Amore Opera to Present Circus-Themed Double Bill, 12/13-1/5

By: Nov. 19, 2013
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The Amore Opera presents an evening of morte and amore with a circus-themed pairing of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and the rarely performed operetta, The Circus Princess by Hungarian composer Emmerich Kálmán. This double bill conducted by Maestro Gregory Ortega and directed by Nathan Hull features new productions of both of these one-act works. It will open on December 13 at 7:30pm at The Connelly Theater and runs for twelve performances through January 5, 2014.

The evening begins with the quintessential verismo opera, Pagliacci, with music and libretto by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919). The work tells the tragedy of the circus clown Canio, who suspects his wife and fellow circus performer Nedda has been unfaithful to him. In his obsessive search for his wife's lover, Canio murders both Nedda and her lover, Silvio, in the midst of a live performance. Pagliacci premiered at the Teatro del Verme in Milan in 1892 with Arturo Toscanini conducting to mixed critical reviews but instant popular acclaim and remains a fixture in the opera repertoire.

Following the dark ending of Pagliacci, The Circus Princess, which tells of the hijinx surrounding the Circus Stanislavski, will lighten the mood. The operetta narrates the tale of the mysterious 'Mister X,' a masked aerialist who attempts death defying acrobatic feats, but his disguise hides his true identity as a disinherited nobleman. Mister X has caught the attention of the Princess Fedora, a wealthy widow who must marry in order to keep her fortune in the country. The Princess's situation has attracted several suitors, including the czar's nephew,Prince Sergius, who vie for her attentions. Meanwhile, the operetta is rounded out by the witty lovers Toni and Mabel, a Viennese hotel heir and his bareback-riding songtress.

The Circus Princess premiered in 1926 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna, running for 344 performances. It made its American debut in 1927 at the Winter Garden Theater in a production that boasted equestrians, aerialists, and a famous clown of the day, Poodles Hanneford. Amore's production is the first NYC performance of this charming work since its run at the Winter Garden Theater. Originally set to a German libretto by Julius Brammer and Alfred Grunwald, Amore's English language production uses the lyrics of Adam Carstairs with a new book by Amore's founder and artistic director, Nathan Hull.

The composer, Emmerich Kálmán (1882-1953) studied composition at the National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music (formerly Budapest Academy of Music) alongside Bela Bartók and Zoltán Kodály, and went on to become one of the leading composers of the "Silver Age" of Viennese operetta. He was known for combining elements of the Viennese waltz with the Hungarian czárdás and achieved worldwide fame during his lifetime with long-running productions of his works staged in Vienna, London, Budapest, and New York City. Despite his Jewish origins, Kálmán was one of Hitler's favorite composers but rejected the Fuhrer's offer to become an 'honorary Aryan.' Emmerich left Vienna, emigrating first to Paris and then to the United States. He returned to Europe after World War II.

Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo (sung in Italian with English subtitles)
The Circus Princess by Emmerich Kálmán (in a crisp, new English adaptation)
Conductor: Gregory Ortega / Director: Nathan Hull

Performances: Friday, December 13, 2013 at 7:30PM; Saturday, December 14, 2013 at 7:30PM; Sunday, December 15, 2013 at 2:30PM; Friday, December 27, 2013 at 7:30PM; Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:30PM; Sunday, December 29, 2013 at 2:30PM; Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - New Year's Eve Gala at 7:30PM; Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 7:30PM; Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 7:30PM; Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:30PM; Saturday, January 4, 2014 at 7:30PM; and Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 2:30PM.

Performances are at the Connelly Theater (220 East 4th Street). Tickets are $40 for general admission and $30 for Students and Seniors. Tickets are accessible by visiting the Amore Opera Website at www.amoreopera.org or by calling 1-888-811-4111.



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