LSM Newswire

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spoleto Festival USA Announces 2014 Opera Casts

    CHARLESTON, SC (April 21, 2014) — Spoleto Festival USA General Director Nigel Redden today announced the casts for the three new opera productions that will be presented as part of the 38th annual Festival being held May 23through June 8 in Charleston, South Carolina.  
           American soprano Betsy Horne will make her Festival and US professional debut in the title role of Janáček’s Kát’a Kabanová. Horne made her role debut as the ill-fated Kát’a in 2012 for the Landestheater Coburg in Bavaria where she is engaged as a resident singer. These performances garnered Horne the prestigious Bayerischer Kunstförderpreis, a prize presented by the Bavarian government.  
           “I am really excited that my US debut is at the Spoleto Festival USA and that it is with Kát’a as it was a very important role to me in 2012. I began my career in Europe and after debuting as the Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) at Stadttheater Klagenfurt and as Elsa (Lohengrin) at my home stage at the Landestheater Coburg, making my American debut is another significant milestone this season and I am thrilled it is with such a challenging and rewarding role and cannot wait to work with Garry Hynes and Anne Manson to tell Kát’a’s story.”
           American mezzo-soprano Jennifer Roderer makes her Festival debut as Kát’a’s venomous mother-in-law, Kabanicha, one of opera’s most cold-hearted villains. Festival regularsJane ShaulisDennis Petersen and Jan Opalach and Festival newcomers Megan Marinoand Alex Richardson and Rolando Sanz complete the cast.  
           Kát’a Kabanová will also see the operatic debut of Tony Award-winning Druid theater director Garry Hynes (The Cripple of Inishmaan, 2011 Spoleto Festival USA.) Although based on a play­—Ostrovsky’s The Storm—Hynes says Janáček’s score provides rich dramatic potential for telling Kát’a’s story: “It is extraordinary how Janáček managed to compress the story and fuse the music into it with such intensity and power. Kát’a is front and center of the opera in a way that she is not in (Ostrovsky’s) play. We’re inside her head rather than judging her from the broad perspective of society.”  
           Kát’a Kabanová will be conducted by Anne Manson, who conducted the Spoleto Festival Orchestra in 2012.  
           John Adams’s El Niño has been described as retelling of the nativity story with an unprecedented spotlight on the voices of women. Mezzo-soprano Erica Brookhyser,principal mezzo in the permanent company at Staatstheatre Darmstadt in Germany, and soprano Caitlin Lynch, who recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Cynthia in the American premiere of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys, will sing these central roles for the first time at the Festival. Caitlin Lynch performed the poignant role of Mrs. Gobineau in The Medium at the Spoleto Festival USA in 2011. This will be Brookhyser’s Festival debut.  
           Countertenors Daniel Bubeck, Brian Cummings, and Steven Rickards performed their El Niño roles at the world premiere in Paris in 2000, the US premiere in San Francisco in 2001, and at a 2009 Carnegie Hall performance. Baritone Mark Walters completes the cast. All four will make their Festival debut with El Niño.
           Since the world premiere of Peter Sellars’s production in Paris in 2000, El Niño has mostly been performed as a concert presentation or with minimal staging. English director John La Bouchardière will make his Spoleto Festival USA debut with a full-scale staging.   
           With a libretto pulled from a variety of sources, El Niño does not follow a linear narrative; instead, singers often play several roles and characters are portrayed by different voices, frequently in Spanish. La Bouchardière has employed a striking visual device—to be revealed at the premiere on May 23—that draws on historic imagery to assist the 21st century storytelling.Joe Miller will conduct El Niño, christening his new role as the Festival’s director for choral activities. Miller fell in love with the work when he was invited to prepare the choral forces for the performance at Carnegie Hall in 2009, conducted by the composer.  
           The US premiere of Michael Nyman’s Facing Goya will be the third Festival appearance for soprano Anne-Carolyn Bird who performed in Philip Glass’s Kepler in 2012 and as Camille in Charpentier’s Louise in 2009.  She will sing the role of Soprano #1 with Aundi Marie Mooremaking her Festival debut as Soprano #2.  
           Suzanna Guzmán, who will sing the contralto role of Art Banker, has a special affinity with both Goya and Spoleto Festival USA: she first gained international attention in 1991 at the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy for her critically acclaimed portrayal of the Duchess of Alba in the European premiere of Gian Carlo Menotti’s Goya, the Festival founder’s own compositional take on the Spanish painter. Tenor Thomas Michael Allen and baritoneMuseop Kim complete the cast.  
           Facing Goya is a co-production with the Singapore International Festival of the Arts. Director Ong Keng Sen’s previous Spoleto Festival USA productions were the 2000 opera The Silver River composed by Bright Sheng and the theatrical production Geisha in 2006. The Festival’s Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy will lead the musicians. Facing Goya, which mixes sci-fi and art history with a little conspiracy theory, was premiered in Spain in 2000. The Festival will present an updated libretto by Victoria Hardie that incorporates recent advances in DNA technology, significant to the plot, which is centered in eugenics and cloning.  
           Chorus and supernumerary roles in all three operas will be performed by members of the Westminster Choir under the leadership of Joe Miller. The Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra is comprised of the best young musicians from around the country selected by audition by John Kennedy and performs all of the operas in addition to symphonic concerts and new music recitals during the Festival. 

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