OPERA NORTH ANNOUNCES SUMMERFEST 2019 SEASON
AT BLOW-ME-DOWN FARM AND LEBANON OPERA HOUSE
Tickets, Subscriptions and Gift Certificates Now On Sale in Time for the Holidays
LEBANON, NH (December 21, 2018) – Opera North is pleased to announce the schedule for its 37th season, Summerfest 2019, with expanded programming at Blow-Me-Down Farm. In addition to its popular venue at Lebanon Opera House, Opera North plans two productions at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish, the venue under development in partnership with the National Park Service and Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site to create a home for Opera North and a national park for the arts.
For Summerfest 2019 Big Apple Circus director Mark Lonergan and a team of professional circus artists team up with Opera North for “Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down,” a veritable “Singers and Swingers 2.0” celebrating the music of Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and other familiar favorites. There are five performances of “Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down,” July 12-14, 2019.
Then Opera North presents The Pirates of Penzance, under the big top with three performances July 26-28. Inept pirates, ardent lovers, beautiful maidens, bumbling bobbies, and the very model of a modern Major General drop anchor at Blow-Me-Down Farm for a fresh take on one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular comic operas.
Finally, the company returns to the Lebanon Opera House for a dramatic staging of Verdi’s Macbeth in four performances, August 4-10. This is the first time Opera North will produce the opera, based on the Shakespeare play by the same name. Macbeth is a terrifying, yet fascinating look at the dynamics of power and the delusions that come with it. The opera features some of Verdi’s finest choral music.
Individual tickets start at $25, with all fees included. Subscriber options allow the buyer to save 15 percent* (through January 5, 2019) on the purchase of any number of seats for all three shows. Subscribers also have the option to pick their dates and seats later. Opera North also offers gift certificates for the 2019 season, in denominations of $25, $45, $50, $65 and $90. For more information and to order online, go to OperaNorth.org
“Opera North announces our next season’s performances around this time each year so that opera lovers and those who are looking for the perfect holiday gift for opera lovers can purchase tickets and/or subscriptions as gifts,” noted general director Evans Haile. “Given the buzz that our Summerfest ‘Singers & Swingers’ created last year at Blow-Me-Down Farm, it’s not a bad idea to get tickets for this year’s ‘Hoedown at Blow-Me-Down’ as early as possible. I know we will sell out.”
Opera North Receives $50,000 Grant for Blow-Me-Down Farm Rehabilitation from Timken Foundation
Lebanon, New Hampshire (October 20, 2018) – Opera North has received a $50,000 grant from Timken Foundation for stabilizing and repairing the historic Charles Beaman farmhouse at Blow-Me-Down Farm, parts of which date to the late 1700s. The funds will advance the project to preserve and renovate Blow-Me-Down Farm for future use as a base for Opera North’s activities.
The project is the result of a partnership agreement signed in 2016 by Opera North and the National Park Service at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site which owns the farm. Recognized as the place that launched the Cornish Colony, the 42-acre Blow-Me-Down Farm estate in Cornish, overlooking the Connecticut River and Mt. Ascutney, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“The Timken Foundation grant brings Opera North significantly closer to the estimated cost of renovations at the farmhouse,” commented Evans Haile, Opera North Executive Director. “The funds allow us to begin work as soon as possible on stabilizing the building for the winter.”
The preservation and rehabilitation of the historic Beaman farmhouse is being directed by architect R. Andrew Garthwaite, AIA. Phase One of realizing the ON the Farm vision launched earlier this year with a $350,000 commitment from the Northern Border Regional Commission, a Federal-state development partnership in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Opera North has also received one of 20 Opera America Innovation grants to work towards the vision of ON the Farm.
Opera North demonstrated the concept of using Blow-Me-Down Farm as a creative space with this past summer’s innovative blending of “arias and aerialists” under a big top on the lawn. Summerfest 2018 Singers & Swingers delivered four sold-out performances and rave reviews.
OPERA NORTH PRESENTS SCALIA/GINSBURG
IN LEAD-UP TO 2018 MIDTERM ELECTIONS
Premiere of New Chamber Version
Performances at Briggs Opera House in
White River Junction VT on Oct. 12
and Saint Anselm College Dana Center in Manchester on Oct. 14
LEBANON, New Hampshire (September 5, 2018) — Opera North is pleased to present a timely and contemporary opera in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections: Scalia/Ginsburg, a one-act comic opera by composer-librettist Derrick Wang inspired by the contrasting opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia.
Opera North presents Scalia/Ginsburg just after the October 1st opening of the 2018 Supreme Court Term, in the midst of two potentially transformative moments in American governance — the height of the 2018 midterm election season, and the confirmation process for a new Supreme Court Justice. Performances take place on Friday, October 12 at 7pm at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction, VT and on Sunday, October 14 at the Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. (Saint Anselm College, home to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, is a perennial ‘first in the nation’ stop for presidential primary candidates.)Tickets are available now at OperaNorth.org (Oct. 12, starting at $55) and at tickets.anselm.edu (Oct. 14, starting at $35).
Hailed as “a perfect…jewel” (Opera Today), “funny, exceedingly clever” (Above the Law), and “brilliant…gorgeous” (DC Theatre Scene), Scalia/Ginsburg depicts the unlikely friendship of these two Justices of America’s highest court — a friendship that transcended politics and found expression in their shared passion for opera. The Los Angeles Times wrote: “Could we please make it a constitutional requirement that no one can be sworn into office in the White House or Congress without having first seen Scalia/Ginsburg?”
In the plot of Scalia/Ginsburg, the two Justices find themselves in a fantastical situation of operatic proportions, where they must pass through three cosmic trials to secure their freedom. The catch: they may have to agree on the Constitution. Opinions will be offered. Dissents will be delivered. And justice will be sung.
Opera North’s production, conducted by Opera North Artistic Director Louis G. Burkot and staged by director Audrey Chait, stars soprano Emily Misch as Justice Ginsburg, tenor Derek Jackenheimer as Justice Scalia, and bass-baritone William Meinert as The Commentator.
Sung in English, this production marks the premiere of a new chamber version of Scalia/Ginsburg, re-orchestrated for an intimate ensemble of seven musicians. This “tuneful…accessible and fun” (The American Interest) score features a wealth of references not only to famous Supreme Court cases but also to the “operatic precedent” of composers such as Händel, Mozart, Rossini, Bellini, Verdi, Offenbach, Bizet, Sullivan, Puccini, and Strauss.
“Scalia/Ginsburg is an opera for our time, written about a contemporary American topic that becomes more relevant with each passing day,” wrote Opera North General Director Evans Haile. “With its comedic libretto, melodious score, and theme of friendship across the political divide, Scalia/Ginsburg is the perfect work to delight our audiences and inspire dialogue during this time of change. We are especially thrilled that composer-librettist Derrick Wang, who is also an attorney, will join us in person to discuss this exciting work.”
“I am delighted that Opera North, based in a community that is ‘first in the nation’ for presidential primary elections, will also be first in the nation to debut this new chamber version of Scalia/Ginsburg,” wrote composer and librettist Derrick Wang. “It is a privilege to be invited into a region so central to our national civic life to celebrate the exemplary friendship of Justices Ginsburg and Scalia.”
Scalia/Ginsburg debuted in a special presentation at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 and then received its world premiere in 2015 at renowned conductor Lorin Maazel’s Castleton Festival. Revised after the passing of Justice Scalia, the opera received a sold-out second production in 2017 at The Glimmerglass Festival. Justices Ginsburg and Scalia themselves wrote prefaces to Derrick Wang’s libretto [script], which contains over 200 footnotes to legal and operatic precedent and was published in 2015 by the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts. The prefaces and excerpts from the libretto are republished in Justice Ginsburg’s 2016 book My Own Words as the chapter “The Scalia/Ginsburg Opera,” the audiobook version of which is narrated and performed by composer-librettist Derrick Wang. A recording of the aria “You Are Searching in Vain for a Bright-Line Solution” is released on the Cedille Records album Notorious RBG in Song (2018).
FROM STAGES IN WASHINGTON, MEXICO CITY AND NEW YORK
OPERA NORTH WELCOMES YOUNG ARTISTS FOR TALES OF HOFFMANN AND BARBER OF SEVILLE TO SUMMERFEST 2018
Lebanon, New Hampshire (July 23, 2108) – Opera North, the oldest professional opera company in the Upper Valley, has assembled stellar casts and a vibrant new class of Resident Artists to its repertory productions of Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman and Rossini’s Barber of Seville for Summerfest 2018. Now in its 36th season Opera North Summerfest 2018 features a total of eight performances of the two mainstage productions alternating through the end of July and early August at Opera North’s home venue, the Lebanon Opera House. Ticket prices range from $20 to $90.
The cast for Tales of Hoffmann includes:
Todd Wilander as Hoffmann, praised for his “clear and sweet lyrical tone” (Opera News) and “brave, vocally assured portrayals” (New York Times), Todd has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera as Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Almaviva (Il Barbiere di Sivigilia) and Beppe (I Pagliacci) and with New York City Opera in Séance on a Wet Afternoon, La Donna del Lago and La fanciulla del West.
Aleksey Bogdanov, takes on the roles of all four villains Lindorf / Coppélius / Miracle / Dapertutto. Praised as "a baritone to watch" by the Washington Post, Bogdanov made debuts in the 2017-18 season with Arizona Opera as Scarpia in Tosca and Sarasota Opera as Sebastiano in d'Albert's Tiefland. Next season, he will debut at Maryland Lyric Opera and return to Washington National Opera to cover the title role in Eugene Onegin and Scarpia in Tosca.
Emily Misch* as Olympia, was praised for her "scintillating precision" by Opera News. She is a coloratura soprano whose 2017-2018 season included the Grand Finals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and soprano solos in Mozart's Requiem and Haydn's Paukenmesse with Huntington Choral Society and Carmina Burana with Altoona Symphony Orchestra.
Amal El-Shrafi * as Antonia, was hailed by the Boston Music Intelligencer as "shining through with a strength and power that matched her character’s presence onstage," the Palestinian- American soprano’s recent engagements include performances with Sarasota Opera, Mobile Opera, Opera Company of Middlebury, Beth Morrison Projects and her Lincoln Center debut with the New York Philharmonic.
Rachel Weishoff * as Giulietta, whose recording as Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible Opera News described as a “brave, weighty rendering…marvelous,” has performed in New York City with Mannes Opera as Erika in Vanessa), with Chelsea Opera as La Seconda Cercatrice in La Suora Infermiera) and in Central City Opera.
Attila Dobak* as Crespel, is a 2013 Opera North Resident Artist, appeared at the Boston Lyric Opera in La bohème, The Merry Widow and Carmen. He took the stage at Müpa Budapest in the title role of Kodály's Háry János, and in the 2017-18 season made his debut at the Hungarian State Opera.
Additional 2018 Opera North Resident Artists cast members in Tales of Hoffmann include:
Nicklausse / The Muse: Ashley Puenner *
Schlémil: Brady Muth *
Spalanzani: James Smidt *
The cast for “Barber of Seville” includes:
César Delgado as Count Almaviva, was chosen to participate in Placido Domingo’s 2015 Master Class. The Mexican-born tenor’s upcoming engagements include The Duke in Rigoletto with New Orleans Opera and his debut in Germany as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor with Regensburg Theater.
José Adán Pérez as Figaro, a barber, is a native of Mazatlán, México, returns to Opera North as Figaro, a role he sang here in 2009. He is an alumnus of the Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program of LA Opera, Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, Aspen Opera Theater, IVAI Israel and SIVAM Opera Program. He has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl as Dancaïro in Carmen with the LA Philharmonic.
Cassandra Zoé Velasco as Rosina, ward of Dr. Bartolo is one of Mexico’s rising stars of opera who has appeared in productions in Mexico City, including Angelina in La Cenerentola and Isolier in Le Comte Ory with Mexico National Opera Company, and recently returned to the Metropolitan Opera for roles in The Merry Widow and Rusalka, and appeared in Farnace and de’ Tolomei with Spoleto USA.
Donald Hartmann as Dr. Bartolo, physican, Rosina’s guardian is described as possessing a “big, rich voice with an amazing timbre” and “one of the best character singers on any opera stage anywhere.” He debuted in the 2016-2017 season with the New York City Opera in a production of Tosca, and secondly with Central City Opera The Ballad of Babe Doe, by Douglas Moore.
Evan Boyer as Basilio, music master to Rosina, since graduating from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has performed with the Canadian Opera Company, LA Opera, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Palm Beach Opera, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia, the Houston Symphony and many others.
Additional 2018 Opera North Resident Artist cast members in Barber of Seville include:
Fiorello, servant of Count Almaviva: JeeHoon Kim *
Ambroglio, servant of Dr. Bartolo: Stephen McCluskey *
Berta, Dr. Bartolo’s old housemaid: Cara Collins *
OPERA NORTH SELECTS HAYNES & GARTHWAITE ARCHITECTS
FOR BLOW-ME-DOWN FARM PRESERVATION PROJECT
Lebanon, New Hampshire – Opera North has selected architect R. Andrew Garthwaite, AIA of the Norwich, Vermont-based firm Haynes & Garthwaite to undertake the preservation and rehabilitation of the historic Charles C. Beaman House at Blow-Me-Down Farm in Cornish, New Hampshire. Under an agreement forged last summer between Opera North and the National Park Service, Opera North is responsible for stabilizing and repairing the Beaman farmhouse, parts of which date to the late 1700s, in order to adapt the building for future use as a base for Opera North’s activities at Blow-Me-Down Farm.
The first phase of Garthwaite’s work will address issues related to the current condition of the building and the preservation of the historic site, including improving drainage, repairing deterioration, and making it more weather resistant. Additionally, the scope of the work will include addressing ADA compliance to make the building safer to use for all members of the public. Phase Two of the project will focus on reviewing and updating systems, including electrical, plumbing and roofing, as well as limited interior repairs.
An Upper Valley native, Andrew Garthwaite is a graduate of Haverford College and the Yale University School of Architecture. He worked in London for the renowned British architect John Simpson before returning to the Upper Valley as partner in Haynes & Garthwaite. The firm works with a wide variety of clients and projects, with special affinity for the local histories and material culture of New Hampshire and Vermont towns. Recent projects include comprehensive renovations of the 1928 Federal-style Dartmouth College President’s Residence, the restoration of the Lyme Academy exterior to its 1838 appearance and the rehabilitation of the interior for use as an historical society museum and community arts center (winner of the 2002 New Hampshire Preservation Alliance, Preservation Achievement Award). The firm also handled the restoration of two important Cornish Colony artists’ residences including a classical house, studio, gardens and grounds designed by Charles Platt in 1896 using the same materials, details and themes as the original to preserve and honor Platt’s work while accommodating new use.
“I particularly value the buildings and landscape of New England and seek to reinforce the sense of place in each design and look forward to returning the Beaman House to its former life as a center of music, performance and delight,” said Garthwaite.
In making the announcement, General Director Evans Haile noted, “In addition to his commitment to the natural and built landscape of the Upper Valley and his award-winning results, Andrew has devoted time to talent to many historical projects in the area. We are delighted that he has joined our exciting next chapter at Blow-Me-Down Farm.”
Blow-Me-Down Farm, which is adjacent to the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, was the historic home of Charles C. Beaman, a New York City lawyer who was responsible for bringing Augustus Saint-Gaudens and many others to Cornish, New Hampshire. The result was the Cornish Colony, an extraordinary group of visual artists, writers, architects, landscape designers, musicians, and others who lived and worked in Cornish and nearby Plainfield from 1885 until 1935. The group included such notable people as Maxfield Parrish, Ethel Barrymore, Percy Mackaye, Ellen Shipman, Paul Manship, Charles Adams Platt, and novelist Winston Churchill.
OPERA AMERICA ANNOUNCES RECIPIENTS OF INNOVATION GRANTS
Generously Funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation
A TOTAL OF $1.2 MILLION AWARDED TO 20 COMPANIES
TO FOSTER INNOVATION AND FIELD-WIDE LEARNING
April 10, 2018 (New York) — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading champion of American opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of the second cycle of Innovation Grants, generously funded by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation.
Launched in fall 2016, Innovation Grants support exceptional projects that have the capacity to strengthen the field’s most important areas of practice, including artistic vitality, audience experience, organizational effectiveness and community connections. These grants invest up to $1.5 million annually in OPERA America’s Professional Company Members, enabling organizations of all sizes to increase their commitment to experimentation and innovation, as well as contribute to field-wide learning.
Twenty companies received awards in this granting cycle:
American Opera Projects (New York, NY)
The Dallas Opera
Haymarket Opera Company (Chicago, IL)
Nautilus Music-Theater (St. Paul, MN)
New Orleans Opera
On Site Opera (New York, NY)
Opera Columbus (Columbus, OH)
Opéra de Montréal
Opera in the Heights and Pacific Opera Project
(Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA)
Opera North (Lebanon, NH)
Opera on Tap (New York, NY)
Opera San Luis Obispo
Opera Theatre of Saint Louis
San Diego Opera
These grants will fund a wide range of initiatives, including the production of socially relevant works with civic resonance; projects designed to make opera inclusive and accessible; the fusion of technology with live performance; partnerships among arts and non-arts organizations; research into the audience experience; and career-development programs for opera creators and artists.
In addition to providing direct financial support to these companies, the Innovation Grants program includes infrastructure to capture and assess outcomes of funded projects. OPERA America will provide administrative and technical support that will enable companies to document successes and learn from one another. Outcomes will be shared at future OPERA America meetings and conferences, as well as through publications and other learning tools.
“Thanks to the profound generosity of the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, our member companies have received support to explore new strategies and experiments — to expand the boundaries of their current practices and nimbly adapt to an ever-changing field,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “These grants benefit more than just the recipients; through the lessons learned from the funded initiatives, companies throughout North America will be able to replicate and adopt good ideas, and ultimately contribute to a stronger art form.”
Submitted by 48 American and Canadian companies, grant applications were adjudicated by an
independent panel consisting of Snehal Desai, producing artistic director, East West Players; Sue Elliott, director of teacher certification, The Royal Conservatory of Music; Seena Hodges, associate vice president of strategy and communications, The Saint Paul and Minnesota Community Foundations; Barry Joseph, associate director for digital learning, American Museum of Natural History; Margaret M. Lioi, chief executive officer, Chamber Music America; Michael Rohd, founding artistic director, Sojourn Theater, and executive director, Center for Performance and Civic Practice; and Jane Weaver-Sobel, field consultant, and former interim general director, Fort Worth Opera and Austin Opera.