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This Saturday, July 11, Caramoor launches its 2015 operatic season with the first of two operas composed more than a century apart, yet linked thematically and by their emphasis on vocal beauty. Taking the acclaimed “Bel Canto at Caramoor” series into a 19th season, Donizetti’s La favorite (July 11) will be sung in the original French – a Caramoor specialty – with award-winning French mezzo Clémentine Margaine making her New York debut opposite Stephen Powell, whose title role performance in Caramoor’s Rigoletto last summer was pronounced “perfection” (New York Observer). The performance will be preceded by opera-related events throughout the day, including lectures by Director of Opera Will Crutchfield and veteran opera broadcaster William Berger, and recitals by members of Caramoor’s Bel Canto Apprentice Artists and Bel Canto Young Artists. Two weeks later Caramoor makes its first excursion into 20th-century opera with Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, in a new staging by Victoria Crutchfield (July 25). This showcases Grammy Award-winner Jennifer Larmore, Metropolitan Opera leading lady Hei-Kyung Hong, and a rare, eagerly-anticipated New York appearance from Deborah Polaski, who reprises her “imperiously magnificent” (Telegraph, UK) portrayal of the tormented Old Prioress from Covent Garden last year. Mounted in the superb acoustics of the outdoor Venetian Theater on Caramoor’s historic Westchester estate, both semi-staged productions feature the resident Orchestra of St. Luke’s under the leadership of Will Crutchfield, whose conducting is distinguished by “a fine balance of bravado, intensity, sensitivity and scholarly savoir-faire” (Financial Times).
Explaining his programming choices for summer 2015, Crutchfield recalls:
“I was reminded of how much I love Dialogues des Carmélites by seeing a production that my daughter directed in 2012. It struck me that it was a perfect choice for us: a modern opera, but one that needs and rewards beautiful voices, in the same way that traditional opera does. That is not true of every 20th-century opera but it is strongly true of Dialogues.
“The opera shares a theme with La favorite, our other opera for the summer. Both of them center on the question of seeking refuge from the world in the bosom of the Church. They ask questions about what justifies that kind of refuge, and what it can accomplish – how the world might intrude into the church, and the church into the world. Both of them end very sadly, and the issues they explore along the way are serious and moving.”
Related events: Bel Canto Young Artists at Caramoor
Caramoor is justly celebrated for nurturing young talent and offering sterling follow-up support, through young artist programs that include the Bel Canto Young Artists. Each year, approximately twelve Bel Canto Young Artists receive training in vocal technique and interpretation, before showcasing their development in a pair of summer recitals. Both held in the intimate outdoor space of Caramoor’s Spanish Courtyard, this season’s first offering was Anonymous in Love, a program of unattributed love songs from the Italian bel canto repertory on June 25, and coming up on July 16 is a tribute to the legacy of The Amazing Scarlattis, father and son. Students also have the opportunity to take part in the season’s two opera productions.
For high-resolution photos, click here.
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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 to explore the beautiful grounds, tour the historic Rosen House and on special Sundays enjoy a delicious Afternoon Tea or unwind with 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. Summer concerts take place in two outdoor theaters: the 1,508-seat, acoustically superb Venetian Theater and the more intimate, romantic 470-seat Spanish Courtyard. In the fall and winter all concerts are presented in the magnificent Music Room in the Rosen House. Caramoor’s gardens, also used for concerts and the Garden of Sonic Delights, are well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually impaired, the Sunken Garden, a Butterfly Garden, the Tapestry Hedge, and the Iris and Peony Garden.
Opera at Caramoor, summer 2015
Sat, July 11 at 8pmLa favorite by Gaetano Donizetti
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Léonor: Clémentine Margaine, mezzo-soprano
Fernand: Santiago Ballerini, tenor
King Alphonse: Stephen Powell, baritone
Prior Balthasar: Daniel Mobbs, bass-baritone
Sat, July 25 at 8pmDialogues des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc
Orchestra of St. Luke’s
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Victoria Crutchfield, stage director
Blanche: Jennifer Check, soprano
Constance: Alisa Jordheim, soprano
Old Prioress: Deborah Polaski, soprano
New Prioress: Hei-Kyung Hong, soprano
Mère Marie: Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano
Chevalier de la Force: Noah Baetge, tenor
Marquis de la Force: Daniel Mobbs, bass-baritone
Related events: Bel Canto Young Artists at Caramoor, summer 2015
Thurs, July 16 at 7pmThe Amazing Scarlattis
Bel Canto Young Artists
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All concerts made possible, in part, by ArtsWestchester with funds from the Westchester County Government.
All concerts made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature
© 21C Media Group, June 2015