Opera Saratoga 2017 Summer Festival presents THE CRADLE WILL ROCK
Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced today complete casting for the three exciting new productions that will comprise the company's 2017 Summer Festival, which will build on the company's commitment to producing masterpieces from the operatic cannon, important American works, and works in which dance plays an integral role. In addition, a wide variety of free and ticketed concert events will be presented from May 28th through July 16th at venues throughout the region.
Rounding out the season will be André Grétry's Zémire et Azor (Beauty and the Beast), directed by James Ortiz (company debut), whose recent critically acclaimed production of The Woodsman was a sensation off-Broadway. Grétry's 1771 opera-ballet - a favorite of Mozart - will incorporate both dance and Ortiz's signature use of puppetry in his opera-directing debut. The production will be conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya (company debut), and choreographed by Jill Echo (company debut). The cast will feature soprano Maureen McKay (company debut) and tenor Andrew Bidlack (company debut) in the title roles; with soprano Lisa Rogali (company debut) as Fatmé; mezzo soprano Katherine Maysek (company debut) as Lisbé; tenor Keith Jameson as Ali and baritone Christopher Burchett as Sander.
At the center of the 2017 Summer Festival will be a new production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, directed and choreographed by Edelson, and conducted by noted Maestro John Mauceri (company debut), who has been responsible for many significant operatic restorations, including Blitzstein's Regina. The Cradle Will Rock has been almost exclusively produced with piano since its infamous opening night, which was shut down by the Federal Government in 1937. Both an attack on the abuse of political power by the wealthy and a paean to labor and poor people struggling to get by, "Cradle" is as timely now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Opera Saratoga celebrates the 80th Anniversary of Blitzstein's revolutionary American labor opera in a new production that will be performed with Blitzstein's original orchestrations - the first such performances since the 1960 production at New York City Opera. Featured artists include mezzo soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson (company debut) as Moll; bass Matt Boehler (company debut) as Mr. Mister; mezzo soprano Audrey Babcock as Mrs. Mister; tenor Keith Jameson (company debut) as Harry Druggist; baritone Christopher Burchettas Larry Foreman; and bass baritone Justin Hopkins as Reverend Salvation.
The first opera production of the season will open on July 1st with Verdi's comic masterpiece, Falstaff, which has not been seen at Opera Saratoga in 26 years. The production will be directed by Chuck Hudson, and will be conducted by Craig Kier (company debut). Featured singers will include bass baritone Craig Colclough (company debut), one of the country's leading interpreters of Falstaff; soprano Caroline Worra in her role debut as Alice Ford; soprano Emily Tweedy (company debut) as Nannetta; mezzo soprano Vera Savage as Meg Page; contralto Lindsay Ammann (company debut) as Dame Quickly; Dominick Corbacio as Fenton; and baritone Michael Chioldi(company debut) as Ford.
In making the announcement today, Edelson reflected on the power of opera to tell vivid and compelling stories through music in very different ways. "The Cradle Will Rock is an incredibly powerful work that I feel has been unjustly neglected by opera companies. It's edgy combination of social commentary and popular culture of the time has influenced writers and works from Leonard Bernstein's On the Town to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. While 'Cradle' has understandably become a favorite of theater companies due to the ability to perform it with just piano, Blitzstein's original orchestration is exhilarating and deserves to be heard. We have put together a cast of some of the country's most exciting singers to provide a fresh look at this American masterpiece that takes on particular resonance in light of the political climate in which we are living in today.
"Alongside 'Cradle' we will be presenting Grétry's enchanting version of Beauty and the Beast, which builds on our commitment to present works that incorporate dance each season;and one of the greatest works in the operatic repertoire, Verdi's Falstaff. In addition to our three opera productions, Opera Saratoga will present a wide variety of free and ticketed concerts throughout the season, including a celebration of the music of Marc Blitzstein; a Gilbert & Sullivan Cabaret; a concert featuring scenes from the final operas by beloved composers from throughout history; and a retrospective of Broadway music from the 1930s. It is season that will showcase incredible music, phenomenal singing, and riveting theater - performed by preeminent artists from the world's great opera houses alongside some of the most exciting emerging artists in the country - providing local audiences and visitors to Saratoga Springs alike with extraordinary experiences in our intimate theater in Saratoga Spa State Park."
Subscriptions for the 2017 Summer Festival are on sale now at www.operasaratoga.org. Single tickets for the 2017 Summer Festival will go on sale February 15th, 2017.
COMPLETE CASTING AND SCHEDULE BY PRODUCTION
Music by Giuseppe Verdi; Libretto by Arrigo Boito
Sung in Italian with English Supertitles
SAT THU MON SAT
JULY 1 / 6 / 10 / 15
7:30pm 7:30pm 2:00pm 2:00pm
A man of many appetites, the lecherous Falstaff can't resist his favorite vices: food, wine, and women - and not necessarily in that order! Suddenly finding himself broke, he hatches a plot to cure his woes - he sends identical love letters to two married women to get his hands on their wealthy husbands' money. But Falstaff doesn't bank on getting caught, and with the help of some 'merry wives', husbands and supernatural creatures, he gets his due and finds out the joke is on him. Bass-baritone Craig Colclough makes his Opera Saratoga debut with his interpretation of Falstaff, "creating a multi-faceted musical and comical character with an overwhelming sense of fun." - Washington Post
Conductor: Craig Kier
Director: Chuck Hudson
Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez
Costume Designer: CeCe Sickler
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Sir John Falstaff: Craig Colclough
Alice Ford: Caroline Worra
Ford: Michael Chioldi
Nanetta: Emily Tweedy*
Fenton: Dominick Corbacio+
Dame Quickly: Lindsay Ammann
Meg Page: Vera Savage+
Dr. Caius: Max Jacob Zander*
Bardolfo: Michael Anderson*
Pistola: Jorgeandrés Camargo*
* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
+ Alumni of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST / ZÉMIRE ET AZOR (1771)
Music by André Grétry; Libretto by Libretto by Jean François Marmontel
Sung in French with English Supertitles
SUN SAT FRI
JULY 2 / 8 / 14
7:30pm 2:00pm 2:00pm
Once upon a time, the merchant Sander and his servant Ali are shipwrecked in a storm and find themselves outside an enchanted palace. When Sander plucks a rose from the palace garden to give to his daughter Zémire, the beast-like Azor appears, demanding that Sander pay with his life for stealing the rose, unless he can persuade one of his daughters to take his place. When she hears what has happened, Zémire agrees to sacrifice her life for her father and Ali brings her to the palace, where she almost faints at the sight of Azor. But Azor proves to be a kind host, and Zémire begins to see beyond his terrifying exterior. One of the earliest operatic adaptations of the classic story of Beauty and the Beast, Zémire et Azor combines beautiful melodies with enchanting dance music in a fairy-tale for audiences of all ages. Opera Saratoga's new production will be directed by James Ortiz, whose innovative use of elaborate puppetry has been compared to the legendary Jim Henson.
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: James Ortiz
Choreographer: Jill Echo
Scenic and Puppet Designer: James Ortiz
Costume Designer: Shima Orans
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
A Co-Production with Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee, WI
Zémire: Maureen McKay
Azor: Andrew Bidlack
Sander: Christopher Burchett
Ali: Keith Jameson
Fatmé: Lisa Rogali*
Lisbé: Katherine Maysek*
* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
THE CRADLE WILL ROCK (1937)
Music, Book and Lyrics by Marc Blitzstein
Performed in English
SUN TUE THU SUN
JULY 9 / 11 / 13 / 16
7:30pm 2:00pm 7:30pm 2:00pm
In Steeltown, USA, everything and everyone can be bought - at least that's what Mr. Mister thinks. The greedy businessman uses his wallet to control anyone he wants, including the local newspaper editor, preacher, university president, doctor... even the artists! But Larry Foreman's efforts to unionize local workers threatens to rock the cradle and shift the balance of power out of Mr. Mister's control. An allegory on corruption and corporate greed both timely and timeless, The Cradle Will Rock's biting humor and brazenness is as impactful now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Blitzstein's eclectic, jazzy score is a propulsive mix of classical parody, popular melodies, and dramatic ensemble numbers, with a smoky flavor redolent of Kurt Weill - but all-American in its raw energy and urgency.
Conductor: John Mauceri
Director and Choreographer: Lawrence Edelson
Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez
Costume Designer: Anya Klepikov
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Moll: Ginger Costa Jackson
Mr. Mister: Matt Boehler
Mrs. Mister: Audrey Babcock
Larry Foreman: Christopher Burchett
Harry Druggist: Keith Jameson
Junior Mister: Spencer Viator*
Sister Mister: Heather Jones*
Reverend Salvation: Justin Hopkins
Editor Daily: Brian Wallin*
Yasha: John Tibbetts*
Dauber: Scott Purcell*
Doctor Specialist: Jorgeandrés Camargo*
President Prexy: Eric McConnell*
Professor Mamie: Adam Bradley*
Professor Scoot / Steve: Miles Herr*
Professor Trixie/Gus Pollock: Michael Anderson*
Sadie Pollock: Meghan Kasanders*
Ella Hammer: Nina Spinner*
Gent/Bugs: Andy Papas*
Dick: Efraín Solís
Cop: Dylan Elza*
* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
STARS OF TOMORROW
Saturday, May 27, 7:30pm
Filene Recital Hall at Skidmore College
815 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
The season begins with Opera Saratoga's third annual Stars of Tomorrow Concert - featuring 24 singers from around the country who have been selected from almost 1,000 applicants to be members of Opera Saratoga's prestigious Young Artist Program. Presented in partnership with Skidmore College.
Saturday, June 3, 2:00pm
The Dee Sarno Theater at Saratoga Arts
320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
What do Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Rossini's Guillaume Tell, Puccini's Turandot. and Bizet's Carmen have in common with Verdi's Falstaff? They were the final operas - the swan songs - of some of the world's most beloved composers. This free concert will feature arias and ensembles from the final operas by composers from Monteverdi to Richard Strauss! Presented in partnership with Saratoga Arts.
Marc Blitzstein - A LIFE IN SONG
Friday, June 16, 7:30pm
GE Theatre at Proctors
432 State Street, Schenectady, NY
Born in Philadelphia in 1905, Marc Blitzstein achieved nearly overnight notoriety with his 1937 agitprop musical theater work, The Cradle Will Rock. At the time of his unexpected and tragic death in 1964, much of his work was left unfinished and unpublished, leaving behind a legacy that has been largely overlooked in the ensuing decades. On the evening of the 80th Anniversary of the legendary world-premiere of The Cradle Will Rock, Opera Saratoga presents an evening of song by Marc Blitzstein, curated and hosted by bass-baritone Justin Hopkins. The program will include excerpts from Blitzstein's theatrical and operatic works - including The Cradle Will Rock, I've Got the Tune, Juno, No for an Answer, and Regina - as well as lesser known songs that chronicle the life of one of America's most influential composers. Presented in partnership with Proctors.
WAND'RING MINSTRELS - A GILBERT AND SULLIVAN CABARET
Sunday, June 11, 2pm and 7:30pm
Ticketed Event (Tickets: $60; Subscribers: $54)
The Carriage House at The Mansion Inn
801 Route 29, Rock City Falls, NY
(10 minutes from downtown Saratoga Springs)
The Victorian era partnership of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan brought the world fourteen of the most beloved operettas of all time. Join Opera Saratoga's "wand'ring minstrels' for a topsy-turvy cabaret where fairies rub elbows with British lords, flirting is a capital offense, gondoliers ascend to the monarchy, and pirates emerge as noblemen who have gone astray. Seating is general admission, at cabaret style tables, and is strictly limited for these two concerts. G&S inspired tapas and drinks - specially concocted by The Mansion Inn's Cordon Bleu trained Executive Chef Rick Bieber - will be available for purchase. Presented in partnership with The Mansion Inn.
BROADWAY IN THE 1930s
Friday, July 14, 7:30pm
Ticketed Event (Tickets: $80/$60/$40; Subscribers: $72/$54/$36)
The Spa Little Theater
21 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY
The '30s were extraordinary years on Broadway, where jazz, classical and popular music intertwined to create some of the most memorable and beloved shows of the 20th century - as well as some fascinating musicals that have been lost to time, but deserve to be better known. Gershwin's Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing, and Porgy and Bess; Cole Porter's Gay Divorce, Nymph Errant, Anything Goes and Red, Hot and Blue; Rodgers's Jumbo, On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, and The Boys from Syracuse, Weill's Johnny Johnson and Knickerbocker Holiday; and of course, Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, were all products of this incredible decade on the Great White Way. Members of Opera Saratoga's acclaimed Young Artist Program will be featured in this evening of music that defined a decade and forever changed the course of American musical theater and opera.
FEATURED ARTISTS' BIOGRAPHIES
Emerging American Conductor Craig Kier has already received high praise for his "Tesla-like intensity" and "impeccable orchestral support" while leading performances throughout the United States and on international stages. In the 2014-2015 season, Maestro Kier become the Director of the Maryland Opera Studio at The University of Maryland School of Music. Productions since the beginning of his tenure have included Mozart's Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte, Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges, Blitzstein's Regina and Rossini's L'occasione fa il ladro. In the 2015 - 2016 season, guest engagements for Maestro Kier included his debut with Wolf Trap Opera leading Britten's Rape of Lucretia, and a return to Opera Birmingham for La traviata. He also continued his longstanding relationship with Houston Ballet, leading performances of The Nutcraker, which he has done since 2011. Engagements in the upcoming 2016-2017 season include Madama Butterfly in his debut at Arizona Opera, his debut with Opera Saratoga leading Verdi's Falstaff, and performances of The Nutcracker with Houston Ballet. As Director of the Maryland Opera Studio, he will lead productions of The Rape of Lucretia, Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld. From 2010 - 2013, Maestro Kier was Associate Conductor under Patrick Summers at Houston Grand Opera. During his time with the company he led dozens of performances including Madama Butterfly, IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Die Fledermaus, Trial by Jury and the world premiere of Huang Ruo's Bound. He also assisted on productions of Otello, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, Don Carlos, La traviata, Le nozze di Figaro and Lucia di Lammermoor. Guest engagements for Maestro Kier include La bohème with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, IL Barbiere di Siviglia with Atlanta Opera, Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars at Glimmerglass Festival, Thomas' Hamlet with Opera Birmingham, L'italiani in Algeri with Opera Santa Barbara and The Music Man at Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman. In the summer of 2013 he served as Assistant Conductor on The Santa Fe Opera's production of La donna del lago starring Joyce DiDonato and Lawrence Brownlee. Maestro Kier began his career as part of Seattle Opera's music staff, serving in a variety of roles including Assistant Conductor, Coach/Accompanist, and Chorus Master. He has since served on the music staffs of The Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Colorado and Des Moines Metro Opera.
John Mauceri, world-renowned conductor, educator and writer, has appeared with the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, on the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood as well as at the most prestigious halls of academia. Mr. Mauceri served as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy for three years after completing seven years (22 productions and three recordings) as music director of Scottish Opera, and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) as well as Pittsburgh Opera, and was the first music director of American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its legendary founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. For fifteen years he served on the faculty of his alma mater, Yale University and returned in 2001 to teach and conduct the official concert celebrating the university's 300th anniversary. In 2016, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Yale Symphony, which he helped to found, with concerts in New Haven and at Carnegie Hall. For 18 years, Mr. Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer's premieres at Bernstein's request. He is the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Breaking all records at the Bowl, he conducted over 300 concerts at the 18,000-seat amphitheater with a total audience of four million people. For seven years (2006-2013) he served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts, America's first public arts conservatory-university. He has conducted at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Berlin's Deutsche Oper, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, all the major London orchestras, as well as l'Orchestre Nationale de France and the Tokyo Philharmonic. On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince's production of Candide, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dance with Bernadette Peters. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita. Deeply committed to preserving two American art forms, the Broadway musical, and Hollywood film scores, he has edited and performed a vast catalogue of restorations and first performances, including a full restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, performing editions of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Girl Crazy and Strike up the Band, Bernstein's Candide and A Quiet Place, Blitzstein's Regina, and film scores by Miklos Rozsa, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman and Howard Shore. As one of two conductors in Decca Records' award-winning series "Entartete Musik," Mauceri made a number of historic first recordings of music banned by the Nazis. The intersection of the "degenerate composers" of Europe and the refugee composers of Hollywood is the subject of much of his research and his writings. In addition, Mr. Mauceri has conducted significant premieres of works by Verdi, Debussy, Hindemith, Ives, Stockhausen, Blitzstein, and Weill. In articles, speeches, radio and television appearances, John Mauceri has taken his passion for music and the importance of the arts to audiences throughout the world. These include Harvard University, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, the NEA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Gramophone Magazine, NPR, BBC, PBS, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post where he regularly writes a blog. Mr. Mauceri is one of the world's most accomplished recording artists, having released over 75 audio CDs and is the recipient of Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Edison Klassiek, 3 Emmy Awards, 2 Diapasons d'Or, Cannes Classique, ECHO Klassik, Billboard, and four Deutsche Schallplatten awards. In 1999, Mr. Mauceri was chosen as a "Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century" for WQXR, the America's most-listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, "These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century's music scene." The recipients were chosen for "their visionary talent and technical virtuosity." In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a "Voice of the Millennium." Mr. Mauceri was recently awarded the Ditson Conductor's Award for his five decades of commitment to performing and editing American music. He is currently writing a book on the art and alchemy of conducting for Alfred A. Knopf.
Russian-born conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya currently serves as Artistic Director with Juventas New Music Ensemble and as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra. Additional engagements this season include Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra, Beth Morrison Projects, American Lyric Theater, Brookline Symphony, Cabrillo Festival, the Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC, and serving as the Chorus Master for several upcoming programs with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. Lidiya is also a part of Marin Alsop's Taki Concordia Fellowship and Dallas Opera's Inaugural Institute for Women Conductors. Prior engagements include serving as Music Director of Harvard's Lowell House Opera and Commonwealth Lyric Theater, and as Assistant Conductor & Chorus Master with Opera Boston. Lidiya was also a Conducting Fellow under Lorin Maazel at his Castleton Festival, where she assisted Maestro Maazel and regularly filled in for him in rehearsal and performance.
Hailed by Pulitzer Prize winner for criticism Lloyd Schwartz as a "skillful and incisive musician," Lidiya's symphonic and operatic work has received critical acclaim and numerous awards. Recent projects include San Francisco productions of Boris Godunov and Iolanta with New Opera NYC; performances with National Sawdust's Composer in Residence program; Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream (first place, The American Prize) with Lowell House Opera; Juventas New Music's NEA-funded puppetry collaboration entitled Music in Motion; the world premiere performances and recording of the ballet HackPolitik; Rachmaninoff's Alekowith Commonwealth Lyric Theater (winner of National Opera Association Award for Best Production in the Professional Category), Rimsky-Korsakov's Snegurochka (the first fully-staged, Russian-language production of the opera in the U.S. and the work's New England premiere); and the world premiere of Isaac Schankler's Light and Power with Juventas (winner of The National Opera Association Award and The American Prize for best professional production).
The 2017 Summer Festival at Opera Saratoga will mark the third season under Lawrence Edelson's leadership as Artistic and General Director. As a stage director Lawrence's work has been praised for the ability to fuse vivid story telling with deeply expressive imagery. He has been praised by Opera Now magazine as doing a "splendid job of making [opera] relevant and understandable" and his productions have been called "ingenious" and "imaginative" by Opera News, "starkly vivid" by The New York Times, and "stunningly touching and entertaining" by the Washington Post. These diverse productions have included the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera, Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Fort Worth Opera, La Traviata for The Minnesota Opera, IL Barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater, Carmen for Toledo Opera, the world premiere of Buried Alive(Myers/Long) for Fargo Moorhead Opera, and the New York premiere of Fauré's rarely produced Pénélope for Manhattan School of Music. He was a guest member on the directing staff of New York City Opera, where he restaged Little Women twice: for the work's Lincoln Center premiere and for the company's tour to Japan. From 2008 to 2012, Lawrence was also a faculty member at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he led seminars on American opera, and directed original productions of Little Women, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Werther, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Eugene Onegin. Before focusing on directing and arts administration, Lawrence enjoyed a performing career in both ballet and opera. He studied voice and musicology at The University of Ottawa and dance at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. As a dancer, he performed with Boston Ballet, Ballet West, and BalletMet Columbus. He has choreographed for ballet and opera companies around the country. As a singer, he appeared in opera, oratorio and musical theater internationally. Lawrence completed his master's degree in performing arts administration at New York University. In the opera field, Lawrence is perhaps best known as the founder of American Lyric Theater (ALT). As Producing Artistic Director at ALT, a position he continues to hold concurrent with his position at Opera Saratoga, he coordinates the company's diverse artistic programs including The Composer Librettist Development Program, commissioning of new works, and co-production relationships. Recent projects at ALT include the development of The Long Walk (Beck/Fleischmann), which premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015; and JFK (Little/Vavrek), which premiered at Fort Worth Opera in 2016. A tireless advocate for emerging artists and the diversification of audiences for opera, Edelson has served on the Strategy Committee for OPERA America, and continues to forge collaborations with opera companies across the country.