Opera Saratoga Announces 2019 Summer Festival Opera Productions

Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced the three operas that will be featured at the center of the company's 2019 Summer Festival, to be presented from June 29 through July 14, 2019.

The season will open with Gaetano Donizetti's sparkling French comedy, La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment), which returns to the company for the first time in 17 years. This new production, directed by Edelson, will feature the company debut of Argentinian Bel Canto tenor Santiago Ballerini in the role of Tonio, famous for the bravura aria 'Pour mon âme' in which the tenor sings a succession of nine high Cs in one of opera's greatest showpieces. Maestro Andrew Bisantz (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016; The Consul, 2018) returns to Opera Saratoga to conduct. Additional casting will be announced in the fall.

Balancing tradition with innovation, the second production of the season will be the World Premiere of Ellen West, a new chamber opera by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Frank Bidart. Co-commissioned by Opera Saratoga and Beth Morrison Projects, Ellen West brings us deep into the personal internal struggle of a young woman's battle with a severe, chronic eating disorder, as well as the attempts by her doctor to diagnose her. Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, this World Premiere production will feature the company debut of soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Ellen West, and the return of baritone Keith Phares (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016) as her psychiatrist, Dr. Ludwig Binswanger. The production will be directed by Emma Griffin in her company debut, under the baton of Maestra Lidiya Yankovskaya (Zémire et Azor, 2017).

The third production of the season brings Humperdinck's classic Hansel and Gretel back to Opera Saratoga for the first time in 29 years in a boundary-breaking production by the Chicago-based theater company Manual Cinema, originally created for La Monnaie in Brussels. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry and cinematic techniques to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, puppets, actors, and live feed cameras, Manual Cinema's production of Hansel and Gretel is a remarkable hybrid between attending the cinema and the opera. Opera Saratoga presents the East Coast premiere of this truly unique version of one of the most beloved operas in the repertoire, featuring members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program in all of the principal roles, with a guest appearance by members of the Children's Chorus of the Glens Falls Symphony.

"The 2019 Summer Festival continues Opera Saratoga's commitment to presenting masterworks from the operatic canon, and to fostering the creation of important new works," explained Edelson. "I am very excited to feature two operas next season that have not been seen in Saratoga Springs for many years. The season opens with La Fille du Régiment, a fun-filled Bel Canto treasure that delights with virtuoso singing. I am personally looking forward to directing this production, featuring the company debut of tenor Santiago Ballerini. I am also always looking for new and creative ways to tell well-known stories, and was mesmerized when I became familiar with Manual Cinema's work. It is an incredible honor to be able to present their production of Hansel and Gretel - a truly unique approach to this classic opera that is perfect for the entire family."

"In addition to our productions of more traditional repertoire, over the past four years we have introduced the work of five American composers (and one Scottish composer) to our audiences," Edelson continued, "and highly theatrical, contemporary productions have become part of the identity of Opera Saratoga. While opera entertains, I also believe strongly that it is a lens through which we can look at the world around us. We are thrilled to partner with Beth Morrison Projects to commission and produce the World Premiere of Ellen West, a beautiful and heartbreaking opera by a remarkable pair of artists. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon's career has included critically acclaimed operas, musicals, and songs, performed by a veritable who's who of American singers across the country; and poet Frank Bidart, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, has an extraordinary way of entering into the soul with astonishing insight. The World Premiere of Ellen West is not to be missed!"

Additional concerts and public master classes will complement the three opera productions, beginning May 25th, 2019. The complete performance schedule for the 2019 Summer Festival will be available at the end of September. Subscriptions will go on sale October 1, 2018, and Single Tickets will go on Sale February 15, 2019.

For more information, please visit www.operasaratoga.org.

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