For Immediate Release
Thursday, August 23, 2018
OPERA SARATOGA ANNOUNCES
2019 SUMMER FESTIVAL OPERAS
THE WORLD PREMIERE OF ELLEN WEST
BY RICKY IAN GORDON AND PULITZER PRIZE WINNING POET FRANK BIDART
MANUAL CINEMA’S INNOVATIVE PRODUCTION OF HANSEL AND GRETEL
IN ITS EAST COAST PREMIERE
A NEW PRODUCTION OF LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT (THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT) FEATURING
THE COMPANY DEBUT OF ARGENTINIAN TENOR SANTIAGO BALLERINI
Saratoga Springs, NY - Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson announced today the three operas that will be featured at the center of the company’s 2019 Summer Festival, to be presented at The Spa Little Theatre in Spa State Park, from June 29th through July 14th, 2019.
The season will open with 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 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. Maestro Andrew Bisantz (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016; The Consul, 2018) returns to Opera Saratoga to conduct. Additional casting will be announced in the fall.
Balancing tradition with innovation, the second production of the season will be the World Premiere of Ellen West, a new chamber opera by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Frank Bidart. Co-commissioned and co-produced by Opera Saratoga and Beth Morrison Projects, Ellen West brings us deep into the personal internal struggle of a young woman’s battle with a severe, chronic eating disorder, as well as the attempts by her doctor to diagnose and save her. Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, this World Premiere production will feature the company debut of soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Ellen West, and the return of baritone Keith Phares (Le nozze di Figaro, 2016) as her psychiatrist, Dr. Ludwig Binswanger. The production will be directed by Emma Griffin in her company debut, under the baton of Maestra Lidiya Yankovskaya (Zémire et Azor, 2017).
The third production of the season brings Humperdinck’s classic 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 be able to feature two operas next season that have not been seen in Saratoga Springs for many years. The season opens with La Fille du Régiment, a fun-filled bel canto treasure that delights with virtuoso singing. I am personally looking forward to directing this production, featuring the company debut of tenor Santiago Ballerini. I am also always looking for new and creative ways to tell well-known stories, and was mesmerized when I became familiar with Manual Cinema’s work. It is an incredible honor to be able to present their production of Hansel and Gretel– a truly unique approach to this classic opera that is perfect for the entire family."
“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,” Edelson continued, “and highly theatrical, contemporary 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, is an extraordinary storyteller who touches the soul with astonishing insight. The World Premiere of Ellen West is not to be missed!”
Additional concerts and public master classes will complement the three opera productions, beginning May 25th, 2019. The complete performance schedule for the 2019 Summer Festival will be available at the end of September. Subscriptions will go on sale October 1, 2018, and Single Tickets will go on Sale February 15, 2019.
2019 OPERA PRODUCTIONS
ALL OPERA PERFORMANCES TAKE PLACE AT THE SPA LITTLE THEATER
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY
Opera Tickets: $95 / $72.50 / $50
Subscriptions: Discount Packages Available
LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT (1840)
Music by Gaetano Donizetti; Libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean-François Bayard
Performance Dates: Saturday, June 29 @ 7:30pm; Monday, July 1 @ 2:00pm; Sunday, July 7 @ 2:00pm; Saturday, July 13, 2019 @ 7:30pm
Conductor: Andrew Bisantz
Director: Lawrence Edelson
Featuring: Santiago Ballerini (debut)
HÄNSEL UND GRETEL (1893)
Music by Engelbert Humperdinck; Libretto by Adelheid Wette
Performance Dates: Friday, July 5 @ 7:30pm; Monday, July 8 @ 2:00pm; Wednesday, July 10 @ 7:30pm; Sunday, July 14 @ 2:00pm
Production: Manual Cinema (debut)
Featuring: Opera Saratoga Festival Artists and 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
Performance Dates: Sunday, June 30 @ 2:00pm; Saturday, July 6 @ 2:00pm; Friday, July 12 @ 7:30pm
Conductor: Lidiya Yankovskaya
Director: Emma Griffin (debut)
Featuring: Jennifer Zetlan (debut) and Keith Phares
FEATURED ARTISTS: LA FILLE DU RÉGIMENT
SANTIAGO BALLERINI (Tonio, La Fille du Régiment): Argentinian tenor Santiago Ballerini is recognized as one of the leading tenors in the Bel Canto repertoire, having appeared at many of the major opera houses in North and South America. Earlier this season, Ballerini made his European debut as Gualtiero in Il pirata at the Opéra National de Bordeaux, after which he debuted in Bilbao as Ernesto in Don Pasquale. He made his role debut as Tonio in La Fille du Régiment at the Atlanta Opera, returned to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri, and appeared at the Teatro Nuovo’s inaugural festival at SUNY Purchase’s Performing Arts Center as Argiro in Tancredi. Ballerini began the season singing a concert of arias at the Dallas Opera. He recently sang The Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, Don Ramiro in La cenerentola at the Teatro Argentino, and Ernesto in Don Pasquale at the Atlanta Opera. He also covered the roles of Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. In July of 2017, Ballerini returned to the Caramoor Festival in New York to sing Gualtiero in Bellini’s Il pirata opposite Angela Meade. In the 2015/16 season, he made his acclaimed United States debut at the Caramoor Festival as Fernand in La Favorite and sang the role of Tybalt in The Atlanta Opera’s production of Romeo et Juliette. After singing the role of Conte di Libenskof in Il Viaggio a Reims at the Teatro de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, the tenor returned to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires to sing Jünge Graf in Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten. Highlights from previous seasons include Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore at the Teatro Solis in Montevideo alongside baritone Erwin Schrott, and performances at the Teatro Colón as the title role in Luigi Nono’s Prometeo and Arbace in Mozart’s Idomeneo. Ballerini also sang Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri at the Teatro Argentino; Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Lord Percy in Anna Bolena, Gennaro in Lucrezia Borgia, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Tebaldo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Teatro Avenida; Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Roméo and Tybalt in Roméo et Juliette and Jaquino in Fidelio at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte at the Teatro Libertador in Cordoba; and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 at the Colsubsidio Theatre’s re-opening in Bogotá, Colombia. In January of 2016, Ballerini was awarded the Grand Prize at the Laguna Mágica International Vocal Competition in Chile, receiving invitations to sing Cassio in Otello with the Teatro Argentino and to sing with the Tenerife Opera. He was a semifinalist in the Fancisco Viñas Competition at the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Argentine Finalist at the Neue Stimmen Competition in Dresden, Germany. He also won First Prize at the Festivales Musicales Competition, American Society Competition and San Juan Opera Competition. In 2014, Ballerini was named Argentina’s “Upcoming Opera Singer” by the Congress of Argentina and the Argentine Association of Critics. He was also a featured soloist for the “50th MET Anniversary Gala”, receiving a scholarship to study with Sherrill Milnes. Before starting his professional singing career, Ballerini was a pianist for nine years and studied Music Therapy at the Universidad de Buenos Aires, specializing in addiction treatment.
ANDREW BISANTZ (Conductor, La Fille du Régiment): A versatile musician acknowledged for his passionate and commanding leadership from the podium, American conductor Andrew Bisantz is building an impressive roster of credits at leading orchestras and opera companies throughout the country. As the Music Director at Eugene Opera, Mr. Bisantz has been responsible for the emergence of the company as one of the most noted and important performing arts organizations in the Pacific Northwest. In Eugene, he has conducted Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Faust, La bohème, The Mikado, Carmen, Nixon in China, Pirates of Penzance, Dead Man Walking, Offenbach’s Orphée aux Enfers, La fanciulla del West, L’elisir d’amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Eugene Onegin, and La traviata. This season, Mr. Bisantz conducts Albert Herring at McGill University and Le nozze di Figaro for Florida Grand Opera. He also continues in his position as Music Director at Eugene Opera conducting their productions of As One and H.M.S. Pinafore. Last season, Mr. Bisantz conducted Opera Saratoga’s production of The Consul, La fanciulla del West with Virginia Opera, Macbeth for Opera Tampa, Don Giovanni with Northwestern University, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Eugene Opera. Notable engagements from the past few seasons include returns to Florida Grand Opera for Rigoletto, Menotti’s The Consul, and Die Zauberflöte; A Midsummer Night’s Dream at McGill University; Rigoletto at Opera Coeur d’Alene and Tri-Cities Opera; Verdi’s La traviata for Virginia Opera; Le nozze di Figaro at Opera San José; La faniciulla del West at Opera Omaha; and Don Giovanni at Savannah Voice Festival and in his début with Wolf Trap Opera. He also conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra under the famed Hatch Shell and sold-out performances of Rhapsody in Blue with Buffalo Philharmonic. He made his European début conducting concerts with the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto in Porto, Portugal and returned conducting a concert of Bomtempo’s Requiem with the OSP and the Coro Casa da Música. For his début with Boston Lyric Opera leading The Turn of the Screw, The Boston Globe selected it as one of the ten top Boston classical music events of 2010. He subsequently returned for productions of Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Mr. Bisantz previously served as Associate Conductor of Florida Grand Opera (FGO). He made his FGO main stage début conducting Bizet’s Carmen for the company’s historic final performances at Miami-Dade County Auditorium. With FGO, he also conducted Suor Angelica, Pagliacci, La cenerentola, La bohème, Don Giovanni, and Manon Lescaut. Mr. Bisantz earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Fredonia State College, where he studied piano with Robert Jordan and conducting with Grant Cooper. He completed his Master of Music degree in Orchestral Conducting at the Cleveland Institute of Music where he studied with legendary conductors such as Carl Topilow, Louis Lane, and Alan Gilbert.
LAWRENCE EDELSON (Director, La Fille du Régiment; Artistic and General Director): The 2019 Summer Festival at Opera Saratoga will mark the fifth season under Lawrence Edelson’s leadership as Artistic and General Director. As a stage director, Lawrence’s diverse productions have included the American premiere of Telemann’s Orpheus for Wolf Trap Opera, Philip Glass’s Hydrogen Jukeboxfor Fort Worth Opera, La traviata for The Minnesota Opera, The Consul, Il Postino, La cenerentola and H.M.S. Pinafore for Opera Saratoga, Little Women for Michigan Opera Theatre, Il barbiere di Siviglia for Hawaii Opera Theater, Carmen for Toledo Opera, the world premiere of Buried Alive (Myers/Long) for Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Cosí fan tutte for Boston University’s Opera Institute, and the New York premiere of Fauré’s rarely produced Pénélope for the Manhattan School of Music. In 2017, Lawrence directed and choreographed the 80th Anniversary production of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock at Opera Saratoga with Maestro John Mauceri on the podium, which was recorded for commercial release on Bridge Records. He was a guest member on the directing staff of New York City Opera, where he restaged Little Women twice: for the work’s Lincoln Center premiere and for the company’s tour to Japan. From 2008 to 2012, Lawrence was also a faculty member at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he led seminars on American opera, and directed original productions of Little Women, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Werther, Ariadne auf Naxos, and Eugene Onegin. Before focusing on directing and arts administration, Lawrence enjoyed a performing career in both ballet and opera. He studied voice and musicology at The University of Ottawa and dance at The Joffrey Ballet School in New York City. As a dancer, he performed with Boston Ballet, Ballet West, and BalletMet Columbus. He has choreographed for ballet and opera companies around the country. As a singer, he appeared in opera, oratorio and musical theater internationally. Lawrence completed his master’s degree in Performing Arts Administration at New York University. In the opera field, Lawrence is perhaps best known as the founder of American Lyric Theater (ALT). As Producing Artistic Director at ALT, a position he continues to hold concurrent with his position at Opera Saratoga, he coordinates the company’s diverse artistic programs including The Composer Librettist Development Program, commissioning of new works, and co-production relationships. Recent projects at ALT include the development of The Long Walk (Beck/Fleischmann), which premiered at Opera Saratoga in 2015; JFK (Little/Vavrek), which premiered at Fort Worth Opera in 2016; Monkey and Francine in the City of Tigers (Sankaram/Johnston), which premiered at Houston Grand Opera/HGOCo in 2018; and Why is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?, which premiered at Urban Arias in 2018.
FEATURED ARTIST AND COLLABORATORS: ELLEN WEST
FRANK BIDART (Poet / Librettist, Ellen West): Frank Bidart is the author of Metaphysical Dog (FSG, 2013), Watching the Spring Festival (FSG, 2008), Star Dust (FSG, 2005), Desire (FSG, 1997), and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90 (FSG, 1990). He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award, the 2007 Bollingen Prize in American Poetry, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His most recent collection, Half-light (FSG, 2017), was awarded the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry and the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
RICKY IAN GORDON (Composer, Ellen West): Ricky Ian Gordon’s operas include: The House Without A Christmas TreeforHouston Grand Opera, with librettist Royce Vavrek; Morning Star for Cincinnati Opera, with librettist William Hoffman; 27 for Opera Theatre of St. Louis, with librettist Royce Vavrek; A Coffin In Egypt, for Houston Grand Opera, with librettist Leonard Foglia; Rappahannock County for Virginia Opera with librettist Mark Campbell; Green Sneakersfor the 2008 Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival; The Grapes of Wrath for Minnesota Opera, with librettist Michael Korie; The Grapes of Wrath (concert version) for Carnegie Hall, with Jane Fonda narrating; The Tibetan Book Of The Dead, for Houston Grand Opera, with playwright Jean Claude Van Itallie; and Orpheus and Euridice for Lincoln Center, for which he won an OBIE Award in 2005. His musicals include, Sycamore Treesfor the Signature Theatre, which won a Helen Hayes Award; My Life With Albertine, for Playwrights Horizons, with writer/director Richard Nelson, which won an AT&T award and The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Music Theater Foundation Award; and Dream True, for The Vineyard Theatre with writer/director Tina Landau, which won a Richard Rodgers Award. His upcoming projects include the opera Intimate Apparelwith playwright Lynn Nottage, a co-commission from The Metropolitan Opera and The Lincoln Center Theatre; and Ellen West, a collaboration with poet Frank Bidart, for Beth Morrison Projects and Opera Saratoga. His songs have been recorded and performed by such artists as Renee Fleming, Audra McDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Frederica Von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, Nadine Sierra, Harolyn Blackwell, Judy Collins, Nathan Gunn, and the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Other awards include the National Institute For Music Theater Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, the Jonathan Larson Foundation Award, the Constance Klinsky Award, The Shen Family Foundation Award, and The Carnegie-Mellon University Alumni Award. “If the music of Ricky Ian Gordon had to be defined by a single quality, it would be the bursting effervescence infusing songs that blithely blur the lines between art song and the high–end Broadway music of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. It’s caviar for a world gorging on pizza!” The New York Times
EMMA GRIFFIN (Director, Ellen West): Emma Griffin is a theater and opera director based in New York City. Hailed by the New York Times for her "deeply resonant", "intelligent", and "darkly enchanting" staging, Griffin's productions have been seen in performance venues all over the country. With a diverse background in theater, musical theater and opera, Griffin builds unique productions that have a pungent theatricality, an arresting visual style, and a fine sense of narrative drive. She is a frequent collaborator on new music/theater pieces; these projects include Phil Kline’s Out Cold & Zippo Songs at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, Corey Dargel’s Removable Parts (winner of “Outstanding Performance Art Production” at NY Innovative Theater Awards) and Thirteen Near Death Experiences, and Susan Bernfield and Rachel Peters’ Stretch, a fantasia. Opera credits include: La fanciulla del West at Opera Colorado, the world premiere of Charpentier's La Feste de Ruel with Catacoustic Consort; La Bohème at Crested Butte Music Festival, Jake Heggie's Three Decembers at Atlanta Opera; Don Giovanni at Boston Lyric Opera; The Cunning Little Vixen and Les Mamelles de Tirésias at Juilliard Opera; Wozzeck at the Opera Philadelphia/Curtis Opera Theater; and I Capuleti e i Montecchi, The Rake’s Progress, Postcard from Morocco and Die Zauberflöte at Curtis Opera Theater. She was the Artistic Director of the OBIE-award winning Salt Theater, based in NYC. Highlights with Salt include Stage Door (FringeNYC Excellence Award as Best Director), The Cherry Orchard, Scenes from a Marriage and Conquest of the Universe. She has theater credits at many regional theaters including Perseverance Theater, Geva Theater Center, Syracuse Stage, Southern Rep, Actor’s Express, Virginia Stage, Williamstown Theater Festival. Currently, she is developing The Three Christs, a new work by composer Corey Dargel for the NEWSPEAK ensemble; and Joan Crawford, a new work composed by Phil Kline with AOP. Other upcoming work includes Don Giovanni for Julliard Opera. In 2018 she was appointed as the Managing Artistic Director of The Mannes Opera at The New School. Previously, she was on the faculty of the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati as the Professor of Opera Stage Direction.
KEITH PHARES (Dr. Binswanger, Ellen West): Opera News has hailed Keith Phares "as an authentic contemporary-American-opera divo" with "an impressive gallery of finely-drawn character portraits." Highlights from the current season include Edward Kynaston in Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players with Florentine Opera and live recording for Naxos, Sam in Trouble in Tahiti with Lexington Philharmonic and Carol ofWords-Walt Whitman in Song in recital with Lyric Fest. In the 2017-18 season he made debuts with L.A. Opera as Roderick Usher and Hiram Otis in Getty's Usher House/Canterville Ghost, Chicago Opera Theater as Gasparo in Rita, Opera Omaha as Ford in Falstaff, and Opera Maine as Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro. He returned to Florentine for Viva Opera! - a concert of opera highlights, and recorded Gregory Spears' critically-acclaimed Paul's Case as the Father, which he sang in the premiere at UrbanArias and the PROTOYPE festival remount. In the 2016-2017 season he sang Hurstwood in the premiere and live Naxos recording of Robert Aldridge's Sister Carrie with Florentine, Maximilian in Candide with New York City Opera, Elder Tull in the world premiere of Bohmler's Riders of the Purple Sage with Arizona Opera, Albert in Werther with Manitoba Opera and the American premiere of Philip Glass’ TheTrial with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Recently he appeared as Zurga in Les pêcheurs des perles and Marcello in La bohème with Seattle Opera, Gaylord Ravenal in Showboatwith Kentucky Opera, Carmina Burana with Madison Symphony, John Sorel in The Consul and Orin Mannon in Mourning Becomes Electra with Florida Grand Opera, Count Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with New Orleans Opera and Opera Saratoga, and Maximilian and the Captain in Candide with São Paulo Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marin Alsop. Phares sang Charlie in the premiere and recording of Heggie’s Three Decembers opposite Frederica von Stade with Houston Grand Opera and San Francisco Opera, and the title role in the premiere and live, Grammy-winning recording of Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry. He has appeared in leading roles with Washington National Opera, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and elsewhere.
LIDIYA YANKOVSKAYA (Conductor, Ellen West): Russian-born symphonic and opera conductor Lidiya Yankovskaya's recent work has been hailed as “superb,” “expert,” and “coax[ing] every possible expressive note from the instrumentalists.” Recently named Music Director of Chicago Opera Theater, this season she also serves as Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble, Music Director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater, as a chorus master for numerous programs with Boston Symphony Orchestra/Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and as a conductor with Boston Youth Symphony. Guest conducting engagements include Wolf Trap Opera, Flagstaff Symphony, Beth Morrison Projects, American Lyric Theater, Opera Saratoga, Stamford Symphony, Brookline Symphony, and Center for Contemporary Opera NYC. Lidiya was also part of Dallas Opera's inaugural Institute for Women Conductors, the Taki Concordia Fellowship program, and has been a conducting fellow at the Cabrillo Festival and under Lorin Maazel at the Castleton Festival where she assisted Maazel and filled in for him regularly in rehearsal and performance. Other prior engagements include five seasons as Music Director with Harvard's Lowell House Opera and regular conducting engagements with Center for Contemporary Opera in NYC. Last seen with Opera Saratoga for Zémire et Azor, Lidiya most recently led performances of Rubinshteyn's The Demon with Commonwealth Lyric Theater, the world premiere of Dan Shore’s opera Freedom Ride with Juventas, San Francisco performances of Rimsky Korsakov's Kashchej the Immortal and Mozart and Salieri, the world premiere of Julian Wachner's Rev23, concerts with Stamford Symphony and the Refugee Orchestra Project, and Pia de' Tolomei with Spoleto Festival USA. Other recent projects include Tchaikovsky’s Queen of Spades and Britten's Midsummer Night's Dream (first place, The American Prize) with Lowell House Opera, Juventas performances with robotic instruments and the NEA-funded puppetry collaboration entitled Music in Motion, the world premiere performances and recording of the ballet HackPolitik by Peter van Zandt Lane (with People Movers Dance), Rachmaninoff's Aleko with Commonwealth Lyric Theater (winner of National Opera Association Award for Best Production in the Professional Category), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snegurochka (the first fully-staged, Russian-language production of the opera in the U.S. and the work's New England premiere), and the world premiere of Isaac Schankler’s Light and Power with Juventas (winner of The National Opera Association Award and The American Prize for best professional production). Projects for the 2018-2019 season and beyond include Iolantaand Moby-Dick with the Chicago Opera Theater, Taking Up Serpents with the Washington National Opera, Zémire et Azor with Carnegie Mellon, and an upcoming world premiere with Minnesota Opera.
JENNIFER ZETLAN (Ellen West, Ellen West): Soprano Jennifer Zetlan is recognized for her artistry and captivating stage presence. Most recently Ms. Zetlan created the title role in Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt for On Site Opera, reprised her role in Crossing with American Repertory Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, sang Fanny in the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon’s Morning Star, and joined the San Francisco Symphony as Xenia in Boris Godunov. Additional recent highlights include her European debut with the Staatstheater Stuttgart in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, the title role in the world premiere of Jane Eyre by Louis Karchin with Center for Contemporary Opera, and Fiddler on the Roof (directed by Bartlett Sher) on Broadway. In concert she performed Kaija Saariaho’s Lonh and sang Woglinde in Das Rheingold with the New York Philharmonic and the soprano solos in Bruckner’s Te Deum and Mozart’s Mass in C minor at Carnegie Hall. She was also heard in recital with pianist David Shimoni and composer Ricky Ian Gordon, and was seen in Charlottesville Opera’s new production of Oklahoma! as Laurey. At the Metropolitan Opera, Ms. Zetlan has been seen in productions of War and Peace (2nd French actress), Boris Godunov (Xenia),Le nozze di Figaro (Bridesmaid), Macbeth (bloody child), and Two Boys (Rebecca). With Seattle Opera she has sung Gilda in Rigoletto, Musetta in La bohème, and Woglinde in Das Rheingold and Götterdämmerung and The Forest Bird in Siegfried. Known for her passion for contemporary music, Ms. Zetlan has been featured in the premieres of numerous American operas including Ned Rorem’s Our Town (Aspen Music Festival and Juilliard Opera Center), Crossing (Matt Aucoin, ART), Steven Stucky and Jeremy Denk’s The Classical Style (Ojai Festival and Carnegie Hall), Morning Star (Ricky Ian Gordon, Cincinnati Opera), Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (The Metropolitan Opera), Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters (Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia), Daron Hagen’s Amelia (Seattle Opera), David Diamond’s Six Arias from The Noblest Game (Seattle Symphony), and Louis Karchin’s Jane Eyre. Other contemporary works include The Tempest Songbook (Purcell-Saariaho) with Gotham Chamber Opera, Ligeti’s Requiem (American Symphony Orchestra), Golijov’s 3 Songs for Soprano (Lexington Philharmonic), Tavener’s Requiem (St. Ignatius Loyola with Kent Tritle conducting), and Richard Ayres’ In The Alps with Alarm Will Sound for which the New York Times called her “flawless.”
BETH MORRISON PROJECTS (Co-commissioner & Co-producer, Ellen West): Since 2006, Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) has been an industry disruptor and tastemaker at the forefront of musical and theatrical innovation by commissioning, developing, producing and touring the groundbreaking new works of living composers and their collaborators, which take the form of opera-theatre, music-theatre, and vocal-theatre. BMP encourages risk-taking and the result is provocative works that represent a dynamic and lasting legacy for a new American canon. During the last five years alone, BMP has produced works in 43 venues in 22 cities around the world. BMP’s commitment to cutting edge musical expression has created “its own genre" (Opera News) of originality. In 2013, Beth Morrison Projects and HERE Arts Center co-founded the PROTOTYPE Festival, which showcases contemporary opera-theatre and music-theatre projects over ten days each January. The New Yorker recently wrote that the festival is “Essential to the evolution of American Opera,” and the New York Times called the festival “Bracingly innovative… a point of reference.” Always on “the edge of innovation" (Opera News), BMP has developed a trailblazing program, BMP: Next Generation, to identify and foster the next generation of opera composers. This crucial initiative is a prime example of the transformative and boundary-shattering programming for which BMP has been known for over a decade. Other current and upcoming projects include works by composers Mohammed Fairouz, Ricky Ian Gordon, Ted Hearne, Mary Kouyoumdjian, David T. Little, Zhou Long, Elvis Perkins, Ellen Reid, Huang Ruo, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Du Yun, and more, with directors Michael Counts, James Darrah, Lee Sunday Evans, Emma Griffin, Patricia McGregor, Michael Joseph McQuilken, Lydia Steier, and Ashley Tata.
FEATURED ARTISTS AND COLLABORATORS: HANSEL AND GRETEL
MANUAL CINEMA (Production, Hansel and Gretel): Manual Cinema is a performance collective, design studio, and film/video production company founded in 2010 by Drew Dir, Sarah Fornace, Ben Kauffman, Julia Miller, and Kyle Vegter. Manual Cinema combines handmade shadow puppetry, cinematic techniques, and innovative sound and music to create immersive stories for stage and screen. Using vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, puppets, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and a live music ensemble, Manual Cinema transforms the experience of attending the cinema and imbues it with liveness, ingenuity, and theatricality. To date Manual Cinema has created five original feature length live cinematic shadow puppet shows (Lula Del Ray, ADA/ AVA, Mementos Mori, My Soul’s Shadow, The Magic City); a live cinematic contemporary dance show created for family audiences in collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance and the choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams (Mariko’s Magical Mix); an original site-specific installations (La Celestina); an original adaptation of Hansel & Gretel created for the Belgian Royal Opera; music videos for Sony Masterworks, Gabriel Kahane, three time GRAMMY Award-winning eighth blackbird, and NYTimes Best Selling author Reif Larson; a live non-fiction piece for Pop-Up Magazine; a self-produced short film (CHICAGOLAND); a museum exhibit created in collaboration with the Chicago History Museum (The Secret Lives of Objects) a collection of cinematic shorts in collaboration with poet Zachary Schomburg and string quartet Chicago Q Ensemble (FJORDS ); and live cinematic puppet adaptations of StoryCorps stories (Show & Tell). Manual Cinema has been presented by, worked in collaboration with, or brought its work to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Under the Radar Festival (NYC), The Tehran International Puppet Festival (Iran), La Monnaie-De Munt (Brussels), BAM (NYC), Underbelly (UK), Adelaide Festival (AU), The Kennedy Center (DC), The Kimmel Center (Philadelphia), the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Noorderzon Festival (Netherlands), The O, Miami Poetry Festival, Davies Symphony Hall (SF), The Ace Hotel Theater (LA), Handmade Worlds Puppet Festival (Minneapolis), The Screenwriters’ Colony in Nantucket, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Future of Storytelling Conference (NYC), the NYC Fringe Festival, The Poetry Foundation (Chicago), the Chicago International Music and Movies Festival, the Puppeteers of America: Puppet Festival (R)evolution, and elsewhere around the world.
GLENS FALLS SYMPHONY CHILDREN'S CHORUS: The Glens Falls Symphony, under the musical direction of Maestro Charles Peltz of New England Conservatory, runs a wide range of educational and outreach programs. The crown jewel of these important artistic community endeavors is the Symphony Children’s Chorus. Directed by Meredith Reed, the Chorus performs music from around the world in concerts and recitals. Recently the Chorus was invited to join with the Skidmore College Chorus in a performance (in Latin) of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, and in January 2019 will join with the Battenkill Chorale for a Holocaust Memorial concert. They regularly perform with the Glens Falls Symphony during the holiday and Independence Day concerts. Ms. Reed comes to the position with years of experience in teaching young voices to sing, serving at Glens Falls Middle School and the Glens Falls Music Academy. She holds a B.M. in Music Education from the Crane School of Music and a M.M.E. from Westminster Choir College.
ABOUT OPERA SARATOGA
Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermausat the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. The Company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. Opera Saratoga serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the Company has performed over 90 different fully-staged works by over 50 different composers, including thirty-three works by American composers and six world-premiere productions. In 2014, the Board of Directors appointed Lawrence Edelson Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director. Edelson’s leadership has marked a new chapter in the company’s history, with increased emphasis on community partnerships throughout the year, diversification of the company’s repertoire, and a reaffirmed commitment to both the presentation of American opera and the mentorship of emerging artists as core activities in the company’s programs each season. The 2019 summer season marks the 5th festival under Edelson’s leadership.