NYC Opera Presents Ottorino Respighi's 'La Campana Sommersa', 3/31
Since opening the 2016 - 2017 season last September, New York City Opera has reestablished itself as a vital part of New York City's cultural landscape, delivering new productions, New York premieres and sold-out performances. The season opened with a critically acclaimed double bill of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Rachmaninoff's Aleko bringing the latter to the New York stage for the first time. In November, City Opera presented the New York premiere of Tobin Stokes' Iraq War opera, Fallujah. Last month City Opera's new production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, directed by Broadway legend Harold Prince became a highlight of the New York season, with a run that was extended from six to ten sold-out performances.
New York City Opera continues the season with a rare production of Ottorino Respighi's 1927 opera La Campana Sommersa (The Sunken Bell) in March and April.
Last heard in New York in 1929, La Campana Sommersa will be presented in cooperation with Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, with stage direction by Pier Francesco Maestrini, set design by Juan Guillermo Nova, lighting design by Susan Roth and costume design by Marco Nateri. The production features the return of Fabio Armiliato, Michael Chioldi, Marc Heller and Kristin Sampson to City Opera and introduces soprano Brandie Sutton in her New York City Opera debut. The New York City Opera Orchestra will be joined by members of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari Orchestra, conducted by Ira Levin. Performances are March 31, April 1, April 4 and April 5 at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater.
Best known for his orchestral poems, including Pines of Rome, Ottorino Respighi was one of the leading Italian composers of the twentieth century. A prolific composer of symphonic and chamber music, Respighi's operas combine his talent for vivid orchestral colors and textures with the passionate drama of the operas of his contemporaries including Puccini, Mascagni and Leoncavallo.
La Campana Sommersa (The Sunken Bell) premiered in Hamburg in November 1927 and had its American premiere at the Metropolitan Opera just a year later in a production starring Elisabeth Rethberg, Giovanni Martinelli and Ezio Pinza. The opera returned to the Metropolitan Opera for two more performances in December 1929. City Opera's production of La Campana Sommersa will be the first time the opera has been heard on a New York stage since 1929.
"So many facets of this production are exciting" says New York City Opera General Director Michael Capasso. "Presenting rarely performed works has been one of City Opera's most enduring traditions and we are proud to continue that legacy with this unjustly neglected masterpiece. Our exciting new relationship with Teatro Lirico di Cagliari has the potential to benefit both companies for many seasons to come. We're thrilled to welcome back some of the most popular performers from previous seasons, and I am especially delighted to introduce City Opera's audience to the extraordinary talent of Brandie Sutton, an artist who I am confident is just beginning a stellar artistic journey."
Based on Gerhart Hauptmann's 1896 play Die versunkene Glocke, La Campana Sommersa tells the story of the destructive, otherworldly love between the elf Rautendelein and the bellmaker Enrico. American soprano Brandie Sutton will make her New York City Opera debut singing the role of Rautendelein, the compassionate elf whose love for Enrico turns tragic for them both. Ms. Sutton has been extolled by The New York Times for her "warm, ample voice" and "distinctly earthy coloring." She has performed internationally with the National Symphony Orchestra, Radio Orpheus Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, the Krasnoyarsk Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Symphony Orchestra and Flint Symphony Orchestra, and has sung principal roles at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Semperoper Dresden, Hamburgische Staatsoper, and Alter Oper Frankfurt.
Internationally acclaimed Italian tenor Fabio Armiliato returns to New York City Opera to sing two performances of the demanding role of the opera's anti-hero, Enrico. Previously, Armiliato has sung Don José in Bizet's Carmen with New York City Opera, and has appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera singing the lead tenor roles in Il Trovatore, Aida, Simon Boccanegra, Fedora and Cavalleria Rusticana. This season, he appears in concert with Latvian mezzo-soprano El?na Garan?a and travels to Hong Kong to sing one of his signature roles, Radamès in Aida. Mr. Armiliato will perform on March 31 and April 4. American tenor Marc Heller returns to City Opera to sing Enrico on April 1 and 5. Mr. Heller has performed principal tenor roles at the Metropolitan Opera, the Bolshoi, de Nederlandse Opera, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Royal Swedish Opera of Stockholm, Opera Oviedo, the Hessisches Staatstheater, Opera Malmö, and the Komische Oper Berlin. Having recently added the title role in Verdi's Otello to his repertoire, Mr. Heller has performed some of the most demanding dramatic tenor roles in the Italian, French and German repertoires, including Don Alvaro in Forza, Radamès in Aida, Calaf in Turandot, the title roles in Ernani and Sigurd, Max in Der Freischutz, and Siegmund in Die Walküre.
Also returning to New York City Opera is American baritone Michael Chioldi, who last performed Scarpia to great acclaim in City Opera's production of Tosca in January 2016. One of the most sought-after baritones of his generation, Mr. Chioldi has recently added the title roles in Verdi's Rigoletto and Macbeth, the Count di Luna in Il Trovatore and Rodrigo in Don Carlo to his repertoire, and will make his role debut as Iago in Verdi's Otello with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Jalisco later this season. Mr. Chioldi will sing the pivotal role of L'Ondino, the water spirit who desires Rautendelein.
Kristin Sampson, who sang the title role in Puccini's Tosca opposite Mr. Chioldi, will sing the sympathetic role of Enrico's wife, Magda. Sampson has performed with New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, among others, and internationally with the Opera Society of Hong Kong, National Theater of Szeged, Teatro Municipal de Santiago, and Teatro dell'Opera di Roma. The 2016 - 2017 season includes her Carnegie Hall debut as soprano soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Park Avenue Chamber Symphony, her role and house debut at Opera Carolina as Minnie in La Fanciulla del West, and her debut at the Festival Puccini in Torre del Lago as Tosca. Italian mezzo-soprano Renata Lamanda will sing the role of La Strega, the witch. Lamanda was last seen in New York City as Bersi in Andrea Chenier with The Opera Orchestra of New York and has appeared on the most important stages in Italy including Teatro dell'Opera in Rome, Teatro alla Scala, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago, Teatro Verdi in Trieste, and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Veteran bass Philip Cokorinos last appeared with City Opera in the New York premiere of Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas last June as Riolobo. Opera News called his performance "authoritative and compelling," while New York Classical Review praised his "rich, earthy sound." He has sung over 375 performances of 35 operas at the Metropolitan Opera. This season at the Met, Cokorinos portrays the Innkeeper in Manon Lescaut, Johann in Werther and performs in La bohème. Cokorinos will return to City Opera to sing Il Curato in La Campana Sommersa. The role of Il Fauno, a Pan-like woodland creature, will be sung by American tenor Glenn Seven Allen, who was last seen in City Opera's recent production of Bernstein's Candide.