2012 Bel Canto at Caramoor featuring Ciro in Babilonia by Rossini

2012 BEL CANTO AT CARAMOOR
Katonah, NY ~ June 8, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Lois Cohn Associates

CARAMOOR INTERNATIONAL MUSIC FESTIVAL PRESENTS
2012 BEL CANTO AT CARAMOOR FEATURING
THE AMERICAN PREMIERE OF CIRO IN BABILONIA BY GIOACHINO ROSSINI
A PRODUCTION IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ROSSINI OPERA FESTIVAL IN PESARO, ITALY
STARRING CONTRALTO EWA POLDES
JULY 7 AT 8:30PM

I CAPULETI ED I MONTECCHI BY VINCENZO BELLINI
STARRING MEZZO-SOPRANO KATE ALDRICH AND SOPRANO EGLISE GUTIÉRREZ
JULY 21 AT 8:30PM
KATONAH, NY – This summer, Caramoor’s Director of Opera Will Crutchfield will mark the 16th season of theBel Canto at Caramoor series – an annual operatic exploration that The New York Times calls “an essential contribution”. On July 7, Caramoor proudly presents the American premiere of Gioachino Rossini’s Ciro in Babilonia in collaboration with the renowned Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy. Celebrated contralto Ewa PodleÅ› returns to the Venetian Theater in the role of Ciro in a production semi-staged with high-tech projected images designed by Davide Livermore, and featuring tenor Michael Spyres and soprano Jessica Pratt in her American debut. Following the premiere, conductor Will Crutchfield and members of the cast will perform in Pesaro on August 10, 13, 16, 19 and 22. This performance of Ciro in Babilonia is the world premiere of the new critical edition by Ricordi and the Fondazione Rossini. On July 21, soprano Eglise Gutiérrez and mezzo-soprano Kate Aldrich will take the stage for a performance of Bellini’s I Capuleti ed i Montecchi featuring tenor Leonardo Capalbo and bass-baritone Benjamin Harris. The performance will be semi-staged and sung in Italian with English supertitles. Both operas will feature the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Maestro Crutchfield.

Ciro in Babilonia was written when Rossini was just shy of 20 years old. With four operas already to his credit, he received the contract to compose Ciro in Babilonia for the Teatro Comunale of Ferrara early in 1812, to a libretto by Francesco Aventi. Operas based on Old Testament stories were popular in Italy in the early 19th century, and in some cities were obligatory for performances during Lent; other examples include Rossini’s ownMosè in Egitto, Donizetti’s Il diluvio universale (telling of Noah and the Flood), and Verdi’s Nabucco (about Belshazzar’s forefather Nebuchadnezzar). The usual dramatic strategy for these works was to insert a love story or other personal complication into the outline of the familiar narrative.

“This opera is early Rossini, and you can see Baroque opera turning into Romantic opera before your eyes.” – Will Crutchfield, Caramoor Director of Opera

I Capuleti ed i Montecchi tells the Romeo and Juliet story – based on the same ancient Italian sources that Shakespeare used – in the gorgeous language of Italian bel canto. The libretto by Felice Romani was a reworking of the story of Romeo and Juliet for an opera by Nicola Vaccai called Giulietta e Romeo, a work based on Italian sources. Bellini was persuaded to write the opera for the 1830 Carnival season at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, with only a month and a half available for composition. Later, Richard Wagner told how its yearning, passionate melodies inspired him to create Tristan und Isolde.
PROGRAMS

SATURDAY JULY 7 AT 8:30PM – VENETIAN THEATER
CIRO IN BABILONIA BY GIOACHINO ROSSINI
EWA PODLEÅš, CONTRALTO (Ciro)
JESSICA PRATT, SOPRANO (Amira)
MICHAEL SPYRES, TENOR (Baldassare)
SCOTT BEARDEN, BARITONE (Zambri)
ERIC BARRY, TENOR (Arbace)
SHARIN APOSTOLOU, SOPRANO (Argene)
KRASSEN KARAGIOZOV, BARITONE (Daniello)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Davide Livermore, stage director and video projections designer

The performance will be semi-staged and sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Pre-Opera Events: Ciro in Babilonia – During the afternoon prior to the performance, beginning at 3:30 PM, all ticket-holders can also enjoy a selection of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor’s famous gardens:

3:30pm | Young Rossini and his Revolution: Stendhal compared Rossini’s impact on music with Napoleon’s on Europe. Will Crutchfield and Guest (to be announced) discuss the nature of his “revolution” and how he carried it out.

4:30pm | Bel Canto a due: Duets in close harmony – brilliant and virtuosic or delicate and tender – were a staple feature of bel canto opera, highlighted in both of this season’s Caramoor titles. The same genre was immensely popular as chamber music for home performance; our Bel Canto Apprentices present a sampler of this rich repertory.

5:30pm | Belshazzar and his Feast: The chilling biblical story of the “handwriting on the wall” is the centerpiece of Ciro’s second act. The Bel Canto Young Artists present musical treatments of the same episode by Handel, Schumann, William Walton and others.

6:30pm | Dinner break

7:30pm | Lecture (Lecturer to be announced)

SATURDAY, JULY 21 AT 8:00PM – VENETIAN THEATER
I CAPULETI ED I MONTECCHI BY VINCENZO BELLINI
EGLISE GUTIÉRREZ, SOPRANO (Giulietta)
KATE ALDRICH, MEZZO-SOPRANO (Romeo)
LEONARDO CAPALBO, TENOR (Tebaldo)
JEFFREY BERUAN, BASS (Capellio)
BENJAMIN HARRIS, BASS-BARITONE (Lorenzo)
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor and Director of Opera

The performance will be semi-staged and sung in Italian with English supertitles.
Pre-Opera Events: I Capuleti ed i Montecchi – During the afternoon prior to the performance, beginning at 3:00 PM, all ticket-holders can also enjoy a selection of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor’s famous gardens:

3:00pm | Romeo and Tristan: Richard Wagner, late in life, told his wife unequivocally that the germ of inspiration forTristan und Isolde had come during a performance of I Capuleti ed i Montecchi that he conducted with Wilhelmine Schröder-Devrient, who went on to sing in the premieres of three Wagner operas. Will Crutchfield looks through both scores to show just how Wagner’s love of Bellini marked his music.

4:00pm | Maestro Vaccai: For a significant part of its early history, I Capuleti ed i Montecchi was performed with a finale from another composer’s setting of the same libretto. That composer was Nicola Vaccai, and there are many reasons for remembering his music even if we no longer insert it into Bellini’s opera. Our Young Artists and Apprentices show why in this mini-recital.

5:00pm | The Star-Cross’d Lovers
Excerpts from Romeo and Juliet settings by Zingarelli, Steibelt, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Zandonai, Delius, Gounod, Blacher and Bernstein, sung by the Bel Canto at Caramoor Young Artists.

6:00pm | Dinner break

7:00pm | Lecture (Lecturer to be announced)

TICKETS
Order by calling the Box Office at 914.232.1252 or online at www.caramoor.org. Groups of 16 or more may purchase discounted tickets by contacting Matthew Scarella at 914.232.5035 ext. 252 or matthew@caramoor.org.

PRESS TICKETS
For press tickets, artist bios and/or images, please contact Brittnee Walker: 917.339.7183, bwalker@lcohnpr.com.

ABOUT CARAMOOR
Caramoor is the legacy of Walter and Lucie Rosen, who built their summer home – now known as the historic Rosen House at Caramoor – and filled it with their treasures. Walter Rosen was the master planner for the Caramoor estate, realizing his dream of creating a place to entertain friends from around the world. Their musical evenings planted the seeds for today’s Caramoor International Music Festival. Witnessing the pleasure their friends took in the beauty of Caramoor – the house with its art collection, the gardens, and the musical programs on summer evenings –the Rosens established a public trust to open Caramoor to the community in 1946. Lucie Rosen survived her husband by seventeen years. During those years, she expanded the Music Festival. The Spanish Courtyard was used as a setting for musical events, as it is today, and, under her direction, the great stage of the Venetian Theater was built.

Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered on music. It is often described as “a Garden of Great Music”, where audiences are invited to come early, explore the beautiful grounds, enjoy a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and the magnificent gardens.

With its unique heritage, Caramoor remains a place where magical summer days and nights are shared and enjoyed by thousands. “Caramoor is the loveliest Festival of them all.” – The New York Times

Concert Venues and Gardens
Concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the 1714-seat, acoustically superb Venetian Theater and the more intimate, romantic 558-seat Spanish Courtyard. Caramoor’s gardens are also well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually handicapped, a Butterfly Garden, Tapestry Hedge, Sunken Garden, and Iris and Peony Garden.

GETTING TO CARAMOOR
By car from the West Side of Manhattan and New Jersey, take the Saw Mill River Parkway north to Katonah. Exit at Route 35/Cross River. Turn right and, at the first traffic light, make a right turn onto Route 22 south. Travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road. Follow the signs to Caramoor. (For detailed directions call 914.232.5035 and press 4, or online at www.caramoor.org). Parking at Caramoor is free.

By train, take the Harlem Division of the Metro-North Railroad to Katonah, New York. Taxi service from the station to Caramoor (5 minutes away) is available.

From Manhattan, take the Caramoor Caravan to Bel Canto at Caramoor opera performances on July 7 and July 21, and ride comfortably in a luxurious, air-conditioned coach. For information and reservations, call the Caramoor Box Office at 914.232.1252.
CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR A FULL FESTIVAL CHRONOLOGY:
http://www.caramoor.org/pdf/Festival_Listings.pdf

CREDITS
Performances are made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from
Westchester County Government.
Performances are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The 2012 International Music Festival is supported in part by
an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

CARAMOOR CENTER FOR MUSIC AND THE ARTS IS LOCATED AT
149 GIRDLE RIDGE ROAD, KATONAH, NEW YORK.

ALL PROGRAMS AND ARTISTS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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