Caramoor International Music Festival Presents 2011 Bel Canto at Caramoor

Gilbert & Sullivan: HMS Pinafore - Opening Night, June 25 at 8:30 pm in the Venetian Theater; Rossini: Guillaume Tell - July 9 & July 15 at 7:30 pm in the Venetian Theater; Sins of Youth, SIns of Age - July 14 at 7:30 pm in the Spanish Courtyard
By: Whitney Holden, Cohn Dutcher
 
April 27, 2011 - PRLog -- KATONAH, NY – Michael Barrett, CEO and General Director of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, announces the 66th Caramoor International Music Festival, held annually at the Center’s distinguished 90-acre garden estate in Katonah, New York. The summer festival program, which will run from June 25 to August 10, offers enormous appeal to all audiences with a rich array of artists and repertoire from the worlds of classical, jazz, Latin, pop, and American Roots music. Building on the extraordinary success of previous seasons, Caramoor’s Director of Opera Will Crutchfield marks the 15th season of the Bel Canto at Caramoor series with a vibrant presentation of HMS Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan for the festival’s Opening Night on June 25, and the rarely-performed pinnacle of Rossini operas, Guillaume Tell (William Tell), on July 9 and July 15. Both operas will feature the Orchestra of St. Luke’s conducted by Crutchfield. Steven Tharpand and Paul Carey provide stage direction and costume/set design for HMS Pinafore, respectively, and Guillaume Tell will be offered in a concert staging with supertitles.

HMS Pinafore, one of the most beloved and delightful of the Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, kicks off the festival on Opening Night – June 25 at 8:30 PM – with soprano Georgia Jarman, tenor Robert McPherson, baritone Jorell Williams, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, and baritones Scott Bearden and Jason Plourde. Crutchfield said, “As a piece of theater, Pinafore is a cheerful satire on the arrival of modernity, bureaucracy and democratic ideals to the Royal Navy of Queen Victoria's era. As a piece of music, it is England's version of "bel canto" comic opera, plain and simple. That fact has been obscured by the long history of specialized Gilbert and Sullivan troupes, outside the operatic mainstream. With this production, I have the opportunity to realize my long-standing desire to present a version that does full justice to the brilliant music and the operatic vocal writing.”

Guillaume Tell is Rossini's final opera, his masterpiece, and his most important legacy to the half-century of French and Italian grand opera that followed after its 1829 premiere. Yet due to the work’s demanding casting requirements, it is very seldom produced, and has not been heard at the Metropolitan Opera in over 75 years. Therefore, New Yorkers are offered an exceptional opportunity this summer when Caramoor presents two performances of the opera – July 9 and July 15 at 7:30 PM – with baritone Daniel Mobbs in the title role, alongside tenor Michael Spyres, soprano Julianna Di Giacomo, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, tenor Brian Downen and mezzo-soprano Talise Trevigne.

“Though universally admired -- and known all over the world by its famous overture – William Tell is rarely performed because of its sheer difficulty,” says Crutchfield. “Soloists, chorus and orchestra alike are stretched to the limit by its demands, but the reward is a feast of music and drama with few parallels in the whole history of opera.”

On July 14 at 7:30 PM, Sins of Youth, Sins of Age presents the Bel Canto Young Artists in a festive concert program of Rossini's songs and vocal chamber music. When Rossini shocked the world by retiring from opera at the age of 37, it did not mean that his creativity had run dry; decades later, as a grand old man in Paris, he produced volume after volume of miniature works in a startling variety of moods and genres. (He called these "Peches de viellesse" - sins of old age.) The program combines these with rarely heard early works - in some cases unknown to modern audiences - that are being prepared for publication in the Baerenreiter Rossini Edition under Philip Gossett.

PROGRAMS
SATURDAY, JUNE 25 AT 8:30PM – VENETIAN THEATER
HMS PINAFORE by William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
GEORGIA JARMAN, SOPRANO (Josephine)
ROBERT MCPHERSON, TENOR (Ralph Rackstraw)
JORELL WILLIAMS, BARITONE (Captain Corcoran)
VANESSA CARIDDI, MEZZO-SOPRANO (Little Buttercup)
SCOTT BEARDEN, BARITONE (Dick Deadeye)
JASON PLOURDE, BARITONE (Sir Joseph Porter)
ROBIN FLYNN, MEZZO-SOPRANO (Cousin Hebe)
NICHOLAS MASTERS, BASS (Bill Bobstay)
JEFFREY BERUAN, BASS (Bob Becket)
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Steven Tharp, stage director
Paul Carey, costume and set designer

Pre-Opera Events: HMS Pinafore – During the afternoon prior to the performance, beginning at 4:30 PM, all ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens:
1. The Lass that Loves a Sailor: The Bel Canto Young Artists present a selection of humorous and sentimental songs from the era leading up to Gilbert and Sullivan – along with some naughty Sea Chanties that give historical meaning to the idea of “swearing like a sailor.”
2. The English Musical Stage: “Opera in England” has not usually meant “English Opera” – from the time of Handel forwards, the imported Italian variety tended to strangle English efforts in their cradle. But that does not mean no worthy efforts were made. This mini-recital by the Bel Canto Young Artists explores operatic music for the English stage from Purcell to Sullivan.

SATURDAY, JULY 9 AT 7:30PM – VENETIAN THEATER
FRIDAY, JULY 15 AT 7:30PM – VENETIAN THEATER
GUILLAUME TELL by Gioachino Rossini
DANIEL MOBBS, BARITONE (William Tell)
JULIANNA DI GIACOMO, SOPRANO (Mathilde, the Habsburg princess)
MICHAEL SPYRES, TENOR (Arnold)
TALISE TREVIGNE, MEZZO-SOPRANO (Jemmy)
VANESSA CARIDDI, MEZZO-SOPRANO (Hedwige, wife of William Tell)
BRIAN DOWNEN, TENOR (Fisherman)
NICHOLAS MASTERS, BASS (Walter)
ROLANDO SANZ, TENOR (Rodolphe)
SCOTT BEARDEN, BARITONE (Gesler)
JEFFREY BERUAN, BASS (Melchtal)
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Will Crutchfield, conductor

Pre-Opera Events: Guillaume Tell – During the afternoon prior to each performance (beginning at 3:00 PM on July 9 and 4:30 PM on July 15) all ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens:
1. Creating and re-creating Guillaume Tell * Philip Gossett and Will Crutchfield discuss what Rossini wrote, how it changed before the premiere, how it changed again under Rossini’s hands in successive seasons, and what the work meant for the future of grand opera.
2. “What? The whole of it?”* This was Rossini’s ironic question when told that the third act of Guillaume Tell had been performed as part of a gala evening at the Paris Opera. In fact, “the whole” of Tell is a difficult thing to define, because Rossini wrote more music for the opera than has ever been performed in a single evening. The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists present a program of alternative excerpts from other versions of the score.
3. Schiller and the Yearning for Freedom: The most progressive idea in world politics around the dawn of the 19th century was that nations and ethnic groups might aspire to self-government – not yet democracy, but simply the freedom from foreign rule. Wilhelm Tell, on which Rossini’s opera is based, is one of an important series of plays exploring variations on this theme. Others – all turned into successful operas – include Mary Stuart, Don Carlos, The Robbers, and The Maid of Orleans. Meanwhile the new genre of the German Lied eagerly embraced Schiller as well. The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists offer a recital of works in several languages drawn from Schiller’s dramas and poetry.
4. Pre-opera lecture: Phillip Gossett introduces Guillaume Tell
*events that will take place before the July 9 performance only

THURSDAY, JULY 14 AT 7:30PM – SPANISH COURTYARD
SINS OF YOUTH, SINS OF AGE
BEL CANTO AT CARAMOOR YOUNG ARTISTS
Rarely heard works by Gioachino Rossini

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With its outstanding summer music festival & indoors concerts, arts-in-education programming and beautiful grounds, Caramoor is a cornerstone of the cultural life of Westchester County, NY.
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