Opera Orchestra of New York Presents ANDREA CHENIER at Avery Fisher Hall Today
The Opera Orchestra of New York presents an opera-in-concert performance of Umberto Giordano's verismo opera, Andrea Chénier conducted by Music Director Alberto Veronesi at Avery Fisher Hall today, January 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm. Tenor Roberto Alagna sings the title role of Andrea Chénier, one of opera's most dramatic lyric-tenor roles, for the first time, with soprano Kristin Lewis as Maddalena di Coigny, baritone George Petean as Carlo Gérard, with a special appearance by mezzo soprano Rosalind Elias as Madelon.
Andrea Chénier is based on the life of French poet, André de Chénier, who was wrongfully imprisoned and executed during the French Revolution. Set around the time of the Revolution, the opera tells the story of a love triangle formed by the poet Chénier, the aristocratic Maddalena, and her family's servant, Gérard that ultimately ends in the death of two lovers. Maddalena has been sending anonymous love letters to Chénier. Gérard, who has not expressed his feelings for Maddalena and is unaware of her writings to Chenier, joins the Revolution, climbs the ranks and sets out to marry Maddalena. Meanwhile, Chénier stays in France after the Reign of Terror in order to find out who has been sending him love letters and eventually learns that it is Maddalena. After Gérard discovers that his friend Chénier is the recipient of the letters, Gérard makes false accusations against Chénier in order to get rid of him and make Maddalena his own. Maddalena tries to save Chénier from death by offering herself to Gérard, but when Gérard fails to stop the execution, Maddalena secretly takes the place of another prisoner and dies with Chénier.
Last performed by the Opera Orchestra of New York in 1988 led by then Music Director Eve Queler, Andrea Chénier is best known for its lead tenor role with four arias including "Come un bel di di maggio. Maddalena's aria "La Mama Morta" was made famous in popular culture when the aria, sung by Maria Callas, was featured in the 1993 movie "Philadelphia" starring Tom Hanks.
Tenor Roberto Alagna http://www.robertoalagna.net/en/, praised for his radiant and luminescent voice, made his Opera Orchestra and Carnegie Hall debut in 2010 in the double bill of Massenet's La Navarraise and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana. Born in France of Sicilian parents, Mr. Alagna began singing cabaret in Paris, and has since gone on to become one of today's leading tenors. In recent years Mr. Alagna has been an advocate of neglected French operas from Massenet's Le Jongleur de Notre-Dame to new works such as his brother David Alagna's Le dernier jour d'un condamné. Mr. Alagna has a vast discography on Deutsche Grammophon. His recent recordings include an album in honor of Luis Mariano titled Sicilien, and Pasión. He is currently singing one of his signature roles, Radamès, in Aida at the Metropolitan Opera.
Soprano Kristin Lewis http://www.kristinlewis.de/, a native of Little Rock Arkansas, will make her Opera Orchestra debut in the role of Maddalena. Ms. Lewis, a two-time national finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions, now lives in Vienna and has performed in many European opera houses including Vienna Staatsoper, the l'Opéra de Paris, the Arena di Verona, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, and the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Romanian baritone George Petean makes his Opera Orchestra of New York debut as Gerard. Following his Romanian debut in the title role of Don Giovanni in 1997, Mr. Petean has performed with leading European companies including Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera de Paris Bastille and Rome Opera, among others, and he was a permanent soloist at Hamburg State Opera from 2002-2010. Mr. Petean made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Marcello in La Bohème in 2010 and has since performed Valentin in the Met's Faust.
Mezzo-soprano Rosalind Elias has had one of the longest and continuous careers in operatic history. She has performed more than fifty leading roles throughout the world, including with the Metropolitan Opera, where she created the role of Charmian in Antony and Cleopatra at the Met during its first Lincoln Center season, as well as with San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, LA Opera, Vienna State Opera and Paris Opera. After more than 60 years on the operatic stage, she made her Broadway debut in 2011 as Heidi in the Tony-nominated production of Sondheim's Follies. Ms. Elias is the recipient of two Emmys and three Grammys. She is also making her Opera Orchestra of New York debut.
Alberto Veronesi began his role as Music Director of the Opera Orchestra of New York in 2011. In 2010, he made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting the Opera Orchestra of New York in the double-bill of Massenet's La Navarraise and Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana starring Roberto Alagna, El?na Garan?a and Maria Guleghina and last season he led OONY in Celia's Adriana Lecouvreur with Angela Gheorghiu, Jonas Kaufmann, and Anita Rachvelishvili. Mr. Veronesi has also previously conducted Roberto Alagna and George Petean in critically acclaimed performances of Mascagni's L'amico Fritz at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, which were recorded live and released on CD by Deutsche Grammophon. The recording is part of a Mr. Veronesi's verismo opera series on Deutsche Grammophon that also includes Giordani's Fedora, Puccini's Edgar, Leoncavallo's I Medici, Puccini Rediscovered - a collection of original editions and alternative versions of Puccini's arias and ensembles, and La Nuit de mai - an album of Leoncavallo's songs and arias.
Mr. Veronesi is also Music Director of the Puccini Festival at Torre del Lago, Artistic Director of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Artistic Director of the Bellini Opera Festival held in the ancient city of Catania, Sicily, the birthplace of Vincenso Bellini, and Permanent Conductor of the Petruzzelli Theatre in Bari, one of Italy's leading opera houses.
The Opera Orchestra of New York was established in 1971 by Eve Queler, the company's Conductor Laureate, to present to rarely-heard operas and provide the public with an opportunity to hear them performed in major concert venues. Among the Opera Orchestra's numerous U.S. premieres are Puccini's Edgar with Carlo Bergonzi and Renata Scotto; Boito's Nerone with James Morris and Pablo Elvira; and Smetana's Libuse with Gabriela Benacková and Paul Plishka. The company also performed the New York premiere of Tchaikovsky's The Maid of Orleans, with Dolora Zajick and Jorma Hynninen, which was also the American premiere of the Russian language version. The ensemble has also presented works long neglected in New York, such as Wagner's Rienzi, Verdi's I Lombardi, Bizet's Les pêcheurs de perles, and Catalani's La Wally. These pioneering efforts have led national opera companies such as the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric and Houston Grand Opera to add to their permanent repertoires works that received their first major modern hearing by The Opera Orchestra of New York including I lombardi, Donizetti's La Favorita, Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, Dvo?ák's Rusalka and Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina.
The Opera Orchestra of New York was also established as a means to identify and foster young operatic talent, providing young singers with an opportunity to rehearse and perform with full orchestra and chorus. The Opera Orchestra of New York has nurtured the talents of Renée Fleming, Aprile Millo, Vivica Genaux, Deborah Voigt, Latonia Moore, Stephen Costello, Michael Fabiano, Bryan Hymel and Eglise Gutiérrez. Other singers who have worked with Opera Orchestra very early in their careers include José Carreras, Barbara Hendricks, DWayne Croft, Samuel Ramey and James Morris. Singers who made their U.S. or New York debuts with Opera Orchestra include Gabriela Benacková, Stephanie Blythe, Olga Borodina, Ghena Dimitrova, Jane Eaglen, Carlo Guelfi, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Vesselina Kasarova, Paul Plishka, Rosalind Plowright and Krassimira Stoyanova and Dolora Zajick.
Sunday, January 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm
Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Music by Umberto Giordani
Italian libretto by Luigi Illica, based on the play by Eugène Scribe and Ernest Legouvé
The Opera Orchestra of New York
Alberto Veronesi, conductor
Andrea Chénier Roberto Alagna, tenor
Carlo Gérard George Petean, baritone *
La contessa di Coigny Jennifer Feinstein, mezzo soprano *
Maddalena di Coigny Kristin Lewis, soprano *^†
Bersi, serva mulatta Renata Lamanda, mezzo soprano *
Roucher David Pershall, bass *
Mathieu, detto Populus Ricardo Rivera, baritone
Madelon Rosalind Elias, mezzo soprano *
Un Incredibile Nicola Pamio, tenor †
Pietro Fléville, romanziere Angelo Nardinocchi, bass *^†
L'abate Ronald Naldi, tenor
Schmidt, carceriere a San Lazzaro Eric Keller, bass
New York Choral Ensemble
* Opera Orchestra of New York debut
^ U.S. debut
† Lincoln Center debut