MasterVoices' DIDO AND AENEAS with Kelli O'Hara and Victoria Clark Opens Tonight
MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) continues the 2015-2016 season with Henry Purcell and Nahum Tate's tempestuous Baroque opera, DIDO AND AENEAS, tonight, April 28, 2016 at 7pm and tomorrow, April 29, 2016 at 8pm at New York City Center, 131 W. 55th Street, New York City.
The performance features a World Premiere prologue to DIDO AND AENEAS by Michael John LaChiusa (The Wild Party, First Daughter Suite) that presents the three Fates that control Dido's destiny.
MasterVoices' production of DIDO AND AENEAS will be semi-staged, and will feature the direction and choreography of Doug Varone, the dancers of his company Doug Varone and Dancers, conducting by MasterVoices' Artistic Director Ted Sperling, the MasterVoices chorus, and Orchestra of St. Luke's.
The cast, hailing from both the Broadway and opera worlds, is comprised of Kelli O'Hara (Tony Award Winner,The King and I) as Dido, Victoria Clark (Tony Award Winner, The Light in the Piazza) as the Sorceress, Elliot Madore (Winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions) as Aeneas, Anna Christy (Les contes d'Hoffmann, the Metropolitan Opera) as Belinda, and emerging young artist Sarah Mesko as Second Woman. David Korins (Hamilton, Bel Canto) will serve as Scenic Consultant, and CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) designer Christian Siriano will provide the gowns.
"We are thrilled to reunite Tony Award-winning actresses Kelli O'Hara and Victoria Clark, who appeared together in The Light in the Piazza ten years ago, in DIDO AND AENEAS," said Ted Sperling, Artistic Director of MasterVoices. "Further, the evening will open with the World Premiere of a new prologue written and composed by Michael John LaChiusa, in which the three leading ladies play the three Fates, sisters who control our destinies. As the original prologue was lost, I called on my long-time collaborator to bring a contemporary voice into counterpoint with the Baroque, utilizing the same orchestration, including an expanded continuo section of harpsichord, organ, guitar and harp. Orchestrations for the new prologue are by Bruce Coughlin."
Single tickets are $30-$130 and are available online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix at 212-581-1212, or at the box office at 131 W. 55th Street (btwn 6th and 7th).
On April 28, MasterVoices will have its annual Spring Benefit in support of its artistic programming and education initiatives. Benefit tickets include pre-concert cocktails, preferred seating at DIDO AND AENEAS, dinner, and live auction. Call MasterVoices at 646-435-9052 for details.
The DIDO AND AENEAS program is dedicated to the memory of James S. Marcus, longtime MasterVoices Board Member. MasterVoices is forever grateful for his and his wife Ellen's generosity, and will always remember Jim for his boundless spirit, tremendous wisdom, and deep love of music.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Kelli O'Hara has unequivocally established herself as one of Broadway's great leading ladies. Her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I recently garnered her a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical, along with Drama League and Outer Critics nominations.
2014 was an exceptionally busy year. Her performance as Francesca in the musical adaptation of The Bridges of Madison County earned her Tony, Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle nominations. Additionally, she starred as Mrs. Darling in NBC's live telecast of "Peter Pan" alongside Allison Williams and Christian Borle, and on New Year's Eve, Kelli made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the production of The Merry Widow with Renee Fleming. For more, visit kelliohara.com.
Victoria Clark maintains one of the most diverse careers of any artist living today, equally at home in plays, musicals, film, television, and the concert stage. She most recently starred in the 2015 revival of GIGI The Musical on Broadway where she received a Tony Award nomination for her role as "Mamita." In 2014, starred as Marie, The Fairy Godmother in the Broadway musical revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella where she received both Tony and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations. Clark also starred in Sharr White's play, The Snow Geese at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Prior to that, she appeared as Mother Superior in the hit Broadway musical, Sister Act for which she received Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations and the Drama League honor. Last year, Ms. Clark was the Artist in Residence at Pace University's School of the Arts where she taught and directed The Light in the Piazza for which she had received Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards, as well as a Drama League honor for her portrayal of protective but domineering mother Margaret Johnson in 2005. Her virtuoso performance in the Lincoln Center Production of the Tony Award-winning musical has made her a favorite among audiences and critics, including The New York Times' Ben Brantley, who called Clark's work in Piazza "the best musical performance by an actress this season." For more, visit victoriajclark.com.
A winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Canadian baritone Elliot Madore is already gaining international notoriety for his exceptional voice and artistry. In the 2015-2016 season, Elliot Madore returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Figaro in The Barber of Seville. He also makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Anthony in Sweeney Todd and returns to the Bayerische Staatsoper as Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos under music director Kirill Petrenko to be performed both in Munich and at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris. He debuts at Teatro de la Maestranza as Figaro, Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Belcore in L'elisir d'amore, and at Santa Fe Opera as Mercutio in a new production of Roméo et Juliette conducted by Harry Bicket. Mr. Madore will be seen in concert with Charles Dutoit and Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in L'heure espagnole and L'enfant et les sortilèges. For more, visit elliotmadore.com.
Praised for her combination of sparkling voice and innate musicality, internationally-acclaimed soprano Anna Christy appears this season as Morgana in Handel's Alcina at Teatro Real, Madrid, under Christopher Moulds. Further highlights include Soeur Constance (Les dialogues des Carmélites) at Bayerische Staatsoper under Bertrand de Billy and a return to the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan as Adele (Die Fledermaus) under Seiji Ozawa, having previously appeared there in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortilèges. Recent highlights include Marie (La fille du régiment) at Santa Fe Opera Festival, Gilda in Christopher Alden's production of Rigoletto at English National Opera and her noted company debut with Canadian Opera Company as Lucia di Lammermoor. For more, visit annachristy.com.
Praised by The Washington Post for her "consistently beautiful sound," American mezzo-soprano Sarah Mesko is rapidly gaining attention for her "rich mezzo soprano" voice and musicality. Sarah Mesko begins the 2015-2016 season in her role debut as Carmen at Washington National Opera in the Domingo-Cafritz Emerging Artists performance. She will join the Metropolitan Opera for their Rising Stars concert tour across the United States and also will cover Malcolm in La donna del lago on the mainstage. In concert, she will appear with the Columbus Symphony in Alexander Nevsky and with the Mercury Orchestra in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Recently, Ms. Mesko debuted at the Glimmerglass Festival in Vivaldi's Catone in Utica to great acclaim. She was seen at Washington National Opera as the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte and made her debut at Houston Grand Opera as Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music. In concert, she appeared with Ars Lyrica, the Bach Society of Houston, and Mercury Baroque in Houston.
Michael John LaChiusa is a five-time Tony Award nominated Composer, Lyricist and Librettist for his Broadway productions of The Wild Party, Marie Christine and Chronicle of a Death Foretold. LaChiusa's acclaimed off-Broadway musicals have been seen at The Public Theater and Lincoln Center in NY and include Giant, Queen of the Mist, See What I Wanna See, First Lady Suite, Bernarda Alba, Hello Again, Little Fish, and Four Short Operas: Break, Agnes, Eulogy For Mr. Hamm, Lucky Nurse. This season, his new musical First Daughter Suite premiered at The Public Theater in NY Fall 2015 and his musical Rain will premiere at the Old Globe in San Diego Spring 2016. LaChiusa has been commissioned by Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival among others and has penned Lovers & Friends: The Chautauqua Variations for CLO and Send (who are you? I love you) written for Audra McDonald at HGO. LaChiusa's revues of his own work include la..la...LaChiusa (Joe's Pub), Hotel C'est l'Amour (Blank Theatre), and most recently Heartbreak Country: Michael John LaChiusa's Stories of America (Jazz at Lincoln Center). LaChiusa's awards include an Obie, Gillman Gonzalez-Falla, Kleban Foundation, Dramatists Guild, and 2008 & 2009 Daytime Emmy Awards.
Award-winning choreographer and director Doug Varone works in dance, theater, opera, film, television and fashion. He is a passionate educator and articulate advocate for dance. By any measure, his work is extraordinary for its emotional range, kinetic breadth and the many arenas in which he works. His New York City-based Doug Varone and Dancers has been commissioned and presented to critical acclaim by leading international venues for nearly three decades. In 2008, Varone's Bottomland, set in the Mammoth Caves of Kentucky, was the subject of the PBS Dance in America: Wolf Trap's Face of America. In opera, he is best known for the Metropolitan Opera productions of Salome, with its sensational Dance of the Seven Veils for Karita Mattila, and the world premiere of Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy. His numerous theater credits include his choreography for Manhattan Theater Club's musical hit Murder Ballad earned him a Lucille Lortel nomination for choreography. Film credits include choreography for the Patrick Swayze film One Last Dance. In the concert dance world, commissions include the Limón Company, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Rambert Dance Company (London), Martha Graham Dance Company, Dancemakers (Canada), Batsheva Dance Company (Israel), Bern Ballet (Switzerland) and An Creative (Japan), among others. He has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, an OBIE Award, two individual Bessie Awards, two American Dance Festival Doris Duke Awards for New York, and four National Dance Project Awards. For more, visit dougvaroneanddancers.org.
Ted Sperling has maintained an active and successful career in the theater and concert worlds for over thirty years. A multi-faceted artist, he is a director, music director, conductor, orchestrator, singer, pianist, violinist and violist. He is the Artistic Director of MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) and Principal Conductor of the Westchester Philharmonic. Mr. Sperling won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he was also music director. Other Broadway credits as music director/conductor/pianist include the rapturously received revivals of Fiddler on the Roof, The King and I and South Pacific; Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Angels in America, My Favorite Year, Falsettos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, LES MISERABLES, Roza, and Sunday in the Park with George. Mr. Sperling was also an original cast member of the Broadway musical Titanic. Mr. Sperling has an active concert career, working with many major symphony orchestras, and singers Audra McDonald, Victoria Clark, Patti LuPone, Kelli O'Hara, Nathan Gunn, Idina Menzel, Paulo Szot and Deborah Voigt. For more, visit tedsperling.net.
Christian Siriano followed his studies in London under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, and launched his eponymous collection in 2008. The Christian Siriano collection is now shown each season at New York Fashion Week, and presented in New York and Paris to retailers. Known for whimsical and show-stopping design - from fantasy evening gowns and cocktail dresses, to tailored sportswear, to intricately detailed shoes and accessories - the collection can be found at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and other department stores and specialty boutiques around the globe. In 2012 the first flagship Christian Siriano store opened on Elizabeth Street in New York City, and in 2013 he was inducted as a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Dubbed "the new king of old-school glamour" by Elle and "the next billion-dollar designer" by Yahoo! Style's Lauren Sherman, his designs have appeared on the world's biggest stars and most prestigious red carpets. He counts the world's leading ladies as clients, from stars of film (Lupita Nyong'o, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Shailene Woodley, Patricia Arquette, Emily Blunt, Sharon Stone) to icons of music (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Solange Knowles, Nicki Minaj, Carrie Underwood) to stars of television (Tina Fey, Lea Michele, Emma Roberts, Christina Hendricks, Heidi Klum, Allison Williams, Oprah Winfrey, Edie Falco) and darlings of fashion (Victoria Beckham, Alexa Chung, Dita Von Teese, Kate Upton, Olivia Palermo, Coco Rocha), to name just a few.
Orchestra of St. Luke's (OSL) is one of America's most versatile and distinguished orchestras, collaborating with the world's greatest artists and performing approximately 80 concerts each year-including its Carnegie Hall Orchestra Series, Chamber Music Series at The Morgan Library & Museum and Brooklyn Museum, and summer residency at Caramoor Music Festival. In its 41-year history, OSL has commissioned more than 50 new works, has given more than 175 world, U.S., and New York City premieres; and has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including four Grammy Award winners and seven releases on its own label, St. Luke's Collection. Pablo Heras-Casado is OSL's principal conductor. OSL grew out of a chamber ensemble that began giving concerts at the Church of St. Luke in the Fields in Greenwich Village in 1974. Today, the 21 virtuoso artists of St. Luke's Chamber Ensemble make up OSL's artistic core. OSL owns and operates The DiMenna Center for Classical Music in Midtown Manhattan, where it shares a building with the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The DiMenna Center is New York City's premier venue for rehearsal, recording, and learning, having quickly gained a reputation for its superb acoustics, state-of-the-art facilities, and affordability. Since opening in 2011, The DiMenna Center has welcomed more than 100,000 visitors, including more than 400 ensembles and artists such as Renée Fleming, Susan Graham, Itzhak Perlman, Emanuel Ax, Joshua Bell, Valery Gergiev, James Levine, James Taylor, and Sting. OSL hosts hundreds of neighbors, families, and school children at its home each year for free community events. Through its Education & Community programs, OSL has introduced audiences across New York City to live classical music. OSL brings free chamber concerts to the five boroughs; offers free interactive music programs at The DiMenna Center; provides chamber music coaching for adult amateurs; and engages 10,000 public school students each year through its Free School Concerts. In 2013, OSL launched Youth Orchestra of St. Luke's (YOSL), an intensive in- and after-school instrumental coaching program emphasizing musical excellence and social development, in partnership with community organizations and public schools in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood.
Since its founding in 1986, Doug Varone and Dancers has commanded attention for its expansive vision, versatility, and technical prowess. On the concert stage, in opera, theatre and on the screen, Varone's kinetically thrilling dances make essential connections and mine the complexity of the human spirit. From the smallest gesture to full-throttle bursts of movement, Varone's work can take your breath away. On tour, the Company has performed in more than 100 cities in 45 states across the U.S. and in Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. Stages include The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, San Francisco Performances, London's Queen Elizabeth Hall, Toronto's Harbourfront, Moscow's Stanislavsky Theatre, Buenos Aires' Teatro San Martin, the Venice Biennale, and the Tokyo, Bates, Jacob's Pillow and American Dance Festivals. In opera and theatre, the Company regularly collaborates on the many Varone directed or choreographed productions that have been produced around the country. Varone, his dancers and designers have been honored with 11 New York Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies). For more, visit dougvaroneanddancers.org.
Under the artistic direction of conductor Ted Sperling, MasterVoices is a New York City-based performing arts organization that celebrates singing and the art of musical storytelling. Founded as The Collegiate Chorale almost 75 years ago by legendary conductor Robert Shaw, the organization is one of the jewels of NYC cultural institutions, and has achieved international acclaim as well. Recent performances at Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center have included Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Boito's Mefistofele, Eric Idle's Not the Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy) and many of the great choral works, including Brahms' Requiem, Tippett's A Child of Our Time, Mahler's 8th Symphony, Glass' Koyaanisqatsi and the Verdi Requiem. Some of the solo artists who have sung with MasterVoices recently include Stephanie Blythe, Victoria Clark, Nathan Gunn, Kelli O'Hara, Eric Idle, Eric Owens, Bryn Terfel and Deborah Voigt. For more information, visit mastervoices.org. Connect with MasterVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@mastervoicesny).
Photo Credit: Erin Baiano