2014 Bel Canto at Caramoor presents Lucrezia Borgia & Verdi’s Rigoletto

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lois Cohn Associates
2014 Bel Canto at Caramoor presents
Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia on Saturday, July 12 and Friday, July 18
and
Verdi’s Rigoletto on Saturday, July 19

Katonah, NY (November 4) – The celebrated Bel Canto at Caramoor series, led by Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, is now in its 18th season of presenting distinguished operas at Caramoor. The 2014 Bel Canto season opens with Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia on Saturday,July 12 – with an encore performance onFriday, July 18 – and features acclaimed soprano Angela Meade, who will return to Caramoor to make her highly-anticipated debut as Lucrezia. Reviewing her breakout role debut as Norma at Caramoor in 2010, the New York Times exclaimed “From the first lines of Norma’s entrance…Ms. Meade sounded in complete control of the role.” She has gone on to display that control in acclaimed Norma performances at the Metropolitan Opera, the Washington National Opera, and elswhere. Now she returns to Caramoor to introduce her interpretation of another iconic Bel Canto heroine.

Rigoletto on Saturday, July 19 will feature baritone Stephen Powell as Verdi’s tragic jester, following up his unanimously praised performance as Rodrigue in Don Carlos during Caramoor’s “Verdi in Paris” celebration in 2013. He is joined by Caramoor favorite Georgia Jarman as Gilda and tenor TBA as the Duke of Mantua. Other members of the Lucrezia cast are tenor Michele Angelini and mezzo Tamara Mumford, making their Caramoor debuts as Gennaro and Maffio Orsini, and bass Christophoros Stamboglis, returning after his triumphant Philippe in Don Carlos. Two former Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists will return to take roles in Rigoletto: Mezzo Nicole Piccolomini as Maddalena and bass Jeffrey Beruan as Sparafucile. Both operas will be performed in semi-staged concert form, sung in Italian with English supertitles, and accompanied by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s led by Will Crutchfield.

Lucrezia and Rigoletto are “sister operas” based on a pair of Victor Hugo plays that Hugo himself called a “duology.” In each, a morally compromised parent secretly lives for the love and well-being of a hidden child, but brings about the death of that child at the final curtain. Hugo described them as illustrating “physical deformity redeemed by paternal love, and moral deformity redeemed by maternal love.” But the link goes beyond Hugo – Verdi, setting Le roi s’amuse to music as Rigoletto, modeled his opera closely on Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, including some of its most progressive and dramatically compelling details.

Rigoletto also continues Caramoor’s series of Bel Canto reinterpretations of Verdi’s middle-period classics, following performances of La traviata in 2005 and Il trovatore in 2008, both widely praised for the revelations that the performing style of the Bel Canto era brought to thise familiar scores. Rigoletto will complete the period-style restoration of what is often called Verdi’s “Romantic trilogy.” (The three operas were written in succession in 1851-53)

According to Crutchfield, “presenting these two operas together has been a dream of mine for many years. Hearing the two side-by-side at Caramoor gives operagoers a rare opportunity to hear how one genius passed the torch to another in the heyday of Italian opera. I find it extremely moving to see how eagerly Verdi seized and developed the ideas Donizetti had proposed, how seriously he took them, and how generously the older composer praised and aided the younger one. Furthermore, Rigoletto – the first Verdi opera I ever learned as a child – truly stands in need of a reinterpretation based on things we now know about how opera was interpreted in the era of its composition. There is a lot to discover in its familiar pages.”

TICKETS: Tickets go on sale January 27, 2014. Donor pre-sales start January 20.

BEL CANTO SEASON AT A GLANCE:

July 12th and 18th: Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia
Angela Meade, soprano Lucrezia Borgia*
Tamara Mumford, mezzo Maffio Orsini
TBA, tenor Gennaro
Christophoros Stamboglis, bass Duke Alfonso

Bel Canto Young Artists
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor
*This is Ms. Meade’s debut performance as Lucrezia Borgia
July 19th: Verdi’s Rigoletto
Georgia Jarman, soprano Gilda
Nicole Piccolomini, mezzo Maddalena
Stephen Powell, baritone Rigoletto
TBA, tenor The Duke of Mantua
Jeffrey Beruan, bass Sparafucile

Bel Canto Young Artists
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor
PRE-OPERA EVENTS:
These will include compositions based on the plays and poetry of Victor Hugo, including selections from Les Miserables as well as works by composers ranging from Wagner to Rachmaninoff. Other programs will feature excerpts from Le Roi s’amuse and Lucrèce Borgia acted in English translation, as well as lectures by the celebrated scholar Philip Gossett and panel discussions of Verdi’s relationship with Donizetti.
CONCERTS RELATED TO THE OPERAS:
Thursday, June 26th: An all-Donizetti concert with vocal soloists drawn from the opera casts and the Bel Canto Young Artists, featuring instrumentalists from the Caramoor Virtuosi. The program includes a brilliant string quartet, rarely-heard songs and sacred music, and compositions for voices and strings.

Thursday, July 17th: Recital by Daniel Mobbs, the bass-baritone star of many Caramoor productions including a monumental interpretation of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell.
ABOUT CARAMOOR:
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 around music. 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.