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Cast And Creative Team Announced For Connecticut Lyric Opera's Production Of LA BOHEME

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The opening night performance of La Bohème will be Friday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Trinity-On-Main Arts Center in New Britain.

Cast And Creative Team Announced For Connecticut Lyric Opera's Production Of LA BOHEME

Live opera will return this summer with Connecticut Lyric Opera's production of Giacomo Puccini's beloved masterwork La Bohème. The powerful story of love and selflessness, which inspired the Tony and Pulitzer Award-winning rock musical Rent, is presented in partnership with Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Jan Mason, Associate Artistic Director for Connecticut Lyric Opera, will direct. Adrian Sylveen, Artistic Director for the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and Connecticut Lyric Opera, will conduct.

The opening night performance of La Bohème will be Friday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. at the Trinity-On-Main Arts Center in New Britain. The opera will also be staged under the stars as part of the Virtuosi's annual Summer Music Festival at the Alfred E. Burr Memorial Sculpture Garden (next to the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art) in Hartford on Sunday, July 11, at 8:00 p.m. Two additional performances will be held this fall at the Santo Fragilio Performing Arts Center on the campus of Middletown High School and The Garde Arts Center in New London. Performances and times will be announced at a later date.

La Bohème, which takes place during the height of the Bohemian Movement in 19th century Paris, tells the story of Rodolfo, a man willing to give up everything, including his own happiness, for the sake of his beloved Mimi. Despite hardship, illness, poverty, and unspeakable tragedy, love and hope still burns bright. La Bohème features some of the most recognizable and celebrated operatic songs - including "Che Gelida Manina", "Quando M'en Vo", "Si Mi Chiamo Mimi", and "O, Soave Fanciulla".

"La Bohème is the perfect production to mark our emergence from the COVID pandemic, as it

will give audiences an opportunity to once again gather together as a community for a shared

performing arts experience with one of the most beloved operas in the canon," said Director

Jan Mason. "A sweeping story of love and loss, La Bohème touches our hearts as we follow the

trials and tribulations of Rodolfo and Mimi's tragic love story. This production promises to be a

special celebration of Puccini's iconic masterpiece."

La Bohème reunites Mason with a trio of Connecticut Lyric Opera core company members - Soprano Jūrat?- Švedait?- as Mimi, Tenor Daniel Juárez as Rodolfo, and Bass Steven Fredericks as Colline - who previously dazzled audiences in Tosca and Aida. The talented cast also features Baritone Samuel Bowen as Schaunard, Baritone Levi Hernandez as Marcello, Soprano Maria Margiolakou as Musetta, and Bass Stefan Szkafarowsky as Benoit and Alcindoro. Bowen, Margiolakou and Szkafarowsky have previously performed with Connecticut Lyric Opera.

In addition to Mason and Sylveen, the creative team includes Assistant Director Joey Taylor (In the Heights, Dutchess Community College; Animal Farm, Dramaturg, Western Connecticut State University) and Scenic Designer Lynne Porter (Pericles: Born in a Tempest, Guerilla Shakespeare Project; Doubt: A Parable, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble).

Tickets & Performances

Opening Night Performance: Friday, July 2, 2021 @ 7:30 p.m. at Trinity-On-Main Arts Center, 69 Main Street, New Britain. Suggested ticket price: $25 @ www.thevirtuosi.ticketleap.com.

Summer Music Festival Performance: Sunday, July 11, 2021 @ 8:00 p.m. at the Albert E. Burr Memorial Sculpture Garden at 10 S. Prospect Street in Hartford (next to the Wadsworth Atheneum of Art). Free. Donations accepted at https://thevirtuosi.ticketleap.com/.

Sponsors:

Connecticut Lyric Opera and Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra gratefully acknowledge generous support of La Bohème and the 2020-2021 season from National Endowment for the Arts; Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development-Office of the Arts; The Edward C. & Ann T. Roberts Foundation; Greater Hartford Arts Council; Community Foundation of Greater New Britain; The Heurer Foundation; Anderson-Paffard Foundation; Farmington Bank Foundation; TOMZ Corporation; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art; Trustees of the Ella Burr McManus Trust for the use of the Alfred E. Burr Memorial; City of New Britain; Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut; Evelyn W. Preston Memorial Fund-Bank of America; Frank Loomis Palmer Fund-Bank of America; The Bodenwein Foundation-Bank of America; The George Ensworth Memorial Fund-Bank of America; Sloper Musical Fund-Bank of America; and The Marjorie Moore Charitable Foundation-Bank of America.

Meet the Cast:

Baritone Samuel Bowen (Schaunard). Samuel Bowen is an established performer throughout New York and New England. His performances with Connecticut Lyric Opera include le Grand Prêtre in Daphnis et Eglé and Faninal in Der Rosenkavalier. Bowen has appeared in the New England premieres of Dead Man Walking with Boston Opera Collective and Our Town with Raylynmor Opera. Additional highlights include Rambaldo in La Rondine with Boston Opera Collective; the title role of Don Giovanni and il Barone in La Traviata with Flagstaff in Italy, and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Piccola Opera.

Bass Steven Fredericks (Colline). Steven Fredericks has made his mark with some of opera's most celebrated roles, appearing with many leading American companies including The Dallas Opera as Antonio in The Tempest, The Cincinnati Opera as Timur in Turandot and The Baltimore Opera as Reinmar in Tannhäuser. He has also performed concert works such as The Messiah at Carnegie Hall and Verdi's Requiem with The Hudson Opera Theatre. His performances with Connecticut Lyric Opera include The Dutchman in Der Fliegende Holländer, the Commendatore in Don Giovanni, King Marke in Tristan und Isolde, and Filippo in Don Carlo (also Fulham Opera in London).

Baritone Levi Hernandez (Marcello). Levi Hernandez is making his debut with Connecticut Lyric Opera. He has appeared with many opera companies throughout the United States, including Opera Philadelphia; Boston Lyric Opera; San Francisco Opera; Los Angeles Opera; Houston Grand Opera; Opera Theater of St. Louis; Chicago's Lyric Opera; and The Metropolitan Opera. Memorable roles include Rambaldo in La Rondine with Minnesota Opera; Don Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Lyric Opera of Chicago; Tonio in Pagliacci with El Paso Opera and Opera Colorado; and the Count in Le nozze di Figaro with Intermountain Opera.

Tenor Daniel Juárez (Rodolfo). Daniel Juárez has given dynamic performances with Connecticut Lyric Opera as Don José in Carmen, Cavarodossi in Tosca, the title role in Don Carlo and Radames in Aida. He has also performed with Opera Theater of Connecticut, MetroWest Opera, Western Connecticut State University Opera Studio, and in recital and concert venues throughout the region. Additional operatic credits include the title role in Faust, The Italian Singer in Der Rosenkavalier, Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly, and Erik in The Flying Dutchman. Tenor solo performances include Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, J.S. Bach's Magnificat, Ariel Ramirez' Misa Criolla, and Theodore Dubois' Seven Last Words of Christ.

Soprano Maria Margiolakou (Musetta). Greek Soprano Maria Margiolakou performed Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) while attending Greve Opera Academy in Italy. She joined the Connecticut Lyric Opera's Young Artist Program, where she performed Euridice(Orfeo ed Euridice) and Amour (Daphnis et Eglé) with Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Margiolakou has performed numerous roles with Georgia State Opera Theater, including Cercatrice (Suor Angelica), Joan Hall (The Workshop) and Cissy (Albert Herring) and sang Barbarina (Le nozze di Figaro) and Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea) at the Lefkas Summer Festival in Greece.

Soprano Jūrat?- Švedait?- (Mimi). Lithuanian soprano Jūrat?- Švedait?- has performed internationally with the Lithuanian National Chamber Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Lyric Opera, Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra, ProLirica de Medellin (Columbia), Kaunas (Lithuania) Chamber Orchestra, Classical Orchestra of Piła (Poland), the Lithuanian National Ensemble Lietuva, San Gimignano Music Festival (Italy), Greve Opera Festival (Italy), and the Pazaislis International Music Festival (Lithuania). Švedait?- has starred in more than 20 leading roles, including the diva Tosca; Violetta in La Traviata; Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro; Donna Anna in Don Giovanni; Desdemona in Otello; Elisabetta in Don Carlo; Senta in Die Fliegende Hollander; Marguerite in Faust; and Micaela in Carmen.

Bass Stefan Szkafarowsky (Benoit and Alcindoro). Bass Stefan Szkafarowsky has performed at the Metropolitan Opera and many opera houses throughout the United States and abroad. Recent credits include Monterone in a new production of Rigoletto with the Metropolitan Opera and Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni for Opera Idaho. Additional highlights include the title role in Aleko with New York City Opera, Dikoij in Katia Kabanova for Seattle Opera, and Zaccaria in Nabucco for the Lviv Opera House in Ukraine. Szkafarowsky has previously performed with the Connecticut Lyric Opera as Ramfis in Aida. He has shared the stage with Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Paul Plishka, Sherill Milnes, Maria Ciara, and Piero Cappuccilli.

Meet the Creative Team

Director Jan Mason. Jan Mason has directed theatre in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston, and Connecticut. Mason is currently Associate Artistic Director at Connecticut Lyric Opera and is a core faculty member of the Greve Opera Academy and Music Festival, the company's summer program in Italy. She is also an Affiliated Artist at Capital Classics Theatre Company where she is directing Athol Fugard's Victory for their inaugural Contemporary Classics Conversations program. She teaches and directs theatre at Western Connecticut State University and Tunxis Community College. For Connecticut Lyric Opera, Mason has directed Tosca, Aida, and Don Carlo. She will return this winter to direct Strauss' Die Fledermaus.

Conductor Adrian Sylveen. Adrian Sylveen enjoys a performing career in the United States and Europe. He serves as Artistic Director of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra, Connecticut Lyric Opera, and the Classical Orchestra of Pila in Poland. An active soloist as well as conductor, he has performed concerts and recitals in Poland, Switzerland, Germany, former Soviet Union, and the United States. Sylveen graduated with distinction from the Paderewski Music Academy in Poznan, Poland, and holds Master and post-Master degrees from the Yale University School of Music. He is the recipient of prizes and awards from international competitions and has participated in several international festivals such as Weimar and Lancut. Maestro Sylveen has received several prestigious scholarships and awards, including the "Primus Inter Pares" Award given by the President of the Republic of Poland.


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