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Opera Saratoga Announces 2020 Summer Festival Programming

Friday, Jun 19, 2020 at 7:30PM

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  • Jun 2020

    19 Fri

    7:30PM

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Opera Saratoga Announces 2020 Summer Festival Programming

Friday, Jun 19, 2020 at 7:30PM

New York, NY , United States of America




OPERA
SARATOGA ANNOUNCES 

2020
SUMMER FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING

 

THREE
NEW PRODUCTIONS

MADAMA BUTTERFLY

Directed
by Izumi Ashizawa; Conducted by Dean Williamson

 

THE
PIRATES OF PENZANCE

Directed
and Choreographed by Eve Summer; 

Conducted
by Brian DeMaris

 

SKY
ON SWINGS (New York Premiere)
Directed by Lawrence Edelson;
Conducted by Emily Senturia

 

Principal
Guest Artists include the company debuts of

Soprano
Kelebogile Besong; Mezzo Soprano Susanne Mentzer; 

and
Mezzo Soprano Marietta Simpson

Opera
Saratoga announced today the three operas that will be featured at
the center of the company's 2020 Summer Festival, to be presented at
The Spa Little Theatre in Spa State Park, from June 19th
through July 5th, 2020
.

 

The
2020 Summer Festival will feature new productions of two audience
favorites, Puccini's Madama Butterfly, and Gilbert &
Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, alongside the
New York premiere of a riveting new opera by Lembit Beecher and
Hannah Moscovitch, Sky on Swings, which received
its critically acclaimed world premiere in 2018.

 

The
Festival will also feature multiple concerts and public master
classes highlighting the exceptional members of Opera Saratoga's
Young Artist Program, under the direction of Laurie Rogers,
who celebrates her tenth anniversary as the program's director in
2020. These additional events will culminate in a complete
performance of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle,
conducted by Maestra Rogers, on the final day of the Festival, July
5, 2020.

 

"The
2020 Summer Festival continues Opera Saratoga's commitment to present
masterworks from the operatic canon, works that introduce family
audiences to the excitement of lyric theater, and important
contemporary works," said Artistic and General Director Lawrence
Edelson
. "We also remain committed to showcasing leading
international artists alongside the next generation of gifted
emerging artists. At Opera Saratoga, audiences have the opportunity
to hear truly exceptional singing and theatrically compelling
productions in an intimate space that creates a truly visceral
experience. There are few theaters in the world where you enjoy this
caliber of performance as up-close-and-personal as you can at Opera
Saratoga."

 

THE
PIRATES OF PENZANCE 

Gilbert
and Sullivan's beloved operetta, The Pirates of Penzance,
returns to Opera Saratoga in a new, action-packed, dance-filled
production for the entire family. Young pirate-in-training
Frederic can't wait for his 21st birthday, the day his erroneous
pirate apprenticeship ends....or does it? Born in a Leap Year,
Frederic discovers he must remain with the raucous band and delay a
future with the lovely Mabel who promises to wait for him, much to
the chagrin of her father, the Major General. Bound by his own sense
of duty and loyalty to the Pirate King, will Frederic be forced to
sail away into the sunset alone or fly high on the seas of love? The
most famous patter song in all of opera, "I am the very model of
a modern Major General..." is but one of the memorable melodies
in this tuneful, swashbuckling farce. Directed and choreographed
by Eve Summer, a distinguished alumna of Opera Saratoga's
Directing Fellowship Program, this new production will showcase
members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program. The production will
be conducted by Brian DeMaris in his company debut.
Previously director of opera and musical theatre at Ithaca College
and Music Director of Mill City Summer Opera, Maestro DeMaris
currently serves as Artistic Director of Music Theatre and Opera at
Arizona State University and Principal Conductor of the Anchorage
Opera in Alaska.

"Long
before the satirical comedy of late night television, Gilbert
and Sullivan's operettas were the hottest send-ups of current events
and political obsessions," said Edelson. "While The
Pirates of Penzance
 is absurd, hilarious, and entertaining
for audiences of all ages, it is also brilliant parody - proving that
the lines between opera and popular culture are not necessarily that
far apart. Over the years, The Pirates of Penzance has
been featured in a Tony Award winning production on Broadway, in
film, and on the opera house stage. With incredibly witty lyrics, not
so scary pirates, a damsel who refuses to be in distress, and a score
that parodies composers from Verdi to Mozart to Gounod, it truly has
something to offer every member of the audience." 

 

SKY
ON SWINGS

Composer
Lembit Beecher and Librettist Hannah Moscovitch's Sky on
Swings
, which received its critically acclaimed premiere at
Opera Philadelphia in 2018, is a riveting musical and theatrical
exploration of what it feels like to live with Alzheimer's Disease,
as seen through the eyes of two women at different stages in the
progression of dementia: Martha, who is far gone in the disease; and
Danny, who knows what is happening to her and is in frantic denial. 

 

Composer
Lembit Beecher explains that "there are many stories to
tell about Alzheimer's: family members, caretakers, researchers, and
doctors all have unique perspectives. But from an early stage of
working on this piece, I knew I wanted the focus to be on the
experience of the disease: to try, as much as possible, to view the
world through the eyes of two individuals with Alzheimer's and to
give voice to those characters... One of the unexpected joys of
writing Sky on Swings was the realization that I had
the opportunity to write music that could not be sung by younger
singers." Two of the country's most distinguished,
internationally acclaimed artists, mezzo sopranos Susanne
Mentzer
 and Marietta Simpson, make their Opera
Saratoga debuts in the roles of Danny and Martha in this new
production, directed by Lawrence Edelson, and conducted
by rising star Emily Senturia, who has recently led
productions at Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera,
also making her company debut.

 

Edelson
described his reaction to first seeing 
Sky
on Swings
,
and why he felt compelled to create a new production for Opera
Saratoga: "In 2018, I had the privilege to attend the world
premiere of 
Sky
on Swings
.
Many members of my family have been impacted by Alzheimer's, and I
admit to attending the production with some reluctance - in part
because I knew it would likely be an emotional experience for me, but
also because I wasn't sure how the journey of someone with
Alzheimer's could be portrayed in opera without making it feel
artificial or sensationalized. Seeing this opera was one of the most
remarkable experiences I have ever had in the theater. The way that
Lembit and Hannah evoke not only the experience of two women living
with Alzheimer's, but also the experience of their children as they
help to comfort and support their parents, is extraordinary. Knowing
how important second productions are for new operas in order for them
to begin entering the repertoire, I set my sights on developing a
production of 
Sky
on Swings
 for
our theater, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase
Susanne Mentzer and Marietta Simpson - two truly extraordinary
artists who have sung on the great stages of the world from The
Metropolitan Opera to La Scala in Milan - in this powerful and deeply
moving work." 

 

MADAMA
BUTTERFLY

Japanese
Director Izumi Ashizawa, whose work explores global
diplomacy through physical story-telling, unconventional puppetry and
object animation, will make her debut with Opera Saratoga next
summer, creating a new production of Giacomo Puccini's Madama
Butterfly
. Ashizawa brings her unique approach to theater,
based on Japanese physical performance techniques, to the
heartbreaking story of hope, devotion, and betrayal amidst the
cherry blossoms of Nagasaki.Cio-Cio-San, a young wife and mother,
waits for the return of her beloved B.F. Pinkerton, a lieutenant in
the United States Navy. When his ship comes in, her dreams for the
future meet his - with tragic results. South African
soprano Kelebogile Besong, who has recently enthralled
audiences at Festival d'Aix en Provence, Teatro Regio di Torino, The
Edinburgh International Festival and Bayerische Staatsoper, will make
her company and role debut as Cio-Cio-San. Conductor Dean
Williamson
, Music Director for Nashville Opera who has led
productions for Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and
Minnesota Opera, will also make his company debut leading the
production.

 

"Madama
Butterfly
 is one of the most beloved of Puccini's operas,
but is also a work that presents challenges for contemporary
audiences," Edelson explained. "As a historically white and
European art form, opera has a history of using cultural
appropriation to tell stories. There is no questioning the glory of
the score, but Madama Butterfly's popularity has
perpetuated and reinforced many stereotypes of Japan, and Asian women
in particular. In considering how we might produce Madama
Butterfly
 today, three things were very important to me.
First, we eliminate all hints of yellowface - the offensive and
outdated tradition of making non-Asian singers look Asian through
makeup - in the production. Second, that we have a diverse cast who
can honor the vocal demands of the opera, and ensure we are focused
on creating characters, not caricatures. And third, that we have a
director who can create a production that will allow us to look at
the story through a different lens than we have in the past. I am
thrilled that the brilliant Japanese director Izumi Ashizawa will
create a production for us that will allow us to enjoy this exquisite
score and story with new perspective."

 

..........................................................................................................................................

 

Complete
casting, additional concerts, symposia and public master classes for
the 2020 Summer Festival will be announced in the coming months.

 

Subscriptions
will go on sale October 1, 2019.
 Along with Choose Your Own
Subscription Packages, two Getaway Weekends in late June and early
July - during which it will be possible to see all three Festival
productions - will be available as subscriptions with discounted
accommodations available for out of town visitors. 

 

Single
Tickets will go on sale February 15, 2020.

 

For
more information, please visit 
www.operasaratoga.org

..........................................................................................................................................

 

2020
OPERA PRODUCTIONS

ALL
OPERA PERFORMANCES TAKE PLACE AT: THE SPA LITTLE THEATER, SARATOGA
SPRINGS, NY

Opera
Tickets: 
$125 / $100 / $75 / $50 

Subscriptions: Discount
Packages Available 

 

THE
PIRATES OF PENZANCE (1879)

Music
by Sir Arthur Sullivan; Libretto by Sir W.S. Gilbert

Performance
Dates: 

            Friday,
June 19, 2020 @ 7:30pm

            Saturday,
June 21, 2020 @ 2pm

            Monday,
June 29, 2020 @ 2pm

            Saturday,
July 4, 2020 @ 2pm

Conductor: Brian
DeMaris (debut)

Director
and Choreographer:
 Eve Summer

Featuring: Opera
Saratoga Festival Artists 

 

SKY
ON SWINGS (2018) - New York Premiere

Music
by Lembit Beecher; Libretto by Hannah Moscovitch

 

Performance
Dates: 

            Saturday,
June 20, 2020 @ 7:30pm

            Saturday,
June 27, 2020 @ 2pm

            Thursday,
July 2, 2020 @ 7:30pm

 

Conductor: Emily
Senturia (debut)

Director: Lawrence
Edelson

Featuring: Susanne
Mentzer (debut) and Marietta Simpson (debut)

 

MADAMA
BUTTERFLY (1904)

Music
by Giacomo Puccini; Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa

Performance
Dates: 

Friday,
June 26, 2020 @ 7:30pm

Sunday,
June 28, 2020 @ 2pm

Wednesday,
July 1, 2020 @ 7:30pm

Friday,
July 3, 2020 @ 2pm

 

Conductor: Dean
Williamson (debut)

Director: Izumi
Ashizawa (debut)

Featuring: Kelebogile
Besong (debut) 

..........................................................................................................................................

 

ABOUT
OPERA SARATOGA

Opera
Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a
production of 
Die
Fledermaus
 at
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 104
different fully staged works by 65 different composers, including 42
works by American composers and 14 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 2020
Summer Festival marks the sixth season under his leadership. For more
information, visit www.operasaratoga.org.

 

 

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