COC And BAM Present The Nightingale and Other Short Fables


Following a sold-out world premiere engagement in Toronto and standing ovations at Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Robert Lepage's critically acclaimed The Nightingale and Other Short Fables makes its anticipated US premiere at BAM. This production, called "nothing short of brilliant" by Opera (UK) marks more than 20 years of groundbreaking LePage Productions at BAM as well as the Canadian Opera Company's return following it's 1993 presentation of Lepage's double-bill of Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables

"...illusionist Lepage has succeeded in the space of an evening in giving back to adults...a capacity for enchantment reserved for children" - Le Figaro

American Express is the presenting sponsor of The Nightingale and Other Short Fables. BAM 2011 Spring Season is sponsored by Bloomberg.

By Igor Stravinsky Conducted by Johannes Debus Directed by Robert Lepage

Set design by Carl Fillion Costume design by Mara Gottler Lighting design by Etienne Boucher Puppet design by Michael Curry

In Russian with English titles

Co-produced with Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Opéra national de Lyon, and Netherlands Opera in collaboration with Ex Machina (Quebéc)

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave) Mar 1, 3 & 4 at 7:30pm Mar 6 at 3pm Tickets start at $35Igor Stravinsky's The Nightingale is a Russian conte lyrique based on the tale by Hans Christian Andersen. Under the direction of Lepage the opera is transformed into a magical chinoiserie centered around a moonlit lake-created by filling the orchestra pit with nearly 12,000 gallons of water. The musicians and chorus are placed onstage, allowing the audience to see and hear the various musical layers that make this production so entrancing. Traditional pan-Asian water puppets, created by Tony and Emmy award-winning designer Michael Curry, float and are manipulated by the same singers whose roles they represent, telling the tale of the ethereal nightingale who persuades Death to spare the Emperor.

The program opens with Stravinsky's short vocal and instrumental pieces: the jazz-tinged Ragtime, Pribaoutki, Two Poems of Konstantin Balmont, Berceuses du chat, Four Russian Peasant Songs, and Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet. The program continues with the satirical one-act opera-ballet The Fox, brought to life through shadow theater-an expressive and acrobatic art form drawing from Asian and African traditions-and concludes with The Nightingale.

The international Nightingale cast includes soprano Laura Albino (The Cook), contralto Meredith Arwady (Death), tenor Lothar Odinius (Fisherman), soprano Olga Peretyatko (Nightingale), bass Robert Pomakov (Chamberlain), and bass Michael Uloth (Bonze). The ensemble also features bass Neil Craighead, mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta, baritone Adrian Kramer, tenor Adam Luther, and soprano Simone Osborne. The cast of The Fox includes baritone Peter Barrett, Adam Luther, and tenor Lothar Odinius.

Versatile in every form of theater craft, Robert Lepage is a director, scenic artist, playwright, actor, and film director. His creative and original approach has won him international acclaim, numerous awards, and has shaken the dogma of classical stage direction to its foundations, especially through his use of new technologies. Inspired by contemporary history, his modern and unusual work transcends all boundaries. At Théâtre Repère his work included The Dragon's Trilogy (1985), Vinci (1986), Polygraph (1990 Next Wave), and Tectonic Plates (1988). Subsequent independent productions included Needles and Opium (1992 Next Wave), Coriolanus, Macbeth, and The Tempest (1992). With A Midsummer Night's Dream (1992), Lepage became the first North American to direct a Shakespeare play at the Royal National Theatre. Lepage founded his Production Company, Ex Machina, in 1994. Under his artistic direction, the company's productions have included The Seven Streams of the River Ota (1996 Next Wave) and Elsinore (1997 Next Wave). At La Caserne-a production center in Quebec City that opened in 1997 under Lepage's leadership-he and his team created Geometry of Miracles (1999 Next Wave), Zulu Time (1999), The Andersen Project (2005), and Lipsynch (2009 Next Wave), among others. Lepage's diverse artistic accomplishments also include the COC's production of Bluebeard's Castle and Erwartung as an opera double-bill (1993 Spring Season). He is currently working on a production of Wagner's Ring cycle for the Metropolitan Opera.

The Nightingale and Other Short Fables' set is designed by Carl Fillion, who has worked with Mr. Lepage on many projects including the Metropolitan Opera's new Ring cycle, The Rake's Progress, and La Damnation de Faust. The lighting designer, Etienne Boucher, has worked with Ex Machina since 2004 and is also part of the Ring cycle creative team. The Chinese-inspired costumes are by costume and fashion designer Mara Gottler. In addition to his collaborations with Ex Machina, award- winning puppet designer Michael Curry works widely in technical development with such renowned companies as the Metropolitan Opera, London's Royal National Theatre, Walt Disney Theatrical, Los Angeles Opera, and Universal Studios.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus makes his BAM debut leading the COC Orchestra and Chorus. Mr. Debus, recently conducted the COC's new productions of Aida and The Magic Flute, and made his Spoleto and Tanglewood Festival debuts last summer conducting Henze's Gogo no Eiko based on the novel by Japanese author Yukio Mishima at Spoleto and The Abduction from the Seraglio with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, replacing the indisposed James Levine.

Currently celebrating its 61st season, the Toronto-based Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the five largest in North America, with one of the highest attendance and subscription rates on the continent. Under its leadership team of General Director Alexander Neef and Music Director Johannes Debus, the COC maintains an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation, attracting the world's foremost Canadian and International Artists. The COC performs in its own opera house, the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, hailed internationally as one of the finest in the world.

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