Programming Announced Opera Saratoga 2019 Summer Festival

Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director, Lawrence Edelson announced today updated casting and additional events to be featured as part of the company's 2019 Summer Festival, beginning May 25th, 2019 and running through July 14th, 2019. In addition to the three previously announced productions of The Daughter of the Regiment, the world premiere of Ellen West, and Hansel and Gretel, Opera Saratoga will present a new series of master classes; a community symposium on

Ellen West at Skidmore College; multiple free concerts for the community; a celebration of the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin; a one-night-only opera in concert featuring the company's first Russian opera, Rimsky-Korsakov's Mozart and Salieri; and Opera on the Lake, the annual Opera Saratoga gala on the shores of Lake George.

Subscriptions, single tickets for all performances and events, as well as complete casting, production detail, and a multi-media preview of the season, are available online at

The first opera of the season will be Gaetano Donizetti's sparkling French comedy, La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment), which returns to the company for the first time in 17 years. This new production, directed by Lawrence Edelson, will feature the company debut of Argentinian Bel Canto tenor Santiago Ballerini in the role of Tonio, famous for the bravura aria 'Pour mon âme' in which the tenor sings a succession of nine high Cs in one of opera's greatest showpieces. Two alumni of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program return to make their principal artist debuts with the company this season: soprano Keely Futterer as Marie, the Daughter of the Regiment; and Alex Soare as Sergeant Sulpice. Andrew Bisantz (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016; The Consul, 2018) returns to Opera Saratoga to conduct.

Balancing tradition with innovation, the second production of the season will be the World Premiere of Ellen West. Through the evocative poetry of Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Bidart and the beautiful music of Ricky Ian Gordon, this co-commission and co-production between Opera Saratoga and Beth Morrison Projects explores the emotional, psychological and physical challenges of a woman struggling with perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her. Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, the opera brings the audience into the lives of psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and his patient, "Ellen West." Throughout her life, Ellen filled journals and wrote poetry. Frank Bidart's poem, which serves as the primary source for the opera's libretto, juxtaposes the clinical observations of Binswanger with fictitious entries of Ellen's writing, which shine light on her deeply personal struggles. This tour de force chamber opera stars soprano Jennifer Zetlan in her Opera Saratoga debut as Ellen, alongside baritone Keith Phares (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016) as her doctor. The world premiere production is directed by Emma Griffin, also in her Opera Saratoga debut, with Lidiya Yankovskaya (Zémire et Azor, 2016) at the podium.

The third production of the season brings Humperdinck's classic Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel) back to Opera Saratoga for the first time in 29 years in a boundary-breaking production by the Chicago-based theater company Manual Cinema, originally created for La Monnaie in Brussels. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry and cinematic techniques to create immersive visual stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, puppets, actors, and live feed cameras, Manual Cinema's production of Hansel and Gretel is a remarkable hybrid between attending the cinema and the opera. Opera Saratoga presents the East Coast Premiere of this truly unique version of one of the most beloved operas in the repertoire, featuring members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program in all of the principal roles, with a guest appearance by members of the Children's Chorus of the Glens Falls Symphony.

"The 2019 Summer Festival continues Opera Saratoga's commitment to presenting masterworks from the operatic canon, and to fostering the creation of important new works," explained Edelson. "I am very excited to feature two operas this season that have not been seen in Saratoga Springs for many years. In addition to our productions of more traditional repertoire, over the past four years we have introduced the work of five American composers and one Scottish composer to our audiences, and highly theatrical productions have become part of the identity of Opera Saratoga. While opera entertains, I also believe strongly that it is a lens through which we can look at the world around us. We are thrilled to partner with Beth Morrison Projects to commission and produce the World Premiere of Ellen West, a beautiful and heartbreaking opera by a remarkable pair of artists. Composer Ricky Ian Gordon's career has included critically acclaimed operas, musicals, and songs, performed by a veritable who's who of American singers across the country; and poet Frank Bidart, winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, has an extraordinary way of entering into the soul with astonishing insight. The World Premiere of Ellen West is not to be missed."


In tandem with the world premiere production of Ellen West this summer, Opera Saratoga is presenting a special, free Community Symposium at Skidmore College's Filene Hall on Monday, June 17th at 7:00pm: Ellen West and Disordered Eating: The Intersection of Art, Understanding, and Empathy.

Frank Bidart's poem Ellen West, upon which the opera is based, was inspired by a real-life, early 20th-century woman who suffered from body dysmorphia and ultimately succumbed to its bedfellow, bulimia. Using "Ellen West" as a pseudonym for his patient, Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger published The Case of Ellen West: An Anthropological-Clinical Study in 1944, which remains a well-known and historically important case study in the field today. Dr. Binswanger's paper was among the first to pay attention to a patient's struggle of death anxiety and death obsession alongside the struggle with body image and bulimia.

"One of the most important roles Opera Saratoga plays is to engage with important societal issues through the lens of opera," explained Edelson. "The unique fusion of poetry and music that one finds in opera allows for exploration of a wide variety of deeply relevant subjects for contemporary society. While we know that opera entertains - it can do much more. The poetry and music of opera allow us to look at the world with fresh perspective, find common ground with others, and foster understanding and empathy."

Opera Saratoga has an ongoing commitment to engage with the community through the production of contemporary operas that address vital issues. In the United States, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. The Community Symposium on June 17th will bring together the creative team behind Ellen West - including the writers, performers and director - alongside partners from HPA/LiveWell, the New York Capital Region's largest provider of support services for those with eating disorders, to explore the background and creation of Ellen West, the issues surrounding disordered eating that are portrayed in the opera, and what resources are available in our community for those impacted by disordered eating.

The Ellen West Community Symposium is free, and has been made possible with generous support from The Poetry Foundation, The Saratoga Foundation, MVP Healthcare, and The Dake Family Foundation/Stewart's Shops. Advance registration is highly recommended as space is limited. Registration is available online at:


In addition to the three fully staged operas this season, Opera Saratoga presents a diverse slate of concerts, along with a new series of master classes that provide the public a unique perspective on how singers learn new music, develop their voices, and prepare their roles for the stage.

Free concerts this season include the fifth annual Stars of Tomorrow on Saturday, May 25th at 7pm at Skidmore College's Filene Hall, which introduces the community to the 2019 Festival Artists selected to participate in Opera Saratoga's prestigious Young Artist Program; and a special Walt Whitman Bicentennial Celebration, featuring poetry by the great American poet and "father of free verse" set to music by a wide variety of composers, presented in partnership with Hubbard Hall on Friday May, 31st at 7pm - the date of Whitman's 200th birthday.

Opera Saratoga returns to The Mansion Inn in Rock City Falls for Gershwin @ The Mansion Inn, a very special concert featuring opera and musical theater selections by George and Ira Gershwin and their many collaborators, including music from Porgy and Bess, Of Thee I Sing, Girl Crazy, Lady in the Dark, Blue Monday, and The Firebrand of Florence, among many others. The Mansion Inn features cabaret style table seating, with a delicious menu of Gershwin inspired food and drink available for purchase from Cordon Bleu trained Executive Chef Rick Bieber. Two performances are presented on Sunday, June 2nd, at 2pm (sold out), and 7pm. Tickets are available for $60.

The 2019 Festival Artists are also featured this season in Mozart and Salieri, on Thursday, July 11th at 7:30pm at The Spa Little Theater. Well before the movie Amadeus, the imagined rivalry between Mozart and Salieri inspired Pushkin's poetry, which Rimsky-Korsakov set as a haunting chamber opera. While there is, in fact, virtually no evidence that the relationship between the two composers was contentious, the death of Mozart at the age of 35 was followed by rumors that he and Salieri had been bitter rivals, which of course makes for great theater. Opera Saratoga presents a one-night only concert of scenes from operas by Mozart and Salieri - showcasing the theatrical music of both composers - followed by a concert staging of Rimsky-Korsakov's psychological drama, the first Russian opera in Opera Saratoga's history. Tickets are available for $95/$72.50/$50. Mozart and Salieri is generously sponsored by Greenberg Traurig.

A new master class series rounds out the season, providing audiences with a unique and fascinating look at how singers develop their voices, learn new music, and build upon the traditions of the great singers who came before them while also finding their own, personal interpretations.

As we celebrate the return of La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) to Saratoga Springs this summer, Metropolitan Opera coach Bénédicte Jourdois leads a master class on Thursday, June 6th at 6:30pm with pianist/singer teams from Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program to explore treasures and rarities from the French operatic repertoire. In tandem with Opera Saratoga's first Russian language opera this summer (Mozart and Salieri), acclaimed conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya leads a master class on Thursday, June 13th at 6:30pm to explore masterpieces from the Russian operatic repertoire. Both of these events are free and will take place at The Saratoga Springs Public Library.

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon will give the final master class of the season in Albany on Thursday, June 20th at 7:00pm, in Picotte Recital Hall at The Massry Center for the Arts at College of St. Rose.Ricky Ian Gordon is one of America's most acclaimed composers of opera, musical theater and songs. His music has been performed and/or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Kelli O'Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Frederica von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, and Betty Buckley, among many others. Gordon's most recent theatrical premieres include The House Without a Christmas Tree at Houston Grand Opera, and a two-act version of The Grapes of Wrath at Opera Theatre of St. Louis. In addition to the World Premiere of Ellen West at Opera Saratoga this summer, Gordon is currently working on his first commission for The Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theatre, Intimate Apparel, with Playwright Lynn Nottage. We are thrilled to welcome Gordon for a master class with pianist/singer teams from Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program, who will performing songs and arias specifically for them by the composer. Tickets for this special event are $25.

Advance registration for all free events is available online, and is highly recommended due to space limitations at each venue:

Tickets for Gershwin @ The Mansion Inn, A Master Class with Ricky Ian Gordon, and Mozart and Salieri are available at or by calling 518.584.6018.


The company's annual gala, Opera on the Lake, will be held this year on Sunday, June 9th, 2019 at 4:30pm at The Inn at Erlowest on Lake George. The Honorary Chairs for Opera on the Lake are Judy and Jeff Killeen, passionate supporters of Opera Saratoga and champions of the arts throughout the region. The Killeens have been instrumental in the legacy of Opera Saratoga, serving a combined 12 years on the Opera Saratoga board of trustees, and sponsoring numerous individual artists and mainstage productions. Judy and Jeff join Gala Chair Steve Rosenblum in celebrating the important role that Opera Saratoga plays in the artistic and community life of the lower Adirondack and Capital Regions.

Cocktails and dinner overlooking the lake, a live auction of exclusive experiences, a raffle featuring several unique items, and a special program of opera and song will highlight this very special evening, which is Opera Saratoga's most important fundraising event of the year. Net proceeds from Opera on the Lake will benefit Opera Saratoga's extensive community and educational programs, and the 2019 Summer Festival.

Tickets for Opera on the Lake are available for $175, with Honorary Committee tickets available for $300 and $475. For information on Opera on the Lake, or to purchase tickets, visit or call Jonathan Blalock, Development and Patron Services Manager, at 518.584.6018



Thursday, June 20 @ 7pm A Master Class with Composer Ricky Ian Gordon

Tickets: $25

Picotte Recital Hall @ The Massry Center, College of St. Rose, Albany

Saturday, June 29 @ 7:30pm La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Sunday, June 30 @ 2pm Ellen West - WORLD PREMIERE

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Monday, July 1 @ 2pm La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Friday, July 5 @ 7:30pm Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Saturday, July 6 @ 2pm Ellen West

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Sunday, July 7 @ 2pm La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Monday, July 8 @ 2pm Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Wednesday, July 10 @ 7:30pm Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Thursday, July 11 @ 7:30pm Mozart and Salieri

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Friday, July 12 @ 7:30pm Ellen West

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Saturday, July 13 @ 7:30pm La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs

Sunday, July 14 @ 2pm Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel)

Tickets: $95/$72.50/$50

Spa Little Theater, Saratoga Springs




Music by Gaetano Donizetti; Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard

Lead Funding for La Fille du Régiment has been provided by Keeler Motor Car Company.

Performance Dates: Saturday, June 29 @ 7:30pm; Monday, July 1 @ 2:00pm; Sunday, July 7 @ 2:00pm; Saturday, July 13 @ 7:30pm

Conductor: Andrew Bisantz
Director and Choreographer: Lawrence Edelson
Scenic Designer: Cameron Anderson
Costume Designer: Kathleen Trott
Lighting Designer: Josh Epstein

Marie: Keely Futterer
Tonio: Santiago Ballerini
Sulpice: Alex Soare
The Marquise of Berkenfield: Whitney Robinson
Hortensius: Nicholas Martorano
Corporal: Brandon Bell
A Peasant: Zachary Barba / Zackery Morris
The Duchess of Krakenthorp: TBA


Music by Engelbert Humperdinck; Libretto by Adelheid Wette

Lead Funding for Hänsel und Gretel has been provided by Adirondack Trust.

Performance Dates: Friday, July 5 @ 7:30pm; Monday, July 8 @ 2:00pm;

Wednesday, July 10 @ 7:30pm; Sunday, July 14 @ 2:00pm

Conductor: Geoffrey McDonald
Production: Manual Cinema

Hansel: Nicole Thomas
Gretel: Joowon Chae
The Gingerbread Witch: Whitney Robinson / Cierra Byrd
Mother (Gertrude): Annie Chester / Flora Wall
Father (Peter): Justin Austin
The Sandman: Rachel Mikol
The Dew Fairy: Sydney Anderson

Members of the Children's Chorus of the Glens Falls Symphony

Ellen West - WORLD PREMIERE (2019)

Music by Ricky Ian Gordon; Libretto by Frank Bidart

Commissioned by Opera Saratoga, Lawrence Edelson, Artistic & General Director; and Beth Morrison Projects, Beth Morrison President and Creative Producer.

Lead Funding for Ellen West at Opera Saratoga has been generously provided by The Poetry Foundation and The Saratoga Foundation. Ellen West has been commissioned with generous leadership support from The Poetry Foundation, The Ted & Mary Jo Shen Charitable Gift Fund, David and Kiki Gindler, and The Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts. Additional support for educational and community programs in upstate New York surrounding the premiere of Ellen West has been provided by MVP Healthcare and The Dake Family Foundation/Stewart's Shops. The world-premiere production of Ellen West is a co-production of Opera Saratoga and Beth Morrison Projects.

Performance Dates: Sunday, June 30 @ 2:00pm; Saturday, July 6 @ 2:00pm; Friday, July 12 @ 7:30pm

Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: Emma Griffin
Scenic Designer: Laura Jellinek
Costume Designer: Kaye Voyce
Lighting Designer: Josh Epstein

Ellen West: Jennifer Zetlan
The Poet / Dr. Ludwig Binswanger: Keith Phares

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