BEL CANTO OPERA AT ITS FINEST: A NEW PRODUCTION OF LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR OPENS CENTRAL CITY OPERA’S 2009 FESTIVAL, JUNE 27 THROUGH AUGUST 2
Denver , Colo. – Central City Opera (CCO) opens its 2009 Festival on June 27 with a new production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, the story of family feuding and forbidden love that drives a woman mad. Performances will run from June 27 through Aug. 2 and take place at the Central City Opera House in Central City, Colo. The 2009 production will be performed in its original Italian with English supertitles with one 15 minute intermission.
A dramma tragico (tragic opera) Lucia di Lammermoor follows two feuding families, the Ashtons and the Ravenswoods, in the Lammermuir Hills area of Lowland Scotland and the ill-fated love affair between Lucia, an Ashton, and Edgardo, a Ravenswood. The opera’s Italian libretto is by Salvatore Cammarano after Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 historical novel, The Bride of Lammermoor. Scott reportedly wrote the tale based on an actual event in the history of a prominent Scottish family, the Dalrymples.
One of today’s leading bel canto (“beautiful singing” in Italian) style operas in the standard repertoire, the production will not only feature new costumes and scenery, but also an often omitted scene at the Wolf’s Crag between Enrico, Lucia’s brother, and Edgardo, Enrico’s sworn enemy and Lucia’s lover. “We absolutely need this confrontation between Edgardo and Enrico, in order to finally understand their deep and long hatred for each other. While they rant and rave at each other, an actual storm is raging around them”, explains Stage Director Catherine Malfitano. “If we were to go directly from the Contract Scene [the sextet] into the Mad Scene, skipping the Wolf’s Crag scene entirely, we would not realize the enormity of blood and vengeance in the air leading to the tragic and violent denouement of Lucia and Edgardo.”
Catherine Malfitano, the famed soprano who made her directorial debut with Madama Butterfly (2005) at Central City Opera, and returned in 2007 to stage The Saint of Bleecker Street, will direct this new staging. Having performed the role of Lucia herself, this will be Ms. Malfitano’s debut directing the Donizetti opera. Recent directing credits include Rigoletto at Washington National Opera and Don Giovanni for the Merola Program at San Francisco Opera. Wilson Chin, who made his company debut collaborating with Ms. Malfitano on the set design for The Saint of Bleecker Street, returns with his juxtaposition of the openness of nature and the confinements of the indoors. Set highlights include detailed forest scenes, ancestral maps of Scotland and beautiful home interiors. Mr. Chin also worked with Ms. Malfitano providing set design for Don Giovanni for San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and recently designed Dido and Aeneas for New York Chamber Opera. Terese Wadden* makes her Central City Opera debut with costume designs of the period, complete with Scottish tartan, highlighting its important role in everyday life at the time. Ms. Wadden most recently collaborated with Christopher Alden on Elliot Carter’s opera What Next? at Columbia University and designed costumes for the short film The Getaway, directed by Ellen Novack. David Martin Jacques, 2009 Resident Lighting Designer, has served in this role for the company in previous years from 2007-2008 and 2000-2005. Recent lighting credits include Lulu with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Peter Grimes with Teatro San Carlo. The resident wig/makeup designer for the 2009 Summer Festival is Alison Mizerski, who returns for her fifth summer in residence with Central City Opera after her recent work with Opera Cleveland and Nevada Opera.
Central City Opera’s Music Director John Baril conducts this production after leading performances of West Side Story last summer. Having started his work with the company in 1992, Mr. Baril has conducted a wide range of productions during his tenure such as the regional premiere of Adamo’s Little Women; Bizet’s Carmen; and Massenet’s Les contes d’Hoffmann and Cendrillon. Mr. Baril also recently led Don Giovanni with Nashville Opera. Russian soprano Lyubov Petrova* makes her Central City Opera debut as Lucia. Touted by Opera News as “a soprano of ravishing, changeable beauty, blazing high notes and magnetic stage presence” for her Cleopatra in Giulio Cesare at Glimmerglass Opera last summer, Ms. Petrova has received accolades for her performances worldwide from the Metropolitan Opera to Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy. Recently, she portrayed the Queen of the Night in Kenneth Branagh’s film version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. She works again under the direction of Catherine Malfitano for this production after their recent collaboration on Rigoletto last March at Washington National Opera. Colorado native, tenor Vale Rideout, returns as Lucia’s forbidden love interest Edgardo after his acclaimed performances as Sam in Susannah and the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia last summer. A former Central City Opera Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice Artist, Mr. Rideout has since performed throughout the United States and in Europe and makes his debut this season with the New York Philharmonic performing Britten’s War Requiem.
Baritone Grant Youngblood returns as Lucia’s brother, Enrico, after his performances last summer as Reverend Olin Blitch in Susannah. Other recent engagements for Mr. Youngblood include Amonasro in Aida with Opera Omaha and Scarpia in Tosca with Connecticut Opera. Bass-baritone Richard Bernstein returns as Lucia’s chaplain and tutor, Raimondo, after his debut with the company as Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri. Featured in the Grammy Award nominated recording of Eugene Onegin live from the Met, Mr. Bernstein has performed many times with the Metropolitan Opera in productions such as the world premiere of An American Tragedy, A View from the Bridge and standard repertoire such as Die Zauberflöte and La Bohème.
Completing the seven member cast and each making their company debut are three members of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Program. Recently invited to participate in a two-year residency program with the Opera Institute at Boston University after a two season residency with Tri-Cities Opera in Binghampton, NY, tenor James Barbato* will portray the role of the Ashton Family Guard, Normanno. Valerie Hart Nelson* makes her debut as Alisa, Lucia’s faithful companion. Nelson most recently portrayed Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Florida State University. Andrew Owens*, a current member of the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland, will perform the role of Arturo, Lucia’s arranged bridegroom. A full cast release is located at the end of this release.
Subscriptions and single tickets are now available for Central City Opera’s 2009 Festival. Subscriptions to see Lucia di Lammermoor and A Little NightMusic (with exclusive subscriber-only pricing for Rinaldo) during the 2009 Festival start at just $95 and go up to $183. Bus subscriptions are available, as well as a 15% discount for groups of 10 or more and special discounts for seniors and students. Single ticket prices range from $50-$99. NEW THIS YEAR: Tuesday and Friday night performances start early at 7:30 p.m. with Thursday and Saturday night performances starting at 8:00 p.m. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Central City Opera Box Office at 303-292-6700; 800-851-8175 or go online to www.centralcityopera.org.
2009 Festival Extras
Enhance your 2009 Festival experience with additional artistic programming performed by the acclaimed Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Apprentice and Studio Artists. Opera a la Carte offers patrons the opportunity to see staged scenes from a wide range of opera favorites. An annual tradition, CCO training artists will stage the popular cabaret opera about the Central City legend, The Face on the Barroom Floor. Prior to several matinee performances, patrons also have the opportunity to enjoy lunch and a recital by a Bonfils-Stanton Foundation artist for our Salon Recitals. Before every performance, a free pre-performance preview, Opera Notes, allows the audience to gain further insight into each production. For more information on the Festival Extras or to purchase tickets, visit www.centralcityopera.org and click on “Events” and “Festival Extras” or call the Box Office at 303-292-6700.
(Photos available upon request.)
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Celebrating its 77 th year, the Central City Opera House Association is the nation’s fifth-oldest opera company, located just 35 miles west of Denver in one of Colorado’s official National Landmark Historic Districts. The company continues to present artistically excellent professional opera; to offer career-entry training to young singers; to produce education and community service programs; and to preserve and maintain the Opera House and 30 other Victorian-era properties. For more information or to purchase tickets to the Central City Opera, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.
LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR
*=Central City Opera Debut
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Libretto by Salvatore Cammarano
Conductor: John Baril
Director: Catherine Malfitano
Scenic Designer: Wilson Chin
Costume Designer: Terese Wadden*
Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques
Wig/Makeup Designer: Alison M. Mizerski
Stage Manager: Diane Lin
Chorus Master: Christopher Zemliauskas
Associate Conductor: Andrew Altenbach
Musical Preparation: Pedro Yañez, Tony Cho
Assistant Director: Andrew Nienabar
Assistant Stage Manager: Lisa M. Kelly
Supertitles: Thomas Getty
Piano courtesy of Baker Pianos
Cast in order of vocal appearance
Normanno: James Barbato*
Enrico: Grant Youngblood
Raimondo: Richard Bernstein
Lucia Lyubov: Petrova*
Alisa: Valerie Hart Nelson*
Edgardo: Vale Rideout
Arturo: Andrew Owens*
Central City Opera Sponsors
Erna D. Butler
Central City Opera House Association Endowment Fund
Citizens of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District
Estate of Carol K. Gossard
Lanny and Sharon Martin
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Endowment Fund
Central City Opera House Association Guild
Denver Antiques & Art Show and Sale
El Pomar Foundation
The Hill Foundation
Newmont Mining Corporation
Galen and Ada Belle Spencer Foundation
Yellow Rose Ball
Robert A. Ellis and Jane Bernstein
Mr. and Mrs. Michael C. Huseby
Diana and Mike Kinsey
Jean and Larry Manion