Displaying items by tag: opera saratoga

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga has announced a return to large scale performances this summer with a new festival model that embraces partnerships with multiple venues across the region. Those venues include: Proctors in Schenectady; The Egg in Albany; The Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs; The Round Lake Auditorium in Round Lake Village; The Barn at French Mountain in Lake George Village; and The Mansion Inn in Rock City Falls. 

At the heart of the 2022 Summer Festival will be performances of Rossini’s bel canto comedy The Barber of Seville on Proctors MainStage, as well as his Petite Messe Solennelle at The Round Lake Auditorium; Sky on Swings by Lembit Beecher and Hannah Moscovitch at The Egg, which explores the journey of two women living with Alzheimer’s disease; and Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway masterpiece, Sweeney Todd, on the Amphitheater Stage of the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. 

Additional events will include A Broadway Cabaret at The Mansion Inn; A Juneteenth Celebration at Proctors’ GE Theater; and a series of master classes featuring members of Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program, to be announced. In addition, the 2022 Opera Gala will take place on Sunday June 5th at The Barn at French Mountain, in Lake George Village. 

“While our decision to expand our geographic footprint this summer was catalyzed by the need for renovations at The Spa Little Theater, where we have been performing since 1998, it has also been inspired by our increased activity across the region throughout the year,” said Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson, in a statement.

“We began asking: with so many remarkable theaters in our region, might we be able to better serve our mission by reconceiving our Summer Festival in a way that doesn’t limit us to a single venue? While we remain committed to producing in Saratoga Springs, as the opera company of the Capital Region, our goal is to provide access to our Summer Festival programming in the same way we are able to do with our year-round programs.” 

PETITE MESSE SOLENNELLE - June 2 and June 3 @ 7:30 p.m. Presented by Opera Saratoga in partnership with The Round Lake Auditorium.

A BROADWAY CABARET - June 12 @ 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Presented by Opera Saratoga in partnership with The Mansion Inn.

A JUNETEENTH CELEBRATION WITH SIDNEY OUTLAW - June 19 @ 2:30 p.m. Produced by Opera Saratoga in Partnership with Proctors.

SWEENEY TODD - THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. June 29 and June 30 @ 7:30 p.m. Produced by Opera Saratoga in Partnership with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

SKY ON SWINGS - July 7 @ 7:30pm and July 9 @ 2 p.m. Produced by Opera Saratoga in Partnership with The Egg. 

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE – IL BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA. July 8 @ 7:30 p.m. and July 10 @ 2 p.m. Produced by Opera Saratoga in Partnership with Proctors. 

Tickets for the 2022 Summer Festival will be available through Festival Passes and Single Tickets. Festival Passes, which provide a 20% discount on single ticket prices and priority seating for all productions and events, will be available beginning February 1. Single Tickets will go on sale March 15. 

Opera Saratoga’s 2022 Summer Festival is made possible in part with support the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 

Audience members will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 for all performances, and masks will be required based on prevailing conditions at the time of the Festival. 

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. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga and Proctors Collaborative will present a free concert on New Year’s Eve at Universal Preservation Hall. 

The show features opera star Zachary James with pianist Laurie Rogers and will place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31. The presentation will include a variety of popular, Broadway, and classical favorites.

Bass Baritone Zachary James recently performed in the title role in Opera Saratoga’s production of Man of La Mancha on the SPAC Amphitheater Stage.

Rogers has served as associate conductor with LA Opera and has prepared productions for San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, among others.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited, and advance reservations are highly recommended.

They are available online at www.operasaratoga.org or www.universalpreservationhall.org. All attendees will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 to enter UPH and must remain masked at all times in the venue, which is located on Washington Street, downtown Saratoga Springs.

Opera Saratoga, formerly known as Lake George Opera, began with a production of Die Fledermaus at the Diamond Point Theatre on July 5, 1962. The company now calls Saratoga Springs home and performs for more than 25,000 people annually. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga has announced the company’s return to the stage for its 60th Anniversary with a season of performances inspired by the iconic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. 

Working closely with a team of medical professionals and a dedicated COVID Safety Officer, Opera Saratoga will be produced outdoors during June and July in partnership with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows Community Farm to provide three unique performance spaces for audiences to safely enjoy two fully staged productions and a special concert. 

In partnership with SPAC, Opera Saratoga will present MAN OF LA MANCHA, the Tony Award winning musical, featuring Broadway and Opera star Zachary James in the role of Cervantes / Don Quixote; and Opera Saratoga favorite, Kelly Glyptis, returning to Saratoga Springs as Aldonza. Three performances are scheduled on the SPAC Amphitheater Stage at 8 p.m. on July 8, 9, and 10.

In a more classical vein, Opera Saratoga will also present DON QUICHOTTE AT CAMACHO’S WEDDING, a one-act comic serenata by Georg Philipp Telemann with a libretto by Daniel Schiebeler, taken from an episode from Part Two of Cervantes’ celebrated novel, in which the Knight and his squire Sancho Panza encounter some rather strange wedding celebrations as they roam the world in search of adventure. The al fresco production will be staged by Rebecca Miller Kratzer and will be conducted by Michelle Rofrano in and around the Columbia Pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park, with the backdrop of the forest creating a natural setting for this pastoral adventure.  Twelve performances are scheduled between July 14 and July 18, with performances at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m.

The two staged productions will be complemented by QUIXOTIC OPERA, a concert of scenes from other operas inspired by Cervantes’ novel, presented in partnership with Pitney Meadows Community Farm. Two performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. on June 24 and 25.

“As we considered how to best return to the stage this summer, I found myself repeatedly drawn to works inspired by Don Quixote,” said Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson, in a statement. “ I think we’ve all needed to channel some of the famous knight-errant’s idealism and extreme optimism – and to dream impossible dreams in the face of unprecedented challenges.  Thanks to the willingness and enthusiasm of our partners at SPAC, Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows to dream with us, we are able to come back together as a community to safely enjoy some incredible music and theater together this summer.” 

Leading up to the Festival, Opera Saratoga will also offer an 8-week online course: Another Age, Another Place, Another La Mancha:  Don Quixote and the Birth of the Modern World. Taught by Skidmore Professor Grace Burton, this course will explore why the story of an old man’s wanderings through the dusty plains of 17th-century Spain have captured the imagination of philosophers and filmmakers, composers and choreographers, dramatists, and dreamers alike. The course will be offered via Zoom, on eight consecutive Wednesday evenings, from May 12 – June 30. 

As required by New York State, all ticket buyers will be required to show either proof of vaccination at least 14 days prior to their attendance, or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance they are attending. In addition, attendees will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire and pass a mandatory temperature check prior to entry. Audience members will be required to wear masks at all performances, regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative test. Restrooms will be available with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in place in accordance with
recommended guidelines. 

Due to social distancing at all performances, tickets are extremely limited this season, and it is anticipated that performances will sell out in advance. At all venues, tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of two seats.  At SPAC, pods of one, two, or four seats will also be available on the SPAC lawn for Man of La Mancha. Very limited single tickets will be available under the roof of the amphitheater for Man of La Mancha, but single tickets are not available for Quixotic Opera or Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding due to the seating configurations at these venues. Advance ticket purchases are required for Quixotic Opera and Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding. Advance ticket purchases are strongly advised for Man of La Mancha. If tickets are available on the day of performance at SPAC, ticket purchases will be subject to an additional fee.

Ticket sales open to the public on Monday, May 10. Go to: www.operasaratoga.org. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga announced last week that the company has converted its popular in-school OPERA-TO-GO tour into an interactive, virtual program this year to ensure safety for all while continuing to provide a unique and enriching arts education experience. 

The new program will feature the digital world premiere of The Selfish Giant, a new one-act opera based on the short story by Oscar Wilde, written by Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad and librettist Lila Palmer, commissioned by American Lyric Theater in New York City specifically for young audiences. 

“While we love visiting schools and introducing children to opera, proceeding with an in-person tour this winter and spring would not only be impractical, but also irresponsible. Safety must come first. However, we are still committed to providing access to the performing arts to students as well as robust arts education resources to educators – whether they are teaching virtually, in person, or in some combination of the two,” company artistic and general director Lawrence Edelson said in statement.

 Over the past six months, Opera Saratoga has re-envisioned the OPERA-TO-GO program as a digital initiative that will be available for free to educators for their students.  The program will be available to schools in late February, and is comprised of the following elements:

 • Opera Saratoga is creating a series of short video lessons on opera, aligned to New York State Common Core Standards in Music, Theater, Visual Arts, and English/Literature at grade levels from K-5, as well as the National Social Emotional Learning Standards. For each grade level, there will be a series of 6 videos, each 10 to 15 minutes in length, available for use in class, or for at-home viewing. Each video is accompanied by a comprehensive teacher’s guide that includes details of the alignment to State standards, and grade appropriate follow-up activities for students.

• Opera Saratoga is making a professional audio recording of the new opera THE SELFISH GIANT, by composer Clarice Assad and librettist Lila Palmer, based on the short story by Oscar Wilde. This recording will be fully integrated into the digital curriculum, providing opportunities to explore subjects including adaptation (how a short story becomes an opera), the role of the librettist, the role of the composer, collaboration, how words and music come together to create sung theater, the textual and musical “building blocks” of opera, and how opera is produced on stage.

• Using the recording, students will have the opportunity to make their own film versions of THE SELFISH GIANT by creating art that reflects the story and music. A scene-by-scene breakdown of the dramatic action of THE SELFISH GIANT will be provided to each class participating in the program, along with very clear, grade appropriate instructions. Students will be assigned specific moments of the opera to illustrate in a manner appropriate to their age/grade level, through drawing, painting, collage, or digital photography. Opera Saratoga will then create films of THE SELFISH GIANT, synching the recording of the opera to the art created by the students that bring each scene to life. Each school or class will have the opportunity to create their own versions of the film. In the spring, these videos will be completed and made available to share with family members as well as on each school’s website and social media channels. Opera Saratoga will also create an online library of student-created films of the opera, which will be hosted on the company’s website. 

Educators interested in offering this program to their students in Kindergarten through Grade 5 should register at www.operasaratoga.org/virtual-education no later than Jan. 22.

Opera Saratoga is able to provide free access to the entire video lesson series with educational support materials for all teachers and all schools. However, as the company does have limited capacity to create the opera-video projects, this portion of the program will be limited to schools in Saratoga, Warren, Washington, Essex, Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties, and will be limited to the first 50 schools or classes that register for the program. 

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. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga will next month present The Pirates’ Pajama Party & Treasure Hunt, the company’s first-ever Virtual Gala. The online event replaces Opera on the Lake, the company’s previously scheduled gala.

The Pirates’ Pajama Party & Treasure Hunt will take place completely online at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13. 

The summer gala is the most important fundraiser of the year for Opera Saratoga, providing critical resources to support diverse community and education programs including Saratoga Sings for Seniors, Opera-to-Go for elementary school children, and the company’s nationally acclaimed Young Artist Program. 

The Pirates’ Pajama Party & Treasure Hunt Virtual Gala is chaired by Steve Rosenblum, and pays special tribute to Rosemarie V. Rosen, Honorary Gala Chair and President Emeritus of Opera Saratoga’s Board of Directors. 

“This one night only event will be truly interactive - an engaging evening of mystery and entertainment - featuring special performances of pirate-themed music, including highlights from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance, and an interactive treasure hunt with prizes,” Rosenblum said in a statement.

“In re-envisioning our Gala to take place online, we wanted to make sure that we could create an event that would be more than another online concert,” added Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director, Lawrence Edelson. “Of course there will be music, but this will be a real party – an opportunity to ‘mingle’ online with friends and fellow music lovers, to solve a mystery together, and to have fun – all while supporting the year-round work Opera Saratoga does to enrich the region.”

Ticket holders can attend the Virtual Gala from the comfort and safety of their own homes from anywhere in the world – all that is needed is a computer, tablet or phone with a built-in camera and an internet connection. Gala attendees will have the opportunity to get their best “pirate on” with Opera Saratoga’s special Pirate Booty Kit that each person will receive in the mail one week prior to the event - an assortment of Treasure Hunt Clues and Pirate Accessories to make sure you don’t get lost at sea! 

Tickets for the Gala are $100 per person; or $250 for Honorary Committee members.

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.

For tickets and additional information, go to: www.operasaratoga.org/2020-virtual-gala. 

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WILTON – It is a weekday morning inside the Wilton Mall. Wedged between one shop that sports women’s summer fashions and another displaying torn men’s jeans, a series of piano rolls tumble into the hallway from behind the blackened windows of an abandoned retail space,

Inside the space where the piano melody flows, The Moll – portrayed by Ginger Costa-Jackson - and Bugs – played by Andy Papas - are rehearsing the opening scene of the controversial 1937 opera “The Cradle Will Rock.”  

”I’d like to give you a hun-dred bucks, but I only got thir-tee cents,” Bugs proclaims in a speak-song voice, hoisting a cigar to his mouth beneath a brim-backwards baseball cap that rests atop his head.  

“Make it a dollar,” sings The Moll, tugging at the fringes of her black shawl. There is no negotiating.

“That’s all I got. Thirty cents,” Bugs replies. Lawrence Edelson, the director, interrupts the scene. 

“There needs to be more of a beat. There. Punctuation marks!” he says. A half-dozen or so others in the cavernous room fiddle with scripts, binders, the musical score. Rows of empty store shelves give off a yellow hue. A pair of benches sit in the middle of a floor spiked for blocking. Someone strikes the keys of the standup piano, and Bugs and The Moll begin again.

“That’s so much better,” Edelson says, finally pleased the scene is played to perfection. “Burning with tension!”

The show, “The Cradle Will Rock,” opens July 9 at the Spa Little Theater in the Saratoga Spa State Park.  It is a piece that has historical implications.

“It’s remarkably timely considering it was written 80 years ago. It could have been written yesterday and you’d never know it,” says Edelson, matter-of-factly. “It speaks to contemporary audiences on its own terms in a vibrant way.”

Trained as a singer and having professionally performed as a dancer, this summer marks Edelson’s third as artistic and general director for Opera Saratoga.  Edelson chooses the repertoire, puts all the production teams and the casting together, chooses the directors and conductors and casts all the singers. Opera Saratoga’s summer season – which opens this weekend - features performances of “Falstaff,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and Marc Blitzstein’s “The Cradle Will Rock” – the latter which Edelson is personally directing and choreographing. 

“It’s about a wealthy businessman who is buying his way up in society. He is buying off the church, he is buying off the newspaper, buying off the university and the hospital, buying off all these different parts of society for his own gain. At the same time, he’s fighting the unions. And when you look at the headlines today…”

Edelson resists the temptation that was engaged by his theatrical peers at The Public Theater in New York City, whose current staging of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” portrays a very modern-day character resembling Donald Trump.

“The main character, Mr. Mister, one could easily tie him into a Trumpian character. But, that’s not the approach I’m taking. My job as a director is to present the story and the music to the best of my abilities the way the authors intended it,” Edelson explains. As is, the piece set in Steeltown U.S.A. drew controversy all its own when it premiered in pre-World War II America when its pro-union plot was feared as being too radical.  

“It was actually shut down by the government on its opening night in 1937. The government had locked up the theater with all the costumes and the orchestral parts which they couldn’t get out. Orson Welles was the original director and John Houseman the producer. They rented a piano and moved it north 20 blocks and put it on a stage,” Edelson said.

“In an incredibly ironic act, the actors’ union forbid the performers from performing onstage - in a show that was pro-union! So Blitzstein started to play the piece on the piano onstage, to sing through it himself. What was extraordinary was the members of the cast sitting in the audience rose up one-by-one and started to perform from their seats. It became one of the most legendary evenings in all of music theater history.” 

Controversy aside, the artistic result is that the original orchestration created by Marc Blitzstein – a frequent resident of the Yaddo arts colony in Saratoga Springs – is often neglected and almost always presented with just a piano.

“It only been performed twice with Blitzstein’s original orchestration. It has been 57 years since this piece has been done anywhere in the world the way Blitzstein intended. It’s really going to be a historically significant event for Saratoga Springs,” Edelson said. “And I think this cast is quite extraordinary. I don’t know if the piece has ever been sung this well before, quite frankly. I think audiences are going to be electrified by what they hear onstage.”         

“The Cradle Will Rock,” with music, book and lyrics by Marc Blitzstein will be staged 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 9, 2 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, 7:30 p.m. Thursday July 13 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.

 “I don’t think about opera in a bubble. For me, opera is this amazing synthesis of the arts. as much theater as it is music and visual arts and dance, and for me that’s what makes opera exciting,” Edelson said. “We do one opera every year that is a masterpiece from the classical repertoire. This year that is ‘Falstaff’ – one of the greatest operas ever written. I think audiences whose tastes lean towards traditional opera are really going to love this but it’s also a great comic piece and a great introduction to opera. It’s one of the pieces you just laugh out loud at.” “Falstaff,” with music by Giuseppe Verdi and libretto by Arrigo Boito will be staged by Saratoga Opera on July 1, 6, 10 and 15.  

 “We’ve also been doing works that incorporate dance and movement – this being such a city that has an appreciation in dance. Last year we did the Philip Glass piece, ‘The Witches of Venice.’ This year we’ll be doing a piece by André Grétry, who was a Belgian composer. I chose it because it has dance and movement in it and it’s also a fairy tale which people know the story of. It’s a great introduction to opera for family audiences and a great way to introduce kids to opera.  This particular production incorporates a lot of puppetry, which is a new element, something we haven’t done before.”

“Beauty and The Beast,” with music by André Grétry, libretto by Jean Francois Marmontel, will be staged July 2, 8 and 14. For tickets and more information of Opera Saratoga’s summer festival season, , go to: http://www.operasaratoga.org/.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - Singer-songwriter Howard Fishman will lead a troupe of performers in a street-side serenade on Sunday in Saratoga Springs.

BUSK! - a free public event presented by The Orchard Project - will incorporate circus performers, theater companies, live music and local food vendors in an event to be held in and around the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center on Broadway from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 4.

Billed as “a spontaneous, outrageous, family-friendly event” that promises to “elevate the form of busking” by creating designated performance spaces and stages, BUSK! will culminate in an evening cabaret at Putnam Den featuring artists who performed throughout the day, kicking off at 8 p.m.

Visiting performers include musical performances by Howard Fishman, Jimy Graham, Katie Louise, Mike Campese, Nightmare River Band, Ramblin’ Jug Stompers, Shane Guerrette, and A World For You. Additional performs include: Atlas Circus Theatre (circus productions), LubDub Theater Co. (a hybrid physical theatre company), The Red Trouser Show (acrobats, comedians, and jugglers), and. Local participants include Balloon Gal Jenny, traveling puppetry by Heldeberg Marionettes, face painting by Jojo's Fabulous Faces.

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