Wednesday, March 29, 2017
By Jacob Stockinger This Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Overture Hall of the Overture Center, four teenage finalists will perform the final round of the Bolz Young Artist Competition in a free live concert with the Madison Symphony Orchestra (MSO). It will be broadcast live on Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) and Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR), and available via live streaming on wpt.org , at 7 p.m. The public can also reserve FREE tickets to attend the concert in person. The Final Forte finalists are selected from a group of young artists who competed in the Bolz Young Artist Competition’s two preliminary rounds. This year’s Final Forte features (below, in a photo by Amandalynn Jones, from left): violinist Julian Rhee of Brookfield, who will play the first movement of the Violin Concerto in D Major by Peter Tchaikovsky; harpist Naomi Sutherland of Viroqua, who will play the “Sacred and Profane Dances” by Maurice Ravel; pianist Michael Wu of Sun Prairie, who will play the first movement of the Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor by Camille Saint-Saens; and violinist Yaoyao Chen of Menasha, who will play the first movement of the Violin Concerto in D minor by Jean Sibelius. Each of the finalists will perform with music director John DeMain and the MSO as they complete for top honors and scholarships that will be awarded at the end of the broadcast. WPR’s Lori Skelton and Jim Fleming will co-host the event. More information, biographies and video profiles (also available on YouTube) for each finalist can be found at: http://madisonsymphony.org/finalforte To reserve free seats at The Final Forte, call (608) 257-3734 or register online at: http://madisonsymphony.org/finalforte IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a live concert broadcast. All audience members must be seated by 6:45 p.m. in Overture Hall, prior to the start of the concert. The Final Forte broadcast on WPT and WPR has won numerous honors including an Emmy nomination, and has reached several hundred thousand viewers and listeners in the area Madison and statewide. REBROADCASTS “The Final Forte” will be rebroadcast at the following times: The Wisconsin Channel (WPT-2): Saturday, April 1, at 3:30 p.m. Wisconsin Public Radio: Sunday, April 2, at noon Milwaukee Public Television (Channel 36.1): Sunday, April 2, at 1 p.m. Wisconsin Public Television (WPT-1): Sunday, April 2, at 2 p.m. BACKGROUND AND SPONSORS “Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is a partnership among the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. The even is part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative, a statewide effort to raise the visibility of the arts, celebrate the creative achievements of Wisconsin’s young people and support the arts in education. The Bolz Young Artist Competition is made possible by a generous endowment from The Eugenie Mayer Bolz Family Foundation. Major funding for “Wisconsin Young Artists Compete: The Final Forte” is provided by Diane Ballweg, Julie and Larry Midtbo, Fred and Mary Mohs, Stephen Morton, Joe and Maryellyn Sensenbrenner, and The Boldt Company. With additional funds from A. Paul Jones Charitable Trust, James Dahlberg and Elsebet Lund, W. Jerome Frautschi, Ann and Roger Hauck, Elaine and Nicholas Mischler, Kato Perlman, Sentry Insurance Company, The Estate of Norene A. Smith, Paul Guthrie in memory of Ella Guthrie, Judith and Nick Topitzes, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television. Tagged: Arts , biography , Broadcast , Brookfield , Camille Saint-Saëns , Classical music , Competition , concerto , dance , Finale Forte , harp , Jacob Stockinger , John DeMain , Julian Rhee , live , Madison , Madison Symphony Orchestra , Menasha , Michel Wu , movement , Music , Music education , Naomi Sutherland , Orchestra , Overture Center , Peter Tchaikovsky , Piano , profane , profile , Radio , Ravel , sacred , sponsor , stream , Sun Prairie , symphony , teenage , Television , TV , United States , University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Music , University of Wisconsin–Madison , video , Violin , Viroqua , wisconsin public radio , Wisconsin Public Television , WPR , WPT , Yaoyao Chen , YouTube
Renée Fleming as The Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, The Royal Opera © 2016 ROH. Photograph by Catherine Ashmore The nominations for the Olivier Awards 2017 have been announced. The ceremony will take place at the Royal Albert Hall on 9 April 2017. The Royal Opera has received three nominations this year. In the Best New Opera category, Jan Philipp Gloger 's production of Mozart 's Così fan tutte has been nominated alongside Philip Venables ' 4.48 Psychosis . The latter production was staged at the Lyric Hammersmith and won a UK Theatre Award in October 2016 . English National Opera 's Lulu and Akhnaten complete the nominations in this category. American soprano Renée Fleming has been nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Opera for her performance in Robert Carsen 's Royal Opera production of Der Rosenkavalier . Other nominees in this category include Stuart Skelton for his performance in ENO's Tristan and Isolde, and Mark Wigglesworth for his performances of Don Giovanni and Lulu at the Coliseum. Other nominees familiar to Covent Garden audiences include Canadian choreographer Crystal Pite in the Best New Dance Production category for Betroffenheit at Sadler’s Wells , and Irish designer Bob Crowley , who receives two nominations for Best Set Design in recognition for his work on Aladdin at the Prince Edward theatre and The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre . Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has become the most nominated new play in Olivier history this year, with 11 nominations. The full list of Olivier Award 2017 nominees: Best actor in a supporting role in a musical Ian Bartholomew for Half a Sixpence at Noël Coward theatre Adam J Bernard for Dreamgirls at Savoy theatre Ben Hunter for The Girls at Phoenix theatre Andrew Langtree for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Best actress in a supporting role in a musical Haydn Gwynne for The Threepenny Opera at National Theatre Victoria Hamilton-Barritt for Murder Ballad at Arts theatre Rebecca Trehearn for Show Boat at New London theatre Emma Williams for Half a Sixpence at Noël Coward theatre Outstanding achievement in music Dreamgirls – music by Henry Krieger at Savoy theatre Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – composer and arranger: Imogen Heap at Palace theatre Jesus Christ Superstar – the band and company creating the gig-like rock vibe of the original concept album of Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre School of Rock the Musical – three children’s bands who play instruments live every night at New London theatre School of Rock the Musical at New London theatre. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian Best new dance production Betroffenheit by Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young at Sadler’s Wells Blak Whyte Gray by Boy Blue Entertainment at Barbican theatre Giselle by Akram Khan and English National Ballet at Sadler’s Wells My Mother, My Dog and CLOWNS! by Michael Clark at Barbican theatre Outstanding achievement in dance Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for their London season at Sadler’s Wells Luke Ahmet for The Creation by Rambert at Sadler’s Wells English National Ballet for expanding the variety of their repertoire with Giselle and She Said at Sadler’s Wells Best entertainment and family Cinderella at London Palladium David Baddiel – My Family: Not the Sitcom at Vaudeville theatre Peter Pan at National Theatre The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells Best theatre choreographer Matthew Bourne for The Red Shoes at Sadler’s Wells Peter Darling and Ellen Kane for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Steven Hoggett for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Drew McOnie for Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre Magic Radio best musical revival Funny Girl at Savoy theatre Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre Show Boat at New London theatre Sunset Boulevard at London Coliseum Best actor in a musical David Fynn for School of Rock the Musical at New London theatre Tyrone Huntley for Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre Andy Karl for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Charlie Stemp for Half a Sixpence at Noël Coward theatre Amber Riley in Dreamgirls at Savoy theatre Best actress in a musical Glenn Close for Sunset Boulevard at London Coliseum 'The Girls' – Debbie Chazen, Sophie-Louise Dann, Michele Dotrice, Claire Machin, Claire Moore and Joanna Riding – for The Girls at Phoenix theatre Amber Riley for Dreamgirls at Savoy theatre Sheridan Smith for Funny Girl at Savoy theatre Best revival The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre This House at Garrick theatre Travesties at Apollo theatre Yerma at Young Vic Best new comedy The Comedy About a Bank Robbery at Criterion theatre Nice Fish at Harold Pinter theatre Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at National Theatre – Dorfman The Truth at Wyndham’s theatre Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at Dorfman, National Theatre Outstanding achievement in an affiliate theatre Cuttin’ It at the Maria, Young Vic The Government Inspector at Theatre Royal Stratford East The Invisible Hand at Tricycle theatre It Is Easy to Be Dead at Trafalgar Studios 2 Rotterdam at Trafalgar Studios 2 White Light award for best lighting design Neil Austin for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Lee Curran for Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre Natasha Katz for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Hugh Vanstone for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Best sound design Paul Arditti for Amadeus at National Theatre Adam Cork for Travesties at Apollo theatre Gareth Fry for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Nick Lidster for Autograph for Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre Best costume design Gregg Barnes for Dreamgirls at Savoy theatre Hugh Durrant for Cinderella at London Palladium Rob Howell for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Katrina Lindsay for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Blue-i Theatre Technology award for best set design Bob Crowley for Disney’s Aladdin at Prince Edward theatre Bob Crowley for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Rob Howell for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Christine Jones for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Best actor in a supporting role Anthony Boyle for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Freddie Fox for Travesties at Apollo theatre Brian J Smith for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Rafe Spall for Hedda Gabler at National Theatre – Lyttelton Best actress in a supporting role Melissa Allan, Caroline Deyga, Kirsty Findlay, Karen Fishwick, Kirsty MacLaren, Frances Mayli McCann, Joanne McGuinness and Dawn Sievewright for Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour at National Theatre – Dorfman Noma Dumezweni for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Clare Foster for Travesties at Apollo theatre Kate O’Flynn for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Best new opera production 4.48 Psychosis at Lyric Hammersmith Akhnaten at London Coliseum Così Fan Tutte at Royal Opera House Lulu at London Coliseum Outstanding achievement in opera Renée Fleming for her performance in Der Rosenkavalier at Royal Opera House Stuart Skelton for his performance in Tristan and Isolde at London Coliseum Mark Wigglesworth for his conducting of Don Giovanni and Lulu at London Coliseum Best actor Ed Harris for Buried Child at Trafalgar Studios 1 Tom Hollander for Travesties at Apollo theatre Ian McKellen for No Man’s Land at Wyndham’s theatre Jamie Parker for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre Best actress Glenda Jackson for King Lear at the Old Vic Cherry Jones for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Billie Piper for Yerma at Young Vic Ruth Wilson for Hedda Gabler at National Theatre – Lyttelton Best director Simon Stone for Yerma at Young Vic John Tiffany for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre John Tiffany for The Glass Menagerie at Duke of York’s theatre Matthew Warchus for Groundhog Day at the Old Vic Virgin Atlantic best new play Elegy at Donmar Warehouse The Flick at National Theatre – Dorfman Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at Palace theatre One Night in Miami … at Donmar Warehouse Mastercard best new musical Dreamgirls at Savoy theatre The Girls at Phoenix theatre Groundhog Day at the Old Vic School of Rock the Musical at New London theatre
Productions are in order; bold indicates a debut; I may have omitted some one-off cast combos. On the whole: as exciting as this season is weak. Norma (new David McVicar production) Radvanovsky, DiDonato, Calleja, Rose / Rizzi (September-October) Rebeka, DiDonato, Calleja, Rose / Rizzi (October) Meade, Barton, Calleja, Rose / Colaneri (December) Having middling '90s throwback Carlo Rizzi in the pit instead of the 2013 revival's Riccardo Frizza is about the only less-than-thrilling element of this opener. Three premiere principals who've proved not only star-quality sound but bel canto mastery, interesting alternate ladies afterwards... And David McVicar is not only an brilliant director but one who has done great things with Sondra Radvanovsky particularly, from 2009's Trovatore to 2016's Donizetti queens. Les Contes d’Hoffmann Grigolo, Morley, Hartig, Volkova, Erraught, Naouri, Mortagne / Debus (September-October) I rather liked Grigolo in this season's Romeo, but this Bart Sher show requires him to sustain a character for longer stretches than the Gounod opera, making his choppy sense of phrase more of a liability. Still, there are enough elements that could go well (including new-to-the-house Irish mezzo Tara Erraught as Niklausse) on top of an excellent production. Die Zauberflöte Schultz, Lewek, Castronovo, Werba, Van Horn, Kehrer / Levine (September-October) Müller, Lewek, Castronovo, Gunn, Walker, Kehrer / de Waart (November-December, family version in English) The conductors should make both the regular and "family" versions work. Besides returning names (including Kathryn Lewek, the best Queen of the Night I've ever heard), South African (by way of Juilliard) soprano Golda Shultz's debut as Pamina should be interesting. Incidentally, Rene Pape is scheduled for one performance of Sarastro on October 14. La Boheme Blue, Kele, Popov/Borras/Thomas, Meachem/Simpson, Rock, Soar/Rose, Plishka / Soddy (October) Hartig, Kele, Thomas, Meachem, Rock, Rose, Pliskha / Soddy (November) Yoncheva, Phillips, Fabiano, Lavrov, Rose, Plishka / Armiliato (February-March) Some new faces debuting in this eternal Zeffirelli production, most notably Oxonian conductor Alexander Soddy and American soprano Angel Blue. But the surest bet is the last cast, with young Americans Susanna Phillips and Michael Fabiano in roles they've made their own. Turandot Dyka, Agresta, Alvarez, Morris / Rizzi (October-November) Serafin, Yu, Alvarez, Tsymbalyuk / Armiliato (March-April) Some unexpected casting choices here. Oksana Dyka, decent but somewhat faceless in this season's Jenufa, at least has done Tosca and Aida here before. The alternate Turandot, Martina Serafin, was last seen here as an enchantingly responsive Marschallin! Since then she's taken on the really big parts, though not at the Met: Abigaille, Brünnhilde, Lady Macbeth, and Turandot. Could go well... or not. Hei-Kyung Hong reprises one of her signature roles once with each cast. The Exterminating Angel (new Tom Cairns production) Luna, Echalaz, Matthews, Bevan, Coote, Rice, Davies, Kaiser, Antoun, Portillo, Moore, Gilfry, Burdette, Van Horn, Tomlinson / Adès (October-November) The two prior operas of Thomas Adès have not lacked good music nor good libretti: it's the combination of these into an interesting, human opera that hasn't quite come off. Perhaps a show based on a Luis Buñuel movie (and directed by the librettist) will do the trick. There is, in any case, an impressive lineup of British and American vocal talent involved. Madama Butterfly He, Zifchak, Aronica, Bizic / Bignamini (November) Jaho, Zifchak, Aronica/Chapa, Frontali / Armiliato (February-March) So after doing one emergency sub performance (for Ruth Ann Swenson in Traviata) at the Met in 2008, Ermonela Jaho never appears here again... until a decade later, when she headlines a revival of Butterfly. The fall run brings new Italian conductor Jader Bignamini. Thaïs Pérez, Borras, Finley / Villaume (November-December) Ailyn Pérez, an outstanding Mimi this season, takes a full-on star vehicle opposite Gerald Finley. They don't quite have the name recognition of Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson, for whom this show was made, but this could be one of the stealth successes of the season. Requiem Stoyanova, Semenchuk, Antonenko, Furlanetto / Levine (November-December) I don't recall recurring concert performances scheduled as part of the season before, but if any plotless piece could work this way, it's Verdi's famously dramatic-operatic Requiem. These shows will be almost a generation after the April 29, 2001 performance at Carnegie that everyone who attended will still wax on about (shouldn't the Met or Carnegie release a recording of this at some point?). Levine then had Renee Fleming, Olga Borodina, Marcelo Giordani, and Rene Pape at or near the height of their powers (though Giordani was a bit of a weak link, and I'd like to have heard how Ramon Vargas did in a similar performance on the Met's Japanese tour). Here it looks like Aleksandrs Antonenko will be an upgrade at tenor, but mezzo Ekaterina Semenchuk - another singer not seen at the house for a while - is an odd choice, not having impressed in her appearances so far. Le Nozze di Figaro Plachetka, Karg, Willis-Sørensen, Pisaroni, Malfi / Bicket (December) Abdrazakov, Sierra, Yoncheva, Kwiecien, Leonard / Bicket (December-January) The names in the latter cast may be more recognizable, but I suspect the former (with debuting German soprano Christiane Karg as Susanna) may provide more of Mozart's ensemble glory. The Merry Widow Graham, Groves, Chuchman, Portillo, Allen / Stare (December) Graham, Groves, Chuchman, Stayton, Allen / Stare (December-January) Not a bad cast for the most cast-proof show the Met has debuted in decades. Who knew that comic timing drives comedies? Young American conductor Ward Stare debuts in the pit. Hansel and Gretel (family version in English) Oropesa, Erraught, Zajick, Siegel, Kelsey / Runnicles (December-January) McKay, Gillebo, Zajick, Siegel, Croft / Runnicles (December 28) Good casting for a kids' piece. Tosca (new David McVicar production) Opolais, Kaufmann, Terfel / Nelsons (NYE-January) Netrebko, Alvarez, Volle / de Billy (April-May) Netrebko, Alvarez, Gagnidze / de Billy (May) I believe Sondra Radvanovsky was originally supposed to headline this new production, which attempts to wash away the much-hated Luc Bondy version of 2009. Instead we get Kristine Opolais, the least interesting part of both Richard Eyre's wretchedly bad Manon Lescaut and Mary Zimmerman's otherwise-brilliant Rusalka. (She has succeeded in more direct Puccini, though.) But perhaps it doesn't matter - except as a what-if - when Jonas Kaufmann and Bryn Terfel have shown themselves of carrying this piece on their own. And though she has less male star power, I think Tosca might be a very good part for Anna Netrebko. Cav/Pag Semenchuk, Alagna, Lučić; Kurzak, Alagna, Gagnidze, Arduini / Luisotti (January) Westbroek, Alagna, Lučić; Kurzak, Alagna, Gagnidze, Arduini / Luisotti (January-February) I'm not sure whether the Alagna who shows up will be the no-voice one of the Manon Lescaut premiere or the respectable-sounding and insightful one of the end of that run and Butterfly, but his inconsistency has been characteristic since the beginning of his international career. McVicar's rendering of the double-bill is outstanding, and San Francisco's Nicola Luisotti has done magical things in his too-rare Met appearances. L’Elisir d’Amore Yende, Polenzani, Luciano, D'Arcangelo / Hindoyan (January-February) Both Yende and Polenzani have an emotional transparency that should work excellently in this piece. Il Trovatore Lee, Agresta, Rachvelishvili, Kelsey, Kocán / Levine (January-February) Lee, Agresta, Rachvelishvili, Salsi, Youn / Levine (February) Anita Rachvelishvili moves up a vocal weight class with her first Met Azucenas (she did her first performances of the part recently in London), opposite two baritones moving up from Marcello to Di Luna. But with outstanding Korean spinto Yonghoon Lee in the title role and Levine in the pit, this is yet another promising staple. Parsifal Vogt, Herlitzius, Mattei, Nikitin, Pape / Nézet-Séguin (February) The most significant revival of the season. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will go from "Music Director Designate" to the actual thing in 2020, but he's debuting German repertory cornerstones until then. This spring it's Flying Dutchman, but next year he'll lead the first revival of the most significant and successful Met Wagner production in a long, long time: Francois Girard's 2013 Parsifal. (Not least in that success was Daniele Gatti's intensely concentrated conducting, so there's a lot to live up to there.) He has the low-voiced end of the original cast, with Peter Mattei's Amfortas, Evgeny Nikitin's Klingsor, and René Pape's Gurnemanz all returning. The new parts of the cast are significant as well: dramatic soprano Evelyn Herlitzius finally makes her Met debut as Kundry, and Klaus Florian Vogt returns to Wagner a dozen years after making the most stunning - and most stunningly ignored - Met debut of our era as Lohengrin. (Vogt does return to the Met before this, in next month's Fidelio.) Semiramide Meade, DeShong, Camarena, Abdrazakov, Green / Benini (February-March) Good cast for a Rossini rarity. After her scheduled performances of Italiana this season went to debuting Italian mezzo Marianna Pizzolato, I do wonder whether Elizabeth DeShong will in fact sing these performances as Arsace. Elektra Goerke, van den Heever, Schuster, Morris, Petrenko / Nézet-Séguin (March) Christine Goerke's titanic concert performance of this early Strauss opera with Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony (October 2016 at Carnegie) dwarfed the dull, homogenized new Met version last season. The change from Salonen's civilizing version to Yannick Nézet-Séguin's characteristic visceral style should do much, and Goerke's ability to sing through the cacophonic title part lyrically can't be missed, but full success may require a revival stage director unafraid to depart from Chereau's drab vision. Così fan tutte (new Phelim McDermott production) Majeski, Malfi, O'Hara, Bliss, Plachetka, Maltman / Robertson (March- Though the cast looks good and the visuals interesting, David Robertson was responsible for the worst-conducted night of Mozart I've ever heard at the Met, so I'll wait and see. The production is new to the Met but already debuted at ENO. Lucia di Lammermoor Peretyatko, Grigolo, Cavalletti, Kowaljow / Abbado (March-April) Pratt, Grigolo, Cavalletti/Salsi, Kowaljow / Abbado (April) Yende, Fabiano, Kelsey, Vinogradov / Abbado (April-May) I was listening to Pretty Yende last night in Puritani, thinking that the Met should hire her for Lucia... and here we go. She gets the better Edgardo in Michael Fabiano as well: the role depends far too much on line and phrase to expect much on the whole from Vittorio Grigolo (though the Italian will surely deliver exciting high notes). Luisa Miller Yoncheva, Beczala, Domingo, Petrova, Vinogradov, Belosselskiy / Levine (March-April) Sonya Yoncheva's manner is a bit on the chilly side to get all the pathos of the title part's great duets, but the men involved should make much of this early Verdi. Cendrillon (new Laurent Pelly production) DiDonato, Kim, Coote, Blythe, Naouri / de Billy (April-May) So, we're officially in the part of Joyce DiDonato's career when she makes big houses put on silly shows. Good cast, seems charming enough, and though Laurent Pelly (Fille, Manon) hasn't done a really good production here, he hasn't made any terrible ones either. Roméo et Juliette Hymel, Pérez, Deshayes, Hopkins, Youn / Domingo (April-May) Interesting cast, very good production, but Domingo in the pit is a deal-breaker. If you have the itch, just see Yende and Costello next month (which has many fewer good alternative options than spring 2018).
Happy 58th birthday soprano Renée Fleming. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMZj-o80ATk Born on this day in 1602 composer Francesco Cavalli. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSOTx2Nlt-E Born on this day in 1899 conductor Lovro von Matacic. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=8juJrCvRM0I Born on this day in 1927 actress Lois Maxwell. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZu6B_TTdds Happy 89th birthday soprano Laurel Hurley. //www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESMwGHE1eaI In honor of this loveliest of lovely days, the cher public are invited to post YouTube clips of their favorite love songs and love duets.
Plácido Domingo meets Plácido Flamingo on Sesame Street (screenshot from YouTube) There are many great opera scenes in films but we shouldn't forget that the small screen has also produced its share of operatic moments. Whether it's deriving comedy from the at-times-bizarre rituals of opera-going, providing thematic commentary or just creating magic, the world's most intoxicating art form has appeared over the airwaves in all manner of guises: The Simpsons - 'Homer of Seville' (2007) This long-running cartoon is famous for its pop culture references and in the episode ‘Homer of Seville’, opera gets The Simpsons treatment. In a typically bizzare opening, Homer hurts his back falling into an open grave, and his cry of ‘D’oh!’ upon hearing the cost of the X-ray reveals a hidden operatic talent . Before he knows it he’s a famous opera star performing in La bohème at the Springfield Opera House (which is remarkably similar to a certain iconic opera house down under). The only catch is that Homer has to lie on his back when singing to hit the right notes. This scene references the famous ascending shot in the Citizen Kane , however in this instance instead of stage hands it reveals Homer's pals Carl and Lenny complaining about their seats. Plácido Domingo, voiced by the great man himself, also makes a guest appearance encouraging Homer’s singing career in the 'locker room' and asking to be called P-Dingo (in a nod to the moniker of rapper Puff Daddy ). Doctor Who - 'Asylum of the Daleks' (2012) Daleks past and present return with a vengeance in the first episode of Series 7 of the BBC’s rebooted Doctor Who . This episode also introduces Oswin Oswald (Jenna Coleman ), who in a future incarnation would become the Eleventh Doctor’s companion Clara Oswald, Oswin’s calling card being the Habanera from Bizet ’s Carmen . Oswin, a former Junior Entertainment Manager on the Alaska star liner, is stranded on a planet where damaged Daleks are herded to be exterminated. She has barricaded herself in her spaceship against the marauding Daleks keeping herself busy by cooking soufflés and listening to Carmen. While evidently the Daleks are not fans of opera, the Doctor recognises it immediately and it seems fitting that he calls her Carmen with her fiery red dress and sassy attitude. Sesame Street - '20 years and still counting' (1989) Sesame Street introduced a whole generation of children to opera through the character of Placido Flamingo , a debonair tenor muppet – ‘the numero uno bird of opera’ – who regularly performed at the Nestropolitan Opera. Flamingo enjoyed many moments in the spotlight including as soloist with the Animal orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa , a duet with Ernie , and performing a scene from ‘The Dentist of Seville’ . But Flamingo’s greatest moment was meeting his famous namesake Plácido Domingo in a special 20th anniversary episode. The two perform a duet of ‘Look through the window’ with muppets from all races and nationalities, proof of opera's power to unite. See if you can watch this clip and not break into a smile. Domingo hasn't been the only opera star to make a special appearance on Sesame Street. Renée Fleming , José Carreras and Samuel Ramey also performed with Jim Henson's iconic creations. Seinfeld - ‘The Opera’ (1992) What do you do when you have free tickets to the opera, your girlfriend is running late and you feel uncomfortable in your ill-fitting tuxedo? If you’re George Costanza, you sell her ticket to a tout. In a classic Seinfeld episode where the irreverence shown to the high arts is only by topped by the time Jerry placed a PEZ dispenser on Elaine’s lap during a classical music concert , it’s opening night of Pagliacci and Kramer has free tickets. Elaine’s new boyfriend ‘Joey’ has mysteriously started calling her Nedda . Kramer has told everyone to wear black tie but refused to dress up himself. Jerry is being stalked by 'Crazy' Joe Davola who is obsessed with Pagliacci and likes to go around dressed as a clown . In true Seinfeld style, storylines collide as the gang finally settle into their seats and George has been replaced by an overweight opera fan. But who did Kramer sell his spare ticket to? Frasier - ‘Out with Dad’ (2000) Over 11 seasons of this Seattle-based sitcom, Frasier (Kelsey Grammer ) and Niles Crane (David Hyde Pierce ) were known for their enjoyment of the finer things in life, so naturally they would have subscription seats to the opera. However on Valentine’s Day things get nasty when both Frasier and Niles want to use their opera tickets to woo women. When Frasier refuses to give up his opera ticket for Niles to have a date with his girlfriend, Niles threatens him with the most horrific fate one could possibly suffer at the opera: ‘May your box be filled with cellophane crinklers and the stage swarming with standbys!’. Unperturbed, Frasier drags his dad along to Rigoletto so he can pursue a fellow subscriber he’s had his eye on. This odd couple’s night out presents many opportunities for digs at opera story lines (‘more goofy stuff that never happens in real life’) and in-jokes for the opera fans. But it is not only Frasier who ends up with a date, the indomitable Martin unwittingly finds himself the object of an opera lover’s affection... Hannibal - ‘Sorbet’ (2013) Hannibal Lecter is well known in film, literature and television for his cannibalistic impulses so it's apt that the opera scene from TV episode ‘Sorbet’ exhibits a fascination with body parts. Beginning with a close-up of a quivering larynx, the camera follows the sound travelling from inside the human body past the uvula and tongue, making its way out through the singers’ mouth. The glorious sound of Cleopatra’s aria ‘Piangerò la sorte mia’ from Handel ’s Guilio Cesare travels across the room into the ear canal of Dr Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen ). It is the first time in the series that Hannibal shows any emotion and proves that even a remorseless serial killer can be moved by opera. Or is he fearful of the notion that the dead can return to haunt their oppressors? Hannibal is full of operatic moments punctuated with classical music . Each episode in Season 1 is named after a dish of French cuisine and this seventh episode of the series also reveals that Hannibal is a keen chef famed within opera-going crowds for his dinner parties. Unbeknownst to his guests, his speciality is meticulously prepared human offal . My Family - ‘Droit de Seigneur Ben’ (2000) Anyone who has ever battled to drag a reluctant spouse to the opera will sympathize with Susan (Zoë Wanamaker ) in this episode of the British sitcom My Family. Susan has tickets to Don Giovanni but being the grumpy misanthrope that he is, Ben (Robert Lindsay ) says he hates the opera, complaining that he never knows what’s going on and ‘it’s as boring as hell’. But Susan won’t be deterred, shrewdly presenting him with a vinyl and translated libretto of the opera so he can familiarize himself with the storyline before the performance. Despite himself Ben slowly becomes absorbed in the world of the opera, discovering that a 17th century Italian opera can in fact pertain to his own life as he realizes he has set up his daughter on a date with a modern day Don Giovanni. Mildred Pierce - ‘Part Four and Five’ (2011) In his five-part television mini-series about a tenacious mother and her bratty, narcissistic daughter set during the Great Depression, director Todd Haynes indulges in his favourite genre – melodrama. Operatic in its pace, themes and length, Mildred Pierce also includes a number of wonderful operatic moments . Always knowing she had a hidden talent that would help her rise above the humdrum, Veda's (Evan Rachel Wood) talent as a coloratura soprano is eventually discovered. The young woman's music teacher compares the coloratura with ‘a snake’ and Veda lives up to this description. Mildred (Kate Winslet ) watches on with mixed emotions – awe at her daughter’s talents, anguish at their estrangement and fear of the monster she knows lies underneath Veda's starry exterior. Veda’s performances are voiced by Korean soprano Sumi Jo and Wood trained with an opera expert to achieve the correct postures and breathing techniques. Veda’s arias provide a thematic commentary on goings-on in the Pierce household from Veda’s first radio performance of ‘the Bell Song’ from Lakmé which foreshadows Veda’s seduction of Mildred’s lover, to the presence of an overbearing opera mother as reflected in her rendition of The Magic Flute's ‘Der Hölle Rache ’.
Lyric Opera of Chicago’s General Director Anthony Freud and Music Director Sir Andrew Davis (joined by Creative Consultant Renée Fleming) announced today that the company’s 2017-2018 season will offer a winning combination of uninspired repertoire and soporific casting. Here’s just a taste: New Production Faust by Charles Gounod Faust: Benjamin Bernheim Marguerite: Erin Wall / Ana María Martínez Méphistophélès: Christian Van Horn Valentin: Edward Parks Siébel: Annie Rosen Marthe: Jill Grove Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume Director: Kevin Newbury The whole dismal tale unfolds below. Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2017/18 Season New Coproduction (featuring The Joffrey Ballet) Orphée et Eurydice by Christoph Gluck (1714 – 1787) Seven performances, Sept. 23 – Oct. 15, 2017 In French with projected English translations One of the most influential works in the history of opera, Orfeo edEurydice (1762) – presented at Lyric in its original Italian version most recently in 2005/06 – was revised significantly by Gluck for the Paris Opera in 1774. This version altered the role of Orpheus from alto castrato to tenor, while also adding a significant amount of ballet music to the score (including two celebrated scenes, the “Dance of the Furies” and the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits”). Familiar from Greek myths, the plot centers on the poet-musician Orphée (Orpheus), whose singing was so beautiful that it could charm the fierce guardians of the Underworld. After receiving encouragement from the god of love, Amour, Orphée travels to Hades to bring his dead wife, Eurydice, back to earth. Integral to the production will be the participation of TheJoffrey Ballet in the company’s first collaboration with Lyric. Orphée Dmitry Korchak* Conductor Harry Bicket Eurydice Andriana Chuchman? Director/Choreographer John Neumeier* Amour Lauren Snouffer Set/Costume/Lighting Design John Neumeier* Associate Set Designer Heinrich Tröger* Lighting Realization Chris Maravich Chorus Master Michael Black *Lyric Debut ?Ryan Opera Center Alumna Anthony Freud: “Orphée et Eurydice requires artists of deep sensitivity and intelligence, both to produce it and to perform it. We’re thrilled that world-renowned choreographer John Neumeier – in a very exciting collaboration between Lyric and The Joffrey Ballet – will not only create the vital dance elements of this opera, but also direct and design it. Harry Bicket, who has already proven himself a superb interpreter of Gluck in Lyric’s previous production, will conduct. I know the marvelous Russian lyric tenor Dmitry Korchak will lavish on the role of Orphée all the beauty of sound, dazzling technique, and deep expressiveness it requires. Andriana Chuchman, one of our most successful Ryan Opera Center alumni of recent years, will return as Eurydice, and the delightful Lauren Snouffer will be back with us to sing Amour.” Sir Andrew Davis: “Gluck’s version of the Orpheus myth is one of the most exquisite in the entire repertoire. We’ve produced it at Lyric before with great success, but not in the version that has Orpheus recast as a tenor (rather than male or female alto). There’s virtuosity in the music for the hero, as well as captivating ballet music, added to satisfy the expectations of Paris audiences. At the same time, all the musical and dramatic glory of the original version is retained, making for an unforgettably beautiful and profoundly moving experience.” A coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Los Angeles Opera, and Staatsoper Hamburg. New Lyric Opera coproduction of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydicegenerously made possible by The Monument Trust (UK), the Abbott Fund, Margot and Josef Lakonishok, the NIB Foundation, an Anonymous Donor, J.P. Morgan, The Anne and Burt Kaplan Fund, Bill and Orli Staley Foundation, and Liz Stiffel. New-to-Chicago Production Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901) Eight performances, Oct. 7 – Nov. 3, 2017 In Italian with projected English translations Rigoletto, Verdi’s masterpiece of 1851, presents a magnificent, deeply moving characterization of a hunchbacked court jester consumed by bitterness and revenge. Rigoletto is the father of Gilda, who is seduced and abandoned by the licentious Duke of Mantua. Sparafucile is the assassin hired by Rigoletto to murder the Duke; Maddalena is Sparafucile’s seductive sister; and Count Monterone’s curse on Rigoletto initiates the drama of the opera. Rigoletto Quinn Kelsey° Conductor Marco Armiliato Gilda Rosa Feola* Director E. Loren Meeker Duke Matthew Polenzani° Set Designer Michael Yeargan Sparafucile Alexander Tsymbalyuk* Costume Designer Constance Hoffman Maddalena Zanda Šv?de* Lighting Designer Chris Maravich Monterone Todd Thomas Chorus Master Michael Black *Lyric Debut °Ryan Opera Center Alumni Anthony Freud: “It is a source of immense pride to all of us at Lyric that Quinn Kelsey, an alumnus of our Ryan Opera Center and one of today’s few true Verdi baritones, will return to lead the cast ofRigoletto. The title role has become his signature at major houses all over North America and Europe. His fellow Ryan Opera Center alumnus, Matthew Polenzani, one of the foremost tenors of our time, will be back with us after his recent triumph here as Tamino. These two Lyric favorites will be joined by Rosa Feola, an entrancing young Italian soprano, and by the charismatic Ukrainian bass Alexander Tsymbalyuk, in their Lyric debuts. I’m delighted that Marco Armiliato – a master of his native Italian repertoire – will return to conduct, and that E. Loren Meeker will create new direction within the beautiful production from San Francisco Opera.” Sir Andrew Davis: “My conducting teacher in Italy, the legendary Franco Ferrara, once told me that Rigoletto was, in fact, the greatest of all Italian operas. Certainly its melodies are endlessly appealing (who doesn’t adore ‘La donna è mobile,’ ‘Caro nome,’ and the glorious quartet?), and the protagonist Rigoletto is one of the most monumentally dramatic and powerful characterizations in the history of opera.” Lyric Opera presentation of Verdi’s Rigoletto generously made possible by Julie and Roger Baskes, Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara Greis, and Roberta L. and Robert J. Washlow. Production owned by San Francisco Opera. New Production Die Walküre by Richard Wagner (1813 – 1883) Seven performances, Nov. 1 – Nov. 30, 2017 In German with projected English translations The second opera of Wagner’s monumental Ring cycle, Die Walkürefocuses on the conflict between Wotan, king of the gods, and his mortal son, Siegmund, who has unwittingly fallen in love with his own twin, Sieglinde, the wife of the brutish Hunding. This arouses the wrath of Wotan’s wife, Fricka (the goddess of marriage), and the compassion of Wotan’s daughter, the warrior-maiden Brünnhilde. The turning point of the opera arrives when Brünnhilde disobeys her father by siding with Siegmund in the latter’s fight against Hunding. This production continues Lyric’s new Ring, which began with the opening production of the 2016/17 season, Das Rheingold. Brünnhilde Christine Goerke Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Sieglinde Elisabet Strid* Director David Pountney Fricka Tanja Ariane Baumgartner Original Set Designer Johan Engels Siegmund Brandon Jovanovich Set Designer Robert Innes Hopkins Wotan Eric Owens Costume Designer Marie-Jeanne Lecca Hunding Ain Anger* Lighting Designer Fabrice Kebour Choreographer Denni Sayers *Lyric Debut Anthony Freud: “After David Pountney’s thrilling production of Das Rheingold, which opened Lyric’s new Ring cycle this season, I’m incredibly eager to witness his vision of Die Walküre, one of Wagner’s most human dramas with its exploration of family relationships. The production will renew David’s collaboration with Sir Andrew Davis, which was so memorable not just in Rheingold but also in The Passenger two seasons ago. Returning to us will be four brilliant, internationally acclaimed Wagnerians: Christine Goerke, Eric Owens, Brandon Jovanovich, and Tanja Ariane Baumgartner. We’ll also welcome to Lyric the remarkable Swedish soprano Elisabet Strid and the formidable Estonian bass Ain Anger.” Sir Andrew Davis: “I find Die Walküre a deeply engrossing work, in which relationships between the major characters are revealed psychologically in the most remarkably insightful way by Wagner. At the same time, this opera’s music is surely the most beautiful in the entire Ring cycle, from the arias of Siegmund and Sieglinde to Wotan’s grandiose farewell and the ravishing Magic Fire Music that ends the opera. I found conducting Walküre during Lyric’s 2004/05 season one of the most rewarding experiences of my operatic career, and I very much look forward to returning to it.” New Lyric Opera production of the Ring cycle generously made possible by Lead Sponsor an Anonymous Donor and cosponsors Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, the Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, and Ada and Whitney Addington. New Lyric Opera production of Wagner’s Die Walküre generously made possible by the Lloyd E. Rigler-Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation, the Mazza Foundation, Helen and Sam Zell, and the Marianne Deson Trust, in memory of her parents Samuel and Sarah Deson. New-to-Chicago Production The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet (1838 – 1875) Seven performances, Nov. 19 – Dec. 10, 2017 In French with projected English translations Bizet’s captivating 1863 opera, The Pearl Fishers, is beloved by audiences everywhere for its score, which includes the most popular tenor-baritone duet in opera. The libretto and music conjure up a particularly exotic locale: ancient Ceylon, where the priestess Leïla is loved by both the fisherman Nadir and Zurga, king of the pearl fishers. The travails of this love triangle lead to disaster when Zurga believes himself betrayed by Leïla and Nadir. Leïla Marina Rebeka Conductor Sir Andrew Davis Nadir Matthew Polenzani° Director Andrew Sinclair Zurga Mariusz Kwiecie? Set and Costume Designer Zandra Rhodes* Nourabad Andrea Silvestrelli Lighting Designer Ron Vodicka* Chorus Master Michael Black Choreographer John Malashock* *Lyric Debut °Ryan Opera Center Alumnus Anthony Freud: “We’re delighted to welcome back director Andrew Sinclair and to introduce Lyric audiences to the fabulously colorful set and costume designs of Zandra Rhodes, a leading figure in international fashion. Sir Andrew will lead a cast of great Lyric favorites: Marina Rebeka, who was so remarkable as both Violetta and Donna Anna at Lyric; Matthew Polenzani and Mariusz Kwiecie?, who triumphed together in this opera in a new Met production last season; and Andrea Silvestrelli, currently performing in our Norma, who will be singing a French role at Lyric for the first time.” Sir Andrew Davis: “For years I’ve been eager to take on The Pearl Fishers. What exquisite music this is! We all know the famous tenor-baritone duet, but there’s a great deal more to savor – not just the arias and the soaring love duet, but also sweepingly dramatic ensembles and choral scenes. It’s an exotically beautiful score, with Ceylon brought to life through an elegant, quintessentially French sensibility.” Lyric Opera presentation of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers generously made possible by the Harris Family Foundation and Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel. Production owned by San Diego Opera. New-to-Chicago Production Turandot by Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) Ten performances, Dec. 5, 2017 – Jan. 27, 2018 In Italian with projected English translations Turandot (1926), the final work of Puccini’s career, showcases the composer’s magnificent melodic outpourings (including the tenor’s celebrated “Nessun dorma”) and reveals Puccini at his peak as a creator of exotically beautiful orchestration. Taking place in ancient Peking, the story centers on the icy Princess Turandot, who will marry the prince who answers her three riddles correctly, but any suitor who fails is put to death. Calaf is the unknown prince who falls in love with Turandot at first sight and, victorious in the riddles, challenges her to learn his name. Calaf is loved by the slave Liù, who serves his father Timur, the exiled Tartar king. The lighter side of the opera is contributed by Turandot’s three lively ministers – Ping, Pang, and Pong. Turandot Amber Wagner° Conductor Sir Andrew Davis (12/5 – 1/21) Robert Tweten (1/27) Liù Maria Agresta (December)* Janai Brugger (January)* Director Rob Kearley* Calaf Stefano La Colla* Set and Costume Designer Allen Charles Klein* Timur Andrea Silvestrelli Lighting Designer Chris Maravich Ping Zachary Nelson Chorus Master Michael Black Pang Rodell Rosel° Pong Keith Jameson *Lyric Debut °Ryan Opera Center Alumni Anthony Freud: “In the years since Amber Wagner concluded her tenure at the Ryan Opera Center, her voice has been recognized as one of the most thrilling on the international scene. After her great successes at Lyric in Il trovatore and Tannhäuser, all of us look forward to welcoming her back for the awe-inspiring title role of Turandot. Performing opposite her will be three debuting artists who have distinguished themselves in major international houses: Italian soprano Maria Agresta, American soprano Janai Brugger, and Italian tenor Stefano La Colla. We’ll present Puccini’s opera in a beautiful production that originated at The Dallas Opera.” Sir Andrew Davis: “It’s exhilarating to conduct Turandot, since Puccini was such a stupendous orchestrator. When I conducted this opera previously at Lyric, the orchestra and I simply reveled in the exoticism of the instrumentation and the sheer grandeur of the score. At the same time, I’m also attracted to the intimate arias of the lyric soprano Liù, and of course, I – like the rest of the world – can’t resist ‘Nessun dorma,’ which has become perhaps the most popular of all tenor arias!” Lyric Opera presentation of Puccini’s Turandot generously made possible by Robert S. and Susan E. Morrison. Production owned by Lyric Opera of Chicago, originally created by Bliss Hebert and Allen Charles Klein for Florida Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, and San Francisco Opera. I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini (1801 – 1835) Seven performances, Feb. 4 – Feb. 28, 2018 In Italian with projected English translations The opera takes place at a fortress near Plymouth during the English Civil War of the 1640s. Elvira is betrothed to Sir Riccardo Forth, a Puritan colonel, although she is not in love with him. Instead, she loves Arturo Talbot, a Cavalier and a Stuart sympathizer, who loves her in return. Once aware of Elvira’s unhappiness, Elvira’s uncle, Sir Giorgio, convinces her father, Lord Walter, to give his permission for her to marry Arturo. At the wedding celebration, Arturo discovers that Queen Enrichetta has been imprisoned in the castle. By covering the queen in a wedding veil, Arturo helps her escape. Elvira believes she has been abandoned by Arturo, but in the end, the two are happily reunited. Elvira Albina Shagimuratova Conductor Enrique Mazzola Arturo Lawrence Brownlee Director Eric Einhorn Riccardo Anthony Clark Evans° Set Designer Ming Cho Lee Giorgio Adrian Sâmpetrean Costume Designer Peter J. Hall Lighting Designer Chris Maravich Chorus Master Michael Black °Ryan Opera Center Alumnus Anthony Freud: “Opera companies can produce I Puritani only when four extraordinary singers are available, and I’m delighted to say that we have them. Albina Shagimuratova, the Russian soprano who was so enthralling as both Gilda and Lucia at Lyric, will return for the virtuosic role of Elvira. Lawrence Brownlee, after his dazzling Lyric debut last season as Ramiro in Cinderella, will sing the even more stratospheric role of Arturo. Baritone Anthony Clark Evans, a gifted Ryan Opera Center alumnus now embarked on what will certainly be a major career, portrays Riccardo, with the marvelous Romanian bass Adrian Sâmpetrean, who made an indelible impression at Lyric in this season’s Lucia di Lammermoor, returning as Giorgio. That production also saw the company debut of Enrique Mazzola, and I’m very pleased to welcome him back to conduct this wonderfully romantic production.” Sir Andrew Davis: “Bel canto works provide opera goers with endless pleasure, and within that repertoire, Bellini stands supreme for the sheer grace and elegance of the melodies. I Puritani is one of his greatest masterpieces, abounding with one unforgettable moment after another, including the baritone’s romantic soliloquy, the soprano’s mad scene, and the tenor’s final aria with its famous F above high C!” Lyric Opera presentation of Bellini’s I Puritani generously made possible by the Donna Van Eekeren Foundation and an Anonymous Donor, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This production was originally directed by Sandro Sequi and premiered at The Metropolitan Opera. All scenery, properties, and costumes constructed by The Metropolitan Opera. Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) Seven performances, Feb. 17 – Mar. 16, 2018 In Italian with projected English translations The most sophisticated and intimate of the three Mozart/da Ponte operas, Così fan tutte (1790) is a fascinating “school for lovers” story in which two couples learn a great deal about their true feelings for each other. The cynically mischievous Don Alfonso stirs the pot with two earnest young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, wagering that their fiancées, sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, cannot remain faithful for 24 hours. The officers depart as if to go to war, then return disguised to woo each other’s beloved. Don Alfonso manipulates the proceedings in cahoots with the sisters’ maid, the ever-resourceful Despina. Fiordiligi Ana María Martínez Conductor James Gaffigan* Dorabella Marianne Crebassa Director John Cox Despina Elena Tsallagova* Set & Costume Designer Robert Perdziola Ferrando Antonio Poli Lighting Designer Chris Maravich Guglielmo Joshua Hopkins Chorus Master Michael Black Don Alfonso Alessandro Corbelli *Lyric Debut Anthony Freud: “With just six characters onstage in Così fan tutteand constant interaction between them, this opera needs perfect musical and dramatic rapport between the artists. Sir Andrew and I both feel we have assembled an ideal cast, including Ana María Martínez, a great Lyric favorite whose Donna Elvira in Don Giovannishowed her to be a masterful interpreter of Mozart’s music and a marvelous comedic actress; Alessandro Corbelli, today’s ultimate master of comic repertoire; three young artists who have captivated our audiences – Marianne Crebassa, Antonio Poli, and Joshua Hopkins; and Elena Tsallagova, who will make what I know will be an enchanting Lyric debut. No director understands this opera better than the legendary John Cox, and he’ll collaborate with the brilliant American conductor James Gaffigan, who has rapidly ascended to the top rank internationally.” Sir Andrew Davis: “The music is so extraordinarily satisfying! I’m endlessly intrigued by it dramatically as well, since there are so many ways it can be interpreted. It needs tremendous sophistication from the performers onstage, and also the ability to relate to each other on a very intimate level as an ensemble. It is, in fact, the ensemble opera par excellence, but the solo opportunities for individual characters are glorious, too!” Lyric Opera presentation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte generously made possible by Lead Sponsor The Negaunee Foundation and cosponsors Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin, Marion A. Cameron, and Nancy and Sanfred Koltun. A joint production of Opéra de Monte Carlo and San Francisco Opera. New Production Faust by Charles Gounod (1818 – 1893) Seven performances, Mar. 3 – Mar. 21, 2018 In French with projected English translations This exceptionally romantic, universally popular work had its premiere in Paris in early 1859. The story is one of the most justly celebrated in opera. The aged philosopher Faust – at the urging of Satan’s agent, Méphistophélès – is made young again in exchange for his soul. The drama encompasses Faust’s encounter with the innocent Marguerite, his wooing and subsequent abandonment of her, the death of her brother Valentin at Faust’s own hand, and Marguerite’s ensuing madness, death, and redemption. Siébel is the boy in love with Marguerite, Marthe, Marguerite’s busybody neighbor, offers comic relief. Faust Benjamin Bernheim* Conductor Emmanuel Villaume Marguerite Erin Wall° (3/3 – 3/18) Ana María Martínez (3/21) Director Kevin Newbury Méphistophélès Christian Van Horn° Production Designer John Frame* Valentin Edward Parks* Set/Costume Designer Victoria Tzykun* Siébel Annie Rosen° Lighting Designer Duane Schuler Marthe Jill Grove Projection Designer David Adam Moore* Chorus Master Michael Black *Lyric Debut °Ryan Opera Center Alumni Anthony Freud: “I’m delighted that this quintessentially French opera will have a French conductor at the helm – Emmanuel Villaume, whose immaculate sense of style has graced many Lyric productions. For all of us who have followed the dazzling international careers of two Ryan Opera Center alumni, Erin Wall and Christian Van Horn, it will be a joy to welcome them back to our stage, as well as Ana María Martínez. Both she and Erin have triumphed as Marguerite at Lyric previously. We’ll also present a remarkably gifted young French tenor, Benjamin Bernheim, and a dashing American baritone, Edward Parks, in their Lyric debuts. Directing our new production will be Kevin Newbury, with us most recently for Norma and the world premiere of Bel Canto.” Sir Andrew Davis: “I’ve adored Faust for many years, thanks to its irresistible, overwhelmingly romantic music. Of course, I also relish the fabulously elegant characterization Gounod gives the devil! There are wonderful arias, as well as the spectacular final trio – music that has enraptured opera audiences for more than 150 years.” New Lyric Opera coproduction of Gounod’s Faust generously made possible by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson. Faust is a coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago and Portland Opera. New Production & Lyric Premiere Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber (1948) and Tim Rice (1944) Twenty-six performances, Apr. 27 – May 20, 2018 One of the greatest stories ever told comes to life in the groundbreaking, iconic rock opera that reinvented musical theater for the modern age. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this global blockbuster tells the story of the final weeks of Jesus Christ from the perspective of Judas Iscariot. As Christ’s followers grow more fervent, Judas must make his fateful choice between faith and betrayal. Filled with an exciting mix of musical styles that draw upon 1970s rock, gospel, folk, and funk themes, this contemporary imagining of the biblical tale features high-energy dance and powerful storytelling. Director Timothy Sheader* Choreographer Drew McOnie* Set/Costume Designer Tom Scutt* Lighting Designer Lee Curran* *Lyric Debut The conductor and cast will be announced at a later date.
Renée Fleming (February 14, 1959) is an American soprano specializing in opera and lieder. Fleming has a full lyric soprano voice. Fleming has performed coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano repertoires. She has sung roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. She also speaks fluent German and French, along with limited Italian. Her signature roles include Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Desdemona in Otello and Violetta in La traviata (Verdi), the title role in Rusalka (Dvo?ák), the title role in Manon and Thaïs (Massenet), the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier (Richard Strauss), and the title role in Arabella. A Richard Tucker Award winner, she regularly performs in opera houses and concert halls worldwide. In 2008 she was awarded the Swedish Polar Music Prize for her services in music.
Great opera singers