Opera Comes to the Princeton Festival This Month

The festival takes place on June 16, 18, and 20.

By: Jun. 01, 2023
Opera Comes to the Princeton Festival This Month

 At Click Here on June 16, 18, and 20, opera newbies and aficionados alike will relish an all-new production of Gioachino Rossini’s comedic showpiece The Barber of Seville. Rossini’s opera, with libretto by Cesare Sterbini, premiered in Rome, Italy in 1816, and has since become one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide. An opera buffa masterpiece, The Barber of Seville offers superbly comical situations with elaborate disguises, outrageous bribery, close shaves, and captivating characters. Performances take place at the Festival’s outdoor performance pavilion on the grounds of Morven Museum & Garden. On June 19, Met Opera star and 2023 GRAMMY Award-winning vocalist Will Liverman commands the pavilion stage with a recital of works by Black composers, capping a Juneteenth Celebration including a special art exhibit Beyond Freedom at Morven’s Stockton Education Center. 

Internationally acclaimed Stage Director James Marvel brings fresh direction to The Barber of Seville, which pits the clever wit of the barber Figaro, portrayed by Andrew Garland, against a bumbling and greedy guardian, Dr. Bartolo, played by Steven Condy. The story is centered on Count Almaviva’s love for the beautiful Rosina, roles filled by popular returning Festival artists Nicholas Nestorak and Kelly Guerra. Remaining cast members include Festival veterans Eric Delagrange and Cody Müller, as well as Kaitlyn Costello-Fain and the Festival Opera Chorus.

Cubist set design by Blair Mielnik, created especially for the Festival, hints at the timeless, madcap nature of the storyline. Edward T. Cone Music Director Rossen Milanov conducts the opera, leading the cast and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra through some of the most recognizable and oft-quoted music in the genre. The Princeton Festival’s production is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

For those looking for insights into Rossini’s comedy, Professor Timothy Urban gives a free pre-performance talk “The Funny Thing About Figaro” on Sunday, June 18 at 3pm at Morven’s Stockton Education Center.

The Princeton Festival celebrates Juneteenth on Monday, June 19, with a 7pm vocal recital by acclaimed baritone Will Liverman with pianist Kevin miller. The evening’s program spotlights 20th- and 21st-century works by Black composers including Florence Price, Shawn Okpebholo, and Terence Blanchard.

Will Liverman opened the Met’s 2021-22 season in a celebrated “breakout performance” (New York Times) as Charles in Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up in My Bones, which won the 2023 GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. Following Fire’s success, the Met announced that Liverman will star in Anthony Davis’ X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which will be the second opera by a Black composer in the company’s history, premiering fall 2023.

Preceding the concert, Art Against Racism founder Rhinold Lamar Ponder opens the onsite exhibit Beyond Freedom in a free talk titled “Reclaiming Humanity Through Art” at Morven’s Stockton Education Center at 2pm. Ponder will speak about the perpetual efforts to restate and reclaim the humanity of those impacted by the legacy of slavery and its aftermath.

Ahead at the Festival: Andrew Lippa’s musical tribute to Harvey Milk, a collaboration of Attacca Quartet & American Repertory Ballet, a “feel good” Mazel Tov Cocktail Party!, a Peter and the Wolf Family Concert, and more.

Tickets for all events are available now, ranging from $10 - $125, at Click Here or 609-497-0020.


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