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Opera Saratoga 2020 Summer Festival New York Premiere Of SKY ON SWINGS


Opera Saratoga 2020 Summer Festival New York Premiere Of SKY ON SWINGS

Opera Saratoga announced today the three operas that will be featured at the center of the company's 2020 Summer Festival, to be presented at The Spa Little Theatre in Spa State Park, from June 20th through July 5th, 2020.

The 2020 Summer Festival will feature new productions of two audience favorites, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, alongside the New York premiere of a riveting new opera by Lembit Beecher and Hannah Moscovitch, Sky on Swings, which received its critically acclaimed world premiere in 2018.

The Festival will also feature multiple concerts and public master classes highlighting the exceptional members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program, under the direction of Laurie Rogers, who celebrates her tenth anniversary as the program's director in 2020. These additional events will culminate in a complete performance of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, conducted by Maestra Rogers, on the final day of the Festival, July 5, 2020.

"The 2020 Summer Festival continues Opera Saratoga's commitment to present masterworks from the operatic canon, works that introduce family audiences to the excitement of lyric theater, and important contemporary works," said Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson. "We also remain committed to showcasing leading International Artists alongside the next generation of gifted emerging artists. At Opera Saratoga, audiences have the opportunity to hear truly exceptional singing and theatrically compelling productions in an intimate space that creates a truly visceral experience. There are few theaters in the world where you enjoy this caliber of performance as up-close-and-personal as you can at Opera Saratoga."

Composer Lembit Beecher and Librettist Hannah Moscovitch's Sky on Swings, which received its critically acclaimed premiere at Opera Philadelphia in 2018, is a riveting musical and theatrical exploration of what it feels like to live with Alzheimer's Disease, as seen through the eyes of two women at different stages in the progression of dementia: Martha, who is far gone in the disease; and Danny, who knows what is happening to her and is in frantic denial.

Composer Lembit Beecher explains that "there are many stories to tell about Alzheimer's: family members, caretakers, researchers, and doctors all have unique perspectives. But from an early stage of working on this piece, I knew I wanted the focus to be on the experience of the disease: to try, as much as possible, to view the world through the eyes of two individuals with Alzheimer's and to give voice to those characters... One of the unexpected joys of writing Sky on Swings was the realization that I had the opportunity to write music that could not be sung by younger singers." Two of the country's most distinguished, internationally acclaimed artists, mezzo sopranos Susanne Mentzer and Marietta Simpson, make their Opera Saratoga debuts in the roles of Danny and Martha in this new production, directed by Lawrence Edelson, and conducted by rising star Emily Senturia, who has recently led productions at Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera, also making her company debut.

Edelson described his reaction to first seeing Sky on Swings, and why he felt compelled to create a new production for Opera Saratoga: "In 2018, I had the privilege to attend the world premiere of Sky on Swings. Many members of my family have been impacted by Alzheimer's, and I admit to attending the production with some reluctance - in part because I knew it would likely be an emotional experience for me, but also because I wasn't sure how the journey of someone with Alzheimer's could be portrayed in opera without making it feel artificial or sensationalized. Seeing this opera was one of the most remarkable experiences I have ever had in the theater. The way that Lembit and Hannah evoke not only the experience of two women living with Alzheimer's, but also the experience of their children as they help to comfort and support their parents, is extraordinary. Knowing how important second productions are for new operas in order for them to begin entering the repertoire, I set my sights on developing a production of Sky on Swings for our theater, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase Susanne Mentzer and Marietta Simpson - two truly extraordinary artists who have sung on the great stages of the world from The Metropolitan Opera to La Scala in Milan - in this powerful and deeply moving work."

Complete casting, additional concerts, symposia and public master classes for the 2020 Summer Festival will be announced in the coming months.

Subscriptions will go on sale October 1, 2019. Along with Choose Your Own Subscription Packages, two Getaway Weekends in late June and early July - during which it will be possible to see all three Festival productions - will be available as subscriptions with discounted accommodations available for out of town visitors.

Single Tickets will go on sale February 15, 2020.

For more information, please visit

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