NC Opera to Present RUSALKA, 3/30
North Carolina Opera, under the leadership of General Director Eric Mitchko and Artistic Director & Principal Conductor Timothy Myers, presents Antonín Dvorák's Rusalka in Meymandi Concert Hall at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh on Sun. Mar. 30 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $27-$85 and may be purchased online at www.ncopera.org or by phone at 919.792.3850. This production of Rusalka is sung in Czech with English surtitles. Timothy Myers conducts the performance, which is staged by Crystal Manich. This production of Rusalka, with lighting design by Ross Kollman, is "semi-staged" in that the conductor and orchestra appear on stage behind the principal singers and stage action. NCO's previous semi-staged productions include Aida, Il trovatore and Faust.
The water sprite, who longs for human love has a literary lineage much older than The Little Mermaid, and Czech composer Antonín Dvorák used his legendary symphonic might to weave a rich, poignant version of the tale. Smitten by a prince, the water nymph Rusalka convinces a witch-by singing the famously gorgeous aria "Song to the Moon"-to make her human in exchange for her voice. Dvorak's lush melodies bring this beloved story to life in this dramatic semi-staged performance. Rusalka is generously sponsored by Florence and James Peacock.
Soprano Joyce El-Khoury is Rusalka, a role that she sang earlier this season to great acclaim at Opera San Antonio and will sing later this season at the Concertgebouw. She has sung roles in three Puccini operas-Mimì (La bohème), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi) and the title role in Suor Angelica-under the baton of Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival. She has also appeared at the Tanglewood Music Festival, Münchner Philharmoniker, L'Opéra Théâtre de Saint-Étienne and the Netherlands Opera, among others. She has recorded the role of Antonia in Donizetti's rarely performed opera Belisario with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder. A graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ms. El-Khoury, has sung over 30 performances at the Met.
Tenor Russell Thomas is the Prince. His recent engagements include Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra at the Royal Opera Covent Garden and the title role in La clemenza di Tito at the Metropolitan Opera. He has also appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, The Concertgebouw, New York Philharmonic, Seattle Opera, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and The Cincinnati Opera, among many others. He appears on the recording of Donizetti's rarely performed opera Belisario with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Mark Elder.
Soprano Heidi Melton is the Foreign Princess. She recently sang the role of Sieglinde in Die Walküre at San Francisco Opera. She has appeared in Karlsruhe (Germany) for new productions of Tannhäuser in the dual roles of Venus and Elisabeth, as well as Ellen Orford in Christopher Alden's production of Peter Grimes, and revivals of Les Troyens and Der Ring des Nibelungen. A favorite of the audiences in Berlin, she has sung at Deutsche Oper Berlin as Fata Morgana in a new Robert Carsen production of Love for Three Oranges and Amelia in Un ballo in maschera.
Baritone Tom Fox is Vodník, the water goblin. He performs regularly at the most important and prestigious opera houses in the world. In North America, he has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, and Canadian Opera Company, among others. Internationally, he has appeared at such opera companies and music festivals as Teatro alla Scala, Milan, Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, Vienna, Oper Frankfurt, L'Opera de Paris, Teatro dell'Opera, Rome, Opera de Nice, and Opera de Montpellier.
Mezzo-Soprano Margaret Gawrysiak is Jeibaba, the witch. She recently performed Baba the Turk and Mother Goose in The Rake's Progress; Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd; and La Mère d'Antonia in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Wolf Trap Opera. She also has sung Frugola in Il tabarro, and Zita in Gianni Schicchi with Maestro Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival. Recent engagements have also included Gertrude/Witch in Hansel and Gretel with Virginia Opera and Giovanna in Rigoletto with Florida Grand Opera.
Timothy Myers, North Carolina Opera's Artistic Director & Principal Conductor, is the conductor for Rusalka. His recent engagements include performances with the Malaysian Philharmonic, and the Atlanta, Portland, Toledo, Chautauqua and Tulsa symphony orchestras. In the 2013-2014 season he conducts three major world premieres: Ricky Ian Gordon's A Coffin in Egypt at Houston Grand Opera featuring Frederica von Stade (which he will subsequently conduct with Opera Philadelphia), Crozier's With Blood, With Ink at Fort Worth Opera, and John Supko's All Souls at Washington D.C.'s National Gallery of Art (subsequently in Raleigh). Other engagements have included the Beijing National Center for the Performing Arts, the North Carolina and Milwaukee symphony orchestras, the Wolf Trap and Central City festivals, and numerous other projects spanning four continents.
Stage Director Crystal Manich has earned praise from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. This season she directs Aida for Pittsburgh Opera, Madama Butterfly for Opera Columbus, I puritani for Boston Lyric Opera and The Return of Ulysses for Opera Omnia, where she serves as co-Artistic Director. Earlier this season she directed NC Opera's La bohème. Past engagements include productions of La traviata, Don Giovanni, The Flying Dutchman, Cendrillon and Madama Butterfly. Next June, she directs Adriana Lecouvreur in Buenos Aires.