A Slice of Italy Coming in Verismo Opera's Suor Angelica, Cavalleria Rusticana to the bergenPAC
The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera (Verismo Opera) pays tribute in its 24th season to the Year of Italian Culture in the United States with the double bill of Giacomo Puccini's sentimental tragedy Suor Angelica(Sister Angelica) and Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry). Under Artistic Director Lucine Amara, one of the Metropolitan Opera's most luminary performers, the company presents each opera with a full cast on Sunday, October 20, 3:00 p.m., at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), 30 North Van Brunt Street, in Englewood, New Jersey. The bergenPAC is handicapped accessible.
"Suor Angelica will have many light hearted moments among the young nuns in the beginning. One never sees this kind of levity, making the ending so much more tragic.Cavalleria Rusticana, a Sicilian masterpiece, will be true to the veristic style, which is so important for audiences," said Amara.
In Suor Angelica, directed by General Manager/Canadian soprano Evelyn La Quaif, a heroine's tragic plight harrows the emotions as hauntingly as Puccini's other great work,Madama Butterfly. Then, four people's roller-coaster lives unravel in the one-act melodrama of rustic chivalry, Cavalleria Rusticana, directed by Giovanni Simone. Love, adultery, jealousy, and bitterness unfold with honor and revenge on Easter in a Sicilian village, ultimately leading to death.
Both operas will be presented with the cast in costumes created by Catherine Mirabella and Barbara Konig, a live orchestra under Maestro Anthony Morss, and the Verismo Opera Chorus directed by Mara Waldman. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, Gioachino Forzano's libretto of Suor Angelica and Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti's and Giudo Menasci's libretto of Cavalleria Rusticana will be performed with traditional staging and sets.
La Quaif, who performs the lead role of Suor (Sister) Angelica, has acquired a repertoire of more than 30 roles, including La Bohème, Tosca, Isabeau, Madama Butterfly, I Pagliacci, La Traviata, Faust, and Lucia di Lammermoor. She has appeared at various concert halls, such as Weill Recital, Carnegie, and Alice Tully in New York, as well as in Vienna and Palermo and most major Canadian houses.
Debuting with Verismo Opera, mezzo-soprano Leslie Middlebrook performs La Zia Principessa, a role she has performed with Opera Company of Brooklyn, Henry St. Opera, and the Des Moines Metro Opera. She has appeared in opera, concert, operetta and oratorio from Carnegie Hall to San Francisco and throughout Europe performing in Peter Grimes,Aida, and several others.
Singers returning to the Verismo Opera stage to appear in Suor Angelica are soprano StacyLyn Bennett (cover Suor Angelica), mezzo-soprano Silvana Chu (La Badessa), soprano Jennifer Hoffmann (Sister Genovieffa), and mezzo-soprano Marie Anello (Novice). Bennett and Chu performed the memorable roles of Cio-Cio-San and Suzuki, respectively, in Verismo Opera's acclaimed Madama Butterfly in 2012. In April, Hoffmann and Anello appeared in Verismo Opera's debut of Gianni Schicchi.