Bel Canto at Caramoor to Offer HMS Pinafore and Rossini's Guillaume Tell

Classic Arts Features   Bel Canto at Caramoor to Offer HMS Pinafore and Rossini's Guillaume Tell
The Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts will kick off its 66th Caramoor International Music Festival June 25 with Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore, starring Georgia Jarman and Robert McPherson.


HMS Pinafore, which opens the festival in celebration of the 15th season of the distinguished Bel Canto at Caramoor series led by Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, stars: soprano Georgia Jarman; tenor Robert McPherson; mezzo-sopranos Vanessa Cariddi and Robin Flynn; baritones Scott Bearden, Jorell Williams and Jason Plourde; and basses Nicholas Masters and Jeffrey Beruan. The Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Crutchfield. Steven Tharpand and Paul Carey provide stage direction and costume/set design for Pinafore, respectively.

Crutchfield said, "As a piece of theater, Pinafore is a cheerful satire on the arrival of modernity, bureaucracy and democratic ideals to the Royal Navy of Queen Victoria's era. As a piece of music, it is England's version of "bel canto" comic opera, plain and simple. That fact has been obscured by the long history of specialized Gilbert and Sullivan troupes, outside the operatic mainstream. With this production, I have the opportunity to realize my long-standing desire to present a version that does full justice to the brilliant music and the operatic vocal writing."

Saturday, June 25 at 8:30pm _ Venetian Theater
HMS PINAFORE by William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan
GEORGIA JARMAN, soprano (Josephine)
VANESSA CARIDDI, mezzo-soprano (Little Buttercup)
ROBIN FLYNN, mezzo-soprano (Cousin Hebe)
ROBERT MCPHERSON, tenor (Ralph Rackstraw)
JORELL WILLIAMS, baritone (Captain Corcoran)
SCOTT BEARDEN, baritone (Dick Deadeye)
JASON PLOURDE, baritone (Sir Joseph Porter)
NICHOLAS MASTERS, bass (Bill Bobstay)
JEFFREY BERUAN, bass (Bob Becket)
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Steven Tharp, stage director
Paul Carey, costume and set designer

Pre-Opera Events: HMS Pinafore
During the afternoon prior to the performance, beginning at 4:30 PM, all ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens.

4:30 PM: The Lass that Loves a Sailor: The Bel Canto Young Artists present a selection of humorous and sentimental songs from the era leading up to Gilbert and Sullivan _ along with some naughty Sea Chanties that give historical meaning to the idea of "swearing like a sailor."

5:30 PM: The English Musical Stage: "Opera in England" has not usually meant "English Opera" _ from the time of Handel forwards, the imported Italian variety tended to strangle English efforts in their cradle. But that does not mean no worthy efforts were made. This mini-recital by the Bel Canto Young Artists explores operatic music for the English stage from Purcell to Sullivan.

Tickets for H.M.S. Pinafore are $81, $66, $51, $36 and $21. To purchase, call the Box Office at 914.232.1252, or visit Groups of 16 or more may purchase discounted tickets by contacting Matthew Scarella at 914.232.5035 ext. 252 or


Also on the Bel Canto at Caramoor schedule:

GUILLAUME TELL by Gioachino Rossini
Saturday July 9 & Friday July 15 at 7:30 PM

Guillaume Tell is Rossini's final opera, his masterpiece, and his most important legacy to the half-century of French and Italian grand opera that followed after its 1829 premiere. Yet due to the work's demanding casting requirements, it is very seldom produced, and has not been heard at the Metropolitan Opera in over 75 years. Therefore, New Yorkers are offered an exceptional opportunity this summer when Caramoor presents two performances of the opera _ July 9 and July 15 at 7:30 PM _ with baritone Daniel Mobbs in the title role, alongside tenor Michael Spyres, soprano Julianna Di Giacomo, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, tenor Brian Downen and soprano Talise Trevigne.

Under the leadership of Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, Caramoor's renowned Bel Canto at Caramoor _ an operatic exploration that The New York Times calls "an essential contribution" _ begins its 15th season of outstanding opera programming during the 2011 Caramoor International Music Festival. Bel Canto at Caramoor began in 1997 with Rossini's La Donna del Lago, starring Vivica Genaux, Marguerite Krull, Bruce Fowler, and Matthew Chellis. The flagship summer productions have included operas by Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi, individual works by Handel, Gluck, Francesco Conti and Pauline Viardot, in addition to a wide range of concerts.

At its inception, diva Marilyn Horne predicted success: "These singers are very lucky to have Will Crutchfield," she told the press before summer festival. The New York Times quickly agreed, praising "a palpable conviction that Rossini's serious operas are not static vehicles for elaborate vocal display, but elegant and humane musical dramas" in a review of the opening. Ever since, growing ranks of critics from the national and international press have maintained that consensus, and capacity audiences have filled Caramoor's 1714-seat Venetian Theater. Bel Canto at Caramoor productions made The New Yorker "Best Performances of the Year" lists in both 2009 and 2010, with chief classical critic Alex Ross declaring that "Under Crutchfield, Caramoor has become an operatic paradise". In 2010, The New York Times review of Bellini's Norma with Angela Meade proclaimed that "the future arrived" at Caramoor with Meade's "stunning" performance; "The ovations on Saturday were tumultuous...The entire cast was fortunate to have coached this opera under Mr. Crutchfield, who has made Bel Canto at Caramoor an important workshop for fresh investigation into the practice and style of this misunderstood repertory."

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