Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville May 7, 9 matinee, 13, 15, 2010

you’ll laugh ’til your socks fall off!

 

 

Love can be a zany affair. Especially in the hands of Rossini!


Let’s see if we can get this straight. The lovely, young Rosina is the ward of Dr. Bartolo, a comic old geezer who wants to marry her, but she’d rather marry Count Almaviva, who really wants to marry her too, but he can’t even see her because Bartolo’s always there, so what’s a guy to do?

Easy. Just ask the Barber!

Add a healthy dose of the most spirited music ever written, sprinkle in a few disguises … and voila! Girl gets boy. Boy gets girl. And everyone lives happily ever after.

No wonder it’s one of the most popular operas ever written!

 

Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Performances held at the Keller Auditorium.

Audio described performance is Sunday, May 9.

 

Approximate performance time is 2:45, including one 25 minute intermission.

 

Download the study guide here.
(The study guide requires a pdf reader. If you do not have one, please download the Adobe pdf reader here.)

 

 

Cast

Rosina Jennifer Rivera
Count Almaviva
Nicholas Phan
Figaro Daniel Belcher
Bartolo Steven Condy
   
Conductor George Manahan
Stage Director Christopher Mattaliano

ACT I — Seville, 1800s. At night, Count Almaviva brings a band of musicians to serenade Rosina, ward of Dr. Bartolo, who keeps the girl confined in his house. When Rosina fails to answer his song, the Count pays the players, and they leave. At the sound of Figaro’s voice, Almaviva steps away as the barber bounds in, boasting of his busy life as the neighborhood factotum. Figaro, though currently in Bartolo’s employ, encounters Almaviva and promises to help him win Rosina—for a suitable reward. No sooner has Bartolo left the house to arrange his own marriage with Rosina than Almaviva launches into a second serenade, calling himself “Lindoro,” a poor creature who can offer only love. Figaro suggests Almaviva disguise himself as a drunken soldier billeted to Bartolo’s house.

Alone in the house, Rosina muses on the voice that has touched her heart and resolves to outwit Bartolo. Figaro joins her, but they leave on hearing footsteps. Bartolo enters with the music master, Don Basilio, who tells him Almaviva is a rival for Rosina’s hand and advises slandering the nobleman’s reputation. Bartolo agrees, but Figaro overhears them. Warning Rosina that Bartolo plans to marry her himself the very next day, the barber promises to deliver a note she has written to “Lindoro.” Rosina, alone with Bartolo, undergoes an interrogation, then listens to his boast that he is far too clever to be tricked. Berta, the housekeeper, answers violent knocking at the door, returning with Almaviva disguised as a drunken soldier in search of lodging. While arguing with Bartolo, Almaviva manages to slip a love letter to Rosina. But when Bartolo demands to see the letter, the girl substitutes a laundry list. Figaro dashes in to warn that their hubbub has attracted a crowd. Police arrive to silence the disturbance. As an officer is about to arrest him, Almaviva whispers his identity and is released. Rosina, Berta, Bartolo and Basilio are stupefied by everything that is happening.

ACT II — Bartolo receives a young music teacher, “Don Alonso” (again Almaviva in disguise), who claims to be a substitute for the ailing Basilio. Rosina enters, recognizes her suitor and begins her singing lesson as Bartolo dozes in his chair. Figaro arrives to shave the doctor and manages to steal the key to the balcony window. Basilio now comes in, looking the picture of health. Bribed by Almaviva, he feigns illness and departs. Figaro shaves Bartolo while Almaviva and Rosina plan their elopement that night. They are overheard by the doctor, who drives Figaro and Almaviva from the house and Rosina to her room, then sends again for Basilio. Berta, unnerved by all the confusion, complains she is going mad. Bartolo dispatches Basilio for a notary, then tricks Rosina into believing “Lindoro” is really a flunky of Almaviva. After a thunderstorm, Almaviva arrives with Figaro and climbs through a balcony window to abduct Rosina. At first the girl rebuffs “Lindoro,” but when he explains that he and Almaviva are one and the same, she falls into his arms. Figaro urges haste, but before they can leave, their ladder is taken away. Basilio enters with the notary. Though summoned to wed Rosina and Bartolo, the official marries her instead to Almaviva, who bribes Basilio. Rushing in too late, Bartolo finds the lovers already wed. When Almaviva allows him to keep Rosina’s dowry, the old man accepts the situation.

–Courtesy of Opera News

 

Un fiasco magnifico

“Thou knowest, O Lord, as well as I, that really, I am only a composer of opera buffa.” —Rossini

 

Comedy is hard. Comedy in music can be even harder, because, as Rossini ably proves in his brilliant, rollicking comedy The Barber of Seville, it is hard to tell whether music is innately “funny”—or not—without context. Much of Barber was cobbled together from other Rossini operas (mainly his tragedies) which just goes to show that context is everything.

Music from six other of Rossini operas appears in The Barber of Seville. But we should perhaps cut the maestro some slack, since according to legend, he actually wrote the score in 13 days. Of course, writing down the music and the conceiving and planning of it are very different things, and it is highly likely that Rossini had been toying with the idea of setting Beaumarchais’ witty and wonderful play for quite a while.

Rossini’s self-pilfering was de rigueur for the busy, prolific composer, and many of his audiences would never have noticed, having had no chance to have seen operas written and performed for theaters in other cities. In Barber one can hear the overture written for Aureliano in Palmira (1813), re-used as the overture for Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra (1815), and then made immortal as the overture for Barber. Count Almaviva’s winsome love song, Ecco ridente in cielo, is lifted from a Lenten cantata Rossini wrote in 1812, recycled in another opera, and finally adapted for his amorous count. La calunnia, that tour de force for Don Basilio, is adapted from a chorus opening his tragedy Sigismondo. There are other imports throughout the opera, all from operas of Rossini’s that have melted into obscurity. (Rossini was clever about finding an appropriate vehicle for some of his best music!)

Rossini’s classic comedy, is based on French playwright Beaumarchais’ play The Barber of Seville, first in a trilogy of plays about the ingenious Figaro. Setting the comedy as an opera was not an original idea by the time Rossini got around to considering it. German, English and Spanish operatic adaptations appeared shortly after Beaumarchais’ play, but the most successful and enduring of the early Barbers was Paisiello’s. And it was with this version that Rossini had to contend when he opened his own.

The musical adaptations of Beaumarchais’ play make good sense. Beaumarchais had at first conceived his Barber as an opéra comique, prepared for the Comédie-Italienne. Among his myriad talents, Beaumarchais was a more than competent musician, who always included extensive music into his plays. Sadly, his opéra comique was rejected by the Comédie-Italienne. Evidently, their primo uomo had once been a barber and he did not relish the public being reminded of that fact. Undaunted, Beaumarchais presented The Barber of Seville to the Théâtre Français as a comedy—albeit with nine of his original songs and orchestration for the storm scene intact. The amount of music left in the play was deemed too much by the theater impresario and Beaumarchais was obliged to savage his score.

Giovanni Paisiello was the tremendously popular and extremely famous premiere composer of the Neapolitan School. His Barber was written for St. Petersburg, where he served as the court conductor, and opened at the Hermitage in 1782. It soon made its way around Europe and had been greatly admired in Italy for a generation before Rossini got his hands on it. Rossini took great precautions not to offend Paisiello or his partisans with his own plans for an opera. He publicly announced his admiration for Paisiello and his artistic achievement with Barber, assuring all that his was to be an entirely new treatment of Beaumarchais’ play. He even titled his opera Almaviva to avoid infringing on the older composer’s rights. It wasn’t until after Paisiello’s death that Rossini’s work bore the title The Barber of Seville. All of Rossini’s careful politics were to no avail. Paisiello’s fans were ready to rumble with the young composer for having the effrontery to think he could write something to rival the maestro. Opening night for Rossini’s opera was stacked against him.

Rossini biographer Stendahl, who wrote the gossipy and entertaining (and often inaccurate) Vie de Rossini, delighted in telling the story of Barber’s opening night fiasco. To begin with, Rossini, in keeping with the Spanish setting of the opera, arrived at the theater in a vicuña suit in a startling hazel color, adorned with gigantic gold buttons. Immediately, the rowdy audience mocked the composer mercilessly, only to be distracted by the presumptuous tenor, who rather than singing the aria the composer prepared for his first appearance, strode on stage with an untuned guitar with which he intended to accompany himself in a song of his choosing. Unfortunately, as he began to tune the instrument, all of the strings snapped— to the derogatory howls of the audience. Increasing the audience’s hilarity, Figaro arrived on stage with a mandolin. On the first strum, its strings snapped too. Don Basilio tripped and bloodied his nose, forcing him to sing while dabbing gingerly at his face. In a final disastrous moment, a cat entered, and the cast, in an attempt to encourage it to leave the stage, chased it under Rosina’s skirts. The ensuing howls and whistles made it impossible to hear the opera onstage. Rossini slunk from the theater and went to bed. Ironically, according to Stendahl, the audience that night was full of priests!

The next night, Rossini’s opera faired better. Humiliated, Rossini did not venture to the theater, but stayed at home and went to bed early. He was woken by what sounded to him a braying mob and he remained hiding in his room, sure that “those abbes have come looking for [him] to give [him] a trouncing.” It was not so. It seemed that all of Rome had sought him out to carry him to triumph. Rossini’s Barber was a success after all. At first it was not among the public’s favorites. Eventually, however, The Barber of Seville has become celebrated as one of the three greatest operatic comedies ever written. Of all Rossini’s many operas, it is The Barber of Seville that has never left the opera house and remains fixed as the definitive telling of Beaumarchais’ class-conscious play.

—Alexis Hamilton

About the Composer:  Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868)

“Give me a laundry list, and I’ll set it to music.”
--Gioachino Rossini

 

Rossini
Rossini critics might snicker at Rossini’s comment, for many have accused him of being trivial, mistaking popularity for artistic inadequacy.  But after 39 operas, ten of which are masterworks, Rossini’s operatic importance cannot be overstated. His innovations created a whole new vocabulary for opera, paving the way for Verdi, Meyerbeer and Wagner.

Born to musician parents, Rossini was steeped in operatic and symphonic music.  
At 14, he was accepted into the Accademia Filarmonica, where he proved an apt pupil, despite his apparent inability and lack of interest in counterpoint.

Academia seems to have cramped Rossini’s style, however, and he wrote little.  After he left his studies, his composition increased.  The Teatro San Moisè in Venice commissioned him to write a farsa.  The San Moisè was a savvy, well-managed opera company, perfect for the fledgling composer to perfect his craft.  Farse were low budget, chorus-less, 80-minute operas. In total, Rossini wrote four farse for San Moisè and developed an effective structure which translated beautifully in the first acts of his subsequent full-length comedies.
 
Of his operas in this early period, Tancredi stands out as the watershed.  An opera seria first performed in 1813, Tancredi contains not only some of Rossini’s loveliest music but also some true innovations. Rossini’s opera buffa, L’Italiana in Algeri, exemplifies the composer’s inventiveness.  For the first time he combined elements of opera seria and opera buffa, and some critics accused Rossini of blending these elements willy-nilly without regard to effect.  An unbiased hearing proves this to be untrue.

The year 1816 marked a new phase in Rossini’s career. The Neapolitans had been inured to the Rossini-mania sweeping Italy and Europe, but Domenico Barbaia, artistic director of the San Carlos in Naples, sought to capitalize on Rossini’s novelty.  Rossini churned out 18 operas in 7 years for Barbaia.  Compare that to Puccini who wrote 11 operas in his entire 42 year career, or Verdi who wrote 29 operas over 54 years.  

Rossini then traveled to Vienna and married soprano Isabella Colbran.  When he returned to Bologna to finish work on Semiramide, his Italian career was ending.  Offers for lucrative positions poured in from all over Europe and he accepted the offer from Theatre Italien in Paris.  His first opera for Theatre Italien was Il Viaggio a Reims, written for the coronation of Charles X.  Because it was an occasional piece, Rossini later re-used much of it in Le Comte Ory, a brilliant opéra comique which far surpassed the usual vocal demands of that genre.  

Rossini’s final opera Guillaume Tell is a grand summation of a tremendous career.  Guillaume Tell is so masterful that even Richard Wagner felt compelled to compliment Rossini on his admirable marriage of music and drama.  Rossini reportedly quipped, “Dear me, I was writing the music of the future and didn’t know it.”

It seems, however, that Rossini tired of opera after Guillaume Tell.  He returned to Bologna and retired from operatic life.  He had written 39 operas in 19 years.  After so many contributions to opera, he had certainly earned a rich retirement, and he spent his last years as a gourmand, a raconteur, a voice teacher and a marvelous cook

.

 

Jennifer RiveraJennifer Rivera - Rosina

Mezzo Soprano


Previously at Portland Opera: The Marriage of Figaro, 2003

Jennifer Rivera has rapidly been earning recognition as a superb lyric mezzo soprano in both the United States and abroad. Her recent European debut as Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Teatro Regio di Torino directed by Graham Vick and conducted by Roberto Abbado has led to future European engagements including ...

Jennifer Rivera

Jennifer Rivera - Rosina

Mezzo Soprano


Previously at Portland Opera: The Marriage of Figaro, 2003

Jennifer Rivera has rapidly been earning recognition as a superb lyric mezzo soprano in both the United States and abroad. Her recent European debut as Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito with the Teatro Regio di Torino directed by Graham Vick and conducted by Roberto Abbado has led to future European engagements including her debut at the Berlin Staatsoper as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and will sing Nerone in a new production of Agrippina conducted by Rene Jacobs.  

While still a student at Juilliard, Ms. Rivera was invited to join the roster of the New York City Opera, and after winning their prestigious Debut Artist of Year award, went on to sing several roles with the company including Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Lazuli in L’Etoile, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel, and Nerone in Handel’s Agrippina. Praised repeatedly by The New York Times for her “radiant mezzo soprano” (Elmer Gantry), her “warm dark tone” (Barbiere), and “fresh ready singing”, (Hansel) her voice has also been described by The Times as being “dark, musical, and very agile”(Cenerentola) and possessing “richness, ease, and exactness” (L’Etoile).

Engagements for during the 2008-2009 season included Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Pacific and Opera Tampa, La Cenerentola with Florida Grand Opera, and Ines in Donizetti’s Maria Padilla with Washington Concert Opera. Later in the season Ms. Rivera appeared as soloist with the American Symphony Orchestra singing Varese's Offrandes, and sang Orsini in Lucrezia Borgia for Polish National Opera.  During the summer she appears as the title role of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for the Berkshire as well as in recital for Bard Summerscape.

Other upcoming engagements during the 2009-2010 season include Rosina for Portland Opera, Stephano in Romeo et Juliette with New Orleans Opera as well as Pergolesi’s L’Olimpiade for the Innsbrucker Festwochen.  Among her future engagements are her return to the Berlin Staatsoper as Rosina, a new production of Antigonae as well as her debut at Opera Royal de Wallonie as Cherubino.

A favorite among living composers, Ms. Rivera created the starring role of Sharon Falconer in the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, which premiered at Nashville Opera in 2007. Additionally, Ms. Rivera has performed in four productions of Mark Adamo’s very successful opera Little Women (in New York, Tokyo, Cleveland, and Dayton), as well as his newest work Lysistrata.

Jennifer Rivera has garnered much acclaim for her portrayal of trouser roles in theaters throughout the world. She has sung Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro with New York City Opera, Opera Hong Kong, Cincinnati Opera, and Portland Opera, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with NYCO and Opera Columbus, Lazuli in L’Etoile at NYCO and Cincinnati Opera, Achille in Handel’s Deidamia with Caramoor Music Festival, Siebel in Faust with Cincinnati Opera, and Stefano in Romeo et Juiliette with Madison Opera.

Another repertory in which Ms. Rivera excels is bel canto. She has interpreted Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with many companies including NYCO, Florentine Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Dayton Opera, and has sung the title role in La Cenerentola with Opera de Colombia in Bogota, Lake George Opera, Gold Coast Opera, Columbus Opera, and The Juillard Opera Center.

Ms. Rivera’s concert work has included recitals with the Marilyn Horne Foundation in several venues throughout the U.S., a concert with Ms. Horne at Carnegie Hall, Hiller’s The Destruction of Jerusalem with the American Symhony Orchestra at Avery Fischer Hall, Mozart’s Mass in C and Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Berkshire Choral Festival, and The Mephisto Project with the L'Opera Francais de New York.  

Jennifer Rivera has received prizes in several competitions, including the Operalia Competition held in Madrid, Spain in which she was a finalist who performed in the Gala Concert conducted by Placido Domingo, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in which she was the winner of the Eastern Region and a national Semi-Finalist, the George London Foundation, the Opera Index Competition, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, The Joyce Dutka Arts Competition, The Licia Albanese Puccini Competition, and the Richard F. Gold Shoshana Foundation Career Grant from The Juilliard School. She attended Boston University for her undergraduate degree and Juilliard for her Master’s degree. She is a native of California, and currently resides in New York City.

www.jenniferrivera.com

 

 

Nicholas PhanNicholas Phan - Count Almaviva

Tenor


Portland Opera Debut

Nicholas Phan is quickly establishing himself as an important tenor among America’s next generation of singers.

Nicholas Phan

Nicholas Phan - Count Almaviva

Tenor


Portland Opera Debut

Nicholas Phan is quickly establishing himself as an important tenor among America’s next generation of singers.

An accomplished recitalist and concert singer, Mr. Phan recently made his Edinburgh Festival debut in a concert performance of Macbeth, conducted by David Robertson. He has appeared with many of the leading orchestras in the United States, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (in Chicago and New York), San Francisco Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, San Diego Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. He has also appeared at the Ravinia, Rheingau and Marlboro music festivals. Mr. Phan recently made his in Carnegie Hall (Stern Auditorium) in a performance of a new piece commissioned by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra. In recital, he has been presented by the prestigious Marilyn Horne Foundation in their annual On Wings of Song series, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and the University of Chicago.

This season Mr. Phan makes his Glyndebourne Opera debut as Fenton in Falstaff. He also makes his debut in Dusseldorf as Lindoro in L’Italiana in Algeri. Other notable debuts have included the New York City Opera as Damon in Acis and Galatea, the Los Angeles Opera in L’incoronazione di Poppea, the Chicago Opera Theater in Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, the Arizona Opera as Lindoro, the Atlanta Opera in I Pagliacci, and in Europe as Lindoro at Opera de Lille and Don Polidoro in a new production of La Finta Semplice directed by Christoph Loy at the Frankfurt Opera. A graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, Mr. Phan’s appeared in many productions there including the world premieres of Daniel Catan’s Salsipuedes and Mark Adamo’s Lysistrata, and productions of Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, The Little Prince, Turandot, La Traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, Ariodante, and Die Zauberflöte. He made his professional operatic debut with Glimmerglass Opera as a member of their Young American Artist Program where his roles included Beppe in I Pagliacci and Licone in James Robinson’s production of Orlando Paladino. Mr. Phan was also a member of the Wolf Trap Opera, where his roles included Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore. While there, he also appeared in recital with Steven Blier.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Phan also studied at the Manhattan School of Music and the Aspen Music Festival and School, and was the recipient of a 2006 Sullivan Foundation Award and 2004 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.

www.nicholas-phan.com

Daniel Belcher

Daniel Belcher - Figaro

Baritone


Portland Opera Debut

Described as having a voice “of beautiful melting sweetness…”(Süddeutsche Zeitung) and the theatrical talent “to create a first-rate portrayal that drew the listener more and more into the hopes and despair of his character” (The Houston Chronicle).

Daniel Belcher

Daniel Belcher - Figaro

Baritone


Portland Opera Debut

Described as having a voice “of beautiful melting sweetness…”(Süddeutsche Zeitung) and the theatrical talent “to create a first-rate portrayal that drew the listener more and more into the hopes and despair of his character” (The Houston Chronicle).

In the 2009-10 season, Daniel Belcher will appear as Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with Utah Symphony & Opera, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Portland Opera as well as returns to Houston Grand Opera and a debut with Opera Colorado in future seasons.  He recently recorded Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de Loin with Harmonia Mundi, conducted by Kent Nagano, scheduled for release in the U.S. later this season.  The critically acclaimed recording received the Diapason d'Or award from Diapason Magazine for October 2009

Last season, Mr. Belcher performed Marcello in La Bohème with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Taddeo in L’Italiana in Algeri with Opera Company of Philadelphia, and Ned Keene in Peter Grimes in Geneva.  In concert he performed with Kansas City Chamber Orchestra and the baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem with New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall.

Recent notable engagements include:  a return to San Francisco Opera for performances of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte and also debuts at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Austria, as Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, followed by the role of Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Utah Opera, Dandini with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Il Barbiere di Siviglia in both Kansas City and Milwaukee, concerts with the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and a role debut as Britten’s Billy Budd with Houston Grand Opera, for which he received critical acclaim.

Past engagements also include Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia in Tokyo with Japan’s New National Theater, the Fauré Requiem for Seiji Ozawa’s Saito Kinen Festival to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Hiroshima, the title role of Handel’s Imeneo for Opera Ireland, John Brooke in Adamo’s Little Women with Kentucky Opera. Mr. Belcher created this role in Little Women at the Houston Grand Opera Studio, and he has sung it at several companies since then, including New York City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Central City Opera. (The Houston performance was taped for a Great Performances national telecast and for a release on the Ondine recording label.) Also, Jaufre in L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and the Théâtre du Châtelet, and the title role Monteverdi’s Orfeo with Opera Atelier, a company with which he has performed Mozart’s Figaro, and the role of Orestes in Marshall Pynkoski’s Iphigénie en Tauride, as well as Figaro with Utah Opera.     

Additional engagements include his Paris debut at the Châtelet as Prior Walter in the Peter Eötvös opera Angels in America, his UK debut as Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte at both the Garsington Festival and at the Barbican Mostly Mozart Festival, and  Mercutio in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at Houston Grand Opera.
Mr. Belcher has a very close relationship with Houston Grand Opera. He was a member of the HGO Studio as a young artist, and during that period, sang a number of various roles in several operas, including such works as Tod Machover’s Resurrection, Billy Budd, A Little Night Music, Michael Daugherty’s Jackie O (released by Decca on the Argo label), Carmen, Madama Butterfly, and Arabella. Additionally, he has performed the roles of Papgeno in Die Zauberflöte, Schaunard in La Bohème, and the title role in Monteverdi’s Orfeo with that company.

Mr. Belcher is one of the premiere interpreters of Rossini performing today, and he is particularly closely associated with the roles of Dandini in La Cenerentola, and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Sivigla. He has performed Danadini with San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Opera Company of Philadelphia. He has performed Figaro with Arizona Opera, Lake George Opera, Opera Festival of New Jersey, and the Wolf Trap Opera.

In addition to these Rossini performances, he sings a wide repertoire at several opera companies such as Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte with Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos with San Francisco Opera, Prince Paul in La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Henry Cuffe in the American premiere of Britten’s Gloriana, Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus at Opera Columbus, Antonio in Reinhard Keiser’s Masaniello Furioso at the Stuttgart Opera, marking his European opera debut, and Gunther in Oscar Strauss’ operetta Sacre Siegfried at Opèra de Montpellier, which was the occasion of his French debut.  
 
Active in concert work, Mr. Belcher has performed the baritone solos in Carmina Burana with the Pacific Symphony in a program that also featured Copland’s Old American Songs. He has performed Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass and Vaughan Williams’ Hodie in New York City.  He was featured with the Houston Symphony Orchestra in 1997 and 1999 concerts of Opera Favorites and made his National Symphony Orchestra debut in a 1998 concert titled  “A Night in Vienna.” He returned to the National Symphony Orchestra in 1999 to perform an all-Bernstein concert. In the 2002-2003 season he performed Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis for the first time with the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra, and appeared with his hometown orchestra, the St. Joseph Symphony, in a program of opera highlights.    

Mr. Belcher is a recent recipient of a 1997 Robert Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, a 1998 Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation for his work with Wolf Trap Opera and a 1997 winner of the Sullivan Foundation Award.  He received the Apprentice Grant Award from the Santa Fe Opera following his 1996 apprenticeship. While at Central City Opera in summers 1993 and 1994 he received the Young Artist Award and Outstanding Studio Artist Award.

www.cami.com

Steven Condy - Baritone

Steven Condy - Bartolo

Baritone

Previously at Portland Opera:
The Barber of Seville, 2004; Cinderella, 2007

Baritone Steven Condy, who has built his reputation on his portrayals of the great “buffo” roles, is admired not only for his robust and nuanced voice, but also for his natural acting ability.

Steven Condy - Baritone

Steven Condy - Bartolo

Baritone

Previously at Portland Opera:
The Barber of Seville, 2004; Cinderella, 2007

Baritone Steven Condy, who has built his reputation on his portrayals of the great “buffo” roles, is admired not only for his robust and nuanced voice, but also for his natural acting ability.  The Washington Times enthused that he has “the comic timing of John Candy and a voice that remains flexible, rich and true through every intricacy,” and Anthony Tomassini of The New York Times offered that he would “vote the prize for the most naturally clear diction of the cast to the hardy baritone Steven Condy.”

Mr. Condy begins the 2009-2010 season as Sacristan in a new production of Tosca with the Houston Grand Opera, and then joins both Opera Birmingham and Portland Opera as Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia.  During the previous season he portrayed Betto in Gianni Schicchi in a new production with the Los Angeles Opera directed by Woody Allen, and his European opera debut in the same production with the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with Austin Lyric Opera, Benoit/Alcindoro in La Bohème with the Dallas Opera, and the title role in Don Pasquale with Utah Opera.  The baritone continued to thrill audiences in one of his signature roles, Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia, marking his 65th career performance of the role, and his debut performances with the Virginia Opera this season were no different: “Steven Condy as Dr. Bartolo stole the show and delivered a solid vocal performance. His acting was outstanding. He is an artist willing to go the extra mile for the character and it shows.” (OperaOnline)

During the 2007 – 2008 season, Mr. Condy sang Magnifico in La Cenerentola with the Portland Opera, Utah Opera and Memphis Opera, Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Birmingham, and Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with the Toledo Opera.  Concert performances included Belshazzar's Feast with the New Mexico Symphony and a holiday program with the Indianapolis Symphony.

In the 2006 – 2007 season, Mr. Condy sang Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with the Chautauqua Opera and with Opera Pacific, a performance which led the Los Angeles Times to proclaim that he “made an entrance to be envied driving a chopped-down '56 Ford Fairlane, reveled in the vocal and dramatic possibilities of the quack doctor Dulcamara.  His buffo barcarole with Adina, 'Io son ricco, et tu sei bella' (I'm rich, and you're beautiful) was just one of his delightful moments. He's another singer to watch.” In addition, he sang the title role of Falstaff with the Indianapolis Opera, the Father in L’Enfant prodigue and Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors both with the Naples Opera, and the title role of The Mikado with the Intermountain Opera.  On the concert stage he returned to Carnegie Hall for Handel’s Messiah with the Masterworks Chorus, performed in scenes from Gordon Getty’s Plump Jack with the Albuquerque Symphony and the Orquesta Sinfonica Sinaloa de las Artes in Mazatlan, Mexico, and took part in a Gala performance in Montreal.

In recent seasons Mr. Condy appeared with the Washington National Opera as Baron Zeta in The Merry Widow as part of a program entitled “Trilogy: Domingo and Guests in Three Acts,” and as Dr. Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore, a role he also sang with The Berkshire Opera.  For his debut with Opera Pacific he portrayed Taddeo in L’italiana in Algeri, and for his debut with Opera Theater of St. Louis he was seen as Monterone in Rigoletto and Sir Robert Cecil in Gloriana.  He appeared in the title roles in Verdi’s Falstaff and Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi with New Jersey Opera Theater, sang Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with the Arizona Opera, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola with the Florentine Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the title role in Gianni Schicchi with both Opera Delaware and the OK Mozart International Festival in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Other engagements of note have included Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’amore with Arizona Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera and the Pine Mountain Music Festival, Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia with San Francisco Opera, Portland Opera, Madison Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Indianapolis Opera and Opera Memphis, and the title role in Falstaff with Madison Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Kentucky Opera, and as an understudy with the San Francisco Opera.  He has sung the title role in Don Pasquale with Connecticut Grand Opera, Calgary Opera and Edmonton Opera, Sulpice in Le fille du régiment with the San Francisco Opera and Opera Lyra Ottawa, and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Arizona Opera and Hawaii Opera Theater.  Other engagements included his performance as Leporello in Don Giovanni with Indianapolis Opera, Scarpia in Tosca with Chautauqua Opera, and Benoit and Alcindoro in La bohème with the Dallas Opera and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

Highlights of concert appearances include Handel’s Messiah and Robert Kapilow’s Elijah’s Angel with the Columbus Pro Musica Chamber Orchestra, and performances in the role of Antonio in Le nozze di Figaro with the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Jeffrey Tate.  He made his European debut with the Orquesta del Principado de Asturias in Oviedo, Spain in Handel’s Messiah and made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Masterworks Chorus

Steven Condy was the 1992 winner of the Fourth Luciano Pavarotti International Voice competition, and a recipient of a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.  He received a Career Grant in the 1994 Richard Tucker Music Foundation competition, and first prize in the 1994 Pope Foundation competition.  In 1993, he won third prize in the MacAllister Award competition, and was a finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions.  Other honors include a 1991 Robert M. Jacobson Study Grant from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and third prize in the 1991 Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship competition.

Mr. Condy received his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the University of Hartford and attended the Yale University School of Music for voice and opera performance, where he earned his Master of Music degree in 1990.  He is also Director of Opera Workshop and Adjunct Voice Faculty at Philadelphia Biblical University in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, and teaches voice at Haverford College in Haverford, Pennsylvania.

 

www.steven.condymassie.com

 

George Manahan - Conductor

George Manahan - Conductor

 

In his twelfth season as Music Director of New York City Opera, the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He has been hailed for his leadership at City Opera, where he "gets from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago...these musicians operate with such consistent energy and involvement." (The New York Times)

George Manahan - Conductor

George Manahan - Conductor

ACCLAIM

“What a difference it makes to hear the piece performed by an opera conductor who palpably believes in it … the fervent and sensitive performance that Mr. Manahan presided over made the best case for this opera that I have encountered.”
- Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

"The Orchestra of St. Luke’s exceeded its usual high standard for versatility; George Manahan, the conductor, did an outstanding job of keeping everything in sync."
- Steve Smith, The New York Times

"George Manahan conducted and got from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago."
- Bernard Holland, The New York Times

BIOGRAPHY

Previously at Portland Opera:
The Barber of Seville, 2010
Così fan tutte, 2010
Rigoletto, 2009
Rodelinda, 2008
Macbeth, 2006

In his twelfth season as Music Director of New York City Opera, the wide-ranging and versatile George Manahan has had an esteemed career embracing everything from opera to the concert stage, the traditional to the contemporary. He has been hailed for his leadership at City Opera, where he "gets from his players the kind of heartfelt involvement unthinkable in the City Opera orchestra pit 20 years ago...these musicians operate with such consistent energy and involvement." (The New York Times)

George Manahan has distinguished himself throughout the world as one of the foremost conductors of our time, and is especially known in the opera world for his musical guidance of diverse productions including productions of La Faniculla del West, Daphne, Ermione, Dialogues of the Carmelites, Cendrillon, Die Tote Stadt. He has also toured Japan with NYCO's production of Little Women.

Mr. Manahan’s guest appearances include the symphonies of Atlanta, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and New Jersey, where he served as acting Music Director for four seasons, as well as the National Symphony and Juilliard and Manhattan Schools of Music, the Warsaw Philharmonic, the Music Academy of the West, and the Aspen Music Festival. He is a regular guest with the opera companies of Santa Fe, Portland, and Glimmerglass Opera, and has also appeared with the opera companies of Seattle, Chicago, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera National du Paris, Teatro de Communale de Bologna, the Bergen Festival (Norway), the Casals Festival (Puerto Rico) and Minnesota Opera, where he was principal conductor. As music director of the Richmond Symphony (VA) from 1987-98, where in addition to conducting, he also appeared as piano soloist, he was honored four times by the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) for his commitment to 20th-century music.

That passion for the music of our time was ignited when, in one season, Mr. Manahan was chosen as the Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony and he made his mark on the opera world debuting with the Santa Fe Opera conducting the American premiere of Arnold Schoenberg's opera Von Heute Auf Morgen. That enthusiasm continues today; he has conducted numerous world premieres, including Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories, Tobias Picker's Emmeline and many others.

His many appearances on television include productions of La Boheme, Lizzie Borden, and Tosca on PBS. Live from Lincoln Center’s telecast of New York City Opera's production of Madame Butterfly under his direction won a 2007 Emmy Award. Mr. Manahan's discography includes the Grammy Award nominated recording of Edward Thomas' Desire Under The Elms, with the London Symphony, and Steve Reich's Tehillim on the EMI-Warner Brothers label, as well as two albums of 20th century concertos for clarinet featuring Richard Stolzmann. He also appears on the Elan, New Albion, and Naxos label.

His recent Carnegie Hall performance of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra was hailed by audiences and critics alike, "What a difference it makes to hear the piece performed by an opera conductor who palpably believes in it,” said the New York Times, “The fervent and sensitive performance that Mr. Manahan presided over made the best case for this opera that I have encountered."  For the 2009 – 2010 season, Mr. Manahan continues as Music Director at New York City Opera and will conduct performances of Weisgall’s Esther and Madama Butterfly.  He will also conduct Portland Opera’s productions of Così fan tutte and Il barbiere di Siviglia.

Last season for Mr. Manahan included the World Premiere of ASK YOUR MAMA at Carnegie Hall, a collaboration between Emmy Award-winning composer Laura Karpman and soprano Jessye Norman based on the text of Langston Hughes, in which Mr. Manahan led the orchestra of St. Luke's and soloists Jessye Norman, Lizz Wright, and The Roots. The work will also be heard at the Hollywood Bowl and elsewhere across the country.  Also in 2008 – 2009, Mr. Manahan conducted performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe with the San Francisco Symphony, appeared in a concert performance of Gluck's Alceste featuring Deborah Voigt and the Collegiate Chorale, with the Westchester Philharmonic, and conducted  Rigoletto at Portland Opera, Mignon at the Music Academy of the West and La bohème at the Aspen Music Festival.

He received his formal musical training at the Manhattan School of Music, studying conducting with Anton Coppola and George Schick, and was appointed to the faculty of the school upon his graduation, at which time The Juilliard School awarded him a fellowship as Assistant Conductor with the American Opera Center.

http://www.cami.com/?webid=291

 

Christopher Mattaliano - Host

Christopher Mattaliano

Host

Portland Opera's General Director

Christopher Mattaliano’s recent revival of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther at New York City Opera received high praise from The New York Times’ critic Anthony Tommasini.

Christopher Mattaliano - Host

Christopher Mattaliano

Host

Portland Opera's General Director

Christopher Mattaliano’s recent revival of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther at New York City Opera received high praise from The New York Times’ critic Anthony Tommasini.


Christopher Mattaliano was named Portland Opera’s fifth General Director in July 2003. In this capacity, he is responsible for all artistic, financial, and administrative aspects of the company.

Previous to this appointment, Mr. Mattaliano was the Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, in addition to his very successful career as a stage director.

He brings to the company an intense artistic vision honed from his extensive stage directing experience. Prior to taking the helm at Portland Opera, Mr. Mattaliano achieved considerable regional success, directing five acclaimed Portland Opera productions—Manon (1991), Eugene Onegin (1992), Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (1997 and 2000), Candide (2002), and Il Trovatore (2002). In 2004, his direction of Rossini's The Journey to Reims opened his first artistic season in Portland to both popular and critical acclaim.  Since then he has directed The Rape of Lucretia (2005), Verdi's Macbeth (2006), The Magic Flute (2007), Cinderella (2007), Albert Herring (2008), Rigoletto (2009), The Barber of Seville (2010), Pagliacci/Carmina Burana (2010), and L’Heure Espagnole/L’Enfant et les Sortileges (2011).


Mr. Mattaliano has directed North American productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, the Canadian Opera Company, L’Opera de Montreal, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Minnesota Opera, Dallas Opera, Central City Opera, among many others. His work has also been enjoyed internationally at L’Opera de Nice and the Norwegian National Opera.

He has directed world premieres of Hugo Weisgall’s Esther for the New York City Opera, jazz composer Fred Ho’s Journey Beyond the West for the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Peter Westergaard’s The Tempest for the Opera Festival of New Jersey, and the American premiere of Fleischman’s Rothschild’s Violin at the Juilliard Opera Center.

His passion for stage direction has extended well beyond the stages of those many companies. He has taught at the Juilliard School, the Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Development Program, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, Mannes College of Music, and the New National Theater of Japan. In 1996 his essay on auditioning (“The Dreaded Audition”) was published by OPERA America.

Mr. Mattaliano received his BA in Theater Arts from Montclair State University with additional training at the Trent Park School of Performing Arts in London, England. In 1998 he received the L. Howard Fox Visiting Alumni Award from his alma mater as well as a National Opera Institute Stage Direction Grant.

Since joining the company, his presence is in considerable demand on the national level, leading the keynote panel at the 2004 OPERA America conference in Pittsburgh and being named to the National Endowment for the Arts’ opera review panel. He was recently elected to serve on OPERA America’s Board of Directors.

 

Daniel Belcher (Figaro) on singing 'The Barber'.


George Manahan, conductor, discusses the familiarity of the music.


Steve Condy (Dr. Bartolo), Jennifer Rivera (Rosina), and Nicholas Phan (Count D'Almaviva) chat it up.

Listen to the Music

La ran la le ra... Largo al factorum

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Una voce poco fa

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Ma signor... ma un dottor

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Zitti zitti piano piano

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Musical excerpts courtesy of EMI.

Schedule

May 7, 2010
Friday 7:30 pm
May 9, 2010
Sunday 2:00 pm
May 13, 2010
Thursday 7:30 pm
May 15, 2010
Saturday 7:30 pm

Tickets

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