Opera Saratoga presents a New Production of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK 7/9-16
Opera Saratoga presents a new production of Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, directed and choreographed by Lawrence 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 80thAnniversary 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.
In Steeltown, USA, everything and everyone can be bought - at least that's what Mr. Mister thinks. The greedy businessman uses his wallet to control anyone he wants, including the local newspaper editor, preacher, university president, doctor... even the artists! But Larry Foreman's efforts to unionize local workers threatens to rock the cradle and shift the balance of power out of Mr. Mister's control. An allegory on corruption and corporate greed both timely and timeless, The Cradle Will Rock's biting humor and brazenness is as impactful now as it was when it premiered in 1937. Blitzstein's eclectic, jazzy score is a propulsive mix of classical parody, popular melodies, and dramatic ensemble numbers, with a smoky flavor redolent of Kurt Weill - but all-American in its raw energy and urgency.
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 Cradle Will Rock is one of the seminal works of the American musical theater, and yet eighty years after its creation by a team of legendary artists that included Orson Welles, John Houseman, and composer/lyricist Marc Blitzstein, it has not been seen anywhere in a fully-staged, Blitzstein-orchestrated production in fifty-seven years," said John Mauceri. "The music drama, which includes a series of brilliantly constructed scenes that were clearly honed in a long rehearsal process in 1937, is a parable of capitalistic greed and moral compromise in which every aspect of society-the church, the press, the rich, academia, the police, small business owners, artists, and the medical profession-are skewered, while honest working people, including immigrants, are rallied to stand up for their human rights. While the conditions of the world premiere, in which the staging and the orchestra were eliminated because of a clamp down by federal and local officials, have become Broadway legend, the work itself has awaited a complete modern production since a mere five performance run by New York City Opera in 1960. The Cradle Will Rock has been seen in many compromised and diminished versions. It's time to experience it as the composer intended. That is what is happening in Saratoga with a cast of brilliant young American singing actors and in a production that is funny, honest, entertaining, and deeply moving. "
"The Cradle Will Rock is an incredibly powerful work that I feel has been unjustly neglected by opera companies," said Lawrence Edelson. "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."
THE CRADLE WILL ROCK (1937)
Performed in English
SUN TUE THU SUN
JULY 9 / 11 / 13 / 16
7:30pm 2:00pm 7:30pm 2:00pm
Conductor: John Mauceri
Director and Choreographer: Lawrence Edelson
Scenic Designer: Martin T. Lopez
Costume Designer: Anya Klepikov
Lighting Designer: Brandon Stirling Baker
Moll: Ginger Costa Jackson
Mr. Mister: Matt Boehler
Mrs. Mister: Audrey Babcock
Larry Foreman: Christopher Burchett
Harry Druggist: Keith Jameson
Junior Mister: Spencer Viator*
Sister Mister: Heather Jones*
Reverend Salvation: Justin Hopkins
Editor Daily: Brian Wallin*
Yasha: John Tibbetts*
Dauber: Scott Purcell*
Doctor Specialist: Jorgeandrés Camargo*
President Prexy: Eric McConnell*
Professor Mamie: Adam Bradley*
Professor Scoot / Steve: Miles Herr*
Professor Trixie/Gus Polock: Michael Anderson*
Sadie Polock: Meghan Kasanders*
Ella Hammer: Nina Spinner*
Gent/Bugs: Andy Papas*
Dick: Efraín Solís
Cop: Dylan Elza*
* Members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program
John Mauceri, world-renowned conductor, educator and writer, has appeared with the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, on the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood as well as at the most prestigious halls of academia. Mr. Mauceri served as music director (direttore stabile) of the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy for three years after completing seven years (22 productions and three recordings) as music director of Scottish Opera, and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) as well as Pittsburgh Opera, and was the first music director of American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its legendary founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. For fifteen years he served on the faculty of his alma mater, Yale University and returned in 2001 to teach and conduct the official concert celebrating the university's 300th anniversary. In 2016, he celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Yale Symphony, which he helped to found, with concerts in New Haven and at Carnegie Hall. For 18 years, Mr. Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer's premieres at Bernstein's request. He is the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. Breaking all records at the Bowl, he conducted over 300 concerts at the 18,000-seat amphitheater with a total audience of four million people. For seven years (2006-2013) he served as chancellor of the University of North Carolina's School of the Arts, America's first public arts conservatory-university. He has conducted at New York's Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal Opera House (Covent Garden), Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Berlin's Deutsche Oper, the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, all the major London orchestras, as well as l'Orchestre Nationale de France and the Tokyo Philharmonic. On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince's production of Candide, as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song and Dancewith Bernadette Peters. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita. Deeply committed to preserving two American art forms, the Broadway musical, and Hollywood film scores, he has edited and performed a vast catalogue of restorations and first performances, including a full restoration of the original 1943 production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, performing editions of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess, Girl Crazy and Strike up the Band, Bernstein's Candide and A Quiet Place, Blitzstein's Regina, and film scores by Miklos Rozsa, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman and Howard Shore. As one of two conductors in Decca Records' award-winning series "Entartete Musik," Mauceri made a number of historic first recordings of music banned by the Nazis. The intersection of the "degenerate composers" of Europe and the refugee composers of Hollywood is the subject of much of his research and his writings. In addition, Mr. Mauceri has conducted significant premieres of works by Verdi, Debussy, Hindemith, Ives, Stockhausen, Blitzstein, and Weill. In articles, speeches, radio and television appearances, John Mauceri has taken his passion for music and the importance of the arts to audiences throughout the world. These include Harvard University, Yale University, the Smithsonian Institution, the NEA, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Gramophone Magazine, NPR, BBC, PBS, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Huffington Post where he regularly writes a blog. Mr. Mauceri is one of the world's most accomplished recording artists, having released over 75 audio CDs and is the recipient of Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Edison Klassiek, 3 Emmy Awards, 2 Diapasons d'Or, Cannes Classique, ECHO Klassik, Billboard, and four Deutsche Schallplatten awards. In 1999, Mr. Mauceri was chosen as a "Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century" for WQXR, the America's most-listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, "These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century's music scene." The recipients were chosen for "their visionary talent and technical virtuosity." In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a "Voice of the Millennium." Mr. Mauceri was recently awarded the Ditson Conductor's Award for his five decades of commitment to performing and editing American music. He is currently writing a book on the art and alchemy of conducting for Alfred A. Knopf.
The 2017 Summer Festival at Opera Saratoga will mark the third season under Lawrence Edelson's leadership as Artistic and General Director. As a stage director Lawrence's work has been praised for the ability to fuse vivid story telling with deeply expressive imagery. He has been praised by Opera Nowmagazine as doing a "splendid job of making [opera] relevant and understandable" and his productions have been called "ingenious" and "imaginative" by Opera News, "starkly vivid" by The New York Times, and "stunningly touching and entertaining" by the Washington Post. These diverse productions have included the American premiere of Telemann's Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera, Philip Glass's Hydrogen Jukebox for Fort Worth Opera, La Traviata for The Minnesota Opera, IL Barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater, Carmen for Toledo Opera, the world premiere of Buried Alive(Myers/Long) for Fargo Moorhead Opera, and the New York premiere of Fauré's rarely produced Pénélope for Manhattan School of Music. He was a guest member on the directing staff of New York City Opera, where he restaged Little Women twice: for the work's Lincoln Center premiere and for the company's tour to Japan. From 2008 to 2012, Lawrence was also a faculty member at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he led seminars on American opera, and directed original productions of Little Women, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Werther, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Eugene Onegin. Before focusing on directing and arts administration, Lawrence enjoyed a performing career in both ballet and opera. He studied voice and musicology at The University of Ottawa and dance at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. As a dancer, he performed with Boston Ballet, Ballet West, and BalletMet Columbus. He has choreographed for ballet and opera companies around the country. As a singer, he appeared in opera, oratorio and musical theater internationally. Lawrence completed his master's degree in performing arts administration at New York University. In the opera field, Lawrence is perhaps best known as the founder of American Lyric Theater (ALT). As Producing Artistic Director at ALT, a position he continues to hold concurrent with his position at Opera Saratoga, he coordinates the company's diverse artistic programs including The Composer Librettist Development Program, commissioning of new works, and co-production relationships. Recent projects at ALT include the development of The Long Walk (Beck/Fleischmann), which premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015; and JFK (Little/Vavrek), which premiered at Fort Worth Opera in 2016. A tireless advocate for emerging artists and the diversification of audiences for opera, Edelson has served on the Strategy Committee for OPERA America, and continues to forge collaborations with opera companies across the country.
Award-winning mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock is known for her commanding, powerful performances as Carmen and her dark, hypnotic portrayals of Maddalena in Rigoletto. As Carmen, Ms. Babcock has been seen with Florentine Opera, Nashville Opera, Florida Grand Opera, New York City Opera, San Antonio Opera, Knoxville Opera, Opera Delaware, Toledo Opera, Anchorage Opera, and Utah Festival Opera. Recent engagements as Maddalena include Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Omaha, Tulsa Opera, Florentine Opera and Nashville Opera. Additional highlights are Erika in Vanessa with Sarasota Opera, Suzuki in Madama Butterfly with Tulsa Opera, Jo in Little Women with Utah Opera and Syracuse Opera, Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte with Spoleto Festival, USA, and the Secretary in Menotti's The Consul with New Jersey Opera. Also widely recognized as a choice singer for new works, Ms. Babcock has premiered several new operas, including Tobias Picker's Thérèse Raquin (NY Premiere - Dicapo Opera), With Blood, With Ink (World Premiere - Fort Worth Opera), La Reina (American Lyric Theater, NY & Prototype Festival), The Poe Project (American Lyric Theater), and appeared as Mother in Winter's Tale with Beth Morrison's Prototype Festival in NYC in 2015. The 2016-2017 season included Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni (New Orleans Opera), Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha (Utah Opera), Maddalena in Rigoletto (Palm Beach Opera), and Carmen (Dayton Opera & Fort Worth Opera). The upcoming 2017-2018 season will see engagements with the Dayton Symphony for the Verdi Requiem, the Secretary in The Consul with both Long Beach Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, and the title role in Maria de Buenos Aires with the San Diego Opera.
Critically acclaimed Bass Matt Boehler recently debuted with Dallas Opera as the Donkey in Becoming Santa, joined Musica Sacra for Handel's Messiah, the Sacramento Chorale for Haydn's Harmoniemesse, Bard Summerscape as Il Cieco in Mascagni's Iris, and made his role debut as Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier with Victory Hall Opera. Additional recent highlights include his debut with Canadian Opera Company as Sir Walter Raleigh in Roberto Devereux, returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Iolantha and The Nose, Madison Opera as Rocco in Fidelio, and debuts with Théâtre Royal de La Monnaie as the Erster Schäfer in Daphne, Michigan Opera Theater as Méphistophélès in Faust, and Des Moines Metro Opera as Osmin in Die Enführung aus dem Serail. With the Theater St. Gallen he made his role debut as Daland in Der fliegende Holländer and sang Leporello in Don Giovanni, Pfarrer/Dachs in The Cunning Little Vixen, Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Count Horn in Un ballo in maschera, Pedone in La Wally, Marchese di Calatrava in La forza del destino, Leone in Attila, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto and joined the St. Galler Festspiele as Baldassare in La favorita for their 2014 festival season. The 2016-2017 season and beyond includes Rautavaara's Vigilia at St. John the Divine in New York, and his much-anticipated return to Canadian Opera Company as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. Future engagements include his debut with Opera Philadelphia in Elizabeth Cree, Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro and Sparafucile in Rigoletto with Minnesota Opera, Aquanetta with the Prototype Festival, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Madison Opera, and an appearance at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.
Christopher Burchett, whom Opera News has described as a "fearlessly vulnerable performer," has appeared with companies both in the U.S. and abroad such as New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Estates Theatre in Prague, The Barbican & BBC Orchestra, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, Virginia Opera, Opera Omaha, Indianapolis Opera, Kentucky Opera, Glimmerglass Opera Festival and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. Last season he performed American Muse with Omaha Symphony, El Gringo in a workshop performance of La Reina at the Prototype Festival, Revelations of Divine Love with the Bel Canto Chorus, Victor in Buried Alive with Fort Worth Opera, Mozart's Mass in C Minor with The Orchestra Now at Carnegie Hall, Gilgamesh in the world premiere of Paola Prestini's Gilgamesh with Beth Morrison Projects and Friends of Madame White Snake and the Dad in last fall's production of Greek with Boston Lyric Opera. This season he performs with the Governor in Man of La Mancha with Indianapolis Opera, The Dream of Gerontius with The Orchestra Now, Carmina Burana with The Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center, records Arnold Rosner's The Parable of the Law with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and sings Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with Fargo-Moorhead Opera. Future seasons include appearances with Chicago Opera Theater as John Cree in Kevin Puts' Elizabeth Cree, Macheath in The Threepenny Opera with Boston Lyric Opera, the soldier in David T. Little's Soldier Songs with Fargo-Moorhead Opera and El Gringo in JorgE Sosa's La Reina with Fort Worth Opera. He can be heard on the Naxos, VIA, Cantaloupe and Albany record labels.
Ginger Costa-Jacksonis a graduate of the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. Recent performances include Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia with the Metropolitan Opera, the title role in Bizet's Carmenwith the San Francisco Opera and Michigan Opera Theatre, Nashville Opera, the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico, and Despina at Opera de Paris in a new production of Così fan tutte conducted by Philippe Jordan. Future engagements include Dorabella in Così fan tutte with the Seattle Opera, her Los Angeles Opera debut as Maddalena in Rigoletto, her return to the Opera de Paris, Carmen with San Diego Opera, her debut with Washington Concert Opera in Maria di Rohan, and her debut with National Theatre Tokyo as Carmen. In the 2014-15 season she debuted at Vancouver Opera and Opera Grand Rapids in the title role of Carmen, performed El Gato con botas with Gotham Chamber Opera, and returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana and Mercedes in Carmen. Ginger debuted the role of Carmen with the Glimmerglass Festival, and made her European debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Gran Teatre del Liceu. At the Metropolitan Opera she has sung over 75 performances in such roles as Smaragdi in Francesca da Rimini, Nancy T'sang, First Secretary in Nixon in China; Wowkle in La fanciulla del West; Eine Theatergarderobiere/Der Gymnasiast/Ein Groom in Berg's Lulu; Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana; Myrtale in Thaïs; and Rosette in Manon. When not singing on the world's leading opera stages she performs with the Costa Jackson Sisters, where she is joined by her sisters Miriam and Marina.
Bass-baritone Justin Hopkins is a young performer in increasing demand nationally and internationally. He has been featured in such concert halls and theaters as Carnegie Hall; Symphony Hall, Boston; Queen Elizabeth Hall, London; and Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels. He made his Los Angeles debut this season with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and the Los Angeles Master Chorale in the Beethoven Symphony No. 9, as well as critically acclaimed performances of Kurt Weill's Lost In The Stars. With Opera Saratoga he performed the role of Jeff in the world premiere of The Long Walkin 2015, and made his SPAC debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra performing Aaron Copland's Old American Songs in 2016. Hopkins has performed operatic roles ranging from Mozart to Philip Glass, as well as concert repertoire including Britten's War Requiem and Mendelssohn's Elijah. He has performed under the distinguished batons of conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev, Jeffrey Kahane, and Keith Lockhart with orchestras including the Philadelphia Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Verbier Festival orchestras, and the Boston Pops. He took 2nd place in the 2012 Lotte Lenya Competition.
Keith Jameson, tenor, a native of South Carolina, recently appeared with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Triquet in Eugene Onegin and as Sancho Panza in Man of La Mancha with Utah Opera. He sang the title role of Candide with Opera di Firenze, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Brazil, and at New York City Opera. At the Metropolitan Opera, Keith has sung the Novice in Billy Budd; plus Remendado in Carmen, Bardolfo in Falstaff and Alméric in Iolanta (all three "Live from the Met" HD broadcasts) among others. He created the role of Henry Snibblesworth in the world premier of The Classical Style: An Opera (of sorts) by Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk at the Ojai Music Festival, CA, and created the role of Yab the Elf in Becoming Santa Claus by Mark Adamo with Dallas Opera. He has performed with the The Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, Seattle Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Central City Opera, Glimmerlgass Opera, New York Philharmonic, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, English National Opera, Opera de Wallonie, and the Saito Kinen Festival in Japan. Upcoming engagements include his debut with Teatro Massimo in Palermo as Flute/Thisbe in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Pong in Turandot with Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the premier of the one-man opera Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me? by Jeffrey Smith and David Johnston with Urban Arias.
ABOUT OPERA SARATOGA
Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. The Company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. Opera Saratoga serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the Company has performed over 90 different fully-staged works by over 50 different composers, including thirty-three works by American composers and six world-premiere productions. Throughout its history, the Company's success has been shaped by visionary leaders, talented artists, and critically acclaimed productions. In July 2014, Lawrence Edelson became the Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director. Edelson's leadership marked a new chapter in the company's history, with increased emphasis on community partnerships throughout the year, diversification of the company's repertoire, and a reaffirmed commitment to both the presentation of American opera and the mentorship of emerging artists as core activities in the company's programs each season. The 2017 Summer Festival will be the third season under his leadership. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org.