OPERA SARATOGA presents
The Witches of Venice – American Premiere
Music by Philip Glass, Libretto by Beni Montresor
Directed and Choreographed by Karole Armitage, Conducted by Viswa Subbaraman
Featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance, and the Capital District Youth Chorale
July 2 – July 17, 2016
THE WITCHES OF VENICE – AMERICAN PREMIERE
Composer – Philip Glass; Librettist – Beni Montresor
The second production of the season will be the American premiere of Philip Glass’ The Witches of Venice – an opera-ballet originally written for Teatro alla Scala in Milan that premiered in 1995. This whimsical opera that incorporates dance throughout was composed in collaboration with illustrator and stage designer Beni Montresor, who adapted the libretto from his children’s book of the same name.
Based in the historical Venice of Carnival, The Witches of Venice is a whimsical tale about a boy grown from a plant in the King’s garden, who is looking for a little girl like him. He soon finds himself escaping captors, wandering dark hallways, fleeing monsters, and ultimately finding a friend. It is a heartfelt story, with underlying themes of self-acceptance and finding one’s place in the world. The Witches of Venice is one of Glass’ most creative scores – a family-friendly opera featuring inventive songs, exhilarating dances, fantastical music portraying monsters and fairies, and savvy scoring that carries the story along. Opera Saratoga is thrilled to introduce American audiences to an important and little known work by one of America’s most important composers, and to continue its commitment to presenting contemporary American work as well as operas in which dance plays an integral role.
Internationally renowned director and choreographer Karole Armitage, who made her debut with Opera Saratoga this past summer creating the company’s critically acclaimed production of Dido and Aeneas, returns to direct and choreograph this American premiere production. Viswa Subbaraman, Artistic Director of Skylight Music Theater and former Artistic Director of the innovative contemporary opera company Opera Vista in Houston will conduct. Principal roles will be sung by members of Opera Saratoga’s Young Artist Program, the second oldest mentorship program for emerging professional singers in the country, directed by Laurie Rogers. Twenty-four singers were selected to participate in the program from over 1,000 applicants. Artists featured in The Witches of Venice include tenor Dominick Corbacio as The King, soprano Keely Futterer as The Witch Mother, baritone Jarrett Porter as The Ogre, mezzo soprano Emily Spencer as the Maid, and mezzo soprano Courtney Miller as The Wind.
As with last season’s production of Dido and Aeneas, members of the New York City based Armitage Gone! Dance Company will also be featured prominently in the production. In addition The Witches of Venice provides important opportunities for collaborations with other organizations in the region. Opera Saratoga will collaborate with The Capital District Youth Chorale, upstate New York’s premiere children’s chorus under the direction of Diane Warner, as well The School of the Arts at The National Museum of Dance under the direction of Raul Martinez, to provide opportunities for local children to perform alongside professional artists in the opera, which includes a children’s chorus and extensive use of both child and adult dancers.
Performance Dates: July 2 @ 7:30pm; July 11 @ 2:00pm; July 17 @ 2:00pm
THE WITCHES OF VENICE
Internationally acclaimed American conductor, Viswa Subbaraman, is currently the Artistic Director/Music Director of The Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee, WI. In his inaugural season at the Skylight, highlights included a number of critically and audience acclaimed productions including Beethoven’s Fidelio, which he both stage directed and conducted, Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarrón, and Philip Glass’ Hydrogen Jukebox. Subbaraman recently conducted the world premiere of Somtow Sucharitkul’s The Snow Dragon, which became the Skylight Music Theatre’s first touring production to Thailand. Most recently, Subbaraman was selected by INKTalks in India as a 2014 INK Fellow, named by On Milwaukee magazine’s Dave Begel as one of Milwaukee’s 14 most influential people, and selected by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of Milwaukee’s most influential 40 Under 40 for 2015. Equally comfortable in the orchestral realm as with opera, Mr. Subbaraman served as Assistant Conductor of the Orchestre National de France where he assisted Kurt Masur and such distinguished artists as Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, and Colin Davis. Highlights of his tenure with the ONF include the world premiere of the Overture du Roi Lear by Paul Dukas and the French premiere of the Symphony for Trombone and Orchestra by Ernst Bloch, which has been recorded and released under the title Tranquille through the districlassic label.
Karole Armitage, director of the New York-based Armitage Gone! Dance Company, was rigorously trained in classical ballet. As a professional dancer she performed in Balanchine’s Grand Théâtre de Genève Company and in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Armitage is renowned for pushing the boundaries to create contemporary works that blend dance, music and art to engage in philosophical questions about the search for meaning. She joins a legacy of process-focused experimental dance that embraces the ballet and modern dance heritage as well. She directed the Ballet of Florence. Italy (1995 – 99) and the Biennale of Contemporary Dance in Venice (2004), and served as resident choreographer for the Ballet de Lorraine in France (1999 – 2004). She has created works for many companies, from The Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow to the Tasmanian Dance Company in Australia. She has choreographed two productions for the New York Philharmonic, directed opera at important European Opera Houses including Teatro di San Carlo in Naples and Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, two Broadway productions (Passing Strange and Hair, the latter earning her a Tony nomination), videos for Madonna and Michael Jackson, several films for Merchant Ivory productions and the Cirque du Soleil production Amaluna (2012). Ms. Armitage, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, was awarded Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France’s most prestigious award in 2009, and an honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Kansas in 2013.
ABOUT OPERA SARATOGA
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 serves the communities of Saratoga Springs, the Lower Adirondack and New York State Capital areas by providing access to world-class opera through the production of an annual Summer Festival, as well as year-round activities including extensive educational programs, mentorship of emerging operatic artists, and unique opportunities for the public to experience opera in both our home theater and non-traditional venues that leverage and embrace the unique cultural, historic, and natural resources of the area. To date, the Company has performed over ninety different fully staged works by over fifty different composers, including thirty-four works by American composers and six world-premiere productions. Throughout its history, the Company’s success has been shaped by visionary leaders, talented artists, and critically acclaimed productions. In 2014, the Board of Directors appointed Lawrence Edelson as the new Artistic and General Director. Edelson’s leadership marks a new chapter in the company’s history, with increased emphasis on community partnerships throughout the year, diversification of the company’s repertoire, and a reaffirmed commitment to both the presentation of American opera and the mentorship of emerging artists as core activities in the company’s programs each season. The 2016 Summer Festival marks the second season under his leadership. For more information, visit www.operasaratoga.org.