Opera Saratoga 2024 season: Guys and Dolls, Così fan tutte, a devised world premiere by Composer-in-Residence inti figgis-vizueta, Listen to This, a three-part concert series, and more!

from Emily MT

Opera Saratoga announces a high stakes 2024 season! The summer festival features three sure bets - three new productions at Universal Preservation Hall running from June 27 to July 7. This is the first season with stage direction and curation by new General and Artistic Director Mary Birnbaum. For more information on tickets and the season, visit www.operasaratoga.org.

“This season pays homage to Saratoga Springs’ history as a pleasure-seeker’s paradise and betting destination while looking to the future by pushing the definition of what opera can be - and how it can be made - forward,” said Mary Birnbaum, General and Artistic Director. “We hope to tempt risk-takers to the festival by dazzling them with reinventions of two classics in addition to a totally unique creation that they can only see in Saratoga.”

June 29–July 7
Universal Preservation Hall
The first of the trifecta, Guys and Dolls, features Mikaela Bennett (City Center Encores’ The Golden Apple, West Side Story at Glimmerglass), as Sarah Brown. The beloved gambling musical will feature direction by Mary Birnbaum, choreography by Caili Quan, and musical direction by Andy Einhorn (Broadway’s Carousel and Hello, Dolly!.), with scenic design by Kristen Robinson, lighting design by Anshuman Bhatia and costume design by Oana Botez. In addition to those already announced, the cast of Guys and Dolls will feature William Socolof as Nathan Detroit, Ariadne Greif as Miss Adelaide, Shavon Lloyd as Sky Masterson, Maximillian Jansen as Nicely Nicely Johnson, and Aubrey Allicock as Arvide Abernathy.

June 28–July 7
Universal Preservation Hall
Next up is Mozart’s wager opera Così fan tutte, featuring Grammy nominated bass-baritone Aubrey Allicock as the cynical Don Alfonso. The opera will also feature Nicoletta Berry as Despina, Julia Stuart as Fiordiligi, Anna Kelley as Dorabella, Maximillian Jansen as Ferrando, and Michael Hawk as Guglielmo. Directed by Gisela Cardenas (Princess Grace Fellow) and conducted by Ryan McAdams (Crash Ensemble, Opernhaus Zürich).

June 30 & July 5
Universal Preservation Hall
Finally, the biggest gamble of them all: a world premiere opera, devised and composed during the summer season by Composer-in-Residence inti figgis-vizueta, “whose music feels sprouted between structures, liberated from certainty and wrought from a language we’d do well to learn” writes The Washington Post. inti's work explores the transformative power of group improvisation and play, working to reconcile historical aesthetics and experimental practices with trans & Indigenous futures. “The Festival Residency with Opera Saratoga is an incredible opportunity to explore the expressive world of contemporary opera, a first for me as a composer,” figgis-vizueta says. “My highly collaborative approach to music making is a perfect match with this development-focused residency and I’m excited to organically create a work alongside a talented creative team.”

June 4, June 11, and June 18
Universal Preservation Hall
Listen to This is a three-part concert series which hands the mic to cutting-edge creators who break through boundaries of what opera can be through the lens of access and healing. The series is composed of: The Other Side of Silence, Winterreise, and finally, i woke up in the sky.

Tuesday, June 4th will feature work by RPI Director of Institute Ensembles Robert Whalen who is collaborating with librettists Mark Steidl, Katherine Skovira and Sara Pyszka on a new opera for synthetic and acoustic voice The Other Side of Silence written by and for people who use Alternative Assistive Communication.

Inspired by Pyszka’s “Inside My Outside: An Independent Mind in a Dependent Body” and unfolding in a series of interwoven storylines, The Other Side of Silence explores what it means to be our true self, and which of our voices—our inner or outer voice—most directly represents our identity. The Other Side of Silence examines technology’s role in the fabric of human society, and what role it plays in promoting and diminishing our autonomy, as seen through the lens of an AAC user - someone who uses a synthetic voice to communicate the world. When none of the six preloaded voices aligns with their identity, we embark on a fantastical, revelatory, and cathartic journey of discovery and acceptance.

On June 11th, Director George Miller, Bass-Baritone William Socolof and Pianist Chris Reynolds collaborate on the workshop of a contemporary staging of Schubert’s seminal song cycle Winterreise. Originally from Albany and Saratoga Springs, respectively, Miller and Reynolds bring their many accolades back to the Capital Region.

i woke up in the sky
And on June 18th, composer-performer Catherine Brookman shares her album i woke up in the sky with Opera Saratoga’s audiences. Her music deals with the experience of time passing, collapsing, unfinished business, heartbreak, loneliness, depression.

At Saratoga’s Caffè Lena, Opera Saratoga presents:
Opera Saratoga x Juilliard Recital Series
Opera Saratoga’s connection with the Juilliard School runs deep: previous General Director David Lloyd started the Juilliard Opera Company in 1985, and current General and Artistic Director Mary Birnbaum is on Juilliard’s faculty. This recital series at Caffè Lena gives talented young singers a space where they can thrive and experience the support of Opera Saratoga audiences.
April 7, 2024 - César Andrés Parreño, Tenor, Liza Armistead, Piano
At schools and locations throughout the Capital District, Opera Saratoga presents an educational tour.

About Opera Saratoga:
Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962, playing to an audience of 230. The Company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. Opera Saratoga celebrates its 60th Anniversary this season. The company serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the company has performed 106 different fully staged works by 66 different composers, including 42 works by American composers and 14 premiere productions. In 2023, the company hired its 10th Artistic and General Director, Mary Birnbaum. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org.

About Mary Birnbaum:
Mary Birnbaum has directed opera and music theater around the world, including staging critically acclaimed productions of L'Orfeo, Proving Up, and The Rape of Lucretia at The Juilliard School and The Classical Style at Carnegie Hall. Mary's production of La bohème opened the Santa Fe Opera season in 2019. She has also directed productions at Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Opera Columbus, Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, the Ojai Festival, Montclair Peak Performances and Boston Baroque in the U.S, as well as in Taiwan (National Symphony Orchestra), Central America (National Theatre of Costa Rica and Guatemala), Australia and Israel. Nominated for Best Newcomer at The European Opera Awards in 2015, Mary’s production of Dido and Aeneas toured to Opera Holland Park and Opéra de Versailles in 2019. In demand for her skills as a collaborator on new works, Mary has created world premieres of works by contemporary artists including Jeremy Denk, Steven Stucky, and others. She most recently directed the world premiere of In A Grove by Christopher Cerrone and Stephanie Fleischmann at Pittsburgh Opera and will direct the world premiere oratorio ÉMIGRÉ at the New York Philharmonic in collaboration with the Shanghai Symphony. On the faculty of the Juilliard School since 2011, Mary teaches acting to singers and serves as Dramatic Advisor to the MMGD program. She also teaches and coaches for the Lindemann Young Artists Program at the Metropolitan Opera. A graduate of Harvard College, Mary trained professionally in physical theater at L’École Jacques Lecoq in Paris.

About inti figgis-vizueta:
NY-based composer inti figgis-vizueta (b.1993) braids a childhood of overlapping immigrant communities and Black-founded Freedom schools—in Chocolate City (DC)—with direct Andean & Irish heritage and a deep connection to the land. Recent highlights include the Carnegie Hall premiere of her string quartet concerto, Seven Sides of Fire, written for the Attacca Quartet and American Composers Orchestra, conducted by Mei-Ann Chen; performances of Coradh (bending) by the Spoleto Festival, PODIUM Festival, and Oregon Symphony; and the REDCAT premiere of her evening-length show Music for Transitions, created in collaboration with two-time Grammy Award-winning cellist Andrew Yee, praised as “thrilling” and “revolutionary” by I Care If You Listen. Upcoming projects include clay songs for Kronos Quartet’s 50th Anniversary, a new Carnegie Hall-commissioned work for Ensemble Connect, continued development of Earths to Come for vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, and a new piano concerto for Conrad Tao and the Cincinnati Symphony, conducted by Matthias Pintscher.

GUYS AND DOLLS is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.mtishows.com

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