The Opera Orchestra of New York and its founder and Music Director Eve Queler today announced the company's 40th anniversary season to open at Carnegie Hall on Monday, October 25, 2010. The season begins with an opera-in-concert double bill of Jules Massenet's La Navarraise starring tenor Roberto Alagna and mezzo-soprano El?na Garan?a, and Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana starring Mr. Alagna, soprano Maria Guleghina, and mezzo-sopranos Krysty Swann and Mignon Dunn, conducted by Music Director Designate Alberto Veronesi in his Carnegie Hall and The Opera Orchestra of New York debut on Monday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m.
The 2010-11 season also includes an opera-in-concert performance of Giacomo Meyerbeer's L'Africaine with tenor Marcello Giordani and Italian soprano Chiara Taigi in her U.S. debut, conducted by Eve Queler at Avery Fisher Hall on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. L'Africaine was last presented by Eve Queler and The Opera Orchestra of New York in 1972 with Richard Tucker singing the role of Vasco da Gama and this season's performance will be presented in tribute to that historic performance.
The season will also include the company's annual Vidda Award recital featuring 2011 Award recipient soprano Meagan Miller at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.; and young artist recitals as part of the Opera Orchestra of New York's Rising Star recital series.
The 2010-11 season features the company debuts of numerous celebrated artists, including tenor Roberto Alagna; sopranos Maria Guleghina, and Chiara Taigi, also making her U.S. debut; and mezzo-sopranos El?na Garan?a and Mignon Dunn, who returns to the stage for the first time since performing in Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera in 1994. Returning artists include tenor Marcello Giordani, soprano Ellie Dehn, baritone Giovanni Guagliardo, and bass-baritones Daniel Mobbs and Brian Kontes. Mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann, a former Opera Orchestra Young Artist, will also make her Opera Orchestra main stage and Carnegie Hall debut.
"It is hard to believe that it has been 40 years since I founded The Opera Orchestra of New York and conducted the company's first performances at Carnegie Hall-one of which was Meyerbeer's L'Africaine," said Music Director Eve Queler. "I look forward to revisiting L'Africaine this season and presenting this beautiful work for only the second time in the company's history with some of today's most important artists including tenor Marcello Giordani, with whom the company has had a long association."
"I am very excited and honored to open The Opera Orchestra of New York's 40th anniversary season and make my debut with the Opera Orchestra conducting La Navarraise and Cavalleria rusticana. I am pleased to present these two masterpieces of Verismo opera with singers whom over the past few years, I have a developed a special rapport and artistic bond," said Alberto Veronesi, Music Director Designate. "I look forward to beginning my association with The Opera Orchestra of New York and continuing the company's long distinguished history of presenting new and lesser known operas."
Chairman of the Board Norman Raben added: "Following The Opera Orchestra of New York's 2009-10 bridge season of recitals, we are pleased to announce the orchestra's triumphant return with a season of operas-in-concert at Carnegie and Avery Fisher Halls, in addition to our young artist recitals. We look forward to welcoming our new Music Director Designate, Alberto Veronesi to the podium this season, as well as Music Director Eve Queler."
La Navarraise and Cavalleria Rusticana
La Navarraise, a "French Verismo" opera, is Jules Massenet's answer to Pietro Mascagni's popular opera Cavalleria rusticana. The operas were commonly performed on a double-bill until the early 20th century, and both recount stories of jealousy and betrayal ending in tragedy. La Navarraise, inspired by Jules Claretie's short story "La cigarette," is a dramatic love story set during the Carlist War in Spain. Anita (Garan?a) must raise money for a dowry to marry Araquil (Alagna), and assassinates army leader Garrido for a monetary reward. When Araquil searches for Anita believing she is having an affair with Garrido, he is shot and killed while Anita looks on. Cavalleria rusticana recounts the story of a calm SicilIan Easter morning, disrupted by tragedy when love-struck Santuzza (Guleghina) is forsaken by Turiddu (Alagna) who has rekindled his relationship with married Lola (Swann). A jilted Santuzza goes to Lola's husband to inform him of Lola's indiscretions, igniting his revenge.
This double-bill opera-in-concert performance features many important debuts, including the company premiere of La Navarraise; Music Director Designate Alberto Veronesi's U.S., Carnegie Hall and company debuts; and Roberto Alagna, El?na Garan?a, Maria Guleghina and Mignon Dunn's first performances with the company.
Giacomo Meyerbeer's final work, the now-neglected grand opera L'Africaine, is primarily known for the tenor aria "O Paradis." L'Africaine is a fictional account of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama's (Giordani) travels beyond Africa to India, where he becomes caught in a love triangle with Selika (Taigi), queen of Madagascar, and the Portuguese noblewoman, Inez (Dehn), he left behind.
The Opera Orchestra of New York last performed an Italian-language version of the opera, L'Africana, during the company's premiere season with Richard Tucker starring in the role of Vasco da Gama and Antonietta Stella as Selika. This season's revival is dedicated to Mr. Tucker and that first historic performance, and features Marcello Giordanni in his sixth performance with the company and Italian soprano Chiara Taigi in her U.S. and company debut.
2011 Vidda Award Recital
The Opera Orchestra of New York's annual Vidda Award Recital will this season feature Vidda Award Winner soprano Meagan Miller at Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufmann Center on February 9, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.
Ms. Miller has performed on opera, recital and concert stages all over the world and has been hailed by The New York Times for her "gorgeous and lively tone" and "considerable communicative powers." Ms. Miller recently made her European operatic debut as Ariadne in the Vienna Volksoper's new production of Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, and has performed with esteemed opera companies such as New York City Opera, Minnesota Opera, L'Opéra de Montréal, Wolf Trap Opera, and with San Francisco Opera's Merola program. She made her Opera Orchestra debut in October 2008 singing the role of Saburova in Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride. She is also an accomplished recitalist and noted interpreter of new music and has appeared in more than thirty professional recitals. Ms. Miller is the winner of the George London/Kirsten Flagstad Award, the Liederkranz Foundation Competition, a Richard Tucker Music Foundation Study Grant and the 1999 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.