Green Mountain Opera Festival Promises Fundraiser, Fairy Tale and Tragedy

March 31, 2014  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Vermont once again invites the best and brightest in international opera talent to perform at the Green Mountain Opera Festival. The month-long festival runs May 30 – June 22 and features two opera productions – Rossini’s beloved fairy tale La Cenerentola, which retells the classic Cinderella story in Italian comedic style, and Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, the tragic tale of the doomed Etruscan heroine, presented on the heels of the celebration of Britten’s centenary. La Cenerentola comes to life at the Barre Opera House on June 20 and 22; The Rape of Lucretia at the Sugarbush Resort Gate House on June 19.

Both operas feature mezzo-sopranos in the title role, a programmatic choice made by Green Mountain Opera Festival’s artistic director, Bruce Stasyna. “We present this divergent pairing to demonstrate the range of possibility for the mezzo soprano voice,” he said. “Audiences will experience the sparkling vocal fireworks of Cinderella contrasted with the profound and expressive lyricism of Lucretia. An amazing array of talents will assemble to bring these diverse productions to life.”

This season’s leading mezzo-sopranos are Megan Marino, who portrays Angelina, also known as Cinderella, in La Cenerentola, and Nikola Printz, in the titular role in Lucretia. Marino was hailed by the Washington Times for her “considerable range and confidence…managing considerable leaps into the higher range…and exhibiting a warm, plummy tone.” She makes her Metropolitan Opera debut this year in Die Frau Ohne Schatten, Rusalka, Werther, and Rigoletto, as well as a debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Printz, a recent graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, is praised for her “musicality, dramatic presence on stage as well as her rich mezzo timbre.” She has performed in productions of Hansel & Gretel, Gianni Schicchi and La Calisto. Upcoming roles this year include Carmen, Jenny in Threepenny Opera, and La Principessa in Suor Angelica.

The festival will also present a gala fundraiser in March, a festival opening concert, as well as several performances, master classes, and open rehearsals with GMOF 2014’s artists throughout May and June.

The 2014 season includes the return of Master Artist-in-Residence Steven Blier and Alan E. Hicks, newly appointed as Program Director for the Green Mountain Opera Festival Emerging Artists Program.

The acclaimed Emerging Artists Program is a central component of the Green Mountain Opera Festival. The training intensive offers a select group of talented, aspiring young opera singers the opportunity to perfect their craft, gain performance experience and gather invaluable insight from professionals of the highest caliber in the opera world. Over 400 singers applied for 16 positions. Program alumnae have gone on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Semperoper Dresden, Minnesota Opera, San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, Opera Boston, Utah Opera, and several other companies.

“We cast both our main stage production and Emerging Artists with an eye toward showcasing the best and brightest of the new and next generation of opera stars,” said Stasyna. “Indeed, this class of Emerging Artists features its youngest performer ever at 22 years old.”

Vermont audiences will take particular joy in hearing two young Vermont artists: baritones Geoffrey Penar, who performs a lead role in Lucretia, and Benjamin Dickerson, who will appear in La Cenerentola.

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