Opera Saratoga Announces Complete Casting And Programs For 2018 Summer Festival

Opera Saratoga Announces Complete Casting And Programs For 2018 Summer Festival

Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson today announced the complete casting and programming for the company's 2018 Summer Festival, which will feature new productions of four operas at The Spa Little Theater in Spa State Park, along with a wide variety of free and ticketed concert events from May 26th through July 15th at venues throughout the region. Single tickets, as well as subscription packages, are on sale now at www.operasaratoga.org.

One of the most popular operettas across the globe, THE MERRY WIDOW returns to Opera Saratoga for the first time in thirty years. Hanna Glawari, the Merry Widow, is beautiful and rich... and she's captivated every man in the country. But Hanna is looking for true love. Will she be able to find a suitor that is not only after her wealth? Will the nation of Pontevedro slip into economic collapse if she marries a foreigner? Will all those dancing girls prove too distracting for the audience?! Franz Lehár's magical score features the famous "Vilja" song, the "Merry Widow Waltz," and many more beloved melodies.

The Merry Widow, which was composed in 1905, ushered in a new era of operettas in which the waltz was used for romantic plot purposes, and was danced as much as sung. Opera Saratoga's new production continues the company's

Opera-in-Motion initiative, in which dance is prominently integrated into one production each summer.

The Merry Widow will be directed and choreographed by John de los Santos, and conducted by Anthony Barrese, both making their company debuts. Soprano

Cecilia Violetta López (Beatrice in Il Postino, 2016) returns to star in the title role, alongside the company debuts of baritone Alex Lawrence as Danilo, tenor

Scott Quinn as Camille, and the return of baritone Andy Papas as Baron Zeta.

The second production of the season will be a double bill of contemporary operas that revolve around themes of obsession, desire, competition and the need to win as seen through the lens of two very different sports - Thoroughbred Horse Racing, and Finch Sitting! David Alan Miller, the Grammy Award winning Music Director of the Albany Symphony, joins the company to lead this special production.

The first half of the double bill will be the World Premiere of a new chamber version of VINKENSPORT, or THE FINCH OPERA. Originally commissioned by Dawn Upshaw for the Graduate Vocal Arts Program at the Bard Conservatory, where it premiered in February of 2010, this opera was one of the earliest collaborations between David T. Little and Royce Vavrek, whose critically acclaimed works also include JFK and Dog Days. Vinkensport is a bittersweet comedy in one act that explores the nature of competition and the need to win through the frame of an obscure Flemish folk sport, Finch-Sitting. We see a motley assortment of contestants battle to see who has the most melodious bird. As they compete, the joys, sorrows, delusions and all-too-stark realities of their trainers are revealed. The second half of the double bill will feature the American Premiere of ROCKING HORSE WINNER. This critically acclaimed chamber opera by Gareth Williams and Anna Chatterton received its world premiere last season at Tapestry Opera in Toronto. A modern adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's short story, Rocking Horse Winner explores the relationship between Paul and his emotionally distant mother. Paul becomes dangerously obsessed with solving the "bad luck" of his family in order to win his mother's love. His pursuit awakens a strange magic that connects him not only to luck, but also to powerful voices only he can hear - voices that tell him which horses will win at the track. Rocking Horse Winner is an intimate, psychological look at love, "luck", and greed. Internationally acclaimed tenors Scott Quinn and Tyler Nelson are featured in this double-bill, alongside members of Opera Saratoga's nationally acclaimed Young Artist Program - the second oldest mentorship program for emerging opera singers in the country, under the leadership of Laurie Rogers. The production will prominently feature these gifted singers as part of Opera Saratoga's commitment to providing emerging professional artists important performing opportunities to advance their careers. The production will be directed by Michael Hidetoshi Mori in his company debut.

Winner of both the New York Drama Critic Circle award as the Best Musical Play and the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 1950, THE CONSUL is an American masterpiece that ran on Broadway for eight months before premiering at La Scala, followed by productions at opera houses around the globe. Olin Downes hailed the Broadway premiere in The New York Times as "a smash hit" and "an opera of eloquence, momentousness, and intensity of expression...written from the heart, with a blazing sincerity and a passion of human understanding... It is torn out of the life of the present-day world, and poses an issue which mercilessly confronts humanity today. And this is done with a new wedding of the English language with music in a way which is singable, intensely dramatic and poetic by turns, and always of beauty."Almost 70 years later, Gian Carlo Menotti's riveting opera still delivers a punch as powerful and timely as its subject matter - the struggle for freedom against oppression, and the maddening nature of unrelenting bureaucracy. Set in an unnamed European city, political dissident John Sorel is on the run from the secret police. After he escapes the country, his devoted wife Magda clashes with the bureaucracy at the Consulate while trying to obtain an exit visa for her family. The emotional high point of the opera comes when Magda, thwarted in her quest for a visa, addresses the Consul's secretary in "To this we've come," a stirring lament over the world's indifference to inhumanity and suffering. The suspenseful narrative surprises with several magical touches and is buoyed by a melodic score in which love, hope, and redemption all play their part. Last seen at Opera Saratoga (as Lake George Opera) in 1984, The Consul remains as timely as when it was written, taking on renewed relevance for contemporary audiences. Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson directs this new production, conducted by

Andrew Bisantz (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016). The production will feature two distinguished alumni of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program who have become fast-rising stars: soprano Meghan Kasanders, and mezzo soprano Jennifer Panara. Critically acclaimed artists making their debuts with Opera Saratoga in this production include mezzo soprano Deborah Nansteel, tenor Tyler Nelson, and baritone Wes Mason.

In addition to the opera productions, Opera Saratoga will present a variety of free and ticketed concerts and master classes from May 26th through July 15th at venues throughout the region. These events will include two concerts directly connected to the summer operas: Vienna, City of My Dreams - a concert featuring scenes from operettas by Johann Strauss, Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán, Franz von Suppé, Leo Fall and more; and Refugee Voices, a concert of vocal music by refugee composers - artists who had to flee from their home countries due to religious or political persecution.

The complete performance schedule for the 2018 Summer Festival is available online. Subscription Packages and Single Tickets are now on sale. For more information, please visit www.operasaratoga.org

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