New York City Opera to Open Spring 2013 Season with POWDER HER FACE, 2/15-23
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by BWW News Desk
New York City Opera opens its spring 2013 season with a new production of Powder Her Face (1995), composed by Thomas Adès (b.1971) to a libretto by Philip Hensher (b. 1965). The world premiere of the opera, inspired by a sex scandal that rocked Britain in the early 60s, not only caused controversy, with its on-stage depiction of fellatio, but also propelled Adès to international recognition.
Conducted by Jonathan Stockhammer, whose artistry is as musically omnivorous as Adès' score, and directed by Jay Scheib, who is known for technologically rich theatrical innovation, the opera returns to BAM, where it was semi-staged at the Majestic (now Harvey) Theater as part of the 1998 Next Wave Festival.
Performances will take place February 15-23 at the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn): February 15, 21 and 23 at 7:30 P.M., and February 17 at 1:30 P.M. Tickets, $25-$250, can be purchased at 718.636.4100 or BAM.org. Please note: The production contains nudity and scenes of a sexual nature; parental discretion is advised.
Powder Her Face centers around a series of Polaroids presented during the 1963 divorce case against Margaret Campbell, Duchess of Argyll. In the pictures, Campbell, dubbed the "Dirty Duchess" for the eighty-eight men with whom she allegedly had extramarital affairs, appeared nude, wearing only her signature pearl necklace. Some of the photos showed the Duchess performing oral sex on a man whose face was not visible. He was crowned "the headless man" by the tabloids, and his identity was the subject of much speculation.
Through the prism of Campbell's life story, Powder Her Face explores the intersection of gender, politics and power. Scheib has said, "Powder Her Face, with its high-speed turns, feels on the surface like a Don Giovanni-but this one's about a woman who does what she wants how and when she wants. Adès has singlehandedly resurrected the reputation of one Dirty Duchess, as dreamt by Jean Genet-and the music is absolutely thrilling."
With the exception of the "sterling tenor" (American Theater) William Ferguson, whose role as the Electrician follows many others with New York City Opera, the entire Powder Her Face cast and creative team-including Stockhammer and Scheib-is new to the Company. British mezzo-soprano Allison Cook, who recently garnered acclaim for her Teatro alla Scala debut in the world premiere of Luca Francesconi's Quartett (with subsequent performances at the Wiener Festwochen), will be introduced to American audiences as the Duchess. As the Maid, coloratura soprano Nili Riemer will make her Company debut, having won praise as the Queen of the Night in multiple European and American productions of Die Zauberflöte, among other roles. Matt Boehler, whom The New York Times has deemed "a bass with an attitude and the goods to back it up," and whom The Washington Post hailed as "a supple, clarion bass," makes his Company debut in the role of the Hotel Manager.
Several favorites of the downtown theater scene will have non-singing roles, including Jon Morris (Fuerza Bruta, Scheib's World of Wires) as the Waiter and Kaneza Schaal (The Wooster Group, Elevator Repair Service) as the Nurse. The cast also features a non-singing chorus of thirty nude men.
For Scheib, Powder Her Face follows World of Wires (based on Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Welt am Draht), which premiered at The Kitchen in January 2012, won Scheib a 2012 Obie Award for Direction, earned rave reviews and has toured internationally. The director applies his signature multimedia approach to Adès' opera, with sets by Marsha Ginsberg, costumes by Alba Clemente, lighting by Thomas Dunn and projection design by Joshua Higgason.
Powder Her Face is the third production in a relationship New York City Opera has forged with BAM, which will serve as the Company's Brooklyn base through the 2014-15 season. As New York City Opera continues to match special projects with suitable venues across the city, BAM and New York City Center, the Company's original home, will serve as its primary theaters. The superior acoustics of BAM's 2,100-seat, 19th-century-style Howard Gilman Opera House enhances the artistry of singers and musicians, and the venue's convenient Fort Greene location offers a warm welcome to the New York City Opera's loyal audiences while also helping to attract a new, diverse and enthusiastic fan base.
Powder Her Face Personnel
* Denotes New York City Opera debut
Jonathan Stockhammer* (Conductor)
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jonathan Stockhammer (Conductor)
Powder Her Face marks the New York City Opera debut of the American-born, Berlin-based conductor Jonathan Stockhammer.
He has worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic, NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared at the Salzburg Festival, Donaueschingen Music Days and Wien Modern.
Mr. Stockhammer began the 2012-13 season with his Bamberg Symphony debut concert, conducting works by Mozart and Rihm. With the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, he will also make his debut at Alte Oper Frankfurt. Other highlights of the season are re-invitations to the Oslo Philharmonic, Salzburg Biennial, Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Remix Ensemble Porto and Schwetzinger Festspiele.
Opera is central to Jonathan Stockhammer's work. The operas he has conducted, including Weill's Die Dreigroschenoper, Zemlinsky's Eine florentinische Tragödie, Sciarrino's Luci mie traditrici and Damon Albarn's Monkey: Journey to the West, identify him as a conductor who welcomes and masters the difficulties presented by complex scores and special, cross-categorical productions. Since 1998, he has been a regular guest at the Opéra de Lyon, where he has since conducted the successful French premiere of Dusapin's Faustus, the Last Night. In the 2010-11 season he gave his successful debut with the Radio Kamer Filharmonie at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with Faustus. After premiering Wolfgang Rihm's Proserpina in May 2009 with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, he returned to conduct the orchestra at Strasburg's Festival Musica in September 2009 with another Rihm work, Deus Passus. In 2010, he conducted the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in a production of Sondheim's A Little Night Music at the Théâtre du Châtelet Paris. In fall 2011, he directed the Swiss premiere of Zwicker's Der Tod und das Mädchen at the Theater St. Gallen.
Aside from conducting classical and romantic masterpieces and classical contemporary works, Mr. Stockhammer enjoys delving into music that blurs the boundaries between classical, rock, pop and hip-hop. His CD Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions with Ensemble Modern, featuring works by Frank Zappa, was released in 2003 on RCA and won an Echo Klassik Award. He also recorded a new soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film The Battleship Potemkin, composed and performed by the Pet Shop Boys. The live recording of The New Crystal Silence that he conducted with Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra won a Grammy Award in 2009. His collaboration with spoken word artist Saul Williams on Said the Shotgun to the Head, featuring music composed by Thomas Kessler, has also been especially successful. To date, he has conducted the work with the WDR and SWR Symphony Orchestras and the Oslo Philharmonic. In March 2012, he conducted Heiner Goebbels' Surrogate Cities at the South Bank Centre in London.
Jonathan Stockhammer first studied Chinese and political science before moving on to studies in composition and conducting in his hometown of Los Angeles. During his studies, he filled in for a series of concerts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, after which he was asked to become chief conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen's assistant. After completing his studies, Jonathan Stockhammer moved to Germany where he formed close relationships with well-known European ensembles like Ensemble Modern, musikFabrik and Ensemble Resonanz.
Jay Scheib (Director)
Jay Scheib, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2012 Obie Award recipient for Best Direction, is a director, designer and author of plays, operas and live art events. Internationally known for works of daring physicality, genre-defying performances and deep integration of new technologies, Scheib's 2012 productions include World of Wires, which premiered at The Kitchen, followed by performances at Festival d'Automne in Paris and the Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; a collaboration with choreographer Yin Mei and the Hong Kong Dance Company titled The Seven Sages, in Hong Kong; and Fassbinder's controversial play Garbage, the City and Death in Oslo, Norway. Upcoming productions include a live drive-in movie version of Chekhov's Platonov at La Jolla Playhouse in the fall of this year.
Past productions include Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, presented at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and Maison des Arts in Créteil, France after its New York run at The Kitchen; Evan Ziporyn's A House in Bali, presented as part of BAM's Next Wave Festival 2010; a new staging of Beethoven's Fidelio at the Saarländisches Staatstheater in Saarbrücken; Brecht's Puntila und sein Knecht Matti at Theater Augsburg; This Place is a Desert (ICA/Boston, Under the Radar Festival/Public Theater); and Addicted to Bad Ideas, Peter Lorre's 20th Century, which played at Spoleto Festival, Urban Festival Helsinki, Luminato Festival Toronto, Peak Performances Montclair, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and more.
Other works include the world premiere of Irene Popovic's opera Mozart Luster Lustik at the Sava Center, Belgrade, Serbia; Lothar Trolle's Ein Vormittag in der Freitheit at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin; a new staging of the Novoflot science fiction opera saga Kommander Kobayashi in Saarbruecken, Germany; and Untitled Mars (This Title May Change) at Performance Space 122 in New York and the State Theater in Budapest, Hungary.
Named Best New York Theater Director by Time Out New York in 2009, and named by American Theater Magazine as one of the 25 theater artists who will shape the next 25 years of American theater, Scheib is a recipient of The Edgerton Award, The Richard Sherwood Award and the NEA/TCG Program for Directors. He is a frequent guest professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria and at the Norwegian Theater Academy and is Professor for Music and Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Allison Cook (Duchess)
Mezzo-soprano Allison Cook is increasingly in demand for her extraordinary versatility. Recent highlights include her critically lauded debut at Teatro alla Scala as the Marquise de Merteuil in the world premiere of Luca Francesconi's Quartett (with subsequent performances at the Wiener Festwochen) as well as Mme de Warens in the world premiere of Philippe Fenelon's JJR (Citoyen de Genève) for the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde) at the Prague State Opera and Adalgisa (Norma) on tour in the Netherlands. She also featured in two other recent world premieres: Mark Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole (in the role of Blossom) and Michael Berkeley/Ian McEwan's For You, both at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Upcoming engagements include further performances of Quartett at the Cité de la Musique, the Holland Festival, Strasbourg Festival, Casa da Musica (Porto) and the Gulbenkian (Lisbon); Britten's Phaedra at the Barbican; and Margret (Wozzeck) at Covent Garden.
She is a former member of Les Jeunes Voix du Rhin at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg and the Centre de Formation Lyrique at the Opéra National de Paris. Her European success has been built on performances such as Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos) in Strasbourg; Der Trommler (Der Kaiser von Atlantis) for l'Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy and at the Cité de la Musique; Valetto and Fortuna (L'Incoronazione di Poppea) with Les Musiciens du Louvre at the Wiener Festwochen and Festival Aix-en-Provence as well as the title role in the same opera in Dublin; Baba the Turk and Mother Goose (The Rake's Progress) for Théâtre et Musique in Paris; and the world premiere of Peter Eötvös's Le Balcon in Aix-en-Provence.
Her ongoing association with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden has to date also included the title role in John Browne's Babette's Feast and Kate Julian (Owen Wingrave) as well as covering Countess Geschwitz (Lulu) and Ariadne in the world premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur. For Glyndebourne on Tour she has performed Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) and the title role in Carmen. She also sang the title role in La Cenerentola at the Shanghai International Arts Centre.
Allison Cook's concert performances range from the BBC Proms (Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmelites and Vaughan Williams' Serenade to Music) to Schoenberg's Das Buch der hängenden Gärten at the Louvre, with orchestras such as the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Münchner Symphoniker. Conductors and stage directors she has worked with include Sir Antonio Pappano, Sir Andrew Davis, James Conlon, Louis Langrée, Stéphane Denève, Mark Minkowski, Susanna Mälkki, Robin Ticciati, Richard Jones, Robert Carsen, Stephen Langridge, Àlex Ollé (La Fura dels Baus), Stephen Lawless, Marthe Keller and Irina Brook.
Nili Riemer (Maid)
Lauded by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer for her "graceful agility, rising to shining high notes" and her use of "coloratura writing as an extension of character," Nili Riemer makes her New York City Opera debut in Powder Her Face.
She recently returned to Oper Leipzig as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos. Last season, she returned to the role of Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte and the title role in Arriaga's Die arabische Prinzessin with Oper Leipzig, and made debuts with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Najade in Ariadne auf Naxos and the Saarländisches Staatstheater Saarbrücken as the stratospheric Sehr hoher Sopran in Rihm's Eroberung von Mexico.
The soprano's recent performances include Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte in a new production with Opera Royal de Wallonie, at the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Minnesota Orchestra with Osmo Vänskä conducting, and in a return to Stadttheater Heidelberg; the Controller in Dove's Flight with Austin Lyric Opera, where she previously sang Princess Laoula in L'Étoile; and a return to the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for Marie in La fille du régiment. She has enjoyed a strong relationship with Minnesota Opera as a former Resident Artist and has joined the company for Olympia in Les contes d'Hoffmann, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera, the title role of Lakmé, and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro.
Her other recent performances include the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in the opera's originally composed higher keys with Cleveland Opera; her European debut singing Cunegonde in Candide with the Kammerchor-Steffisburg in Thun, Switzerland; Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Anchorage Opera; Olymphia in Les contes d'Hoffmann with Des Moines Metro Opera; Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of Kansas City; Despina in Così fan tutte with Chautauqua Opera; and Clorinda in La cenerentola with Florida Grand Opera.
The soprano has joined Tri-Cities Opera for leading roles including Rosina in IL Barbiere di Siviglia, Königin der Nacht in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, Marie in La fille du régiment, and Monica in The Medium. As a former member of Chautauqua Opera's Studio Artist Program, she sang Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. Other roles to the soprano's credit include Mademoiselle Silverpeal and Madame Goldentrill in Mozart's Impresario at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, and Le Feu and Le Rossignol in L'enfant et les sortilèges at the Lowell House Operain Boston.
Also a versatile concert performer, Ms. Riemer joined Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Donald Sur's Slavery Documents in a Martin Luther King Day concert broadcast on National Public Radio and the Brooklyn Philharmonic for a concert featuring Zerbinetta's showstopper aria from Ariadne auf Naxos. She has sung Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard and Bernstein's Chichester Psalms with the Binghamton Philharmonic, and Handel's Messiah with the New Choral Society. She joined the Binghamton University Concert Orchestra as a guest artist for Orff's Carmina Burana and the Tufts University Concert Orchestra for Poulenc's Gloria, and has performed Brubeck's Gates of Justice at the Newport Jazz Festival.
Ms. Riemer has received a number of awards from the Gerda Lissner Foundation, Shoshana Foundation, Career Bridges, Schubert Club Competition, Altamura-Caruso International Vocal Competition, Queens Opera Competition and Nebraska district Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Born in Israel, the soprano holds a Master of Music degree from the State University of New York-Binghamton and is a graduate of the dual-degree program at New England Conservatory of Music and Tufts University, where she earned a Bachelor of Music and a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in International Relations.
William Ferguson (Electrician)
Acclaimed for his versatility in both opera and concert, tenor William Fergusonmade his debut with the Santa Fe Opera in 2006 as Caliban in the North American premiere of Thomas Adès' The Tempest, and in 2005 he bowed in Sydney with Opera Australia, singing Truffaldino in a new production of The Love for Three Oranges directed by Francesca Zambello and conducted by Richard Hickox (subsequently released on compact disc under the Chandos label). The same year, Ferguson joined the roster of The Metropolitan Opera, where he has performed Beppe in Pagliacci as well as roles in Le Nozze di Figaro and The Magic Flute (under the baton of James Levine). With New York City Opera, his performances have included the title role in Candide, Nanki-Poo in The Mikado, the Funeral Director in A Quiet Place, and two appearances as Hérisson de Porc-Épic in L'Étoile, amongmany others.
Additional credits include Andres in Wozzeck with Opera Festival of New Jersey, Ferrando in Così fan tutte at The Aspen Music Festival, Carl in Bitter Sweet for the Bard SummerScape Festival, Pang in Turandot with Opera Company of Philadelphia, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance with both Virginia Opera and Opera Omaha, the Sailor in Dido and Aeneas with Gotham Chamber Opera, the title role in Albert Herring directed by Lotfi Mansouri at The Music Academy of the West, Gonzalve in L'Heure Espagnole and Fenton in Falstaff at the Tanglewood Music Center (both with Seiji Ozawa), and Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw at the Chautauqua Institution. Mr. Ferguson has also performed with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall on several occasions, including as Nick in La Fanciulla del West and as Laërte in Mignon. A compelling interpreter of new music, Mr. Ferguson sang Bentley Drummle in Dominick Argento's Miss Havisham's Fire at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and performed in the world premiere productions of Anthony Davis' Wakonda's Dream with Opera Omaha, Robert Aldridge's Elmer Gantry with Peak Performances at Montclair, and operas by Lee Hoiby and Harold Farberman. While in St. Louis, Mr. Ferguson sang the role of Hippolyte in Rameau's Hippolyte et Aricie as a last minute replacement, earning a review in Opera News stating that he sang "with grace, and striking self-possession." He holds both Bachelor's and Master's of Music degrees from The Juilliard School and is a native of Richmond, Virginia.
A passionate concert and recital performer, Mr. Ferguson has appeared with The American Symphony Orchestra, BBC Orchestra (London), Boston Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (England), Handel and Haydn Society, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, a New York, National Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Orchestra of St. Luke's, and Radio Filharmonisch Orkest (Netherlands), as well as the local symphony orchestras of Bellingham, New Haven, Omaha, Richmond, Santa Barbara, Wheeling and Winston-Salem. Mr. Ferguson appears as Brian on the recording and DVD of Not The Messiah, a comic oratorio based on Monty Python's film Life of Brian, recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall in London. His repertoire ranges from that of Baroque masters to the difficult cycles of Schubert, Schumann, Janá?ek and Rorem-showcasing him across the United States in chamber programs and recitals for the 92nd Street Y, Bard Music Festival, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Marlboro Music Festival and Young Concert Artists, among others. Mr. Ferguson has performed extensively with The Marilyn Horne Foundation, Five Borough Music Festival, as well as The New York Festival of Song.
Mr. Ferguson is the recipient of several awards and honors including First Place in the Oratorio Society of New York Solo Competition, The Elihu Hyndman Career Grant from Opera Theatre of St. Louis, The Judges' Award in the Opera Index Competition, a Bagby Foundation Career Grant and The Alan Weiler Award for Excellence presented by Opera Orchestra of New York. In 2003 he was awarded the Alice Tully Vocal Arts Debut Recital Award granting him a New York recital debut in Alice Tully Hall.
Other recent performances include a staged production of Handel's Messiah with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, appearances with Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Richmond Symphony, The Waterbury Symphony, a world premiere song cycle by Chester Biscardi with the new music ensemble Sequitur, recitals with guitarist David Leisner in New York and Nebraska, a concert with cellist Yahuda Hanani at Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, and Nanki-Poo in The Mikado with Opera Omaha.
Matt Boehler (Hotel Manager)
Matt Boehler has been critically acclaimed both for his dramatic skill and his vocal ability. With Wolf Trap Opera Company, Mr. Boehler garnered much praise in the title role in Sweeney Todd. The Washington Post wrote, "There are times, in fact, when this young man with a huge crossover career ahead of him is standing in a crowd of actors, and you'd swear he was the only person onstage."
In 2012-13, Mr. Boehler has joined the ensemble of Theater St. Gallen in Switzerland as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Il Pedone in La Wally, and Sparafucile in Rigoletto, a role he debuted last summer with the Minnesota Orchestra. He will return to Theater St. Gallen as Count Horn in Un ballo in maschera this spring and as Leone in Attila this summer. In December, he won praise in performances of Messiah with Musica Sacra New York at Carnegie Hall. This spring he will make his Madison Opera debut as Leporello in Don Giovanni.
In 2013-14, Mr. Boehler makes his debuts with both the Canadian Opera Company and The Metropolitan Opera. He returns to Switzerland as well, singing Baldassare in La favorita, Daland in Die Fliegende Höllander, and Leporello in Don Giovanni with Theater St. Gallen.
In the 2011-12 season he sang Drebednev in Moscow, Cheryomushki with Chicago Opera Theater, Nourabad in Les pêcheurs de perles for Hawaii Opera Theater, and two operas by Philip Glass: In the Penal Colony with American Opera Projects and Kepler with Spoleto Festival USA. Additionally he was heard in performances of Messiah with the Jacksonville Symphony and the Portland Baroque Orchestra.
In recent seasons, Mr. Boehler has enjoyed busy opera and concert schedules. He joined the rosters of Lyric Opera of Chicago and The Metropolitan Opera, covering roles at both houses. He has been featured in productions with Minnesota Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Lyra Ottawa, Central City Opera, Florentine Opera, Hawaii Opera Theater, Opera New Jersey and Festival Lyrique-en-mer. In concert, he has been heard with the New York Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, American Symphony Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Oratorio Society of New York. He has been seen in several critically acclaimed performances with the New York Festival of Song, and he recently appeared in recital with the Lotte Lehmann Foundation in their first annual Emerging Artists Concert Series.
Mr. Boehler is also a frequent collaborator within the world of contemporary music. He has appeared in two John Musto world premieres: The Inspector with Wolf Trap Opera and Bastianello, along with William Bolcom's Lucrezia, with New York Festival of Song. He premiered Michael Dellaira's The Secret Agent with Center for Contemporary Opera and appeared in Dominick Argento's Casanova's Homecoming and Poul Ruders' The Handmaid's Tale, both with Minnesota Opera. His discography includes recordings of Bastianello and Lucrezia with NYFOS and an album of songs by Stefan Wolpe with pianist Ursula Oppens. He can also be heard on recordings of Bernstein's Mass with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust with American Symphony Orchestra.
He is a graduate of the Juilliard Opera Center and he held a three-year tenure as a resident artist with Minnesota Opera. At Viterbo University, his first alma mater, he graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts.
Jon Morris (Waiter)
Jon Morrishas performed and created with Fuerzabruta, Cirque du Soleil, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Patrice Chereau, Robert Wilson, Jay Scheib, Tina Landau, Aszure Barton, Spymonkey, Diavolo Dance Theatre, Ken Roht and Fabulous Monsters. He has appeared in films by Jonathan Dayton and Valari Faris, David Michalek and Anson Mount. He is the founder/director of The Windmill Factory. Recent projects include Castle of Shadows in Cartagena, Colombia; Balloon Vortex at MIT's Media Lab and for Red Bull; Reflecting the Stars, recreating the night sky in the Hudson River; Our Hearts, a music video for the band Firehorse; Atomic City at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center/La Mama E.T.C.; and The Wedge, a large-scale slide/aerial performance space at Burning Man. Mr. Morris is a Thomas J. Watson Fellow, a Tennessee Williams Fellow, a six-time All-American Springboard Diver, and holds a B.A. from the University of the South, Sewanee. He has taught master classes at NYU, Pace, Vanderbilt and the University of the South.
Kaneza Schaal (Nurse)
Ms. Schaalfirst worked with Jay Scheib in Bellona: Destroyer of Cities at The Kitchen. She performs with The Wooster Group in Vieux Carré (Baryshnikov Arts Center) and Early Plays (St. Ann's Warehouse), the company's collaboration with New York City Players directed by Richard Maxwell. Schaal joined Elevator Repair Service in 2007, working on The Sound and The Fury (New York Theater Workshop)and then on The Select (NYTW). Her film credits include Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty and Chelsea Kinght's The End of All Resistance. Currently she is working on Claude Wampler's N'a pas un gramme de charisme at The Kitchen and developing Bury Me: Antigone X, a project she will premiere this fall. Ms. Schaal received a Princess Grace George C. Wolf Award and earned her BA from Wesleyan University.
Marsha Ginsberg (Set Designer)
Marsha Ginsbergworks in the interdisciplinary overlap between scenic design for theater and opera, installation art and photography. She studied theater design at NYU Tisch School of Arts, and Visual Arts at the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program and Cooper Union, School of Art. Opera: With director Christopher Alden: Phaeton, Saarlandisches Staatstheater; Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Theater Basel; Imeneo, Glimmerglass Opera; Carmen, Nationaltheater Manheim; In Mahler's Shadow, EOS Orchestra; La serva padrona, Le pauvre matelot, Rita, San Francisco Opera Center. With Roy Rallo: The Methusalem Projekt, Nationaltheater Weimar; Ariadne auf Naxos, Opera National de Bordeaux; Don Pasquale, Nationaltheater Weimar; La finta Giardiniera, San Francisco Opera Center; Bluebeard's Castle and Elektra, Long Beach Opera. With Ken Rus Schmoll, sets and costumes for the U.S. premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's Proserpina, Spoleto Festival. Recent theater: Environment/costumes for Habit, by David Levine, Luminato Festival, Toronto, Mass MoCA & Watermill Center; Blueflower, directed by Will Pomerantz, A.R.T. (Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Design); Lascivious Something, Sheila Callaghan, Women's Project; Bleakhouse with Heiko Kalmbach, Bauhaus Festival, Theaterhaus Jena; Kafeneion directed by Dimitri Kourtakis, Athens/Epidaurus Festival; The Obie Award-winning Telephone, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll, The Foundry Theatre; Knock-Out directed by Heiko Kalmbach, Thalia Theater, Hamburg; Theaterhaus Jena. Select solo and group exhibitions: Moving House, Sheffield Historical Society; Pavlov's Lab and Other Rooms, solo exhibit at Magnus Muller Gallery, Berlin; Design Life Now, National Design Triennial, Cooper Hewitt Museum, ICA Boston and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston. Ms. Ginsberg has received a NEA/TCG career development award and multiple MacDowell Colony fellowships.
Thomas Dunn (Lighting Designer)
Thomas Dunn designs lighting for architecture, dance, music, theater, and visual art venues in the US and abroad. Design credits include works with The Civilians (Gone Missing and Paris Commune), DD Dorvillier/human future dance corps (Coming Out of the Night With Names, No Change or "freedom is a psycho-kinetic skill," Nottthing Is Importanttt, for which he received a 2007 Bessie Award, and Choreography, a Prologue for the Apocalypse of Understanding, Get Ready!), Sens Production/Noémie Lafrance (Noir, Agora, Melt, Rapture and Home), and Trajal Harrell (Notes On Less Than Zero, Before Intermission, Showpony, and Quartet for the End of Time). Mr. Dunn received a 2009 Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for The Little Dog Laughed, with The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. He was educated at Bennington College and Yale School of Drama.
Alba Clemente (Costume Designer)
Alba Clementestudiedset and costume design at the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Naples, Italy while performing as an actress in many classical and experimental productions in Naples and Rome. After a long hiatus, during which she raised a family, she returned to the theater. In 2009, she designed the costumes and props for Made in Naples by Karole Armitage, and in 2012 she began collaborating with Jay Scheib on World of Wires. Currently, Mrs. Clemente is the ambassador in New York for the Spoleto Theater Festival. In addition, she has written songs with Thomas Lauderdale for the band Pink Martini, with which she has also appeared onstage.
Joshua Higgason (Projection Designer)
Mr. Higgason has toured internationally with The Builders Association, Big Dance Theater, Sufjan Stevens, Toni Dove and Jay Scheib, on Scheib's Bellona. His work has been seen and heard at Carnegie Hall, BAM, The Kitchen, The Flea, HERE, La Jolla Playhouse, Philly Live Arts and other notable venues. Recent projects include Jim Findlay's Botanica, The Builders Association's Sontag:Reborn and House/Divided, and Big Dance Theater's Supernatural Wife. He is a founding partner in Workhorse, a live event media company.
Thomas Adès (Composer)
Born in London in 1971, Thomas Adès studied piano (Michael Blackmore and Paul Berkowitz), composition (Erika Fox and Robert Saxton) and percussion at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and read music at King's College, Cambridge. In 1993 he made his recital debut as pianist and composer at the Park Lane Group in London.
Between 1993 and 1995 he was Composer in Association with the Hallé Orchestra, which resulted in These Premises Are Alarmed for the opening of the Bridgewater Hall in 1996. Asyla (1997) was a Feeney Trust commission for Sir Simon Rattle and the CBSO, who toured it together and repeated it at Symphony Hall in August 1998, in Rattle's last concert as Music Director. Rattle subsequently programmed Asyla in his opening concert as Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in September 2002.
Powder Her Face (commissioned by Almeida Opera for the Cheltenham Festival in 1995), Adès' first opera, was televised by Channel Four, and is available on a DVD as well as an EMI CD. Most of the composer's music to date has been recorded by EMI. Adès' second opera, The Tempest, was commissioned by London's Royal Opera House and was premièred there in February 2004 and revived in 2007.
In September 2005 a Violin Concerto for Anthony Marwood was premiered at the Berliner Festspiele and the BBC Proms, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under his baton. His second orchestral work for Simon Rattle, Tevot (2007), was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall. In 2008 Adès collaborated with video artist Tal Rosner on a commission from the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London's Southbank Centre for a piano concerto with moving image (In Seven Days). This work was given its world premiere in April 2008 by Nicolas Hodges, the London Sinfonietta and Adès at the Royal Festival Hall, London.
Among the festivals at which he has been the featured composer are Helsinki Musica Nova (1999), Salzburg Easter Festival (2004), Radio France's Présences, Paris (2007), the Barbican's 'Traced Overhead', London (2007), New Horizons Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia (2007), Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Festival (2009), Melbourne Festival (2010); in addition Carnegie Hall, New York appointed him to the R and B Debs Composer Chair and featured him as composer, conductor and pianist throughout the 2007-08 season.
Adès is also a renowned interpreter of a range of music as conductor and pianist. He has recorded composers including Kurtág, Janácek, Nancarrow, Stanchinsky, Grieg, Busoni, Stravinsky, Schubert, Ruders and Berlioz, and premiered and widely performed several works by Gerald Barry. Orchestras he has conducted include City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Philharmonia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Hallé Orchestra, BBC, Finnish, Dutch, Danish and North German Radio Symphony Orchestras, Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony and ensembles such as Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern and the Athelas Ensemble, Copenhagen.
Adès' music has attracted numerous awards and prizes, including the Grawemeyer Award (2000), of which he is the youngest-ever recipient. He is the only composer to have won the Royal Philharmonic Prize for Large-Scale Composition three times.
Philip Hensher (Librettist)
Philip Hensherwas born in London in 1965 and was educated at Oxford University. He is the author of eight novels and a collection of short stories. He has won numerous prizes, including the Somerset Maugham Award and the Stonewall Journalist of the Year. His 2008 novel The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and The Commonwealth Prize. In 2003 he was nominated by Granta magazine as one of 20 Best of Young British Novelists. A regular presence in the British media, Mr. Hensher writes a Wednesday column for The Independent, and also contributes to The Spectator and Mail on Sunday.
Mr. Hensher' first novel, Other Lulus (1994), is set in Vienna and centers on a young girl's discovery of a family connection with Alban Berg. His six years spent working at the House of Commons in London provided the backdrop to his second novel, Kitchen Venom, published in 1996. The book combines a story of murder and intrigue at the House with a deft account of the eccentric relationships and rituals that have been played out for centuries. It sparked controversy when it was revealed that the author had been dismissed from his job as a parliamentary clerk after giving an interview to the gay magazine Attitude.
A.S. Byatt included Mr. Hensher's short story "Dead Languages" in The Oxford Book of English Short Stories (1998). The Bedroom of the Mister's Wife, a collection of short stories, was published in 1999. Many of the stories had previously been broadcast on radio or published in newspapers and magazines including Granta, The Independent and The Erotic Review. Mr. Hensher's most recent novel is Scenes from Early Life (2012).
Philip Hensher lives in South London and is a member of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature.
ABOUT NEW YORK CITY OPERA
For nearly seventy years, since Mayor Fiorello La Guardia established it as "The People's Opera," New York City Opera has introduced generation after generation of young singers who are stars in the making, brought the public exciting new works and compelling, fresh interpretations of classics, acted as a champion for American composers and performers, and ensured that every New Yorker can experience the live art of opera.
Now is a time of extraordinary achievement by the Company. Under the leadership of George Steel, New York City Opera's ninth General Manager and Artistic Director, the Company will, in Spring 2013, present four brand-new productions, all by New Yorkers, in two of the city's most iconic venues: the Brooklyn Academy Of Music and New York City Center, New York City Opera's original home, which Mayor La Guardia dubbed "The People's Theater."
In the past three years, 64 singers and 25 directors and designers have made their New York City Opera debuts. Among singers alone, those who have gone from New York City Opera debuts to international success are Joshua Hopkins (2011 A Quiet Place, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012); David Lomelí (2011 The Elixir of Love, debuted with Santa Fe in 2011 and Glyndebourne in 2012); Corinne Winters (2012 Rufus Wainwright Concert, 2012 George London Competition winner) and Anthony Roth Costanzo (2010 Partenope, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012).
These artists join the ranks of more than 3,000 young singers whose international careers New York City Opera has launched, including David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Lauren Flanigan, Reneé Fleming, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness and Frederica von Stade, to name a few.
Many innovations that define New York City Opera's identity and mission-promoting accessibility through the use of supertitles, prioritizing affordable ticket prices, nurturing young American artists, championing 20th-century opera and American works and presenting groundbreaking productions-have been adopted by leading U.S. companies of all sizes.
Prior to New York City Opera, Steel, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein, served as Executive Director of Columbia University's Miller Theatre, which he transformed into one of New York's most acclaimed showcases for early and modern music. Mr. Steel has received the Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming twice (2001-02 and 2005), the 2003 Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center and the 2003 ASCAP Concert Music Award.
At New York City Opera, Mr. Steel has achieved the first balanced budget the Company has enjoyed in a decade. He has, in so doing, accomplished a feat that was all but unimaginable just a few years ago: helping the Company find a sustainable model that will allow it to remain true to its original promise for decades to come.