dell'Arte Opera Ensemble Slates 15th Annual Summer Festival at La MaMa
dell'Arte Opera Ensemble presents its 2017 UNTAMED! Opera Festival from August 12-27, 2017, as a summer share in downtown New York City's La MaMa Theatre. Spotlighting the unpredictable, wild characters of opera, this year's Festival explores parallels between human, animal and supernatural realms.
dell'Arte opens the Festival with two fully-staged rarities: Francesco Cavalli's La Calisto that combines the two Greek myths of Jove's seduction of Calisto and Diana's affair with Endymion; and Leoš Janácek's P?íhody lišky Bystroušky (The Cunning Little Vixen) that tracks the intersection of animal lives with those of humans and explores their common experiences.
For audiences new to opera, the Festival offers a colorful tapestry of several works in UNTAMED! Opera Scenes: excerpts from Carmen, Rusalka, Pelléas et Mélisande, and more (August 18 and 22), and Wild Things: a recital of repertoire about the animal kingdom and other "untamed" creatures (August 26).
Serving as a springboard for young opera artists, dell'Arte is staffed almost entirely by emerging artists: singers, costume and scenic designers, chamber musicians, directors and stage managers, all guided by expert mentors from the field. "This year's Festival marks the dell'Arte debut of over 30 singers and production staff, and the return of more than 30 alumni (singers and production staff) all under the age of 35," says Christopher Fecteau, Artistic Director of dell'Arte.
Described as "an oasis of opera for thirsty opera-lovers in the midst of summer's desert (Voce di Meche)," the Festival provides audience goers with the rare opportunity to experience alluring, first-rate opera performed by some of opera's most exciting rising stars in an intimate theater setting. The 2017 UNTAMED! Opera Festival explores colliding worlds - the human, the godly, the animal, and the 'in-between.' "In the four centuries or so since the first operas were written, opera singers have been asked to impersonate animals more often than you might imagine," explains Fecteau. "From the feisty heroine of Janácek's The Cunning Little Vixen to the supernatural mermaid in Dvorak's Rusalka, it is common to find humans and animal characters mingling freely, often with the gods looking on or interfering."
With its cast of lustful gods, Sapphic virgins, libidinous half-animals and a brown bear, Francesco Cavalli's (1602-1676) La Calisto kick-starts the Festival on August 12th. First performed in Venice in 1651, La Calisto retells Book II of Ovid's Metamorphoses: an ancient myth that dives deep into matters of gender, homosexual love, and infidelity. This whimsical mythological drama was not among Cavalli's most popular operas during his lifetime and can even seem edgy in today's theaters. Sharing the title role of Calisto are sopranos Marie Marquis and Emily Hughes. Hailed by The New York Times for her "extraordinary virtuosity and elegance," Marquis makes her dell'Arte Opera debut while dell'Arte alumna Hughes is fresh from receiving her Masters of Music from the Conservatory of Music of Brooklyn College.
The Festival's second fully-staged production is the curious, endearing opera The Cunning Little Vixen (1924) by Leoš Janá?ek (1854-1928). Considered to be the most extraordinary and unconventional of Janá?ek's stage works, The Cunning Little Vixen tells a cautionary tale about the connections between people and animals, and the cyclical nature of life and death. Inspired by a comic strip about a female fox 'rescued' by an aging Forester, his fellow villagers, and the animals, both domestic and wild with whom they share their world. Singing the title role of Vixen is soprano Rachel Hall who received national attention for her mainstage debut with Santa Fe Opera in 2013.
dell'Arte Opera Ensemble Presents: An UNTAMED! Opera Festival:
Performance Start Times: Evenings at 7:30 p.m. | Matinees at 2:00 p.m.
August 12-27, 2017
La Calisto (Francesco Cavalli, 1651)
August 12, 13m, 19m, 20m, 24, 26
Brittany Goodwin, Stage Director
Charles Weaver, Conductor and Music Director
Calisto: Marie Marquis* / Emily Hughes
Giove: Nobuki Momma / Mason Jarboe*
Diana: Alison Cheeseman / Adria Caffaro*
Endimione: Jeffrey Mandelbaum / Padraic Costello*
With: Sophie Delphis*, Brady DelVecchio*, Will Esch*, Allison Gish*, Elyse Kakacek*, Taylor Kirk, Sophia Mortensen, Shawn Palmer*, Rebecca Richardson, Victoria Rodriguez*, Timothy Stoddard, Joyce Yin*, Jingye Xu*
P?íhody lišky Bystroušky (The Cunning Little Vixen) (Leoš Janácek, 1924)
August 19, 21, 23, 25, 27m
Ashraf Sewailem, Stage Director
David Štech, Conductor and Music Director
Vixen: Rachel Hall*
Gamekeeper: Hyungjoo Eom*
Fox: Stephanie Johnson*
With: Brian Alvarado*, Jeremy Brauner, Sarah Daniels*, Kirsti Esch*, Will Esch*, Camilo Estrada*, Lisa Flanagan, Megan Gillis*, Lauren Glaves*, Zoe Hart, Mason Jarboe*, Joshua Miller*, Inbal Milliger*, Lauren Rathbun*, Samantha Scully*
Creative Team for La Calisto and P?íhody lišky Bystroušky
You-Shin Chen, Scenic Designer
Dante Olivia Smith, Lighting Designer
Claire Townsend, Costume Designer
UNTAMED! Opera Scenes
August 18, 22
EldRed Marshall & Chris Fecteau, Conductors
Gerardo Flores & Emma Clarkson, Stage Directors
Exerpts from Carmen, La clemenza di Titi, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Anna Bolena, Rusalka and more, staged, with piano accompaniment.
Wild Things (recital)
Song rep about the animal kingdom and other wild creatures, performed by members of dell'Arte ensemble and cover artists, accompanied by dell'Arte musical staff.
Performances take place at the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa Theatre, 66 East 4th Street, New York, NY, Train: 4/5/6/ to Astor Place, F to 2nd Avenue. General $26-$46. Festival Discounts Available. To purchase, visit dellarteopera.org or call 646.632.2340.
dell'Arte Opera Ensemble provides emerging opera artists with training and performance opportunities necessary to bridge the gap between the conservatory and a flourishing career. The emphasis is on "learning by doing", backed by our philosophy that superior craft creates great art. dell'Arte's annual summer repertory festival offers audiences high-quality and meticulously crafted opera presentations featuring rising young vocal artists, designers, directors and conductors. Participants in our singer-development programming receive a unique and carefully structured curriculum in role study, preparing them for a career in an increasingly competitive opera world. Participants in our Opera Leaders Mentorship Program take on leadership roles in our productions (stage direction, stage management, costume and scenic design, conducting and coaching) and receive practical guidance from industry leaders. Since its inception in 2000, nearly 500 singers have benefited from dell'Arte's programs. Of these, more than 30% are still pursuing operatic careers, performing regularly in opera houses throughout the US and internationally. For more, visit dellarteopera.org.