Bel Canto (‘beautiful singing’) tradition thrives here.

La FavoriteDialogues des Carmélites. Recitals. Conversations. Immerse yourself in opera for a day or a weekend.
Let yourself be moved.

Of all the operatic works restored to life in our age of revivals, the most extensive and enduring group has been the products of the bel canto school – Gioachino Rossini, Gaetano Donizetti, Vincenzo Bellini, and the young Giuseppe Verdi. Between 1808 and 1850 these masters produced some 125 works of musical theater in a style that made Italian opera the world’s most popular art form. Later, the shifting winds of taste swept all but about ten of these operas from regular use. But beginning with the spectacular example of Maria Callas, and continuing through Marilyn Horne, Joan Sutherland, and Beverly Sille, exciting artists have rediscovered the lapsed skills of bel canto singing and revealed dozens of masterpieces anew to modern audiences. In 1997, following the success of a Caramoor production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola that introduced Vivica Genaux to New York, we decided to establish a formal concentration on bel canto opera, and Bel Canto at Caramoor was born.


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Two operas on the collision of church and state:

Saturday July 11, 2015
La Favorite
by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Alphonse Royer and Gustave Vaëz
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield
Saturday July 25, 2015
Dialogues des Carmélites
by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield


Will Crutchfield, Caramoor’s Director of Opera, has this to say about the 2015 operas:

As it happens, both titles treat the question of the religious life as a retreat from worldly conflicts – a topic of keen importance over the centuries in which the Catholic Church held concrete power in Europe, and when individuals from noble or politically important families often sought a church career.

In La Favorite, a young novice, Fernand, seeks release from his vows because he has fallen in love with a mysterious woman, only to find himself embroiled in a triangle with the King of Castile and his mistress Léonor, and then to learn that the Queen is none other than the daughter of his own Father Superior, to whom he returns in contrition and disappointment.

In Dialogues of the Carmelites, the very nature of religious commitment and prayer become a central topic, played out against a harrowing drama of the French Revolution.  The final scene is perhaps the most moving one in all of opera, as the nuns of the condemned convent go, with voices raised in song, to their martyrdom at the guillotine.

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