Music Academy of the West Presents CARMEN in Honor of Opera Great Marilyn Horne Tonight
The Music Academy of the West will present a new, fully staged production of Georges Bizet's timeless opera Carmen in honor of celebrated mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne's 80th birthday at Santa Barbara's historic Granada Theatre. Directed by David Paul and conducted by James Gaffigan, the performances will take place at 7:30 pm tonight, August 1, and at 2:30 pm on Sunday, August 3. Tickets start at $15.
Ms. Horne, who has directed the Music Academy's renowned Voice Program since 1997, has a storied history with Bizet's masterpiece, including singing the title role to open the Metropolitan Opera's 1972-73 season. That production, which also featured Leonard Bernstein as conductor, went on to garner a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 1974, and Ms. Horne came to be viewed as the quintessential Carmen. "Many regard Carmen as the perfect opera, and it has maintained a constant place in the repertoire since its premiere in 1875," she said. "Whoever sings Carmen has to bring a lot of herself to the character. That's one of the reasons she's so interesting."
Mr. Gaffigan, whose dazzling performances on many of the world's marquee stages have prompted critics to declare him the most talented young American conductor working today, led the Academy Festival Orchestra in memorable performances the last two seasons. He was appointed chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in January 2010, and his many opera credits include The Marriage of Figaro at the Houston Grand Opera in spring 2011, and a production of Così fan tutti with Sir Charles Mackerras at Glyndebourne the year prior.
Mr. Paul, a faculty member at Juilliard and the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, oversaw the Academy's well-received productions of The Rake's Progress and The Magic Flute in 2012 and 2013, respectively. His extensive credits also include a critically lauded production of Le nozze di Figaro for Washington National Opera. His 2013-14 season highlights included a return to Washington National Opera, where he directed and helped develop the world premiere of American Soldier, a new opera by David Henry Hwang and Huang Ruo, as well as a new production of Tchaikovsky's Iolanta for Westminster Choir College.
In addition to Music Academy Voice and Instrumental Fellows, the Academy's production will feature dancers from Santa Barbara's State Street Ballet, choreography by William Soleau, and a chorus that includes local children.
The Music Academy's production of Carmen is part of a season-long "Carmen Celebration" honoring Ms. Horne. Related upcoming activities will include her receiving the official title "Honorary La Diva of Old Spanish Days" and participation in this year's Fiesta Historical Parade on Friday, August 1. Ms. Horne will appear in an antique carriage sponsored by Montecito Bank & Trust, corporate sponsor of the Academy's 2014 Summer Festival. The events will mark the Music Academy's first collaboration with Old Spanish Days.
The Music Academy's 67th season also will include the Academy debut of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, who will conduct members of the Academy Festival Orchestra at the Lobero Theatre on July 26 as part of a new multiyear partnership with the Philharmonic. The coming weeks will also see performances by cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Stephen Hough, as well as conducting turns by Thomas Adès and Joshua Weilerstein. Featuring the Academy's exceptionally talented Fellows, together with illustrious guest performers and faculty, the events will be presented in venues throughout Santa Barbara.
For tickets and information, call 805.969.8787 or visit musicacademy.org.
Founded in 1947, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation's preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors, and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room, and board). Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies, and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. For more information, visit www.musicacademy.org.