Bel Canto at Caramoor Offers Norma and Maria di Rohan

Classic Arts Features   Bel Canto at Caramoor Offers Norma and Maria di Rohan
Details and schedules for the 65th Caramoor International Music Festival have been released. Out of the eclectic offerings, opera fans look most forward to the 14th year of Bel Canto at Caramoor- which this season will consist of Donizetti's Maria di Rohan and Angela Meade starring in Bellini's Norma.


The complete lineup for the 65th Caramoor International Music Festival - held annually at the Center's distinguished 90-acre garden estate in Katonah, New York - has been announced.

The summer festival program, which will run from June 26 to August 8, offers enormous appeal to all audiences with a rich array of artists and repertoire from the worlds of classical, jazz, Latin, bluegrass and pop music.

Maintaining his deep commitment to presenting great opera at Caramoor, Director of Opera Will Crutchfield leads the festival's 14th annual Bel Canto at Caramoor series with Donizetti's Maria di Rohan on July 24 and two performances of Bellini's Norma on July 10 and July 16. Maestro Crutchfield conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke's in both operas, which will be semi-staged with supertitles in the Venetian Theater.

Bellini's Norma is the unquestioned pinnacle of bel canto opera, and the favored role of its greatest exponents from Giuditta Pasta and Giulia Grisi to Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland. Its moving story and mesmerizingly beautiful score combine to create one of the most perfect unions of music and drama in any era. Soprano Angela Meade, returning after her triumphant Caramoor debut in 2009's Semiramide made "best-of-the-year" short-lists in both The New Yorker and The New York Times, takes on the challenging title role for the first time in this Caramoor presentation of Norma. Soprano Keri Alkema, lauded for her fiery Donna Elvira in the new City Opera production of Don Giovanni, makes her debut as Adalgisa; tenor Emmanuel di Villarosa (hailed as "possibly the best Alvaro since Richard Tucker" at Caramoor in 2008) and bass-baritone Daniel Mobbs ("a showstopper" in Semiramide) complete the cast.

Some ten years after the premiere of Norma, the diagnosis of a fatal illness led Gaetano Donizetti in a fascinating new artistic direction for his final operas. Maria di Rohan, a brilliant, fast-paced tragedy set in the Paris of Richelieu, is perhaps the tautest and most exciting of them. Arguably his most modern opera, this taut, intimate drama of affection and violence prefigures the world of Un ballo in maschera, Eugene Onegin and Werther. The opera calls for a truly Verdian heroine, and soprano Takesha Kizart _ whose Caramoor debut in La Forza del Destino convinced The Financial Times that she is "destined for a place in the distinguished line of Verdi sopranos" _ returns to the festival for the role of Maria. Fast-rising Brazilian tenor Luciano Botelho is her lover, the dashing Count of Chalais, in his first-ever U.S. appearance; former Young Artist Scott Bearden makes his Caramoor mainstage debut as Maria's husband, the Duke of Chevreuse.


Saturday, July 10 at 8:00pm _ Venetian Theater
Friday, July 16 at 8:00 pm _ Venetian Theater

NORMA by Vincenzo Bellini
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Orchestra of St. Luke's

ANGELA MEADE, soprano (Norma)
KERI ALKEMA, mezzo-soprano (Adalgisa)
DANIEL MOBBS, bass-baritone (Oroveso)

Pre-Opera events: Norma
During the afternoon and evening prior to each opera performance, ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens.

3:30 Norma in History *
Andrew Porter, whose sixty-year career as one of the world's most respected music critics, has seen all the great Normas since Maria Callas's 1953 London debut in the role; with Caramoor's Opera Director Will Crutchfield he discusses their art and interpretations, and what we can glean from historical documents and recordings about those who came before them.

4:15 Bel Canto a Due *
Duets in close harmony, sensuous or virtuosic, lie at the heart of Norma and many other bel canto operas. Members of Caramoor's Young Artist and Apprentice programs explore the genre of chamber music that lies behind these operatic highlights.

5:00 Song, song, and again Song: Wagner and Bellini
"Gesang, Gesang, und nochmal Gesang!" This was the exhortation to his fellow Germans with which Richard Wagner closed his memorable essay on Bellini, the Italian composer he admired most profoundly. The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists illustrate the link in a recital of music by both composers.

7:00 Pre-opera lecture: Andrew Porter introduces Norma

*events marked with an asterisk will take place before the July 10 performance of Norma ONLY


Saturday, July 24 at 8:00pm _ Venetian Theater

MARIA DI ROHAN by Gaetano Donizetti
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Orchestra of St. Luke's

TAKESHA KIZART, soprano (Maria, countess of Rohan)
LUCIANO BOTELHO, tenor (Riccardo, count of Chalais)
SCOTT BEARDEN, baritone (Enrico, duke of Chevreuse)
VANESSA CARIDDI, mezzo-soprano (Armando di GondÐ)

Pre-Opera Events: Maria di Rohan
During the afternoon and evening prior to the opera, ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens.

3:30 The Genesis of a Masterpiece
Renowned opera scholar Philip Gossett and Caramoor Opera Director Will Crutchfield discuss what Donizetti wrote, when he wrote it, and how we know _ including the story of Prof. Gossett's discovery, just last year in Russia, of the composer's previously unknown version of one of the lead roles in Maria, heard at Caramoor for the first time since its original performance.

4:15 Maria Plus
All the alternative music from Maria di Rohan _ belonging to versions other than the one performed in our mainstage production _ with Philip Gossett accompanying members of the Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists.

5:00 Donizetti: Stage, Salon and Chapel
The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists in a program sampling the inexhaustible breadth of Donizetti's late music: songs, chamber music, operatic scenes, and the haunting choral works he prepared as Hofkapellmeister in Vienna.


Tickets for Bel Canto at Caramoor productions, as well as all other performances in the 2010 Caramoor International Music Festival, are on sale. Tickets may be ordered by calling the Box Office at 914.232.1252, or online at

Caramoor is the legacy of Walter and Lucie Rosen, who built their summer home _ now known as the historic Rosen House at Caramoor _ and filled it with their treasures. Walter Rosen was the master planner for the Caramoor estate, bringing to reality his dream of creating a place to showcase his vast collection and to entertain friends from around the world. Their musical evenings were the seeds of today's Caramoor International Music Festival. Realizing the pleasure their friends took in the beauty of Caramoor _ the house with its art collection, the gardens, and the musical programs on summer evenings _ in 1946 the Rosens established a public charity to open Caramoor to the community.

Lucie Rosen survived her husband by seventeen years. During those years, she expanded the Music Festival: the Spanish Courtyard was used as a setting for musical events, as it is today, and, under her direction, the great stage of the Venetian Theater was built.

Caramoor is often described as "a Garden of Great Music" where audiences are invited to come early, explore the beautiful grounds, take a tour of the Rosen House, visit the gift shop, enjoy a pre�concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and the magnificent gardens. With its unique heritage, Caramoor remains a place where magical summer days and nights are shared and enjoyed by thousands.

For full Festival information, visit Caramoor.

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