On Site Opera Launches THE FIGARO PROJECT With THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO AND THE GUILTY MOTHER
On Site Opera has garnered considerable acclaim for its immersive, site-specific productions since stage director Eric Einhorn founded it just three years ago. This summer, the company kicks off its most ambitious undertaking to date:The Figaro Project. On Site Opera will offer lesser-known operatic adaptations of French playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais' (1732-1799) famed trilogy of Figaro plays: The Barber of Seville (1775), The Marriage of Figaro (1784) and The Guilty Mother(1792). The Figaro Project will reacquaint audiences with their favorite Beaumarchais' characters in new and unexpected ways in non-traditional venues across New York City.
Inaugurating The Figaro Project will be a new production of Giovanni Paisiello's The Barber of Seville (1782). With a libretto by Giuseppe Petrosellini, Paisiello's Barber stays true to its Beaumarchais roots, focusing more faithfully on the love story between the Count and Rosina and less on the Barber's antics. After its premiere, the opera quickly became a staple of the repertoire and inspired a young Rossini to write his own version. On Site Opera brings the love story to the opulent Fabbri Mansion (House of the Redeemer) on New York City's Upper East Side. The production will be updated to the early decades of the twentieth century (when the Fabbri Mansion was built) and staged in the mansion's outdoor courtyard and charming library.
The Barber of Seville will be conducted by On Site Opera's newly-appointed Music Director, Geoffrey McDonald, and directed by the company's Artistic Director, Eric Einhorn. For the new production, Einhorn, McDonald and On Site's Creative Producer, Jessica Kiger, have assembled a team of accomplished artists including Monica Yunus (soprano) as Rosina,David Blalock (tenor) as Count Almaviva, Andrew Wilkowske (baritone) as Figaro, Rod Nelman (bass-baritone) as Bartolo,Isaiah Musik-Ayala (bass-baritone) as Basilio, Benjamin Bloomfield (baritone) as Svegliato and Notary and Jessica Rose Futran (soprano) as Giovinetto and Alcalde. The production features costume design by Candida K. Nichols and lighting design by Shawn Kaufman.Performances of The Barber of Seville will take place June 9, 11, 12 and 13 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $40 can be purchased online at www.osopera.org or by phone at 866.811.4111. The Fabbri Mansion is located at 7 East 95th Street, New York, NY 10128. Running time is approximately 90 minute. Sung in Italian with projected English translations.
On Site Opera's three-year journey through Beaumarchais' Figaro Trilogy consists of adaptations that, in the company's view, adhere more faithfully to the original plays. The Figaro Project continues with the North American premiere of Marcos Portugal's The Marriage of Figaro (Summer 2016), followed by the U.S. premiere of Darius Milhaud's The Guilty Mother(Summer 2017), in celebration of Milhaud's 125th Birthday.
On Site Opera has done much to prove that exciting opera can happen outside the walls of a traditional theater. Most recently (June 2014), the company staged Rameau's Pygmalion at Madame Tussauds New York and the Lifestyle-Trimco mannequin showroom. Previously, On Site earned critical praise for its productions of Shostakovich's The Tale of the Silly Baby Mouse, at the Bronx Zoo and Gershwin's Blue Monday, at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Reviewing Tale, The New York Times wrote that the production "enchanted audience members of all ages," and added, "connoisseurs, meanwhile, could hardly miss the seriousness and skill of the undertaking."
About The Barber of Seville Performers
Equally at home in concert, recital or on the operatic stage, Monica Yunus (Rosina) has established herself as one of America's most promising young sopranos. She has been called "especially winning" by The New York Times and commended for her "rich and sensuous voice [that] was utterly captivating." Her roles include Norina in Don Pasquale, Adina in L'Elisir D'Amore, Alice in Le Comte Ory, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Gilda in Rigoletto, Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera among many others. She can be seen in several Metropolitan Opera HD broadcasts ranging from The Magic Flute to Le Comte Ory to La Rondine. Ms. Yunus is a graduate of The Juilliard School and is the Co-Founder of the Sing for Hope charitable organization based in New York, whose mission is to make the arts available to all. For her contributions to the field of arts activism, Ms. Yunus has been honored to give special performances at The United Nations, the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and received a 2009 DOHA 21st Century Leader Award in the category of Outstanding Humanitarian. Born in Chittagong, Bangladesh and raised in New Jersey, Ms. Yunus is the daughter of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus. http://monicayunus.com/
In the 2014-2015 season, American tenor David Blalock (Count Almaviva) is slated to perform Jaquino in Beethoven'sFidelio with Madison Opera, Don Ottavio in North Carolina Opera's production of Don Giovanni and in Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Last season, as a Virginia Opera Emerging Artist, David Blalock was heard as First Priest in The Magic Flute, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos and Le Remendado in Carmen. David has also recently completed his second summer as an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, singing Bertram in Rossini's La donna del Lago and Infirmary Patient in the world premiere of Theodore Morrison's Oscar. In the spring of 2013, David made his Fort Worth Opera debut as Young Thompson in Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied. From 2009-2011, David was a member of the Maryland Opera Studio in College Park, Maryland. He has also performed as a young artist with the Seagle Music Colony and Ash Lawn Opera, singing roles inLa Cenerentola, La bohème, The Magic Flute and Brigadoon. http://www.cami.com/?webid=2397
Baritone Andrew Wilkowske (Figaro), whose voice has been described as "nimble," with an "impressively open top," is one of the most versatile performers on the stage today. His recent performance of La Rocca in Verdi's King For a Day at Glimmerglass Festival was called "superb" by to The New York Times and "brought impressive command to the text" according to The Wall Street Journal. Highlights this season include the world premiere of Lucy by John Glover and Kelley Rourke with Milwaukee Opera Theatre; Dr. Dulcamara in L'Elisir D'Amore with Minnesota Opera; the critically acclaimed rock recital Guns N' Rosenkavalier with 5 Boroughs Music Festival; Ponchel in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, a role he created in 2011 with Minnesota Opera and has reprised with Opera Philadelphia and Cincinnati Opera and concerts with Minnesota Bach Ensemble, Schubert Club and Minnesota Orchestra. http://www.andrewwilkowske.com/
With a repertoire of over 80 roles, Rod Nelman (Bartolo), bass-baritone, has performed leading roles with Washington National Opera, Arena di Verona, Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Opera Nante, Utah Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Florentine Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Long Beach Opera, among others and has been on the roster of the Metropolitan Opera since 2009. He has performed Leporello and Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Bartolo in bothBarbiere and Figaro, Mustafa in L'italiana, Dulcamara in Elixir, Magnifico in Cenerentola, Alfonso in Cosi, Pasquale inPasquale, Osmin in Abduction, Basilio in Barbiere, Mephistopheles in Faust, Fasolt in Rheingold and Wotan and the Wanderer in The Ring. An accomplished musician, his vast repertoire includes contemporary works such as Kissinger inNixon in China, Einstein in Einstein on Mercer Street (Kevin Puts), Leopold Mozart in Letters, Riddles, and Writs (Michael Nyman), Kublai Khan in Marco Polo (Tan Dun), the title role in Sweeney Todd, George in Of Mice and Men and Blitch inSusannah. http://www.rodnelman.com/
American bass-baritone Isaiah Musik-Ayala (Basilio) is an alumnus of Irene Dalis' Resident Artist ensemble at Opera San Jose, where he performed the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Count Des Grieux in Manon, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Colline in La Bohème and Alexei Karenin in the West Coast Premiere of Anna Karenina. Isaiah most recently performed as an Apprentice Artist with the Caramoor Music Festival, competed as a finalist in the 2014 Irene Dalis Vocal Competition and performed Escamillo in Opera San Luis Obispo?s Carmen. Other recent engagements include Simone (Gianni Schicchi) and Frank (Die Fledermaus) in a return to Opera San Jose, Raimondo (Lucia di Lamermoor) with West Bay Opera, Colline (La Bohème) with Hidden Valley Music in Carmel under the baton of Stewart Robinson and a recital with the Beverly Hills Recital Series. Other performance highlights include Ramfis (Aida), Baron Duphol (La Traviata), Pistola (Falstaff), Sacristan (Tosca), Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte) and Sharpless (Madame Butterfly). Isaiah is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with the late Richard Miller. http://www.isaiahmusik-ayala.com/
Baritone Benjamin Bloomfield (Svegliato/Notary) is originally from Concord, New Hampshire, and earned degrees from Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School. Highlights this season include Marcello in La Boheme with DC Public Opera, Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Company of Brooklyn, Tonio in Pagliacci with Vocal Productions NYC, Ben Weatherstaff in the east coast premier of Nolan Gasser's opera The Secret Garden, soloist in Brahms' Ein Deutches Requiem with the Rochester Oratorio Society and a return to the Castleton Festival to sing roles in Ravel's L'heure Espagnoland Gounod's Romeo and Juliet. In previous seasons, Mr. Bloomfield has appeared at the Castleton Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, Chautauqua Opera, New York Lyric Opera, NY City Opera, Music Academy of the West and Prelude to Performance. He was a Regional Finalist in New York for the Met National Council auditions in 2007, and finalist for Chicago Lyric Opera's Ryan Center auditions in 2012. www.benjaminbloomfield.com
New York City-based soprano Jessica Rose Futran (Giovinetto/Alcalde) recently made her Off-Broadway (and stilt-walking) debut in Mind the Art Entertainment's NYCFringe Encore production of Fatty Fatty No Friends (Fast). NYC credits include Whiskey Pants: Mayor of Williamsburg (Patience) as part of the FRIGID New York Festival at Horse Trade Theater Group, Revival (Eve) at The Players Theater Annual Boo Festival, The Dream Vault Cycle (dancer) at La Mama Experimental Theater, and internationally renowned Scottish rapper, S. Cree's hit music video Ballerina (hip-hop dancer). Theater and Opera highlights include: Fatima, in the premier stage production of the Oscar Award-winning film, West Bank Story, Sally (Sally), El retablo de maese Pedro (Trujaman), Man of La Mancha (Antonia), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Sweeney Todd(Johanna), My Favorite Year (KC Downing), and Little Women (Jo). She holds a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. http://www.jessicarosefutran.com/
About The Barber of Seville Creative Team
Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as a "promising and confident" member of the newest generation of conductors, Geoffrey McDonald (Conductor, The Barber of Seville; Music Director, On Site Opera) commands a broad repertoire with extensive experience in operatic, symphonic and choral works. He is the newly appointed music director of On Site Opera and the music director at the Longy Conservatory Orchestra and the Bard College Orchestra. He is also an instructor in the Bard College Conservatory's Masters Program in Conducting.
A proponent of new works and new approaches to presentation, McDonald has led operatic performances ranging from baroque to contemporary. Recent performances of Händel's Alcina at the Whitebox Arts Center in downtown Manhattan garnered praise from The New York Times ("Geoffrey McDonald led a performance alert to both the overall momentum and the shape of individual numbers"). Other recent engagements include guest performances of Xavier Montsalvatge's El gato con botas for Gotham Chamber Opera, workshops of Charlie Parker's Yardbird by Daniel Schnyder and Breaking the Wavesby Missy Mazzoli for Opera Philadelphia. http://www.geoffreymcdonaldmusic.com
Eric Einhorn (Director, The Barber of Seville; Founder and Artistic Director, On Site Opera) has been praised by The Austin Chronicle as "a rising star in the opera world" and by Opera News for his "keen eye for detail and character insight." He is the founder of On Site Opera, a company dedicated to immersive, site- specific productions. Mr. Einhorn has directed productions for Chicago Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Florentine Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Utah Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, the Pacific Symphony, and Gotham Chamber Opera. He has been a member of the stage directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera since 2005. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named Mr. Einhorn's production of Dialogues des Carme?lites for Pittsburgh Opera one of the top ten classical music performances of 2011. He originally created the production for Austin Lyric Opera in 2009 and was awarded "Best Opera" at the Austin Critics' Table Awards in addition to garnering him a nomination for "Best Director."
During summer of 2014, he directed Rameau's Pygmalionat Madame Tussauds wax museum and the Lifestyle-Trimco mannequin showroom. This production featured the world's first implementation of supertitles for Google Glass.
Candida K. Nichols (Costume Designer) is a designer and photographer based in NYC. Credits include work for Lincoln Center Theater/Institute, NAATCO, Gotham Chamber Opera, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and Perseverance Theater, among many others. Awards include the Hay Design Fellowship at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Roy Crane Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement. Candida is a member of the Theater Mitu (USA & UAE), whose work focuses on research and training of world performance traditions. www.candidaknichols.com.
About On Site Opera
Founded in 2012, On Site Opera is dedicated to producing site-specific opera in non-traditional venues throughout New York. On Site Opera molds its productions to specific locations using physical space to create an environment in which the concept, storytelling, music, and performers unite to form an immersive, cohesive, and meaningful whole. Praised by BBC News as "innovative" and by The New York Times for their "seductive" productions, On Site Opera has presented Shostakovich at The Bronx Zoo and Gershwin at Harlem's legendary Cotton Club. Committed to exploring new technology in opera, On Site Opera implemented the first-ever Google Glass supertitles during its recent production of Rameau's Pygmalion of which The Vergereported "Few things seem like obvious fits for Google Glass so far, but this is one of them."
In addition to site-specific productions, On Site Opera's mission includes forging community partnerships in order to bring opera to new and underserved audiences, as well as fostering the development of emerging talent through performance and production opportunities. On Site Opera, a registered 501(c)(3), is a member of Opera America and the New York Opera Alliance. More information: www.osopera.org
About Fabbri Mansion (House of the Redeemer)
The House at 7 East 95th Street was built between 1914 and 1916 to serve as the town residence of Edith Shepard Fabbri, a great granddaughter of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, and her husband, Ernesto Fabbri. The House was designed by Grosvenor Atterbury, an American architect and town planner, and the interior decoration was executed by Egisto Fabbri, Ernesto Fabbri's brother, who incorporated Edith Fabbri's collection of Italian Renaissance and Baroque furnishings and architectural fragments into his designs. The House was designated a New York City Landmark in 1974, and is considered by many architectural historians to be one of the most distinguished examples of early 20th century residential architecture in New York City.
House of the Redeemer offers a unique setting for reflection, study, fellowship, and prayer. It is a place apart, providing worship and hospitality for individuals seeking spiritual renewal. The House lends itself to group and individual retreats, conferences, meetings, and wedding receptions. Often a place of music and verse, the House is also a place of silence and meditation. To many, it is where insights and ideas are originated and shared, through programs offered by The House or sponsored by outside groups. http://www.houseoftheredeemer.org/index.html