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Saratoga Springs, NY: Opera Saratoga's 2016 Summer Festival

Saratoga Springs, NY: Opera Saratoga's 2016 Summer Festival


Opera Saratoga


The Spa Little Theater
21 Roosevelt Drive
Saratoga Springs, NY


Friday, June 24, 2016 - 7:30pm
Monday, June 27, 2016 - 2:00pm
Saturday, July 9, 2016 - 2:00pm
Friday, July 15, 2016 - 7:30pm
Saturday, July 2, 2016 - 7:30pm
Monday, July 11, 2016 - 2:00pm
Sunday, July 17, 2016 - 2:00pm
Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 7:30pm
Sunday, July 10, 2016 - 2:00pm
Saturday, July 16, 2016 - 2:00pm



Opera Saratoga

Le nozze di Figaro
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Libretto by Lorenzo DaPonte
Directed by David Paul, Conducted by Andrew Bisantz
Featuring Katherine Whyte, Chelsea Basler, Keith Phares and Peixin Chen
June 24 - July 15, 2016

The Witches of Venice - American Premiere
Music by Philip Glass, Libretto by Beni Montresor
Directed and Choreographed by Karole Armitage, Conducted by Viswa Subbaraman
Featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance, and the Capital District Youth Chorale
July 1 - July 17, 2016

Il Postino
Music by Daniel Catán
Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta,
and the film by Michael Radford
Directed by Lawrence Edelson, Conducted by James Lowe
Featuring Sandra López, Daniel Montenegro and Richard Troxell
July 6 - July 16, 2016

Plus Seven Weeks of Recitals, Concerts and Master Classes
from May 28th - July 17th, 2016


Saratoga Springs, NY -  Lawrence Edelson, Artistic and General Director of Opera Saratoga, announced the program for the 2016 Summer Festival, which will run from May 28th through July 17, 2016. The season will feature three new productions, along with a diverse slate of recitals, concerts and master classes at multiple locations in Saratoga Springs, New York.

"I was thrilled to see the response to the diversity of Opera Saratoga's programming this past summer, as well as the expanded scope of our Festival," Edelson said. "Once again, I have worked to put together a season that reflects the incredible power of opera to tell vivid and compelling stories through music in very different ways. The season will open with Mozart's masterpiece, Le nozze di Figaro, which has not been produced by the company in 20 years. Building on both our commitment to presenting contemporary American work as well as operas in which dance plays a significant role, I'm thrilled to announce the American premiere of The Witches of Venice - a brilliant, but little known opera-ballet by Philip Glass. Finally, I am very excited to introduce our audiences to the music of Daniel Catán with our new production of Il Postino. Based on the beloved Academy Award wining film of the same name, Il Postino will be the first Spanish opera we have ever presented. To compliment the three operas, we will once again present an extensive series of events including a Mozart Liederabend, a concert of Spanish opera and song; and a Broadway Celebration featuring the Opera Saratoga Orchestra and members of our nationally acclaimed Young Artist Program."

The complete season schedule, including the full calendar and details for all concerts and special events, will be announced in October.  Subscriptions will go on sale October 31st, 2015, including special packages for out of town guests. Single tickets will go on sale February 1st, 2016.

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (The Marriage of Figaro)
Composer - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; Librettist - Lorenzo Da Ponte

A cornerstone of the operatic repertoire and one of the most frequently performed operas around the globe, Le nozze di Figaro returns to Opera Saratoga for the first time in twenty years. Beaumarchais' play, upon which the opera is based, serves as the sequel to Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). In an already volatile political climate, the play created a stir by pitting witty servants against their masters. The opera adaptation was originally banned in Vienna because of the licentiousness of the play, but Mozart's librettist Da Ponte managed to get official approval, after which the opera was written and became a tremendous success. It was the first collaboration between Mozart and Da Ponte, the partnership, which later brought us Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte.

Le nozze di Figaro continues the plot of The Barber of Seville several years later. The Count has married Rosina and made her the Countess, but their marriage has gone sour because of his philandering. Figaro has quit barbering and is now the Count's major-domo. He is engaged to Susanna, who is Countess Rosina's maid - and the Count's intended conquest. Bartolo is back to seek revenge on Figaro for taking Rosina away from him, with the help of the conniving music-master, Basilio. Adding to the fun are an amorous teenager, a scheming old maid, a drunken gardener and his daughter. Much happens over the course a single "day of madness" in this beloved masterpiece.
From the first tremors of the overture, Mozart's score is brilliantly meshed with Da Ponte's libretto to become the true engine of the drama that unfolds. In the words of the great composer Johannes Brahms, "In my opinion, each number in Figaro is a miracle; it is totally beyond me how anyone could create anything so perfect; nothing like it was ever done again, not even by Beethoven."

Chinese bass Peixin Chen makes his Opera Saratoga debut as Figaro, and soprano Chelsea Basler - an alumna of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program previously seen as Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore - returns as Susanna, his bride to be.  The production also features the company debuts of soprano Katherine Whyte as the Countess and baritone Keith Phares as the Count. Andrew Bisantz makes his conducting debut with the company, along with director David Paul who helms this new production.

The production will run from June 24 to July 15, 2016.

Composer - Philip Glass; Librettist - Beni Montresor

The second production of the season will be the American premiere of Philip Glass' The Witches of Venice - an opera-ballet originally written for Teatro alla Scala in Milan that premiered in 1995. This whimsical opera that incorporates dance throughout was composed in collaboration with illustrator and stage designer Beni Montresor, who adapted the libretto from his children's book of the same name.
Based in the historical Venice of Carnival, The Witches of Venice is a whimsical tale about a boy grown from a plant in the King's garden, who is looking for a little girl like him. He soon finds himself escaping captors, wandering dark hallways, fleeing monsters, and ultimately finding a friend. It is a heartfelt story, with underlying themes of self-acceptance and finding one's place in the world.   

The Witches of Venice is one of Glass' most creative scores - a family-friendly opera featuring inventive songs, exhilarating dances, fantastical music portraying monsters and fairies, and savvy scoring that carries the story along.   Opera Saratoga is thrilled to introduce American audiences to an important and little known work by one of America's most important composers, and to continue its commitment to presenting contemporary American work as well as operas in which dance plays an integral role.  

Internationally renowned director and choreographer Karole Armitage, who made her debut with Opera Saratoga this past summer creating the company's critically acclaimed production of Dido and Aeneas, returns to direct and choreograph this American premiere production. Viswa Subbaraman, Artistic Director of Skylight Music Theater and former Artistic Director of the innovative contemporary opera company Opera Vista in Houston will conduct. Principal roles will be sung by members of Opera Saratoga's Young Artist Program, the second oldest mentorship program for emerging professional singers in the country. Applications for the program, directed by Laurie Rogers, are being accepted through September 12, 2015. Auditions will be held in Houston, Cincinnati and New York City in November. Last season, Opera Saratoga received over 1,000 applications for the program.

As with last season's production of Dido and Aeneas, members of the New York City based Armitage Gone! Dance Company will also be featured prominently in the production. In addition The Witches of Venice provides important opportunities for collaborations with other organizations in the region.  Opera Saratoga will collaborate with TheCapital District Youth Chorale, upstate New York's premiere children's chorus under the direction of Diane Warner, as well The School of the Arts at The National Museum of Dance under the direction of Raul Martinez, to provide opportunities for local children to perform alongside professional artists in the opera, which includes a children's chorus and extensive use of both child and adult dancers.

The Witches of Venice will run from July 1 to July 17, 2016.

Composer - Daniel Catán; Libretto by the composer, based on the novel by Antonio Skármeta, and the film by Michael Radford

Based on the Academy Award-winning 1994 Italian film that became a surprise hit with audiences around the world, and also on the 1985 novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta, Il Postino tells the story of a shy young postman in a tiny Italian fishing village, who discovers the courage to pursue his dreams through his daily deliveries to his only customer, the esteemed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.  The role of Neruda was originally written for Plàcido Domingo, who sang the role at the opera's premiere in 2010 at Los Angeles Opera - just months before composer Daniel Catán's tragic death at the age of 62.  

Catán is known for a neo-romantic style that has been compared variously to Puccini, Ravel and Debussy, with lush orchestrations and lyrical melodic lines. Tonal and accessible, his work has proven immensely popular with audiences.

Il Postino will be the first Spanish opera performed in Opera Saratoga's history. The cast will feature the company debuts of four international singers: tenor Daniel Montenegro will sing the title role of Mario Ruoppolo - the postman - a role he recently sang in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet; tenor Richard Troxell sings the role of Pablo Neruda; and soprano Sandra López sings the role of Matilde Neruda, the poet's third wife. James Lowe also makes his company debut conducting the production, which will be directed by Opera Saratoga's Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson.

The production will run from July 5 to July 16, 2016.

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