'Don't Look Back' - Glimmerglass Opera Opens 'Orpheus' Season

Classic Arts News   'Don't Look Back' - Glimmerglass Opera Opens 'Orpheus' Season
Glimmerglass Opera begins its 2007 season tonight, a season built around the classical myth of Orpheus, the world's greatest musician. Four new productions — of operas by Offenbach, Monteverdi, Gluck and Glass — will run through August 28 at the Alice Busch Opera Theater in Cooperstown, New York.

First up for the summer is Offenbach's irreverent operetta Orph_e aux enfers — here, Orpheus in the Underworld — which will be sung in a new English translation by Glimmerglass dramaturg Kelley Rourke. Tenor Kurt Lehmann sings the title role, with soprano Jill Gardner as Eurydice, baritone Jake Gardner as Jupiter, and mezzo Joyce Castle as Public Opinion (personified). The production is directed by Eric Einhorn; Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducts.

Berlioz's arrangement of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice opens tomorrow under the baton of Julian Wachner in a staging by Lillian Groag. Male soprano Michael Maniaci and soprano Amanda Pabyan sing the title roles. This production marks the American premiere of the new B‹renreiter edition of the Berlioz version of the score.

To celebrate the 70th birthday of Philip Glass, Glimmerglass presents his take on the myth beginning July 21. Glass's Orph_e is based on Jean Cocteau's 1949 film of the same name, which the company will screen in conjunction with the production. Baritone Philip Cutlip takes the title role; soprano Caroline Worra sings Eurydice; soprano Lisa Saffer is La Princesse and tenor Jeffrey Lentz plays Heurtebise. Former Kansas City music director Anne Manson conducts; the production is directed by Sam Helfrich.

Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, which first took the stage 400 years ago this year, opens July 28 in a co-production with England's Opera North and Norwegian Opera. Tenor Michael Slattery sings the title role, with soprano Megan Monaghan as Eurydice, Matthew Garrett as Apollo and Katherine Rohrer in her Glimmerglass Opera debut as the Messenger and Proserpina. Christopher Alden directs the production; on the podium will be Antony Walker, music director of Pittsburgh Opera, Washington Concert Opera and Sydney's Pinchgut Opera as well as founder of the acclaimed Australian chamber choir Cantillation and the period-instrument Orchestra of the Antipodes.

The 2007 program at Glimmerglass also includes two concert performances of Haydn's Orpheus opera, L'anima del filosofo, and screenings of films such as Black Orpheus, which sets the story in Rio de Janeiro.

The Haydn opera, performed on August 5 and 19, will feature soprano Sarah Coburn as Eurydice and tenor Norman Shankle in his company debut as Orpheus, with members of the company's Young American Artists Program and the Glimmerglass Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Walker will conduct Acts I and II, with Manson taking the podium for Acts III and IV.

Even the company's 2007 slogan, "Don't look back," is inspired by the Orpheus myth.

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