and the timeless score by Richard Rodgers including favorites “If I Loved You,” “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

“Within this one piece of musical theatre, Rodgers & Hammerstein check so many boxes—energetic ensemble scenes, intimate solo and duet songs, a proper ballet—and it all kicks off with the “Carousel Waltz,” a showpiece in its own right for the orchestra.

“As a conductor, my biggest challenge is to keep the pace of the show right where it needs to be,” says Cody Martin, Pensacola Opera Music Director & Conductor for Carousel. He continues “Rodgers & Hammerstein were supremely focused on telling the story seamlessly through both songs and dialogue; it’s the conductor’s job to make sure this narrative flow is maintained through all of the musical numbers.”

There is a strong ensemble of 26 volunteer musicians, joining the ten principal actors on stage to create a vibrant community.

“The sound they’re able to create is just incredible—be prepared to be blown away by the talent!” says Martin.

The Cast and Crew
Baritone Robert Wesley Mason returns to Pensacola as Billy Bigelow, alongside soprano Katrina Galka in her company debut as the sweet, yet naive Julie Jordan. Mezzo-soprano 2021-22 Studio Artist Imara Miles, returns to Pensacola to play Nettie Fowler, famous for singing the iconic ballad “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Local residents Sara Schoch, musical theatre professor at UWF, and Marci Duncan, actor and playwright, join the ensemble on the Saenger stage as Mrs. Mullins and the Heavenly Friend. In his opera debut, Joe Tomko fills the role of Starkeeper/Dr. Seldon. Current Studio Artists Hayley Abramowitz, Randy Ho, and Scott Lee round out the cast as Carrie Pipperidge, Enoch Snow, and Jigger Craigin.

Closing the 40th Anniversary Season, this musical of operatic proportions comes to Pensacola in a visually stunning production from Virginia Opera and set designer Erhard Rom, directed by
Broadway stage director Greg Ganakas.

Carousel will be helmed by newly appointed Music
Director Cody Martin, leading members of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Pensacola Opera Chorus. Ballet Pensacola will be joining the ensemble, elevating the dance numbers and bringing further excitement to the stage.

Carousel Performance & Ticket Details
Friday, March 17th at 7:30 PM at the Saenger Theatre
Sunday, March 19th at 2:00 PM at the Saenger Theatre

A pre-show talk for ticket holders is available one hour prior to curtain, led by Music Director Cody Martin, taking place in the Saenger Theatre.

Tickets range from $25 – $115; with student and military pricing options, and are available online through Ticket Master, over the phone at 850.433.6737 and in-person through the Pensacola
Opera Office. Pensacola Opera is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at their downtown location, 75 S. Tarragona St. Pensacola, FL 32502.

Just For Students!
Wednesday, March 15th at 7 PM in the Saenger Theatre is the Student Dress Rehearsal. Student Tickets are $5; Chaperone tickets are $8. We invite students, teachers, and school groups to the final dress rehearsal for an affordable way to experience opera. School groups can call the Opera Center to make reservations at 850.433.6737.

About Pensacola Opera
Pensacola Opera is a non-profit, professional company serving opera to Northwest Florida since 1983. Through performances and a variety of innovative, educational, and community programs, it serves over 40,000 children and adults each year. The mission is to enrich the culture of Northwest Florida by producing professional opera performances, educational programs, and other opera-related community events for people of all ages, interests and backgrounds.