COSTA MESA — Tenor Giorgio Tieppo will sing Calaf, the Unknown Prince, on Feb. 22 and March 4 in Opera Pacific's production of Puccini's "Turandot" at the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa, company officials announced Wednesday. Lando Bartolini, previously announced, will sing the role on Feb. 16, 24 and March 2.
When the 1989-90 season was announced in February, double casting had not been advertised for Calaf, the leading tenor of Puccini's version of the fairy tale in which suitors must answer three questions or face beheading to win the hand of the Icy Princess, Turandot.
Bartolini has sung at La Scala in Milan and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. On Tieppo, Opera Pacific's press release states, "A native of Italy, tenor GIORGIO TIEPPO made his New York Metropolitan debut as Calaf in National Grand Opera's production of 'Turandot.' "
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Opera, however, said he had never heard of Tieppo nor the National Grand Opera. Musical America lists National Grand Opera as a company based at Long Island University, which performs at the university's campus in Greenvale, N.Y., and whose summer home is listed as Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. Opera Pacific general director David DiChiera said Wednesday, "I had always intended to double-cast the role (of Calaf)" and that he is "enthusiastic" about Tieppo's voice despite his lack of reputation in the United States.
In other Opera Pacific casting news:
* In "Turandot," tenor Riki Matsufuji will be Emperor Altoum; tenor Darren Keith Woods, Pang; tenor Jonathan Green, Pong; bass Herbert Perry will replace David Pittsinger as Timur. Pittsinger was released from his contract so that he can sing with a different company, according to Opera Pacific officials.
* Mezzo-soprano Anita Protich will sing Flora in Verdi's "La Traviata," Jan. 13 to 21 at the Center; Joan Arhelger will be lighting designer.
* In Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Feb. 21 to March 3, also at the Center, baritone Kevin Short will be the Commendatore and Masetto; tenor Bruce Ford will be Don Ottavio.