Supersized OperaFix February 19, 2018

Conductor Corrado Rovaris and Mark Stone from Philadelphia Opera’s porduction of George Benjamin and Martin Crimp’s “Written on Skin”. A supersized show of news and interviews including, Mozart in the Jungle features Indie Opera favorites, Met Announces Season, Donizetti opera getting its world premier, David Lang Opera at the NYPhil.

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  • Mozart in the Jungle just began streaming it’s new season and Features music by 3 composers, who have been on the indie opera podcast, Missy Mazzoli, Nico Muhly and Paola Prestini so check it out on Amazon
  • And if you are in the Dallas Area, Check out Dallas Opera’s performance of The Sunken garden by Dutch composer/director Michel van der Aa with a libretto by Science Fiction novelist David Mitchell, which opens March 9th, and will be performed with 3D Projections!
  • L’Ange de Nisida (The Angel of Nisida) by Gaetano Donizetti is to have its world premiere, in London July 18 at Covent Garden by London-based Opera Rara almost 180 years after it was written. It‘s a romance centering on the story of a soldier, Leone, who is in love with his king’s mistress.  470 pages of the opera, which was Originally composed in the late 1830s and never produced, were found in the National Library in Paris and were reconstructed for performance.
  • Met Announces Season
    • Nico Muhly’s “Marnie” makes its American premiere Oct. 19-Nov 10, 2018
    • Diana Damrau in “La Traviata”
    • Anna Netrebko sings her first North American performances as Aida
    • Jonas Kaufmann makes his Supposed return to the Metropolitan Opera as Dick Johnson in Puccini’s “La Fanciulla del West.”
    • The Ring Cycle with Christine Goerke
  • Jaap van Zweden will conduct five world premieres as part of his inaugural season with the New York Philharmonic, including David Lang’s opera “Prisoner of the State” inspired by Beethoven’s Fidelio, which will be performed Next June (2019).

Corrado Rovaris, Conductor

  • Elizabeth Cree, a new opera, conducted by Mr. Rovaris
  • Opera Philadelphia 017 Festival
    • Part of the company’s mission is to commission new operatic works
      • Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. a new opera
        • Daniel Schnyder, composer
        • Bridgette A. Wimberly, librettist
  • Score preparation for contemporary operas versus traditional ones, they require the same depth and accuracy of study.
    • Contemporary scores do require you to go deeper in your study because so many of the composers have thoroughly notated every effect they want to occur, as well as the use of frequent meter and dynamic changes.
  • Conservatory of Milan
    • degrees in composition, organ and harpsichord
  • Teatro alla Scala, assistant chorus master from 1992-1996
    • In terms of conductors who influenced him, within one year at La Scala he worked with so many different conductors it was like receiving multiple master classes
  • He began conducting from the harpsichord with Baroque music ensembles
    • Handel
    • Pergolesi
  • The difference between conducting from the keyboard or on the podium with a baton:
    • with Baroque music, you are part of the ensemble, looking each other in the eye to make music together
    • This is his goal even when standing on a podium using a baton, to be a musician making music with other musicians
  • The Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart
    • Opera Philadelphia debut in 1999 as an emergency substitute
    • Robert Driver, former artistic director of Opera Company of Philadelphia was the person who brought Corrado to the company
  • Curtis Opera Theatre at The Perelman Theater in partnership with Opera Philadelphia and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts
    • Curtis Institute of Music
    • AVA – Academy of Vocal Arts
  • Mikael Eliasen, Artistic Director
    • Curtis Opera Theatre
  • A Quiet Place, an opera
    • Leonard Bernstein, composer
    • Stephen Wadsworth, librettist
    • Garth Edwin Sunderland, adapter for chamber version
      • The orchestra has been reduced to 18 players
      • Cast has been reduced to 15 singers, 11 named roles, 4 chorus
  • A Quiet Place in it’s current form is a merging of the original one act version of the opera that premiered in Houston as Act 2 after the Act 1 of Trouble In Tahiti.
    • The opera re-visits the characters from that opera, 30 years later.
    • Bernstein revised the score into a 3 Act opera that merged the earlier opera as flashback sequences within the new score.
  • Previous Curtis Opera Theatre productions that Corrado has conducted:
    • Ainadamar by Osvaldo Golijov
    • Cunning Little Vixen by Leos Janacek
    • Wozzeck, by Alban Berg
    • Dialogue of the Carmelites by Francis Poulen
  • Productions are primarily cast with the students from Curtis, but may be complimented with singers who are part of Opera Philadelphia’s Emerging Artist Program.
    • Many of those singers are graduates of Curtis Institute
  • Next on Corrado’s schedule:
  • Canadian Opera Company
    • Anna Bolena by Gaetano Donizetti
      • Sandra Radvanovsky as Anna
  • Corrado was also born in Bergamo, Italy, which was Donizetti’s birthplace

Mark Stone, Baritone

  • Written On Skin, an opera
    • Academy of Music, Philadelphia
    • Sir George Benjamin
    • Martin Crimp
    • Opera Philadelphia
    • This was the company of his USA debut
  • Eagles, Philadelphia Super Bowl 53 winning team
  • Next on his performance schedule
    • Narrator (Soldier) in The Soldier’s Tale
    • Igor Stravinsky
    • Christ in St Matthew Passion
    • Bass Soloist in St John Passion
      • Johan Sebastian Bach
  • Do contemporary works require different preparation over more traditional operas?
    • Contemporary works require a lot more attention to detail
    • Composers will notate absolutely everything, the notes, dynamics and will frequently have multiple time signature changes, sometimes every bar.
    • Mozart, and other traditional composers works, once you’ve learned the score the dynamics and music are much more straightforward.
  • Are Contemporary composers focussing more on translating actuall speech rhythms?
    • No, the music/vocal line can still go directly against natural speech rhythm, it may be because the composer is following their own speech rhythm or the librettists.
    • Benjamin Britten
    • The Rape of Lucretia, an opera
    • Britten finds, often with the sparsest of orchestral resources exactly the right musical language to have the desired impact.
  • Favorite Britten role:
    • Balstrode in Peter Grimes, which he will play in the upcoming season
    • Ned Keene, played previously
    • Britten role he has not sung:
      • Billy Budd in Billy Budd, but it is a role he has aged out of Tobias Ragg
    • Sweeney Todd
  • Which contemporary composer would he like to create a new opera for him?
    • Jonathan Dove
      • As a composer, he manages to have a musical language that is both interesting to the musicians on stage, in the pit as well as the audience.
    • It is accessible to everyone.
  • What was his training background?
    • Sang as a boy treble
    • Went to Cambridge for Maths, auditioned for the choir, but was not accepted
    • Graduated and became a Chaucer’s Accountant, then went into Investment banking, but it wasn’t a good fit for him.
    • Went to Guildhall School of Music in London for a 3 year course of study
  • Drama coaches who trained and inspired him:
    Stephen Canon, Martin Lloyd Evans, Stephen Metcalfe

    • They gave him the safe space to try roles out before production
    • Covent Garden Opera House
    • Acting is a bit like fishing, in order to get the hook out to the right point you have to throw it further and then wind it back in.

Credits: Peter Szep producer/editor, Chuck Sachs reviewer

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