Sacramento Opera / Sacramento Philharmonic Double-Bill Featuring Works by Mozart, Wagner, and a Fully-Staged Production of Pagliacci
One of the opera world’s most famous arias –“Vesti la giubba” — will be performed when Sacramento Opera Company presents its production of “Pagliacci” with the Sacramento Philharmonic Orchestra at the Sacramento’s Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 20. Tickets, from $21 to $100, may be reserved by calling the Community Center box office at (916) 808-5181 or by subscription at (916) 737-1000.
The “Pagliacci” Opera Talk, with the SOC production’s conductor Michael Morgan and stage director David Bartholomew, will be held at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the Scottish Rite Center, 6151 H St., Sacramento. Tickets, available at the door, are $10 general admission and $7 for Sacramento Opera subscribers
Composer Ruggiero Leoncavallo’s poignant though memorably musical tale of a traveling theater company playing in a small provential Italian town pits a jealous clown, his wife, her lover, and a lecherous actor, in a story within a story – a tragic play that mirrors real life events going on off stage.
“Pagliacci,” premiered in 1892 in Milan’s Teatro dal Verme with Arturo Toscanini conducting. A year later, it was heard in New York City. The opera’s verismo or reality style flourished in Italy especially, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but was also a force in France with composers Jules Massenet., Charpentier and Debussy.
The opera will be preceded during the first half of the evening, by a program showcasing the Philharmonic in selections from W. A. Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro,” and featuring guest soloists Shana Blake Hill, Igor Vieira, and Zachary Gordin, and Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll (orchestra only). The orchestra’s conductor and artistic director, Michael Morgan, is also artistic director of Festival Opera in Walnut Creek, as well as music director and conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Oakland Youth Symphony.
A native of Washington, D.C., Morgan has led the Philharmonic for the last 13 years. In 2010, Morgan received the San Francisco Foundation’s Community Leadership Award and in 2005 was given the Governors Award for Community Service by the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy. He was also the five American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Concert Music Award recipients in 2005.
David Bartholomew will stage the opera. A pianist and educator before he became a stage director, Bartholomew worked with the influential opera conductor Sarah Caldwell in Boston at the beginning of his career as a stage director. While resident stage director and artistic director of Tacoma Opera, he produced more than 20 operas from 1993 to 2004. Bartholomew is currently director of artistic operations for Opera Southwest in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Among the cast members of “Pagliacci” will be American tenor Roy Cornelius Smith who as the hapless clown, Canio, will sing the opera’s most famous aria. Smith’s rich resume contains appearances at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera; Deutsche Oper Berlin; the Salzburger Festspiele, as well as the Volksoper Wien (Vienna) in Austria; and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. With the New Israeli Opera, he sang the Rabbi in a new production of Kurt Weill’s “Der Weg der Verheissung (The Eternal Road).” Smith has also appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra.
“We are very fortunate to have Roy singing with us. Listen to him singing on his website: http://www.tenors.net/roy_cornelius_smith.htm. Amazing,” said SOC General Director Rod Gideons. “He is really a splendid talent and his realization of the role of Canio, the jilted husband, is both powerful and riveting, culminating in an unforgettable interpretation of the opera’s most famous aria, ‘Vesti la giubba’.”
Joining Smith on stage, soprano Shana Blake Hill will sing Nedda,baritone Zachary Gordin will sing the role of Silvio, baritone Igor Vieira will portray Tonio, and tenor Daniel Ebbers will be Beppe.
Hill has a diverse repertoire of concert and operatic experiences. She has sung everything from composer Bright Sheng’s “The Phoenix” with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Charles Dutoit to Violetta in “La Traviata” with Dayton Opera; and Maria in “West Side Story Suites” with the Lexington Philharmonic and “Susannah” with Opera Pacific. Her list also includes Rosalba in Daniel Catan’s “Florencia en el Amazonas” with Cincinnati Opera; Rosalinda in “Die Fledermaus” with Opera Southwest, and “Secrets of the Sky and Sea” with Berkshire Opera.
Baritone Gordin, an experienced interpreter of the bel canto works of Donizetti and Verdi, appeared in “Opera in the Cathedral,” in October with Sacramento Opera. In the basso range, he is well-versed in the 18th century’s rich coloratura bass repertoire, as well as works of contemporary composers. Formerly well-known as a countertenor, he is now performing as a baritone, for which he has received critical acclaim for the “intensity of his acting,” and the “beauty and power of his voice.” Praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for his “heroic performance” as Escamillo in San Francisco Lyric Opera’s “Carmen,” with West Bay Opera Other recent performances include Aeneas in “Dido and Aeneas” and El Cantaor in “La vida breve”
Vieira made his professional debut in his native Rio de Janeiro at age 17, singing the role of Dancaïre in Bizet’s “Carmen.” His baritone repertoire also includes the title roles in Rossini’s “Il Barbiere di Siviglia,” Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” and Debussy’s “Pélleas et Mélisande,” plus Junius in Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia,” Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff,” and Lescaut in Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut.”
Tenor Daniel Ebbers will sing the role of Beppe. Ebbers appeared with the Sacramento Opera most recently as Cassio in Verdi’s “Otello” in 2008. Ebbers is associate professor of voice at University of the Pacific where he teaches vocal performance. He is also managing director and instructor at the Pacific Opera Institute.
The Sacramento Opera’s season will continue in 2012 with Verdi’s “Rigoletto” Friday, Feb. 24, and Sunday, Feb. 26, at the Community Center Theater. For more information, call (916) 737-1000.
Single Tickets: $28 – $100 (Available through the Community Center Theater Box Office at 916-808-5181)