Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Commentary

Jean-Paul Scarpitta in Montpellier

I met with the embattled artistic director of the Opéra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.

Interview: Tenor Saimir Pirgu — From Albania to Italy to LA

Maria Nockin interviews tenor Saimir Pirgu.

Claudio Abbado, Italian conductor, dies aged 80

Italian conductor Claudio Abbado, former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, has died aged 80

Matthew Polenzani — Des Grieux, Manon, Royal Opera House

Matthew Polenzani reprises the role of the Chevalier des Grieux in Jules Massenet’s Manon at the Royal Opera House. “I love coming back to London”, he says, “It’s a very good house and they take care of you as a singer. And the level of music making is unbelievably high”.

Season 2014 at San Diego Opera

On Saturday evening January 25, San Diego Opera opens its 2014 season with Ruggero Leoncavallo’s verismo blockbuster Pagliacci (Clowns).

Maestro Joseph Rescigno Discusses The Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman is a transitional piece because Wagner was only beginning to establish his style. He took some aspects from Carl Maria von Weber and others from Italian composers like Vincenzo Bellini.

Royal Opera House Announces Digital Theatre

The Royal Opera House has its own DVD arm, Opus Arte, and is developing quite a global following with its cinema broadcasts.

Patricia Racette on Dolores Claiborne

On a personal level, I feel that Dolores is almost like Emmeline grown up. Their circumstances are not exactly parallel, but they are both women at very different points in their lives whose stories involve dilemmas with life-changing outcomes.

Tobias Picker Talks About His New Opera Dolores Claiborne

With the help of Andrew Welch, a London theatrical producer who had adapted several of King’s works for the stage, including this one, I got the rights to both Dolores Claiborne and Misery.

Dolora Zajick on New Opera Written for Her

On September 18, 2013, San Francisco Opera will present the world premiere of Tobias Picker’s opera, Dolores Claiborne, which has a libretto by J. D. McClatchy based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name.

Ermonela Jaho — Singing and Character

Ermonela Jaho caused a sensation at Covent Garden in London five years ago, when she took over Violetta at short notice from Anna Netrebko.

Ignite at Wigmore Hall

What do you get if you cross Benjamin Britten, ‘one-page scores’, an innovative performing ensemble and ‘Wigmore Learning’ — the Wigmore Hall’s imaginative outreach programme which aims to provide access to chamber music and song through innovative creative programmes, online resources and events?

Marseille, Capital of European Culture

Marseille woke up this past January 11 stunned to find itself number two on the New York Times list of 46 places you should visit in 2013 (Rio was number one, Paris just made the list at number 46).

Rossini Maometto Secondo at Garsington Opera - David Parry speaks

Garsington Opera at Wormsley is producing the British premiere of Giacomo Rossini´s Maometto Secondo. Garsington Opera is well-known for its role in reviving Rossini rarities in Britain. Since 1994, there have been 14 productions of 12 Rossini operas, and David Parry has conducted eleven since 2002. He´s very enthusiastic about Maometto Secondo.

Michele Mariotti conducts La donna del lago

Rossini’s La donna del Lago at the Royal Opera House boasts a superstar cast. Joyce DiDonato and Juan Diego Flórez are perhaps the best in these roles in the business at this time. Yet the conductor Michele Mariotti is also hot news.

Kate Lindsey at Glyndebourne

It would seem a logical step for the mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey to take on the role of the Composer in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

Douglas Boyd on Garsington Opera at Wormsley

“Aim for excellence”, says Douglas Boyd, new Artistic Director of Garsington Opera at Wormsley, “and the audience will follow you”.

A Chat with Aida Designer Zandra Rhodes

When I spoke with Zandra Rhodes, she was in her large San Diego workspace, which she described as having walls decorated with her own huge black and white drawings.

An Interview with Virginia Zeani

Palm Beach audiences are famous for their glamour, but in recent years a special star has sparkled amid the jewels, sequins, feathers and furs (whatever the weather).

Bel Canto Queen Jessica Pratt

When the soprano Jessica Pratt first arrived in Italy, she had yet to learn the language or sing in a staged opera.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Commentary

Ava Pine as The Angel in Angels in America (Photo: Ellen Appel)
09 May 2008

Fort Worth Opera Festival features “Angels in America”

In 2007 it was an experiment; now it’s a new summer festival firmly rooted in fertile Texas turf with a bright view of its second season and of the more distant future as well.

Above: Ava Pine as The Angel in Angels in America
All photos by Ellen Appel

 

Traditionally, the Fort Worth Opera had spaced four productions throughout the usual music season. In 2007 the company grouped them in a four-week May-June festival that’s out to make Fort Worth a destination city for opera buffs. And it worked — it worked magnificently!

“Our model was the St. Louis Opera Theater,” says Darren Woods, FWO general director since 2001. “We wanted to make this a place that people like to visit — and where they can see four operas in only three days!” The festival gives Fort Worth an identity that sets it apart from neighboring Dallas. “We no longer have to avoid conflicts in dates,” Woods says. “We found last summer that people came over from Dallas and stayed. “They enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of downtown Fort Worth and appreciated the ease with which they could walk from good hotels and great restaurants to Bass Hall, our major venue.” (The city’s many museums, including the Amon Carter and Kimbell, make Fort Worth an antechamber of paradise for art lovers.)

Adding to the allure in 2007 was FWO’s very first world premiere: Frau Margot, a work that returned Thomas Pasitieri to composition for the first time in 15 years. The festival format encourages Woods to do the kind of programming that will enhance the reputation of his company. “With four operas in repertory we can mix the traditional with the unusual,” he says. “It makes the season easier to market, for we can sell the four as a package.” Only two of the four 2008 operas qualify as traditional: Puccini’s Turandot and Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti. The other two lay equal claim to the “unusual” label.

Some consider Of Mice and Men to be Carlisle Floyd’s finest opera. Yet, although it was premiered in 1970, it is not often encountered on stage today. “People don’t like the novel,” Woods says of John Steinbeck’s 1937 story of two migrant farm workers. “But it’s a very American work, and an American company should do it. “It’s breathtaking!” Woods’ pride is that he has been able to cast Anthony Dean Griffey as Lennie, the child-like innocent at the heart of the story. Tenor Griffey‘s portrayal of Peter Grimes in the Benjamin Britten masterpiece was a major event of the current Metropolitan Opera season. Canadian baritone Phillip Addis sings George.

But for Woods the coup of the season is this country’s first fully-staged production of Peter Eötvös’ Angels in America, premiered in Paris, where the Hungarian composer lives, in 2002. “It’s been done in a small house in Boston,” Woods says, “but this will be the first full-blown American production!” When he saw Angels in Paris Woods loved the opera, but he was not impressed by the production. “It was a European ‘take’ on a very American subject — AIDS in this country in the age of Ronald Reagan,” he says. “And no one really understood it. They just didn’t know how to tell the story.”

Eötvös’ will be in Fort Worth to work with the FWO during rehearsals of Angels. Turning to the two traditional works programmed for the summer, Woods points to the “dream team” he has engaged for “Lucia:” Elizabeth Futral in the title role and brilliant, young tenor Stephen Costillo, who sings Edgardo. “It’s a signature role for Elizabeth,” Woods say, “and Stephen has sung Edgardo at the Met.” Woods considers Costrllo his “personal discovery.” “We engaged him as Rodolfo in ‘Boheme’ in ‘06,” Woods says. “He’s one of the most promising young tenors of today.”

\Woods finds it ironic — and regrettable — that although the FWO stages the McCammon Voice Competition, a leading program in the field, the company has never cast winners in its productions. That’s being corrected this summer when Iowa’s Elizabeth Bennett and Korean-born Dongwon Shin sing the title role and Calif in “Turandot.” “They have big, gorgeous Wagnerian voices,” Woods says. “And Shin sang Calif’s ’Nessun dorma’ for our competition. “They have both sung these roles several times elsewhere.”

“Angels in America” will be staged in the intimate Scott Theatre in Fort Worth‘s downtown theater district; the other three operas, in Bass Hall for the performing Ars, the major home of the Fort Worth Opera. The Forth Worth Opera Festival opens with Angels in America on My 18 and concludes with the final performance of Of Mice and Men on June 8. The company has arranged a number of concurrent events to focus attention on the subject matter of Angels in America.

Woods_Darren.pngDarren K. Woods

More Life: The Art & Science of AIDS, involves a multitude of Fort Worth organizations in a community wide effort to focus attention on the current U.S. AIDS epidemic. On the calendar are performing and visual arts events, along with educational programs from AIDS service organizations. Participating social service organizations include AIDS Outreach Center, AIDS Resources of Rural Texas, Tarrant County AIDS InterFaith Network and Samaritan House. The HBO production of Angels will also be shown during the festival.

For information on the Forth Worth Opera 2008 Festival and season tickets from $50 to $412 each and single tickets from $17 to $145, call 817-731-0726 or toll-free 1-877-396-7372 or visit www.fwopera.org.

Wes Blomster

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):