At this relatively late date (by opera company standards), it should be difficult to find two suitable singers available at the time; a single soprano willing to take on both roles in the same evening would be even harder to locate.
But "the opera gods were on our side," said Ian Campbell, San Diego Opera's artistic and general director. Star lyric coloratura Elizabeth Futral has agreed to play Nedda in Pagliacci, while soprano Carter Scott, an alumna of San Diego Opera's own young artist training program, will sing Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana.
Futral was most recently seen in New York in the title role of Handel's Semele at New York City Opera, the world premiere run of Tan Dun's The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera, and in Ricky Ian Gordon's staged song cycle Orpheus and Euridice at Lincoln Center. She has a longstanding relationship with Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she has sung Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro and Adina in L'elisir d'amore, among other roles; she sings Violetta in La traviata there this coming season. Futral made her San Diego Opera debut in 2000 as Stella in Andr_ Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire.
A former member of the San Diego Opera Ensemble, Scott made her mainstage debut with the company as Jezibaba in Dvoršk's Rusalka (opposite Ren_e Fleming in the title role) in 1995. She made her European debut as Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco at the Dortmund Opera in 2003-2004; the following season she sang the title role in Turandot for 24 performances at the Bremen Opera. As it happens, Scott covered for Marrocu as Lady Macbeth at Washington National Opera just last month.
Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, together forming the third of five productions in San Diego Opera's 2008 International Season, run for five performances from March 28 to April 2. Tenor Richard Leech will be singing his first-ever Turiddu in Cavalleria, while Jos_ Cura will make his company debut as Canio in Pagliacci. This will be San Diego Opera's first presentation of the classic double-bill in 29 years.