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Caramoor Presents: 2012 Bel Canto at Caramoor

Featuring the American premiere of Rossini's Ciro in Babilonia in collaboration with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Italy on July 7 at 8:30pm and Bellini's I Capuleti ed i Montecchi on July 21 at 8:30pm.

 
PRLog - Jun. 8, 2012 - Press Contact: Lois Cohn Associates
Lois Cohn, 917.339.7187, lcohn@lcohnpr.com
Brittnee Walker, 917.339.7183, bwalker@lcohnpr.com

KATONAH, NY – This summer, Caramoor’s Director of Opera Will Crutchfield will mark the 16th season of the Bel 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 Podleś 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 own Mosè 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 PODLEŚ, 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 for Tristan 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.

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.

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Source:Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
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City/Town:Katonah - New York - United States
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