CENTRAL CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES THE NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE OF HÄNDEL'S "MAGIC OPERA," AMADIGI DI GAULA
JULY 2- AUG. 6
Denver, Colo. - A "knight in shining armor" tale, Central City Opera's (CCO) second offering in the 2011 Festival is Händel's Baroque opera, Amadigi di Gaula, with a libretto by an unknown author adapted from Antoine Houdar de la Motte's libretto, Amadis de Grèce. The first fully-staged production in North America, Amadigi opens July 2, with performances continuing through Aug. 6. The opera will be performed in Italian with English supertitles.
The tale follows Amadigi, a Paladin (warrior of Charlemagne's court) and Dardano, Prince of Thrace, who are both in love with the beautiful princess Oriana, daughter of the King of the Fortune Islands. Oriana is in love with Amadigi, as is the sorceress, Melissa, who fights for Amadigi's love through the use of sorcery and potions. True love prevails in the end. Full of sorcery and magic, the new CCO production set in the Renaissance will be reminiscent of Professor Dumbledore's office in the "Harry Potter" movies. Considered among the sub-genre of "magic opera", a popular form during the Baroque era in which the action takes place in an enchanted realm and at least one of the protagonists has supernatural powers, the opera was well received when it premiered at the King's Theatre in London in 1715, before falling into neglect until the mid-1900s.
Central City Opera's new production will be directed by British stage director Alessandro Talevi*, who makes his U.S. debut with the production. Says Talevi, "For me, the most important thing about Amadigi was to create real, human characters on stage. For the sorceress Melissa and her enchanted realm, I drew inspiration from the powerful, cultured women of the Italian High Renaissance, figures like Isabella d'Este and Lucrezia Borgia, who had the means to create private fantasies and follies within the high walls of their palaces." Adds Talevi, "The setting for Amadigi is like a giant Renaissance curiosity cabinet, full of surprises and illusions, which Melissa has created to seduce her admirers and confound and torment her rivals."
Filmed on location in Händel's London home, CCO recently created a video trailer that features Mr. Talevi and additional London-based artists of Amadigi di Gaula: http://www.centralcityopera.org/amadigi.
A British maestro known for his mastery of Early Music and a wide range of repertoire including Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann, Matthew Halls returns to conduct Amadigi di Gaula after making his CCO debut with 2009's Rinaldoand conducting 2010's Madama Butterfly. In 2009, Mr. Halls assumed the position of Artistic Director for the Retrospect Ensemble based in the U.K. Following their successful inaugural performance at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, the Ensemble already boasts a new annual season at the prestigious Wigmore Hall in London, and tours to Korea, Israel, Portugal and Switzerland. In March 2012, Mr. Halls will be taking Central City Opera's production of Amadigi di Gaula to Wigmore Hall in London. Earlier this year, Mr. Halls debuted with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra conducting Vivaldi's Four Seasons. He has also worked extensively with many of Europe's opera houses including The Netherlands Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, as well as at venues such as The Megaron in Athens, Lincoln Center in New York and Wiener Festwochen.
South African countertenor Christopher Ainslie* makes his U.S. and CCO debuts in the title role of Amadigi. Having rapidly established himself amongst the leaders in his voice type, he has appeared twice at London's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, at the Glyndebourne Festival, Opera de Lyon, Drottningholm Palace Theatre, and the Göttingen Händel Festival. Ainslie recently gave his debut recital at the Wigmore Hall presenting repertoire ranging from Dowland to Mahler and Britten. He was the first countertenor to win the Richard Tauber competition at Wigmore Hall in 2008 and won the Michael Oliver Prize in the 2007 Händel Singing Competition. Opera performances include the title roles as Ottonein L'Incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, the title role in Tamerlano at Göttingen Festival Opera, and Artaxerxes in Artaxerxes for Classical Opera Company. Soprano Katherine Manley* also makes her U.S. and CCO debuts as the female love interest, Oriana. Ms. Manley's roles have included Lucia in The Rape of Lucretia at Angers/Nantes Opera, Virtu in L'Incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne Touring Opera, and Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream for the Garsington Opera. Countertenor David Trudgen* also makes his CCO debut as Dardano, Prince of Thrace. Called "the next generation's answer to David Daniels" by the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Trudgen has performed the role of Mike Teavee in The Golden Ticket with Wexford Festival and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Nerone in Agrippina at the Boston Lyric Opera, and Orfeo (cover) in Orfeo ed Euridice with the Canadian Opera Company. Soprano Kathleen Kim returns to play the evil sorceress, Melissa, following her CCO debut as Armida in 2009's Rinaldo. Hailed by Opera News, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, Ms. Kim's additional engagements in the 2010-11 season include the Metropolitan Opera's premiere of Nixon in China singing the role of Chiang Ch'ing, as well as her acclaimed portrayal at the Met of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos; Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte at the Bayerische Staatsoper; Oscar in Un ballo in Maschera with the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Poppea in a production of Agrippina with the Boston Lyric Opera.
A prize-winning finalist at the 2007 European Opera-Directing Prize in Wiesbaden, Alessandro Talevi was also the co-founder and artistic director of Independent Opera at Sadler's Wells in London, producing acclaimed stagings of works such as Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and Händel's Orlando. Other recent successes have included The Turn of the Screw for Opera North in Leeds, La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera in Sweden, and several productions at the major London conservatoires. Set and costume designer Madeleine Boyd* makes her debut with CCO with her striking production design and costumes for Amadigi di Gaula. Ms. Boyd will be the major creative force behind defining and shaping the magical and distinct "Harry Potter" inspired set for Amadigi di Gaula. Recent designs for Ms. Boyd include The Turn of the Screw with Opera North, Pelléas et Mélisande with Independent Opera at Lillian Bayliss Theatre, and La Cenerentola for Malmö Opera. David Martin Jacques returns this summer for his 11th festival as Resident Lighting Designer. Having designed more than 300 theatre, opera, television, dance and special event productions, he collaborated with director Catherine Malfitano on last May's production of Tosca at the English National Opera. This May, he lit The Tsar's Bride at the acclaimed London's Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. The wig/makeup designers for Amadigi are Jason Allen* and Ronell Oliveri*, both making theirCentral City Opera debut. Mr. Allen's recent work has included Maria Stuarda with The Minnesota Opera, After Image/The Emperor of Atlantis with Boston Lyric Opera, and Educating Rita with The Huntington Theatre Company. Ms. Oliveri has worked with the Chicago Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Opera Colorado and Minnesota Opera. In 2007, she was nominated for a Prime Time Emmy for outstanding makeup in a miniseries.
2011 Ticket and Festival Information
Subscriptions and single tickets are now available for CCO's 2011 Festival. Subscriptions to see Bizet's popular Carmen; the first fully-staged production in North America of Händel's Amadigi di Gaula, and a double bill of three one act operas: Gianni Schicchi by Puccini, The Breasts of Tiresias by Poulenc and Weill's The Seven Deadly Sins, during the 2011 Festival start at just $42 and go up to $259. Single tickets range from $20 - $105, and tickets for individual one-act performances start at $10. Supersaver and group discounts are also available for select performances. For opera-goers' convenience, an opera bus leaving from Glendale and Simms Steakhouse will be available for $18 round trip for select matinee performances. Packages are also available to see all five shows this summer. For more information or to purchase tickets for 2011, visit www.centralcityopera.org or call 303-292-6700.
OMG! Central City Opera Gets Festivalized
Beyond the 2011 productions, CCO will be unveiling a new feel, new activities and new ideas that align with its new brand. On select weekends of the Festival, food carts, chalk art, buskers and entertainers will enliven the quaint, historic streets of Central City. And, for the first time, CCO invites music lovers to explore the Fringe Festival, a collection of short performances, a 19th century weekend of history and modern fun, jazz, tours, and much more. Explorers of the Fringe Festival will experience local history, nature, culture, and of course, opera like never before. Visit www.centralcityopera.org/fringe for more information and tickets.
Celebrating its 79th year, Central City Opera 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 in its annual summer festival; 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.
Amadigi di Gaula
*=Central City Opera Debut
Music: G.F. Händel
Libretto: Anonymous adapted from Antoine Houdar de la Motte's libretto, Amadis de Grèce
Edition: Matthew Halls and Brian Clark
Conductor: Matthew Halls/Christopher Zemliauskas +
Director: Alessandro Talevi*
Assistant Director: Crystal Manich
Scenic & Costume Designer: Madeleine Boyd*
Lighting Designer: David Martin Jacques
Wig/Makeup Designer: Jason Allen* and Ronell Oliveri*
Musical Preparation: Patrick T. Jones
Stage Manager: Rachel L. Ginzberg
Assistant Stage Manager: Ginger Castleberry
Design Assistant for Ms. Boyd: Beth Howard
Surtitles: Thomas Getty
Harpsichord: Patrick T. Jones
Baroque Cello: Kate Haynes
Theorbo and Baroque Guitar: Madeleine Owen and Matthew Wadsworth
+ Conducting July 7 performance and August 4 Family Matinee
Cast in order of vocal appearance
Amadigi: Christopher Ainslie*
Dardano: David Trudgen*
Melissa: Kathleen Kim
Oriana: Katherine Manley*
Orgando: Jonathan Matthews
Ensemble: Central City Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists
Central City Opera Sponsors
Lanny and Sharon Martin
Central City Opera House Association Endowment Fund
Citizens of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District
Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Artists Training Endowment Fund
The Virginia Hill Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Mr. and Mrs. Gerald L. Bader, Jr.
Pamela and Louis Bansbach
Mabel Y. Hughes Charitable Trust
Mr. and Mrs. Michael C. Huseby
Lizabeth A. Lynner and James L. Palenchar
Mr. Daniel L. Ritchie