THE HOUSTON GRAND OPERA
Revives Its Delightful Production of
COSI FAN TUTTE
Featuring Some of Today's Hottest Young Opera Stars!
Houston, Texas - To kick off the year 2001, The Houston Grand Opera revives its delightful production of Mozart's comic
gem COSI FAN TUTTE (All Women do the Same or The School for Lovers). Two young soldiers Ferrando and Guglielmo,
try to prove their girlfriend's faithfulness to win a bet with their cynical friend, Don Alfonso. Donning exotic disguises, each of
the boys woos the other's fiancee, confident that both women will remain steadfast. But when the girls, Fiordiligi and
Dorabella, begin to weaken, all four lovers learn valuable lessons about the complexity of human relationships. Under the
baton of Music Director Patrick Summers, the HGO Orchestra brings Mozart's magical score and musical characterizations
vividly to life.
COSI FAN TUTTE is widely regarded as the most perfect ensemble opera ever written, and the wonderful cast of young American stars that Houston Grand Opera has assembled for the principal roles will prove why. Soprano Christine Goerke, tenor Richard Croft, and baritone Nathan Gunn all make their much - anticipated HGO debuts as the young lovers, joined by HGO Studio alumna mezzo - soprano Joyce DiDonato. Acclaimed Italian bass - baritone Alfonso Antoniozzi also makes his HGO debut as the crafty Don Alfonso. Rounding out the cast, American mezzo-soprano Judith Christin returns to Houston in the hilarious role for the girls' scheming maid Despina. Directed by Harry Silverstein (Don Giovanni, 1999), the production features sets and costumes by Carl Friedrich Oberle and lighting by Stephen Strawbridge.
An alternate cast performance features HGO Studio artists soprano Jessica Jones, mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand, baritone Shannon De Vine, and former Studio tenor Chad Shelton as the couples. Studio bass Oren Gradus sings Don Alfonso and soprano Kerri Marcinko portrays Despina. Head of Music Staff Richard Bado conducts the alternate cast performance and prepared the HGO Chorus for all performances.
COSI FAN TUTTE Opens on Friday, January 19, 2001 at 7:30pm. Further performances are on January 21m, 24, 27, 30, February 2, 4m and 10 (alternate cast) at 7:30pm and 2:00pm. Single tickets are now on sale.
ABOUT THE OPERA:
Along with The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Don Giovanni (1787), COSI FAN TUTTE (1790) is one of three operatic masterpieces Mozart composed in partnership with librettist Lorenza Da Ponte. Testing the faithfulness of their girlfriends in order to win a bet, two young men learn that they are not as indispensable to their fiancees as they thought. The twists and turns of the plot lead to many comic situations, but Mozart's sublime music keeps the opera from dissolving into mere farce. With its vivid musical characterizations and beautiful ensembles, COSI FAN TUTTE presents an enduring and touching view of the human condition.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS:
Soprano Christine Goerke (Fiordiligi) is one of opera's brightest young stars. On the operatic stage, Ms Goerke debuts this season at the Teatro Colon, Buenos Aires as Dona Elvira in Don Giovanni in addition to her HGO debut. She also returns to the Opera Bastille for Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and to New York City Opera for a new production of Rinaldo. The 1999 - 2000 season found her at Paris Opera as Alice Ford in a new production of Falstaff and at Metropolitan Opera for Gotterdammerung with James Levine. She has also performed in Japan under Seiji Ozawa as Countess Almavia in Le Nozze di Figaro and Madame Lidoine in Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites. Ms. Goerke has appeared on the concert platform as a soloist with many of the nation's greatest orchestras including the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and Atlanta Symphony. Ms. Goerke's extensive collaboration with Robert Shaw included her Carnegie Hall debut as soprano soloist in Britten's "War Requiem." She made her New York solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall's Weill Hall in December 1998. Ms. Goerke's recent recording in the title role of Gluck's Iphigenie en Tauride has met with virtually unanimous critical acclaim, and the recording of the "War Requiem" in which she is soprano soloist won the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
Mezzo soprano Joyce Didonato (Dorabella), hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the Rossini mezzo for the next generation, makes her La Scala debut this season in the title role of La Cenerentola. Highlights of recent season include her revival of the role of Meg March in Mark Adamo's Little Women (which she created in 1998) and the creation of the role of Katerina Maslova in Tod Machover's Resurrection with Houston Grand Opera; La Cenerentola with Madrid's Teatro Real and the New Israeli Opera; Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro wiht Santa Fe Opera; Isabella in the New Israeli Opera's L'Italiana in Algeri; Sister Mathilde in Dialogues des Carmelites at the Saito Kinen Festival under the baton of Seiji Ozawa; and the roles of the Cat, Shepherd, and Squirrel in the San Francisco Symphony's concert performances of L'Enfant et les sortileges under Michael Tilson Thomas. Upcoming operatic engagements include performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Palais Garnier in Paris, San Francisco Opera, and Arizona Opera; Cosi fan tutte with Washington Opera; Le nozze di Figaro at the Bayerische Staatsoper; and her first Adalgisa in Fort Worth Opera's presentation of Norma. An alumna of Houston Grand Opera Studio, Ms. DiDonato is a 2000 Aria Foundation Award winner, a 1998 George London Foundation winner, and Second Prize winner of the 1998 Placido Doming Operalia Competition.
Known for the lyric beauty of his voice and the east with which he sings the most florid passagework, tenor Richard Croft (Ferrando) has been seen at the Metropolitan Opera in such roles as Belmonte in Die Entfurung aus dem Serail, Cassio in Otello, Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Ferrando in COSI FAN TUTTE. He is a regular guest with the Netherlands Opera where his roles include Almaviva, Sifare in Mitridate and Agenor in Il Re Pastore. At the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin he has performed Almaviva, Gassman's L 'Opera Seria, and Scarlatti's Il Primo Omicidio. His extensive repertoire also includes Tom Rakewell in The Rake's Progress in Santa Fe, Monteverdi's Nerone under Rene Jacobs, Handel's Nerone under Marc Minkowski and the title role in Idomeneo. His many appearances with Glyndebourne Festival include Don Ottavio, Flamand (Capriccio) and Pelleas. Mr. Croft has recorded Ariodante for Deutsche Grammophon and Il Primo Omicidio for Harmonia Mundi, and his performances of Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and La Finta Gardiniera in Drottningholm have been released on video and laserdisc by Philips. He is making his HGO debut.
Baritone Nathan Gunn (Guglielmo), through his appearances in opera, concert and recital, is creating the excitement that accompanies the all-too-rare complete artist. The 1999 - 2000 season featured his first performances at Paris Opera Bastille as Prince Andrei in Prokofiev's War and Peace (which was televised), his debut with Glyndebourne Opera as Guglielmo in COSI FAN TUTTE, and an engagement as Papageno in Die Zauberflote with Seattle Opera. A former member of the Metropolitan Opera's Young Artist Development Program, Mr. Gunn has sung many roles at the Met, including Guglielmo in the house's international radio broadcast of COSI FAN TUTTE. On the concert stage, he forged a strong relationship with the late Robert Shaw and appeared as soloist in Maestro Shaw's recording of Bartok's "Cantata Profana" and Vaughan Williams "Donna Nobis Pacem" which won three Grammys in 1999. Mr. Gunn's growing discography most recently saw the addition of a recital disc - "American Anthem" - on the prestigious EMI Label. Following his HGO debut, he debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and has return engagements with Glimmerglass, the Metropolitan Opera and Glyndebourne.
Born in Viterbo, Italy, bass-baritone Alfonso Antoniozzi (Don Alfonso) has become his generation's foremost interpreter of the great Italian buffo roles: Bartolo (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), don Magnifico (La Cenerentola), Taddeo (L'Italiana in Algeri), Dulcamara (L'Elisir d'amore), Leporello (Don Giovanni), and Melitone (La Forza del Destino). Past seasons have been highlighted by five operas each with the San Francisco Opera and the Dallas Opera, as well as acclaimed appearances in Milan, Rome, Verona, Venice, Madrid, Tokyo and the Edinburgh Festival. Recently he sang for the first time at the Vienna Staatsoper, where he had a huge success with his protrayal of Dulcamara in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'amore. Future plans include four new productions at La Scala, two productions at the Vienna Staatsoper, L 'Italiana in Algeri at the Opera Bastille, and his first Don Pasquale in Seattle. Mr. Antoniozzi has ten operatic recordings to his credit, including La Boheme for EMI and Le nozze di Figaro for Telarc. This is HGO debut.
Mezzo-soprano Judith Christin (Despina) has performed over one hundred roles with the leading opera companies throughout the United States. A favorite at Houston Grand Opera, she was mostly recently seen at HGO last season, creating the role of Effie Belle Tate in the world premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Cold Sassy Tree. Other recent engagements have included Mrs. Sedley in Peter Grimes, the Third Lady in Die Zauberflote, the Countess in Andrea Chenier, Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Filipyevna in Eugene Onegin and Rossweisse in Die Walkure at the Metropolitan Opera; Marcellina and Annina in Der Rosenkavalier at San Francisco Opera; Countess Maritza and Mrs. Sedley with the Los Angeles Opera; and Suzuki, Despina Marcellina, Mother Marie in Dialogues des Carmelites, and Adelaide in Arabella with the Santa Fe Opera. Ms. Christin's various performances have included roles in many world premieres including John Corigliano's Ghosts of Versailles, Tod Machover's Resurrection, Jack Beeson's Dr. Heidegger's Fountain of Youth, Stephen Burton's The Duchess of Malfi and Thomas Pasatieri's Signor Deluso.
The performance on February 10, 2001 features members of the Houston Grand Opera Studio - HGO's internationally acclaimed young artist training program - in the leading roles. Studio soprano Jessica Jones sings Fiordiligi and mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand portrays Dorabella. Studio alumnus tenor Chad Shelton takes the role of Ferrando and current Studio baritone Shannon De Vine is Guglielmo. Rounding out this alternate cast are Studio bass Oren Gradus as Don Alfonso and soprano Kerri Marcinko as Despina.
Conductor Patrick Summers, Music Director of The Houston Grand Opera, is known for his diverse operatic experience and enthusiasm for a wide range of works including period scores, bel canto, late romantic opera and contemporary music. In addition to the two world premieres he has conducted for HGO - Cold Sassy Tree (2000) and Resurrection (1999), he has led performances of La Traviata, The Elixir of Love, and Nabucco here. He has been closely associated with San Francisco Opera since 1989, where he has conducted a vast repertoire ranging from Monteverdi's L 'Incoronazione di Poppea to Jake Heggie's Dead Man Walking. Maestro Summers has also enjoyed a close association with Opera Australia in Sydney where he conducts each season. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in December 1998 conducting Die Fledermaus, and returns to the Met this season to conduct COSI FAN TUTTE. He recently conducted the Orchestra of St. Luke's for a recording of bel canto arias featuring soprano Renee Fleming. This season at HGO, Maestro Summers will also conduct Don Carlo and Florencia en el Amazonas.
HGO's Head of Music Staff Richard Bado will conduct the performance on February 10, 2001. He made his professional conducting debut in 1989, leading HGO's acclaimed production of Show Boat at the newly restored Cairo Opera House in Egypt, and has conducted at La Scala, the Oepra National de Paris, the New York City Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, and in Tokyo. An accomplished pianist, he has appeared in recital with Renee Fleming, Cecilia Bartoli, Ramon Vargas and Marcello Giordani. As HGO's head of music staff and chorus master, Maestro Bado has prepared choruses for approximately 90 productions. He also serves as music director for the Houston Grand Opera Studio and is Assistant Director of the Aspen Opera Theater Center.
Stage director Harry Silverstein is a former resident assistant director for the Houston Grand Opera. He has returned as director for Don Giovanni (1991 and 1999), La Traviata (1994), Rigoletto (1994) and The Marriage of Figaro (1998). He is deeply interested in 20th century music and has collaborated frequently with composer Philip Glass, directing that composer's The Making of the Representative for Planet 8, Satyagraha, Akhnaten and The Fall of the House of Usher. He has also directed productons from the standard repertoire throughout the world, including La Traviata, Idomeneo, Madame Butterfly and Tosca.
Houston Grand Opera's productionof COSI FAN TUTTE was originally staged in 1988 by the late Goran Jarvefelt, one of Sweden's most successful stage directors. Working with German designer Carl Friedrich Oberle, Mr. Jarvefelt created a unit set, patterned after the intimate Drottningholm Court Theater in Sweden, which was capable of serving for the trilogy of Mozart - Da Ponte operas. Lighting Designer Stephen Strawbridge is creating all new lighting for this revival production. Mr. Strawbridge has designed extensively for both theater and opera in the United States and abroad. He is an associate professor of design at the Yale University School fo Drama, where he is also co-chair of the Design Department and resident lighting designer for the Yale Repertory Theatre.
All performances of COSI FAN TUTTE are held in the Wortham Center's Brown Theater, Texas at Smith. COSI FAN TUTTE is sung in Italian with English surtitles - English translations projected over the stage.
The Southwestern Bell Pre-Curtain Lecture Series takes place thirty minutes before each performance. Guest speakers present a twenty - minute informal lecture on the sixth floor of the Grand Foyer. These lectures, free and open to all ticket holders, are intended to enhance the audience's enjoyment by preparing them for the production they are about to attend.
The Wortham Theater Center features easy wheel chair access to both theaters, with a choice of seating locations and ticket prices. An infrared listening system, generously underwritten by Pennzoil - Quaker State Company, is available and free of charge at all performances. Please call HGO Subscriptions at (713) 546-0246 or 1-800-346-4462 for details. Descriptive services for persons with vision loss are available with 48-hour advance reservations. Please call HGO Education and Outreach at 713-546-0708 for details.
Single tickets for COSI FAN TUTTE, priced from $22 to $200, are now on sale. Tickets are available by phone at 713-227-ARTS, out of town at 1-800-828-ARTS, in person at the Wortham Ticket Center located in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center, or on the website at http://www.houstongrandopera.org. Ticket prices include all city surcharges.
Student and senior citizen rush tickets are $25 and $10 (depending on seat location - one ticket per ID) and go on sale 90 minutes before curtain timeon the day of performance, subject to availability. To check availability, please call 713-227- ARTS or 1-800-828-ARTS the day of the performance. For weekend performances call the Friday before the performance to check availability.
Call The Houston Grand Opera at 713-546-0200 during business hours for general information.
Since its inception in 1955, Houston Grand Opera has swiftly moved from a small regional organization into the fifth largest opera company in the United States. With David Gockley as its general director, HGO has widened its circles, both in repertoire and in reach. The company has an international reputation for commissioning and producing bew works (25 world premieres and six American premieres since 1973) as well as a reputation for reaching out to new audiences. HGO has toured extensively, includign trips to Japan, Italy, Egypt and France, and the company is the only one in the United States to win a Tony, two Grammys and two Emmy awards. HGO has an eye on the future of opera too, launching not only the acclaimed Houston Grand Opera Studio (a program designed to train young singers for major careers) but also the Community Connections Initiative (a multi-pronged program aimed at educating and developing new audiences). For its 2000 - 2001 season, Houston Grand Opera's budget exceeds $20 million.
All performances of Houston Grand Opera's production of Mozart's COSI FAN TUTTE are held in the Wortham Center's Brown Theater, Texas at Smith, Houston, Texas.
Sung in Italian wiht English Surtitles.
*Single tickets for COSI FAN TUTTE priced from $22 to $200 (inclusive of all city surcharges) are now on sale.
*Single tickets are available by phone at 713-227-ARTS, out of town at 1-800-828-ARTS, in person at The Wortham Ticket Center located in the lobby of the Wortham Theater Center, or on the website at http://www.houstongrandopera.org.
*Call 713-546-0200 during regular business hours for general information.
*Student and senior citizen rush tickets are $25 and $10 (depending on seat location - one ticket per ID) and go on sale 90 minutes before curtain time on the day of performance, subject to availability. To check availability, please call 713-227-ARTS or 1-800-828-ARTS the day of the performance. For weekend performances call the Friday before the performance to check availability.
*Disabled access: 713-546-0246- or 1-800-346-4462; TDD: 713-546-0246 or 1-800-346-4462; Descriptive Services 713-546-0230.