Five Fun Facts About Regina

1. Tony-nominated baritone Ron Raines will play the role of Oscar Hubbard, one of the three backstabbing Hubbard siblings. Long-time OTSL fans will recognize Ron Raines from the very first performance Opera Theatre ever gave! He sang Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale on opening night on May 22, 1976. Ron was last seen on OTSL’s stage in 2010, when he played Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music. Welcome back home, Ron!


2. Marc Blitztein wanted the score to Regina to reflect the sounds of America at the turn of the century – so you’ll hear everything from tastes of ragtime and spirituals to ballroom and Tin Pan Alley.  The music ranges from haunting and evocative to funny and light-hearted. Get a taste of the music with this audio excerpt from the opera’s big party scene!


3. Regina is based on Lillian Hellman’s seminal play The Little Foxes, which opened on Broadway in 1939. From the beginning, the role of Regina was recognized as a powerhouse tour-de-force for any actress, in contrast to most other female stage roles at the time. Actress Tallulah Bankhead originated that role, and won Variety magazine’s acclaim as “best actress of the year.” More recently, the Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of The Little Foxes opened on Broadway on April 19, 2017. This production famously featured movie stars Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon, who constantly swapped the roles of Regina Giddens and Birdie Hubbard throughout the run.


4. Composer Marc Blitzstein rose to national attention in 1937 with his pro-union musical The Cradle Will Rock, directed by Orson Welles. The story is set in Steeltown, USA, and follows Larry Foreman as he attempts to unionize the town’s workers and stand up to the town’s corporate tycoon, Mr. Mister. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was so incensed by the production that it tried to shut it down a few days before its Broadway opening. Blitzstein defiantly sidestepped their edict by marching to another theater and playing the score on a single upright piano, with the cast members singing their parts from an audience of hundreds of onlookers. This incident has become one of the most infamous stories in American theater history.


5. The role of Regina will be played by Susan Graham, “America’s favorite mezzo” (Gramophone). While Susan has not appeared on our stage in many years, she actually made her professional leading role debut at OTSL in Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (1988). Since that debut, Susan has gone on to triumph on the world’s largest stages — including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Paris Opera, La Scala, and the Salzburg Festival — as well as to win a Grammy Award for her recordings. We are thrilled that Susan will be returning for our 2018 Festival Season!