Our 2019 Festival celebrated the powerful presence, contributions, and leadership of women in opera from its very origins. To booken this story, we offered Francesca Caccini’s 1625 opera La liberazione di Ruggiero, the first opera by a woman, and the premiere of the newest: Princess Maleine, by composer Whitney George and librettist Bea (Brittany) Goodwin. Rounding out the repertory season were “Scenes from the Tower” (featuring Cendrillon by Pauline Viardot, and extended excerpts from Mary, Queen of Scots by Thea Musgrave, and Mrs. President, by Victoria Bond), and a song recital entitled “Les Boulangers” (with repertoire by Lili and Nadia Boulanger, Alma Mahler, Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, as well as premieres by Martha Sullivan, Ellen Mandel, and Barrett Cobb. The festival comprised a total of 14 repertoire performances as part of “Summer Shares at LaMama.”
Opera’s greatest rivals, or Opera’s greatest co-workers? Mozart and Salieri simultaneously served as important musicians in the Viennese Court Theater for years in the late 18th century, alongside their colleague, librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. During the festival, we told the story of two of opera’s most famous rivals (or most productive colleagues!). Don Giovanni, Mozart’s iconic operatic #metoo tale was paired with Salieri’s playful La Cifra (The Code)… a hidden gem of an opera about a hidden gem of a young woman. The repertory season encompassing 13 total performances also included “Vignettes from Vienna,” a scenes program featuring not only works by the two Vienna court composers, but also Rimsky-Korsakov’s one-act opera Mozart & Salieri (based on a short Pushkin play), bringing the two composers to life (and one “to death”) on stage. On the penultimate day of the festival, Sacred & Profane: Songs and Ephemera gathered religious and sacrilegious works of both composers in an afternoon recital including “Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia” – a cantata written jointly by Mozart, Salieri, and “Cornetti” with a libretto by Da Ponte, plus magnificent songs of Mozart, a canon of Salieri, and other rarities both sublime and ridiculous.
Opera’s “Untamed!” characters populated our exciting 2017 Festival, including Cavalli’s La Calisto Janáček’s Příhody lišky Bystroušky (The Cunning Little Vixen), a scenes program including Anna Bolena, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Carmen, Rusalka and more. Finally, an art song recital called “Wild Things” included repertoire by Heggie, Barber, Liszt, Saalbach, and premieres of works by Barrett Cobb and Ellen Mandell.
Our “Violetta & Her Sisters” theme encompassed numerous stories of the French demimonde, including grisettes and courtesans, and the men who loved (and tried to control) them. The title of our festival came (with kind permission from publisher Faber & Faber) from a 1994 collection of poetry and essays edited by Nicholas John. Verdi’s La Traviata was paired with Massenet’s Manon along with a season program that included the first act of Puccini’s La Rondine and the first and fourth acts of Leoncavallo’s La Boheme. A total of 14 performances was rounded out with a recital including nearly a dozen different composer’s settings of poems from Baudelaire’s “Fleurs du mal.”
Our August, 2015 Festival: A Beaumarchais Trilogy explored the famous “Figaro” trilogy through an adventurous lens. The festival began with the Paisiello version of Il barbiere di Siviglia, which for many years even eclipsed the later Rossini version in popularity. Mozart’s beloved Le nozze di Figaro joined the repertory performances a few days later with two full casts. The trilogy was completed with the New York premiere of Hiram Titus’ opera Rosina (1980), an affectionate ‘fan fiction’ completion with a libretto by Barbara Field. Additional programming included a pastiche of Beaumarchais scenes, including settings by Rossini, Massenet, Mozart, Milhaud, Corigliano and others.
Why just swelter through another summer in Manhattan when you could Smolder in Rome?
Join us for our Tenth Anniversary “Standard Repertoire Project”