By Giacomo Puccini
Artistic Director James Harp | Based on “La Tosca” by Victorien Sardou | Sung in Italian with English Surtitles
November 1 & 3, 2013
Puccini’s great masterpiece of love, lust, and revenge is one of the most dramatically compelling in the entire operatic repertoire. The opera diva Floria Tosca is in love with the painter Mario Cavaradossi, but the evil Baron Scarpia, the Roman Chief of Police, desires her as well. His nefarious plot to have her involves political intrigue, sadistic brutality and horrific torture. Tosca’s dream of love is shattered by Scarpia’s duplicity, and in one of the most famous endings in opera, she leaps to her tragic death.
The production will star rising American superstar Jill Gardner in the title role, celebrated Puccini specialist Dinyar Vania as Cavaradossi, and Metropolitan Opera Star and Baltimore favorite Eric Owens in his role debut as Scarpia. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Steven White in a magnificent production directed by James Harp.
American soprano Jill Gardner has established herself among today’s leading operatic heroines. Of a recent La traviataperformance, Opera News noted her “full sound, with a particularly rich bloom in the middle register…Her commitment and passion, her thorough involvement in Violetta’s predicament, and her ability to convey vocally the slightest nuance of emotion made for gripping theatre.”
Considered the next great interpreter of the title role ofTosca, she most recently performed the role in three different productions; Opera Carolina, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Arizona Opera, and will next perform it with Lyric Opera Baltimore and Mill City Summer Opera. Jill also joined the roster of the Washington National Opera, covering the title role of Manon Lescaut, and performed as a soloist with Charlotte Symphony. Upcoming engagements also include gala concerts with Opera Carolina and Greensboro Opera; Violetta in La Traviata with Eugene Opera; a holiday concert with the Binghamton Philharmonic; and the roles of Georgetta and Suor Angelia in Puccini’s Il Trittico with Opera Carolina.
Acclaimed for his commanding stage presence and inventive artistry, American bass-baritone Eric Owens has carved a unique place in the opera world as both a champion of new music and a powerful interpreter of classic works. Called “consistently charismatic, theatrically and vocally” by New York Magazine and “absolutely remarkable” by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Owens is equally at home in concert, recital and opera performances, bringing his powerful poise, expansive voice, and instinctive acting faculties to stages around the globe. Owens received great critical acclaim for portraying the title role in the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera, and again at the Lincoln Center Festival, in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Last season, the New Yorker’Alex Ross raved, "Owens's portrayal [of Alberich in Das Rheingold] is so richly layered that it may become part of the history of the work.” Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, and was featured on the September 2008 Nonesuch Records release of the composer’s A Flowering Tree. He also performed the role of Leslie Groves in Adams's Doctor Atomic, at the San Francisco Opera world premiere and at the Metropolitan Opera, the recording of which won a Grammy. This season Owens performs in the Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera, and tours nationally.
In 2012-13 Dinyar Vania sings Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly(Boston Lyric Opera and Lyric Opera of Kansas City); Cavaradossi in Tosca (Pensacola Opera); and Cassio in Otello(Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra). Some career highlights include Rodolfo in La Bohème (New York City Opera,); Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore (Sacramento Opera); Duke inRigoletto (Knoxville Opera); Alfredo in La traviata (Opera Cleveland); and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor (Syracuse Opera). In 2013-14 he makes his Virginia Opera debut as Don Jose in Carmen.
By Giuseppe Verdi
Artistic Director James Harp| Based on the Biblical story and the play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu
May 9 & 11, 2014
Verdi’s induction into immortality was through this glorious opera, a celebration of spirit, sacrifice and faith. Nabucco, King of Babylon (King Nebuchadnezzar) has enslaved and oppressed the Hebrews, but his presumed daughter, Abigaille, has fallen in love with the Jewish Ismaele, and secretly works for their freedom. Nabucco’s pride leads to his downfall, when he proclaims himself God and is struck by lightning. This beautiful opera, containing the beloved chorus “Va, Pensiero” ends as Abigaille and Nabucco recognize the Hebrew God as the one true God.
Acclaimed American baritone Michael Chioldi will star in the title role, with virtuoso bel canto soprano Francesca Mondanaro as Abigaille. Oren Gradus will make his Baltimore debut as Zaccaria, the Jewish High Priest. James Meena will conduct The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in a new production, with an opulent and traditional concept, designed and directed by Bernard Uzan.
Michael Chioldi is one of North America's premiere operatic baritones. He has performed at nearly every major American opera house, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, New York City Opera, Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Internationally he has traveled extensively in Japan with Maestro Seiji Osawa, and has recently appeared in Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Macau and Spain. In February 2011, Michael returned to the Washington National Opera to perform his EMMY Award winning role of Sharpless in an Opening Night performance of Madama Butterfly, conducted by Placido Domingo. Earlier in January, he appeared in recital at Marywood University.
Career highlights have included Lady Macbeth in Macbethwith Sarasota Opera and Met Opera Guild Concert Series; Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte with Nashville Opera, Anchorage Opera, and Tel Aviv’s International Vocal Arts Institute; Leonora in La Forza Del Destino and Lady Macbeth inMacbeth with Taconic Opera; Musetta in La Bohème with Anchorage Opera; Ninfa in L’Orfeo with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; Isabella in La Grazie Di Isabella with Italy’s Spontini Festival; the title role in Anna Bolena with Tel Aviv’s International Vocal Arts Institute; Santuzza inCavalleria Rusticana with New Jersey State Verismo Opera; and the title role in Norma (cover) with Baltimore Opera. Concert highlights have included the title role in Norma for the Calvary Recital Series; Leonora in La Forza Del Destinofor New York’s Bechstein Concert Series; Santuzza inCavalleria Rusticana and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni with Baltimore Concert Opera; Scenes From Norma and Scenes From Anna Bolena for the Richard Tucker Foundation Concert Series; Scenes From La Traviata with the New Israeli Orchestra; soprano soloist in Mozart’s Bella Mia Fiamma and Schubert’s Mass In G with the Bach Society of New York; the Verdi Requiem with the Southwest Florida Symphony; a Carnegie Hall debut in Schubert’s Mass In Gand Haydn’s Orgelmesse with the New England Symphonium; Elijah at Baltimore’s Corpus Christi Church; the Poulenc Gloria with the Hudson Valley Philharmonic; featured soloist in Recital at the Argentine Consulate of New York and for Baltimore’s Artscape Festival; and featured soloist in Concert with the Las Vegas Philharmonic. Upcoming highlights include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth with Baltimore Concert Opera; Mother/Witch in Hansel And Gretel with Boheme Opera; Margherita/Elena in Mefistofelewith Taconic Opera; and Brahms Requiem with Fairfield Count Chorale. Francesca Mondanaro is also featured in an upcoming concert recital based on the life of Giuseppina Strepponi, featuring bel canto rarities that have not been performed since the late 19th Century.
Oren Gradus makes his Seattle Opera debut as Mozart’sFigaro, a role he sang at Opéra Municipal de Marseille for his European debut. Other roles in Europe for this American bass include Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Marseille, Raimondo in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in Bologna, Ferrando in Verdi’s Trovatore in Bilbao, and Ramfis in Verdi’s Aida at Opera di Roma. Gradus made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002 and his roles there include Garibaldo in Handel’s Rodelinda, Giorgio in Bellini’sPuritani, Timur in Puccini’s Turandot, and Colline in Puccini’s Bohème. At San Francisco Opera, Gradus made his debut as Ulysses S. Grant in Thomson’s Mother of Us All. His other roles at San Francisco include Colline, Leporello, and Raimondo. Recently, Gradus sang Figaro and Leporello in Houston, Masetto and Don Basilio in Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia in Dallas, Sarastro in Mozart’s Zauberflöte in St. Louis, Méphistophélès in Gounod’s Faust in Pittsburgh and with the Toronto Symphony, Colline in Los Angeles, and Raimondo in Santiago, Chile. Next season he will sing Colline at the Met and Figaro in Pittsburgh.
James Meena, Opera Carolina’s General Director & Principal Conductor since 2000, consistently earns critical acclaim for his artistic vision and dynamic presence on the podium. The breadth of his repertoire is captured in the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, Berlioz and Verdi, including to contemporary operas such as Carlisle Floyd’s Cold Sassy Treeand Victor Davies’ Transit of Venus, to full ballet productions and symphony concerts. Equally experienced in opera, ballet and symphonic repertoire, Mo. Meena has held principal and resident conducting posts with the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet, the Toledo Symphony and Opera, as well as guest conducting appearances that include new productions of Pagliacci/Schicchi, Le nozze di Figaroand La traviata for L’Opera de Montreal,Nabucco, Les pêcheurs des perles, Macbeth, Turandot and Aida for Opera Carolina, symphonic concerts for the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony (a nationally televised Thanksgiving concert); performances of Stravinsky’s tour de force, Le Sacre du Printemps with the National Symphony Orchestra, R.O.C., concerts with the Cairo Symphony (Egypt) in the new Cairo Opera House, symphony concerts with the orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, the Orchestra Regionale Toscana in Italy, plus Falstaff, Otelloand Macbeth for Edmonton Opera and the premiere ofTransit of Venus by the Canadian team of composer Victor Davies and librettist Maureen Hunter for Manitoba Opera, recorded for national broadcast on the CBC. His performances of Faust, Eugene Onegin and Il Trovatore are captured on recording for NPR World of Opera.
Bernard Uzan’s extensive background in the Performing Arts includes great achievement as a General Director, Artistic Director, Stage Director, Artist Manager, Set Designer, Librettist, Actor, and most recently, published Novelist. As a stage director and producer his 375 productions have appeared on the stages of more than 100 opera companies throughout the World in such cities as Buenos Aires, Caracas, Catania, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Mexico City, Miami, Monte Carlo, Palermo, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Zurich, Toronto, Vancouver, among many others.
The Dialogues of the Carmelites
By Francis Poulenc
November 15 & 17, 2013
The Peabody at the Modell Lyric series presents Francis Poulenc’s The Dialogues of the Carmelites. This unforgettable opera, set in the French Revolution, is the story of the triumph of faith over doubt. This fully staged and costumed production will highlight the brightest vocal stars from Peabody and feature The Peabody Symphony Orchestra.
A Celebration of French Grand Opera
Sung in French with English Surtitles
April 25, 2014 (One Performance Only)
Love, passion and romance are the hallmarks of French grand opera, ranging from works such as Roméo et Juliette, Manon, Faust, Thaïs, and so many others. We’ll celebrate these wonderful works in a gala concert with orchestra on the stage of the Modell Lyric.
Opera stars Soprano Nicole Cabell and Tenor Stephen Costello will be our soloists, both renowned internationally for their sensational vocalism, stage glamour and personal charisma. Baltimore favorite Edward Polochick will lead The Baltimore Concert Artists Orchestra in this magnificent event sure to sparkle with romantic delight. Vive l’Opéra!
Nicole Cabell, the 2005 Winner of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition and Decca recording artist, is one of today’s most sought-after lyric sopranos. Her solo debut album, “Soprano” was named “Editor’s Choice” by Gramophone and has received an incredible amount of critical acclaim and several prestigious awards.
Ms. Cabell’s recent projects include her San Francisco Opera debut as Giulietta in I Capuleti e I Montecchi, her Adina inL’Elisir d’Amore at the Teatro del Liceo in Barcelona, the Mozart Requiem at Carnegie Hall, Bach’s B minor Mass in Chicago and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Cleveland Orchestra. Future engagements include her Paris debut, both in opera and in concert and a return to London in a series of concerts.
The fast-rising young tenor Stephen Costello has firmly established himself as one of the current generation’s most impressive artists. He came to national attention in 2007 when, at age 26, he debuted at the Met’s season- opening night and was quickly invited to appear again that same season. In 2009, Costello won the prestigious Richard Tucker Award. He subsequently made his debuts at a number of the world’s most important opera houses and music festivals, including London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Salzburg Festival, and the Vienna State Opera.
Edward Polochick is artistic director of Concert Artists of Baltimore, an all-professional orchestra and all-professional vocal ensemble of seventy musicians, which is celebrating its 26th season. 2012-2013 also marks his 15th season as music director of Lincoln’s Symphony Orchestra in Nebraska. From 1979-1999 he was on the staff of the Baltimore Symphony as director of the Symphony Chorus and since 1979 he has been at the Peabody Conservatory as associate conductor of the orchestra, director of choral ensembles and opera conductor. An accomplished pianist and harpsichordist, he has appeared as piano soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Since winning the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Award and conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra he has attracted attention as an orchestral, operatic and choral conductor. His appearances have included the Baltimore Symphony, Houston Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Aalborg Symphony of Denmark, Omaha Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, Daejeon Philharmonic in Korea, St. Petersburg Symphony in Russia and the State of Mexico Symphony Orchestra in Toluca, Mexico.