Compagnia de' Colombari and The Studio for Art, Faith and History to Present ORFEO IN ORVIETO, July 4-6

COMPAGNIA DE' COLOMBARI and THE STUDIO FOR ART, FAITH AND HISTORY are pleased to announce the international production of ORFEO IN ORVIETO, conceived by Karin Coonrod and John Conklin, based on the opera Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi, with musical arrengements and conducted by Gina Leishman, directed by Coonrod. ORFEO IN ORVIETO will play Friday, July 4th, Saturday, July 5th and Sunday, July 6th at 8:30 PM at the Palazzo Simoncelli in Orvieto, Italy. Tickets are $10 Euros. For reservation and more information visit

"We have excised many of the pastoral sections of the original Monteverdi opera, so that our entire production lasts one hour. We are using a very different instrumentation: accordion, flute, violin, cello, percussion, mandola, keyboards." - states director Karin Coonrod - "We want to get to the heart of the story with only three singers and one speaker. The singer playing Orfeo will only play Orfeo, but the others will play different roles. n this way we attend to the story of Orfeo's humanity in its extremity."

Orfeo In Orvieto is a music-theater piece that re-imagines the myth of Orpheus using the music of Monteverdi's baroque opera Orfeo, and the poetry of Ovid, Virgil, Rilke and Ruhl, to be performed in the garden courtyard of the Palazzo Simoncelli in Orvieto, Italy. With Orfeo in Orvieto, Compagnia de' Colombari continues to connect the roots of theatre with contemporary life, by reviving medieval city theatre and creating a multi-ethnic Italian and American ensemble.

Leading up to Orfeo in Orvieto, the company will present a unique guided tour into the Umbrian underworld, that includes fine dining, wine tastings, special lectures, 4 nights in a renovated monastery and a fine hotel stay next to the Orvieto cathedral. In the Footsteps of Orfeo (June 28-July 4) will be guided by Dr. John Skillen, Director of the Studio for Art, Faith and History at the Gordon College in Wenham, MA and Orvieto, Italy.

The production stars Stephen Salters (Les Rois, Opera National in Bordeaux; Toussaint Before the Spirits, Opera Boston) as Orfeo, Stefano Benini as Apollo and Messagero, Andrea Brugnera as Speaker and Francesca Bruni as Musica, Euridice and Speranza.

The production features set and lighting design by Peter Ksander (Obie Award, NEA/TCG Career Development Program) and costume design by Oana Botez (Drammy Award, Princess Grace Award, Barrymore Award, NEA/TCG Career Development Program, Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination, Barrymore Award Nomination) . Dramaturgy by John Conklin.

ORFEO IN ORVIETO plays July 4th, 5th and 6th at 8:30 pm. Tickets are $10 Euros. For reservation and more information visit The Palazzo Simoncelli is located at 22 Via Malabranca, 05018 Orvieto, Italy. Listen to a clip from Orfeo in Orvieto in rehearsals,

THE LEGEND OF ORFEO: Orfeo is wed to Eurydice and on the wedding day Euyrydice is bitten by a snake and dies. Orfeo decides to go to Hades to get her and bring her back, so great is his love for her. Hope cannot accompany him to Hades, so Orfeo sings his request to the Charon the boatmen and transfixes him and all of Hades. He is given permission to bring back Eurydice but must obey one decree, during the journey out of Hell, he must turn around to look at Eurydice. In a moment of despair, he turns around and hence, loses her forever. Disconsolate, he returns to Thrace, and Apollo descends to reprimand him in his extreme sadness and Orfeo accepts Apollo's advice to balance his feelings. In Orfeo in Orvieto, this story is interrupted by the presence of a special speaking, Dionysian influenced interlocutor, who reminds us of the alternate story of Orfeo the poet, prophet, lover: the tearing apart of Orfeo by the Bacchantes.


KARIN COONROD (Creator/Director) based in New York City, is an international theater artist of note. She founded two theater companies: 1) Arden Party in downtown New York and 2) Compagnia de' Colombari (2004-present) an international company (based in New York) which began a new tradition of theater in Orvieto, Italy with the medieval mystery plays in public spaces (Strangers and Other Angels 2004-2006); and in New York, More Or Less I Am (from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself) since 2008. Known for the Shakespeare productions--an epic Henry VI (1996) and surprising Love's Labor's Lost (2011) both at the Public Theater; King John (2000), Julius Caesar (2003) and Coriolanus (2005) with Theatre for a New Audience; Othello at Hartford Stage (2005)--Coonrod has also created many seminal productions: Andras Visky's I Killed My Mother (in Chicago and New York 2010), Chuck Mee's A Perfect Wedding (in Cluj, Romania 2012); Euripides' Phoenician Women (Moscow Art Theater 2007); a cabaret adaptation of Lorca's Poeta en Nueva York with flamenco dancer La Conja at New York University (2002); and The World is Round is Round is Round from a story by Gertrude Stein with composer Gina Leishman (2013). She has prepared new translations: Vvedensky's Christmas at the Ivanovs' with Julia Listengarten (1996); Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba with Nilo Cruz (1997); and Victor or Children Take Over with Frederic Maurin (1994); all of which she directed in acclaimed productions. She is on the faculty at Yale School of Drama (since 2002).

JOHN CONKLIN (Creator/Dramaturgy) has designed for major operas (including the Metropolitan Opera) and theater companies in the US (including Broadway productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Awake and Sing!, The Philadelphia Story, The Bacchae, Bully, Romeo and Juliet, Rex, The Leaf People, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Lorelei, The au Pair Man, Scratch, A Place Without Doors, Tambourines to Glory) and abroad. His work has been nominated for the Tony Awards (The au Pair Main) and the Drama Desk Awards (Tis Pity She's A Whore, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). He currently serves as Artistic Advisor for Boston Lyric Opera and teaches at the Tisch School at NYU.

GINA LEISHMAN (arranger/music director) is a New York based composer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. She has written for theater, opera, dance, film, TV and concert stage, garnering numerous awards. Recent work for the theater includes scores for The World Is Round Is Round Is Round, with Karin Coonrod and Colombari; Septimus & Clarissa, for Ripe Time (NYC) (Drama Desk nominee) and David Gordon's Uncivil Wars/Politica Shenanigans (the Kitchen, NYC, Walker Arts Center, Mpls etc.). She has written two operas, premiered in San Diego and NY, and leads various ensembles, including Kamikaze Ground Crew (commissions include Donaueschingen New Music Festival and Chamber Music America) and Mr. Wau-Wa, a quintet dedicated to the songs of Bertolt Brecht. She majored in Early Music at Edinburgh University, working with David Munrow for several years. Collaborations with other artists include directors Lisa Peterson and Robert Woodruff, writers Tony Kushner and Paul Zimet, choreographers Bebe Miller and Deborah Slater, composer Doug Wieselman, and performance artists Rinde Eckert, John Kelly and Theo Bleckmann. Ms. Leishman has been the recipient of grants from the NEA, Meet The Composer, Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, Arts International, Chamber Music America, Doris Duke Foundation, American Music Center and California Arts Council. Her music can be found on Koch Jazz, New World, Busmeat and GCQ Records.

COMPAGNIA DE' COLOMBARI (Company Colombari) is an international collective of performing artists, generating theater in surprising places. Colombari intentionally clashes cultures, traditions and art forms to bring fresh interpretation to the written word-old and new-and commits to using any means possible to flesh it out. Colombari brings performers and audiences together, thereby transforming strangers into community. Colombari is founded on the twin principles that the magic of great theater can happen anywhere and be made accessible to everyone.

Based in New York City, Compagnia de' Colombari was born in Orvieto Italy in 2004, where the company re-imagined the medieval mystery plays and performed them in the streets and piazzas of Orvieto. Having revitalized the tradition of theater during Orvieto's Corpus Christi Festival each spring, the company launched a parallel theatrical tradition in New York, STRANGERS AND OTHER ANGELS. Since 2008, the company has created and performed MORE OR LESS I AM (inspired by Whitman's "Song of Myself") all around New York City, EVERYTHING THAT RISES MUST CONVERGE (from Flannery O'Connor's short story) in Rome and on tour in the United States, THE WORLD IS ROUND IS ROUND IS ROUND (based on Gertrude Stein's story) performed in upstate New York at an old mill. And GIULIA (a play by Andras Visky) performed in a courtyard in Orvieto, Italy. The company is presently at work on Monteverdi's ORFEO to be performed in the Palazzo Simoncelli in Orvieto in July 2014.

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