BWW Opera Preview, Part II: Hot Time, Summer Outside the City
Who needs an excuse to leave NYC in the blistering days of summer? It's especially true if you head north to some of the bucolic opera and vocal venues within driving distance, in this second part of our seasonal preview.
Hudson Valley and Beyond
Bard SummerScape, July 28 - Aug 6
While the theme of the 28th Bard Music Festival--at Bard College in NY's Hudson River Valley--is "Chopin and His World," the Franco-Polish composer (born near Warsaw in 1810, moved to Paris--his father was French--in 1821 and never returned to Poland) is not exactly known for his operatic work. So the premiere of the season is, instead, a neglected work by Antonin Dvorak: the American staged premiere of DIMITRIJ on July 28 (through August 6), a grand opera that resumes Russian history where Mussorgsky's BORIS GODUNOV leaves off.
Leon Botstein, festival co-artistic director and President of Bard College, conducts the American Symphony Orchestra in five performances of a new production by award-winning director Anne Bogart.
Opera Saratoga, July 1 - July 16
Saratoga Springs, NY
The first opera production of the season, opening July 1, is Verdi's comic masterpiece, FALSTAFF, directed by Chuck Hudson, and conducted by Craig Kier. Bass baritone Craig Colclough stars as Falstaff, with the stylish soprano Caroline Worra as Alice Ford.
Next will be a rarity, André Grétry's opera-ballet, ZÉMIRE ET AZOR (BEAUTY AND THE BEAST), opening July 2, directed by James Ortiz, in his opera-directing debut, whose production of THE WOODSMAN played several times off-Broadway in New York. This work was a favorite of Mozart and incorporates both dance and Ortiz's signature use of puppetry. Lidiya Yankovskaya conducts and Jill Echo choreographs.
At the heart of Opera Saratoga's season is a new production of Marc Blitzstein's THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, on July 9, conducted by John Mauceri-- who has been responsible for many significant operatic restorations--in his company debut. According to Lawrence Edelson, artistic and general director of the company and director of CRADLE, the musical theatre piece is "an attack on the abuse of political power by the wealthy and a paean to labor and poor people struggling to get by," an as timely now as it was when it premiered in 1937, 80 years ago. It stars mezzo soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson and bass Matt Boehler in their company debuts.
Glimmerglass Festival, July 7-August 22
Glimmerglass Festival opens its 2017 season with a couple of American originals. First, on July 7, there's George Gershwin's PORGY AND BESS, in its original version with full orchestra, directed by Francesca Zambello, Artistic & General Director of the Festival, presented in the Alice Busch Opera Theatre. Conducted by John DeMain, it stars Musa Ngqungwana as Porgy, the terrific Talise Trevigne as Bess, with Norman Garret as Crown, Frederick Ballentine as Sportin' Life and Meroë Khalia Adeeb as Clara (she gets to sing "Summertime").