Gotham Chamber Opera Presents ELIOGABALO, 3/15-29
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by BWW News Desk
Gotham Chamber Opera continues its 2012-2013 Season with ELIOGABALO (1667) by Francesco Cavalli. The show will run from March 15-29, 2013 at 8pm at The Box, 189 Chrystie Street, NYC. Tickets are $30-$250 and are available on www.ticketcentral.com or by phone at 212-279-4200. Eliogabalo will be performed on Friday, March 15; Tuesday, March 19; Thursday, March 21; Saturday, March 23; Tuesday, March 26; and Friday, March 29.
Opera is full of courtesans and lechers and in the 20th century, outright acts of perversion. (Salome, anyone?) But you have to go back almost 350 years for the work with the most depraved protagonist of all: Eliogabalo, by Francesco Cavalli, with libretto by Aurelio Aureli. Based on the life of the Roman emperor Heliogabalus, who reigned from 218 to 222, the opera tells the story of a man who even today remains notorious for his sexual appetites, his appointment of an all-female senate, and his well-deserved assassination. Cavalli (1602-1676) died without ever seeing a performance of the opera, which was written for the Venice festival of 1668 but was withdrawn and replaced by another opera on the same subject. Ignored for centuries, Cavalli's opera finally received its world premiere in 1999 in Crema, Italy, the composer's birthplace.
This production of Eliogabalo will be staged by James Marvel and produced in cooperation with Randy Weiner (Sleep No More) in one of New York's most decadent nightspots: The Box, on the Lower East Side. Starring Christopher Ainslie as Eliogabalo, the cast will also include Micaëla Oeste, Susannah Biller, Maeve Höglund, Emily Righter, Daryl Freedman, Randall Scotting, John Easterlin, and Brandon Cedel. Music direction by Grant Herreid, associate music direction by Neal Goren, direction by James Marvel, assistant direction and choreography by Austin McCormick. Set design by Carol Bailey, costume design by Mattie Ullrich, and lighting design by Clifton Taylor.
Gotham Chamber Opera is the nation's foremost opera company dedicated to producing rarely-performed chamber operas from the Baroque era to the present. The company's mission is to present innovative, fully-staged productions of the highest quality in intimate venues. Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren in 2000, Gotham Chamber Opera has, in its short history, presented seven U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione; Darius Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's Dada opera Les Larmes du Couteau; and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne. In February 2005, Gotham presented the U.S. stage premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta. Also in 2005, Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA presented Gotham Chamber Opera's U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi's fantastical puppet opera La bella dormente nel bosco, featuring the puppetry of Basil Twist. In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring received its first professional staging in New York in more than 30 years, and in winter 2007, Rossini's Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in more than half a century. In the 2007/2008 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with Astor Piazzolla's tango opera, María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance. In 2009, Mark Morris directed the U.S. stage premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata. In 2010, Gotham made news world-wide for its high-tech production of Haydn's Il mondo della luna, staged in the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, and for Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), at The New Victory Theater, staged by Tony Award-nominated director Moisés Kaufman, with puppet design by Blind Summit Theatre. For the 2011-2012 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated its tenth anniversary with the world premiere of Dark Sisters by composer Nico Muhly, and a revival of Gotham's first production, Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione (1772). For more information, visit www.gothamchamberopera.org.
Grant Herreid performs frequently on early reeds, brass, strings and voice with Piffaro, Hesperus, ARTEK, and My Lord Chamberlain's Consort, and appears frequently with the Newberry Consort, the Folger Consort, King's Noyse, Apollo's Fire, Brandywine Baroque, Sinfonia New York, and the New York Consort of Viols. A specialist in early opera, he has played theorbo, lute, and baroque guitar with the Chicago Opera Theater, Aspen Music Festival, Portland Opera, and New York City Opera, as well as the opera programs at Juilliard, Curtis, and Mannes. On the faculty at Yale University, Mr. Herreid directs their Collegium Musicum and, as Artistic Director of the Yale Baroque Opera Project (YBOP), he was music director for their recent productions of Cavalli's Giasone and Scipione Affricano, Sacrati's La Finta Pazza, and Monteverdi's Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria. Mr. Herreid directs the New York Continuo Collective, and is a stage director and music coach for the Accademia d'Amore baroque opera workshop in Seattle. He has created and directed several theatrical early music shows, and he devotes much of his time to exploring the esoteric unwritten traditions of early music with the ensemble Ex Umbris and the plucked-string group Ensemble Viscera.
Neal Goren has conducted throughout the U. S. and in Europe. For Gotham Chamber Opera he conducted critically acclaimed productions of Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione, Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (with period instruments), Martinu's Hlas lesa and Les Larmes du couteau, Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne, Handel's Arianna in Creta (with period instruments), Britten's Albert Herring, Rossini's Il Signor Bruschino, Haydn's L'isola disabitata, Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, Haydn's Il mondo della luna, Montsalvatge's El gato con botas, and the world premiere of Nico Muhly's Dark Sisters. He led Gotham Chamber Opera's co-production of Respighi's La bella dormente nel bosco for Spoleto Festival USA and the Lincoln Center Festival in the summer of 2005, and conducted Britten's The Turn of the Screw for Angers Opera (France) and Opéra de Nantes for the reopening of Théâtre Graslin in February 2004. Mr. Goren made his New York City Opera debut conducting The Magic Flute in November 2003. He has participated in numerous PBS telecasts including Pavarotti Plus! and the Richard Tucker Memorial Concerts. As a recital accompanist, Mr. Goren has performed with Leontyne Price (as her exclusive musical collaborator), Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Håken Hagegård, Thomas Hampson, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Aprile Millo, Hermann Prey and others. He has been a member of the faculty of the graduate opera department of the Mannes College of Music since 1992 and served on the Board of Directors of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation from 1991-2003. In addition, Mr. Goren has served as a panelist for Opera America symposiums, is a regular guest on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz, a juror for numerous vocal competitions, and has given master classes in colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Named Classical Singer Magazine's 2008 "Stage Director of the Year", James Marvel has directed over 80 productions in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, South Korea, and the Czech Republic. In 2009, he directed a critically acclaimed new production of Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria for the Wolf Trap Opera Company. In 2010, James returned to Wolf Trap to direct Mozart's Zaide and made his Canadian debut directing Rape of Lucretia. He made his Lincoln Center debut at the Juilliard Opera Center and, in March 2011, he made his debut with Opera Africa in Johannesburg with a new production of Carmen. In 2012, Mr. Marvel made his Carnegie Hall debut, working on Katy Tucker's video production of Carmina Burana. He has also directed productions of Les pêcheurs de Perles for Opera Boston; La voix Humaine at Florence Gould Hall in New York City and for the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Belgium; and Tosca at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia.
Austin McCormick is the Founder and Artistic Director of Company XIV, based in Brooklyn, NY. Mr. McCormick holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Juilliard School and is a graduate of The Conservatory of Baroque Dance. His work has been presented at the Kennedy Center, La Mamma, Symphony Space, The Flea, Alvin Ailey Theater, Walter Reade Theater, Mark Morris Dance Center, and internationally in London, Mexico, Scotland, and Montreal. His work has been seen at the TED Conference, on Logo's "New Now Next Awards", and TLC's "Cake Boss". Mr. McCormick is the winner of the 2011 Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Grant from Opera America for new Directors in Opera, and the 2010 New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Choreography. He was named one of the "Most Beautiful People of 2011" by Paper Magazine and a "NY Style Icon" by Time Out NY. Mr. McCormick was the first winner of the Susan Braun grant award from Dance Films Association, and his films have toured internationally to Amsterdam, London, Budapest, Latvia, and France. In addition to performing in his own choreography, Mr. McCormick has danced professionally for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet of New York, and has taught and lectured on Baroque dance as a guest of the Korean Government in Seoul. He is currently pursuing a Master's degree from NYU.