Opera Saratoga Announces Casting and Full Program for 2017 Summer Festival
Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced today complete casting for the three exciting new productions that will comprise the company's 2017 Summer Festival, which will build on the company's commitment to producing masterpieces from the operatic cannon, important American works, and works in which dance plays an integral role. In addition, a wide variety of free and ticketed concert events will be presented from May 28th through July 16th at venues throughout the region.
At the center of the 2017 Summer Festival will be a new production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, directed and choreographed by Edelson, and conducted by noted Maestro John Mauceri (company debut), who has been responsible for many significant operatic restorations, including Blitzstein's Regina. The Cradle Will Rock has been almost exclusively produced with piano since its infamous opening night, which was shut down by the Federal Government in 1937. Both an attack on the abuse of political power by the wealthy and a paean to labor and poor people struggling to get by, "Cradle" is as timely now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Opera Saratoga celebrates the 80th Anniversary of Blitzstein's revolutionary American labor opera in a new production that will be performed with Blitzstein's original orchestrations - the first such performances since the 1960 production at New York City Opera.
Featured artists include mezzo soprano Ginger Costa-Jackson (company debut) as Moll; bass Matt Boehler (company debut) as Mr. Mister; mezzo soprano Audrey Babcock as Mrs. Mister; tenor Keith Jameson (company debut) as Harry Druggist; baritone Christopher Burchett as Larry Foreman; and bass baritone Justin Hopkins as Reverend Salvation. The first opera production of the season will open on July 1st with Verdi's comic masterpiece, Falstaff, which has not been seen at Opera Saratoga in 26 years. The production will be directed by Chuck Hudson, and will be conducted by Craig Kier (company debut).
Featured singers will include bass baritone Craig Colclough (company debut), one of the country's leading interpreters of Falstaff; soprano Caroline Worra in her role debut as Alice Ford; soprano Emily Tweedy (company debut) as Nannetta; mezzo soprano Vera Savage as Meg Page; contralto Lindsay Ammann (company debut) as Dame Quickly; Dominick Corbacio as Fenton; and baritone Michael Chioldi (company debut) as Ford. Rounding out the season will be André Grétry's Zémire et Azor (Beauty and the Beast), directed by James Ortiz (company debut), whose recent critically acclaimed production of The Woodsman was a sensation off-Broadway. Grétry's 1771 opera-ballet - a favorite of Mozart - will incorporate both dance and Ortiz's signature use of puppetry in his opera-directing debut. The production will be conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya (company debut), and choreographed by Jill Echo (company debut). The cast will feature soprano Maureen McKay (company debut) and tenor Andrew Bidlack (company debut) in the title roles; with soprano Lisa Rogali (company debut) as Fatmé; mezzo soprano Katherine Maysek (company debut) as Lisbé; tenor Keith Jameson as Ali and baritone Christopher Burchett as Sander.
In making the announcement today, Edelson reflected on the power of opera to tell vivid and compelling stories through music in very different ways. "The Cradle Will Rock is an incredibly powerful work that I feel has been unjustly neglected by opera companies. It's edgy combination of social commentary and popular culture of the time has influenced writers and works from Leonard Bernstein's On the Town to Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton. While 'Cradle' has understandably become a favorite of theater companies due to the ability to perform it with just piano, Blitzstein's original orchestration is exhilarating and deserves to be heard. We have put together a cast of some of the country's most exciting singers to provide a fresh look at this American masterpiece that takes on particular resonance in light of the political climate in which we are living in today.
"Alongside 'Cradle' we will be presenting Grétry's enchanting version of Beauty and the Beast, which builds on our commitment to present works that incorporate dance each season;and one of the greatest works in the operatic repertoire, Verdi's Falstaff. In addition to our three opera productions, Opera Saratoga will present a wide variety of free and ticketed concerts throughout the season, including a celebration of the music of Marc Blitzstein; a Gilbert & Sullivan Cabaret; a concert featuring scenes from the final operas by beloved composers from throughout history; and a retrospective of Broadway music from the 1930s. It is season that will showcase incredible music, phenomenal singing, and riveting theater - performed by preeminent artists from the world's great opera houses alongside some of the most exciting emerging artists in the country - providing local audiences and visitors to Saratoga Springs alike with extraordinary experiences in our intimate theater in Saratoga Spa State Park." Subscriptions for the 2017 Summer Festival are on sale now at www.operasaratoga.org. Single tickets for the 2017 Summer Festival will go on sale February 15th, 2017.