Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme September 25, 27, October 1, 3, 2009

hold on to your heart!

 

A wondrous young love blossoms in the bohemian world of 1830s Paris.

It all begins with Mimi’s gentle voice at the door. Might she have a light for her candle? And that one small light ignites opera’s most touching and poignant love story.

From the moment Rodolfo stares into her eyes and Puccini’s violins slowly rise from the quiet, an extraordinary journey begins. For them. And for us. With their first tender kiss, we’re swept back to the miraculous time of our own first love.

One of the most romantic operas ever composed! Soaring, lyrical, and intensely emotional.

 

Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.

Performances held at the Keller Auditorium.

 

Download the study guide pdf.

 


Cast

Mimi Kelly Kaduce
Musetta Alyson Cambridge
Rodolfo Arturo Chacón-Cruz
Marcello Michael Todd Simpson
Colline Gustav Andreassen
   
Conductor Antonello Allemandi
Stage Director Sandra Bernhard

ACT I — In their Latin Quarter garret, the artist Marcello and poet Rodolfo try to keep warm by burning pages from Rodolfo’s latest drama. They are joined by Colline, a young philosopher, and Schaunard, a musician who has landed a job and brings food, fuel and funds. While they celebrate their unexpected fortune, the landlord, Benoit, comes to collect the rent. Plying the older man with wine, they urge him to tell of his flirtations, then throw him out in mock indignation when he mentions his wife. As the friends depart for a Christmas Eve celebration at the Café Momus, Rodolfo promises to join them soon, staying behind to write. There is a knock at the door: the visitor is a neighbor, Mimi, whose candle has gone out on the drafty stairs. When Mimi suddenly feels faint, Rodolfo offers her wine, then relights her candle and helps her to the door. Mimi realizes she has lost her key, and as the two search for it, both candles are blown out. In the moonlight the poet takes the girl’s icy hand, telling her his dreams (“Che gelida manina”). She then recounts her life alone, embroidering flowers and waiting for spring (“Mi chiamano Mimi”). Drawn to each other (“O soave fanciulla”), Mimi and Rodolfo slowly leave for the café.

ACT II — Amid shouts of street hawkers, Rodolfo buys Mimi a bonnet near the Café Momus before introducing her to his friends. They all sit down and order supper. The toy vendor Parpignol passes by, besieged by children. Marcello’s former girlfriend, Musetta, enters ostentatiously on the arm of the elderly, wealthy Alcindoro, arousing the painter’s jealousy. Trying to regain his attention, she sings a waltz about her popularity (“Quando me’n vo’”). Complaining that her shoe pinches, Musetta sends Alcindoro to fetch a new pair, then falls into Marcello’s arms. Joining a group of marching soldiers, the Bohemians leave Alcindoro to face the bill when he returns.

ACT III — At dawn on the snowy outskirts of Paris, a Customs Officer admits farm women to the city. Musetta and revelers are heard inside a tavern. Soon Mimi appears, searching for the place where the reunited Marcello and Musetta now live. When the painter emerges, she pours out her distress over Rodolfo’s jealousy (“O buon Marcello, aiuto!”). It is best they part, she says. Rodolfo, who has been asleep in the tavern, is heard, and Mimi hides; Marcello thinks she has left. The poet first tells Marcello he wants to separate from his sweetheart because she is fickle, but when pressed, he breaks down, confessing his fear that her ill health can only worsen in the poverty they share. Overcome, Mimi stumbles forward to bid her lover farewell (“Donde lieta uscì”) as Marcello runs into the tavern to investigate Musetta’s raucous laughter. While Mimi and Rodolfo recall their happiness, Musetta quarrels with Marcello (quartet: “Addio, dolce svegliare”). The painter and his mistress part in fury, but Mimi and Rodolfo decide to stay together until spring.

ACT IV — Some months later, separated from their sweethearts, Rodolfo and Marcello lament their loneliness in the garret (duet: “O Mimi, tu più non torni”). Colline and Schaunard bring a meager meal. The four stage a dance, which turns into a mock fight. The merrymaking is ended when Musetta bursts in, saying Mimi is downstairs, too weak to climb up. As Rodolfo runs to her, Musetta tells how Mimi asked to be taken to her lover to die. While Mimi is made comfortable, Marcello goes with Musetta to sell her earrings for medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his cherished overcoat (“Vecchia zimarra”). Alone, Mimi and Rodolfo wistfully recall their first days together (“Sono andati?”), but she is seized with coughing. When the others return, Musetta gives Mimi a muff to warm her hands and prays for her life. Mimi dies quietly, and when Schaunard discovers she is dead, Rodolfo runs to her side, calling her name.

—© Opera News 2009. Reprinted with permission

Puccini’s Bohemians

“Bohemia is a stage of artistic life; it is the preface to the Academy, the Hôtel Dieu, or the Morgue.”

—Henri Murger in his preface to Scènes de la vie de bohème.

 

Puccini’s relationship to La Bohème is intimate and complex. His opera is drawn directly from Murger’s 1849 novel, Scènes de la vie de bohème, but includes vivid vignettes of his own invention, insisted upon in his many and varied letters to his harried librettists, Illica and Giacosa, both of whom threatened to quit at least once during the turbulent composition of La Bohème.

In 1892, Puccini had completed work on what would become the turning point of his career, Manon Lescaut. He was in need of something new. Composers of the late 19th century were interested in greater realism in their operas—dramas about ordinary people in ordinary situations. “Little souls,” Puccini called them. He had plumbed prose for Manon Lescaut in search of realistic situations, and other composers of the new verismo style had turned to mid-nineteenth century French literature to tremendous success (think Carmen and La Traviata). Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème proved a very popular consideration among composers. Massenet’s publisher had toyed with offering it to his composer, and Leoncavallo had allegedly mentioned it to Puccini. When Puccini expressed little interest (he was deeply involved in the composition of The She-Wolf, which was never completed), Leoncavallo happily set about making Murger’s work his own.

Imagine Leoncavallo’s dismay when Puccini revealed several months later in casual conversation his work with Illica and Giacosa on none other than La Bohème! The composer of Pagliacci wasn’t about to take this lying down, and fired off a letter to Il secolo, informing the public of his precedence with the material. As Murger’s novel was in public domain, Puccini’s publisher, Ricordi, was unable to obtain exclusive rights to the work for his composer. Therefore, with a confident flourish, Puccini returned fire in a rival publication:

“…what does this matter to him? Let him compose, and I will compose. The public will judge.”

And with that, Puccini returned to his work. To be fair, it may have been that Puccini had no intention of scooping Leoncavallo. After the success of Manon Lescaut, Puccini returned, as he often did, to his friends in Torre del Lago, an ancient Italian village located on a beautiful lake. Here he had retreated after his failure with Edgar; here he had written much of Manon Lescaut; and here he had gathered to himself his own gang of bohemians, and his own Café Momus, which he and his friends had dubbed “The Bohemian Club.”

Puccini’s own bohemians consisted of the painter, Ferruccio Pagni (who, upon his return to Torre del Lago after Manon Lescaut told him, “You don’t need to go all over Italy in search of stories and plots. Write about us! We are the real life; we are la bohème!”); Stinchio di Merlo, owner of The Bohemian; and impressionists Francesco Fanelli and Adolfo Tommasi. Pagni’s off-the-cuff suggestion of bohemians as the subject for an opera may have jostled Puccini’s memory of Murger’s book and he contrived to borrow a copy, which he quickly devoured.

Then, Puccini thoughtfully re-imagined several of Murger’s female characters into his composite portrait of the beautiful, delicate Mimi, a fragile heroine worthy of his particular talents. He wrote Illica, who was engaged to write the scenario, “Behold my heroine. I want scenes from Murger, but leave room for my own additions.”

Puccini’s additions turn out to be the salt that brings out the flavors in Murger’s bohemian stew. The composer drew on his own experiences with the miseries of bohemian life, and the joy in his own relationships in Torre del Lago. The deathly cold Parisian garret finds its parallel in Milan where, bereft of money and unwilling to burn their meager furniture, Puccini and his friend Mascagni sacrifice their music manuscripts to the fire. Like Colline, Puccini often pawned his overcoat in the pursuit of funds—in one case, to entertain an attractive ballerina. The cheerful banter and whistling to the gallows attitude of the opera’s bohemians draws verisimilitude from not only Murger’s life, but from Puccini’s evenings at The Bohemian in Torre del Lago.

With such strong images in his head, it is little wonder that Puccini’s vision exhausted and infuriated his long suffering librettists. In a fit of pique, Giacosa, the versifier, scribbled to Ricordi:

“I confess to you that of all this incessant rewriting, retouching, adding, correcting, taking away and sticking on again, puffing it out on the right side to thin it down on the left, I am sick to death. Curse the libretto!”

Ricordi talked temperance to Giacosa, who had tried to quit numerous times, and the poet shrugged off his frustration and remained with the project.

Puccini’s perfectionism and craftsmanship are on full display in La Bohème. The score took two long years to complete, and did not receive nearly the critical acclaim that Manon Lescaut had enjoyed. The beautifully balanced La Bohème, with its chiaroscuro laughter and tears, was accused of triviality. Critics reviled him for “errors” in the score:

“There is much in the score that is empty and downright infantile. The composer should realize that originality can be obtained perfectly well with the old established means without recourse to consecutive fifths and a disregard of good harmonic rules.” (Carlo Bersezio, 1896, La stampa)

La Bohème was revolutionary, and it wasn’t long before the public recognized it. Puccini’s highly descriptive score—cinematic in its tautness and timing—helped the opera to find its way into opera houses all over the world, and has kept it there for the last 113 years and for the foreseeable future.

And what of Leoncavallo’s La Bohème? He completed his opera, of which he was both composer and librettist, slightly after Puccini had opened his version. There are many similarities between the two, but Leoncavallo’s is more strictly tied to the darker aspects of Murger’s novel. The gritty, dirty truth of the ugly side of bohemian life are on full display in the second half, and the death of Mimi paints a brilliant, frightening vision of the reality of poverty. In Leoncavallo’s La Bohème, Murger would have found his own Paris and bohemians. For a time Leoncavallo’s opera was better known and more successful, and the two operas coexisted for about 10 years before Puccini’s masterpiece eclipsed his rival’s. The confident Puccini had been proven correct. The public had judged and Puccini was triumphant.

—Alexis Hamilton

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Puccini 
Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy, on December 22, 1858. At five years of age, Puccini’s musical training fell to his uncle, Fortunato Magi, who did not find him the most apt pupil, but he made great progress when he began studies with Carlo Angeloni.

After seeing Verdi’s Aïda, he renewed his musical studies with vigor and turned his sights to Milan Conservatory. There, Puccini applied himself diligently, earning the respect of his teachers who introduced him to Milan’s musical and literary illuminati, and encouraged him to write music.
In 1883, Giulio Ricordi produced Puccini’s first one-act opera, Le Villi. Ricordi had a keen ear for talent, and he bought the rights for Le Villi and commissioned another opera, beginning a life-long association between the two.

It took four years for Puccini to finish his next opera, Edgar. The libretto didn’t inspire him, and it received tepid reviews. Ricordi, however, commissioned another opera from Puccini, who responded with Manon Lescaut. Audience reception was wildly enthusiastic and Puccini gained international notoriety.

Next came La Bohème, an unqualified public triumph. Critics were cool to it, but public acclaim quickly established it as the masterpiece it remains today. He then ventured into verismo with Tosca, and again the public was enthralled.

Puccini’s next opera was the much-anticipated Madame Butterfly. The premiere garnered boos and jeers so raucous that they begged credulity. Many feel that Puccini’s rivals orchestrated the debacle. Humbled, Puccini reworked his Butterfly, and at its second opening audiences roared their approval.

After he wrote La Rondine, which was praised, Puccini felt at odds with the piece. He felt as if he were repeating himself. He needed a change.

He devoured other composers’ scores, keeping abreast of the new musical language of the 20th century. He produced Il Trittico, a series of three one-act operas. Critics were unnerved by his new vocabulary and remained cool. The press felt Puccini couldn’t, at 61, write anything that could top Bohème and Butterfly. Puccini knew better, and he feverishly began work on what was to become his swan song, Turandot.

By then, though, Puccini was ill with throat cancer. When he died, the entire world mourned his passing. But he left behind an operatic legacy which would thrill audiences for generations.

Kelly Kaduce - Cio-Cio-San
Soprano

Previously at Portland Opera:
Mimi, La Bohème, 2009

Kelly Kaduce is swiftly gaining national recognition for her "plangent, amber-toned soprano, glamour girl looks and artless, affecting dramatic style." (Opera News).

Kelly Kaduce

 

 

Kelly Kaduce - Cio-Cio-San

Soprano

Previously at Portland Opera:
Mimi, La Bohème, 2009

Kelly Kaduce is swiftly gaining national recognition for her "plangent, amber-toned soprano, glamour girl looks and artless, affecting dramatic style." (Opera News).  Ms. Kaduce has garnered thunderous praise for her stage portrayals, most recently for her star-making turn in Lee Blakeley's production of Madama Butterfly at Santa Fe Opera. The Huffington Post called it  "a performance to treasure" and the Santa Fe New Mexican stated "Soprano Kelly Kaduce, as Cio-Cio-San (the "Madame Butterfly" of the title), stood at the head of the cast in every way. Her singing, never less than impressive, assumed mounting intensity as the evening unfurled."

To read the rest of Kelly Kaduce's biography, visit her website.

 

Alyson CambridgeAlyson Cambridge - Musetta

Soprano

Portland Opera Debut

"A dynamic soprano with unlimited potential. She has a natural stage presence that carries her scenes. Vocally, her solos are unparalleled."
-St. Louis Playback Magazine 2005

Alyson Cambridge

 

Alyson Cambridge - Musetta

Soprano

Portland Opera Debut

"A dynamic soprano with unlimited potential. She has a natural stage presence that carries her scenes. Vocally, her solos are unparalleled."
-St. Louis Playback Magazine 2005

Alyson Cambridge—whose voice has been described as "sweetly evocative", "creamy" and "dynamic"—joined the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the beginning of the 2003/04 season after being selected as a Grand Prize winner of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2003. Equally noted for her strikingly beautiful stage presence as well as her affecting musical and dramatic interpretation, she has embarked on an exciting operatic and concert career.

During the 2008/09 season, Ms. Cambridge returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Crobyle in a new production of Thaïs, conducted by Jesús López-Cobos, and as Bianca in Nicolas Joël’s new production of La Rondine, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Both productions will be broadcast live in high-definition to cinemas around the world. She also makes her debut at Lyric Opera of Kansas City as Mimì in La Bohème, followed by her role debut as Violetta in La Traviata at Granite State Opera, and rounds out the season with Mimì at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Her concert calendar includes the Les Chants d’Auvergne with the Baton Rouge Symphony, as well as the Brahms Requiem and Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 with the Roanoke Symphony.

During the 2007/08 season, Alyson Cambridge made several company and role debuts. She began the season as Musetta in Washington National Opera's new production of La Bohème, under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume, followed by her company and role debut as Mimì with Boston Lyric Opera. For her debut with Atlanta Opera, she sang her first Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro. On the concert stage, Alyson appeared with the Omaha Symphony, Roanoke Symphony, and in a recital tour of William Bolcom's From the Diary of Sally Hemings.

Alyson Cambridge recently toured Japan as Frasquita in Carmen, under the baton of Seiji Ozawa. During the 2006/07 season, she made her debut at the Los Angeles Opera as Clara in Francesca Zambello’s production of Porgy and Bess, having previously performed the role at the Washington National Opera; she also debuted with Michigan Opera Theater as Clara, and with the Handel and Haydn Society as Euridice in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, and she returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Karolka in Jenůfa. Her 2006/07 concert engagements included an all-Gershwin program with the Buffalo Philharmonic, Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with the Lansing Symphony, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Baton Rouge Symphony.

The young American soprano is a frequent guest of the Metropolitan Opera, having made her debut in 2004 under the baton of James Levine as Frasquita in Carmen (a performance for which The New York Times noted her "powerful, clear voice"). Other Met roles include the Flowermaiden in Parsifal, and Gianetta in L’Elisir d’Amore. Highlights of past seasons include her role debut as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Portland Opera Repertory Theatre; Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with Sir Simon Rattle and the Oberlin Chamber Orchestra; Gounod’s Juliette with Opera Theatre of St. Louis; her company debut with Palm Beach Opera as Musetta; Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore with Wolf Trap Opera; selections from Porgy and Bess with Peter Nero and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; and Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.

Alyson Cambridge received both a B.M. in Voice Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory and a B.A. in Sociology from Oberlin College. With Oberlin Opera Theater, she performed the roles of Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, the Maiden in Henry Mollicone's Coyote Tales, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, and Dido in Dido and Aeneas. During her summers at the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program, she performed the title role in Suor Angelica, Mrs. Gobineau in Menotti’s The Medium, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, and Metella in La Vie Parisienne. After graduating from Oberlin in 2002, Cambridge continued her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music, pursuing a Master's of Music, and where she performed the role of Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul. She also continues to be an active recitalist in New York and Washington, D.C.

Among numerous awards and prizes, Alyson Cambridge received First Prize in the 2003 Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation International Voice Competition and was a 2004 George London Foundation Award recipient.

www.alysoncambridge.com

 

Arturo Chacon-Cruz

Arturo Chacón-Cruz – Rodolfo

Tenor

Portland Opera Debut

Born in Mexico, Arturo Chacón-Cruz has in recent seasons made many important international debuts.  In the fall of 2006 he appeared at the Washington Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and subsequently made his Italian stage debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Teatro Comunale, Bologna followed by appearances as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.

Arturo Chacon-Cruz

 

Arturo Chacón-Cruz – Rodolfo

Tenor

Portland Opera Debut

Born in Mexico, Arturo Chacón-Cruz has in recent seasons made many important international debuts.  In the fall of 2006 he appeared at the Washington Opera as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and subsequently made his Italian stage debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Teatro Comunale, Bologna followed by appearances as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples.  His Spanish debut was in Valencia where he appeared as Christian in Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac opposite Placido Domingo in the title role. Chacón-Cruz added the title role in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette to his repertoire for Michigan Opera Theater in the spring of 2007.  He then was heard at the Festival de Radio France in Montpellier as Marcello di Bruges in Doni-zetti’s Il Duca D’Alba.  

In the 2008/09 season Chacón-Cruz will return to Washington Opera for La Traviata and adds the title role in Offenbach’s Les Contes D’Hoffmann to his repertoire for his debut at the Teatro Regio in Turin.  He will make his Austrian stage debut in a new production of La Bohème in Graz.  Arturo Chacón-Cruz will also sing the title role of Faust for Opéra de Montpellier, join the Colorado Symphony for performances of Verdi’s Requiem, and sings Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly at Florida Grand Opera.

Arturo Chacón-Cruz began his 2007/08 season with a concert of the Verdi Requiem presented by the Los Angeles Opera and conducted by Placido Domingo.  He subsequently returned to the Washington Opera as Rodolfo in La Bohème, a role he also performed for his stage debut with the Los Angeles Opera and for his German operatic debut at the Staatsoper Berlin in February 2008 under Gustavo Dudamel and with Opera Pacific.  He made his debut with the Teatro alla Fenice in Venice in January 2008 as Ruggero in Puccini’s La Rondine. Chacón-Cruz returns to the Michigan Opera Theater for his first Alfredo in La Traviata and will appear with the com-pany in La Rondine as well.  He then debuted with the Cincinnati Opera in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas and joined Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony for Verdi’s Requiem at the Festival de Lanaudiere.  

A protégé of Ramon Vargas, Arturo Chacón-Cruz is a graduate of the Houston Grand Opera where he appeared in productions of several works including Madama Butterfly, Roméo et Juliette, Manon Lescaut the world premiere of Lysistrata and Mozart’s Idomeneo.  He sang his first Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Utah Festival Opera and his first Rinuccio for Connecticut Grand Opera.  

Chacón-Cruz has also appeared often in concert. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in March 2002, singing Mozart’s Coronation Mass, and he returned to Carnegie Hall in June 2003 to sing Beethoven’s Mass in C and Charpentier’s Te Deum with the New England Symphonic Ensemble, as well a concert with the New York Pops in 2006.  He made his debut with the San Fran-cisco Symphony Orchestra as part of the “Summer in the City” concert series in July of 2004 and in September 2005 he sang a concert of Mexican and Spanish music with the Houston Symphony Orchestra.

Chacón-Cruz has received many awards, including, First Place and Audience Choice Award at the 2003 Eleanor McCollum Competition in Houston Grand Opera, winner of Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in the New England Region, and he was also a winner of Operalia 2005. He was also the recipient of the "Ramón Vargas" Opera Development Scholarship given by Mr. Vargas and Pro Ópera in Mexico.  

www.arturochaconcruz.com

Michael Todd Simpson

Michael Todd Simpson - Marcello

Baritone

Portland Opera Debut

This season, up-and-coming baritone Michael Todd Simpson sings the title role in Don Giovanni at the Nashville Opera and the Eugene Opera, opens the Dallas Opera as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and returns to Opera Pacific as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. He also makes his debut at the Chicago Opera Theater as Escamillo in Le Tragedie de Carmen.

Michael Todd Simpson

 

Michael Todd Simpson - Marcello

Baritone

Portland Opera Debut

This season, up-and-coming baritone Michael Todd Simpson sings the title role in Don Giovanni at the Nashville Opera and the Eugene Opera, opens the Dallas Opera as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro and returns to Opera Pacific as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath. He also makes his debut at the Chicago Opera Theater as Escamillo in Le Tragedie de Carmen.

Mr. Simpson's recent opera engagements have included Silvio in Pagliacci at the Pittsburg Opera, New York City Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and Virginia Opera; Escamillo in Carmen at Opera Australia, Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte at the Florida Grand Opera, and Enrico in Lucia de Lammermoor at the Fort Worth Opera. A graduate of the Seattle Opera's Young Artists Program, Mr. Simpson made his mainstage debut there as Hermann in Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann, and has since appeared as Marcello in La Bohème.  Also a member of the Young American Artists Program at Glimmerglass Opera, he recently appeared there as the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. While on the program, he sang the role of Tooley in the American premiere of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's The Mines of Sulphur, which was recorded and released by Chandos Records in 2005.

A native of Gastonia, NC, Mr. Simpson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in vocal performance from Erskine College in Due West, SC, where he was the first place winner of the 1996 and 1999 South Carolina National Association of Teachers of Singing vocal competition. He earned his Masters of Music degree at the College Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati where he was a regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Mr. Simpson's recent awards include the Spanish Prize in the 2007 José Iturbi International Music Competition, first prize in the first annual Marguerite McCammon Voice Competition, the Sara Tucker Study Grant awarded by the Richard Tucker Foundation and the Richard F. Gold Career Grant.

www.michaeltoddsimpson.com

 

Gustav Andreassen

Gustav Andreassen - Bonze

Bass

Previously at Portland Opera: 

Colline, La Bohème, 2009

Norwegian-American bass Gustav Andreassen has performed with major opera companies and orchestras throughout North America and Europe, to great acclaim. For his recent portrayal of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Opera News stated: "The extraordinary potent bass of Gustav Andreassen was all black tone - sonorous, distinctive, with fine musicianship and dramatic flair."

Gustav Andreassen

 

Gustav Andreassen - Bonze

Bass

Previously at Portland Opera: 

Colline, La Bohème, 2009

Norwegian-American bass Gustav Andreassen has performed with major opera companies and orchestras throughout North America and Europe, to great acclaim. For his recent portrayal of Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Opera News stated: "The extraordinary potent bass of Gustav Andreassen was all black tone - sonorous, distinctive, with fine musicianship and dramatic flair."

Gustav Andreassen's 2008/09 season currently includes the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni at Arizona Opera, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Opéra Atelier (Toronto), sings as soloist in Verdi's Requiem with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, in Mozart's Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony, and in an appearance with the South Dakota Chamber Orchestra in a vocal showcase concert through Sounds of South Dakota. His recent busy summer included appearing in concert as Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin with the National Symphony Orchestra, the roles of Mercury and Ghost of Hector in Berlioz's Les Troyens with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under James Levine at Tanglewood, and performances of Schonberg's Gurre-Lieder at the Aspen Music Festival.

Mr. Andreassen's prolific opera career has included successes at leading opera houses throughout the world. He is a frequent presence at Utah Opera, having performed Daland in Der fliegende Holländer, Truffaldino in Ariadne auf Naxos, and King in Aida; and has sung several roles at Arizona Opera, including Daland, Blitch in Susannah, and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte. He has performed as Sourin in Pique Dame and as Prince Gremin with San Francisco Opera, Osmin with both Boston Lyric Opera and Glimmerglass Opera, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Wolf Trap Opera, as well as Commendatore in Don Giovanni with Boston Baroque, Florida Grand Opera, and Cincinnati Opera, among others. Internationally Mr. Andreassen has appeared with Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Hamburgishe Staatsoper, De Vlaamse Opera, and in Lucca, Italy in such roles as Ferrando in Il trovatore, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, and King Philip II in Don Carlos.

An avid concert artist, Mr. Andreassen's extensive list of symphonic engagements include performances of Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with Atlanta Symphony Orchestra under Robert Spano, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 with Seattle Symphony under Gerard Schwarz, Bach's Magnificat with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of Liszt's St. Stanislaus at the Cincinnati May Festival under James Conlon, and both Messiah and Mozart's Requiem with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He has also appeared as soloist in Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 at the Chautauqua Institution, Beethoven's Mass in C and Choral Fantasy with Omaha Symphony Orchestra, Mozart's Mass in C Minor with Alabama Symphony Orchestra, Verdi's Requiem with Black Hills Symphony, Schubert's Mass in G with Arizona State Chorus, and Mozart's Vesparae Solemnes with Masterworks Chorale of Tucson.

In addition to winning the Heinz Rehfuss Singing-Actor Award at Orlando Opera, Mr. Andreassen received three prestigious awards while a graduate student at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music: the Italo Tajo Award, the Norman Treigle/New York City Opera Award, and the Corbett Award. While an undergraduate at the University of Arizona he was awarded first place in the Amelia Rieman Competition and placed second in the Western Region Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

A native of Oregon, Gustav Andreassen is married to mezzo-soprano Stacey Rishoi.
 

 

Antonello Allemandi

Antonello Allemandi

Conductor

Previously at Portland Opera:  
L'Elisir d'Amore, 1992; La bohème, 1994

Antonello Allemandi has established himself as one of his generation’s most interesting conductors.

Antonello Allemandi

 

Antonello Allemandi

Conductor

Previously at Portland Opera:  
L'Elisir d'Amore, 1992; La bohème, 1994

Antonello Allemandi has established himself as one of his generation’s most interesting conductors. His extraordinary international career has brought him to perform on the world’s most prestigious concert stages and opera houses including Wiener Staastoper, Opéra Bastille and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, Metropolitan, Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Bayerische Staasoper in Münich, Teatro Real in Madrid, Liceu in Barcelona, Bunka Kaikan and Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Teatro Regio and Festival Verdi in Parma and Festival de Santander, just to name a few.

From 1992 to 1997 he was the Musical Director of the Orchestre Colonne in Paris, the most ancient French Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the Nouvelle Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Orchestre de Montecarlo, the Orchestre des Pays de la Loire. In Italy he appeared on the podium of the Orchestra RAI in Torino, the Orchestra of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Orchestra “Giuseppe Verdi” and the Orchestra “I pomeriggi musicali” in Milan.

During the Centennial celebrations of Verdi’s death he conducted the “Maratona Verdiana” (from Nabucco to Falstaff) at the Festival of San Sebastian and the Nabucco at the Arènes de Nîmes.

He also conducted important productions of La traviata, Il trovatore, Il barbiere di Siviglia, L’elisir d’amore and I puritani at the Wiener Staatsoper, Un ballo in maschera and Tosca at the Opéra National de Paris, Il barbiere di Siviglia at the Covent Garden, Il pirata, Werther and Tosca at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, La traviata, Carmen, Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci in Köln, L’italiana in Algeri and La traviata at the Bayerische Staasoper in Munich, Don Carlo at the Teatro Real in Madrid (for Verdi centenary celebration), Lucia di Lammermoor at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, La cenerentola at the Metropolitan in New York, L’equivoco stravagante and Il turco in Italia at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro.

The 2006/07 season has brought him to conduct Carmen in La Coruña and in Santander, La traviata at the Stockholm Royal Opera, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Liceu in Barcelona, La bohème at the Semperoper in Dresden, L’elisir d’amore at the Teatro Regio di Torino, Cavalleria Rusticana in St. Gallen.

The season 2007/08 has seen him conducting Oberto, conte di San Bonifacio in Busseto at the 2007 Festival Verdi, Lucia di Lammermoor at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, L’italiana in Algeri at the Megaron in Athens, Turandot in Bilbao, La traviata at the Staatsoper in Berlin and Lucia di Lammermoor in Rome.

His future plans include, among others, Turandot at the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria in Bilbao, La bohème at the Portland Opera, La traviata at the Bunka Kaikan in Tokyo and Aida at the Semperoper in Dresden.

His discography includes the first recording of Donizetti’s Alina and the recordings of Le convenienze e le inconvenienze teatrali, Elvida, Francesca di Foix for the Opera Rara label, Mercadante’s Maria Stuarda for Opera Rara UK, Verdi’s Ernani (Cd and Dvd) for the Dynamic Italy, and a Simon Boccanegra live recording from Festival of Santander (2003).

In Bilbao, where he led thirty different opera productions, he received the “Médaille d’or” in occasion of the 50th anniversary of the ABAO.

Born in Milan, he made his debut at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, when he was just twenty-one years old.

www.ateliermusicale.it

Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director

Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director

 

As a member of San Francisco Opera since 1990, Sandra Bernhard has served as an assistant director for over 30 productions and as a coach and instructor of acting for the Merola Opera Program.

Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director

Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director

 

As a member of San Francisco Opera since 1990, Sandra Bernhard has served as an assistant director for over 30 productions and as a coach and instructor of acting for the Merola Opera Program. At the San Francisco Opera, she has directed Tosca (2001/2002/2004), Samson et Dalilah (2001), Carmen (1998), Madama Butterfly (1995), L'elisir d'amore (1992/2000), a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor (1994/1999), and a new production of La Bohème (1993), which led the San Francisco Chronicle to remark, "Finally, we had a La Bohème with a jolting and satisfactory blend of comedic detail and pathos, of romance, poetry and realism." She also staged concert presentations of Ermione, Lucia Silla, and Daphne, as well as the Merola Program's Grand Finals from 1991 through 1995, and the San Francisco Opera Guild and San Francisco Opera Center's production of Hänsel und Gretel (1996).


Highlights from recent seasons include her return engagements to San Francisco Opera for Tosca, Florida Grand Opera for Un Ballo in Maschera, and Dayton Opera to direct Little Women. Ms. Bernhard's recent productions include Don Pasquale at Florida Grand Opera, La Bohème at Washington Opera, Midsummer Night's Dream at Louisiana State University, and a workshop of The Memory Game - a new opera by Joel Hoffmann at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. In the 2003-04 season, she was appointed holder of the J. Ralph Corbett Distinguished Chair in Opera at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and directed Le Nozze di Figaro with Portland Opera, as well as Samson et Dalila with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.


In addition to Ms. Bernhard's many San Francisco Opera credits, she has directed: the world premiere of The Dreamers, a new opera composed by David Conte with a libretto by Philip Littell; performance workshops of The Gift of the Magi, a new opera by David Conte with a libretto by Nicholas Giardini; and Wuornos, a new opera by Carla Lucero. She has also directed productions at the Pittsburgh Opera (Street Scene, Postcard from Morocco), Minnesota Opera (Der Rosenkavalier), Cincinnati Opera (La Bohème), Portland Opera (Don Giovanni, La Bohème), Baltimore Opera (Mother of Us All), Opera Pacific (La Bohème), Florida Grand Opera (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Rigoletto), Central City Opera (La Bohème), Fort Worth Opera (Les Contes d'Hoffmann), Utah Opera (La Traviata, Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Manitoba Opera (Faust), Opera Hamilton (Così fan tutte), and Chautauqua Opera (Postage Due, original productions of Harold who?).


A graduate of the University of Illinois, Ms. Bernhard has had additional teaching assignments at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Utah Opera, the Greater Miami Opera, Chautauqua Opera, and Louisiana State University. Ms. Bernhard has also written several educational outreach productions and student/teacher handbooks through the San Francisco Opera Education department, including Opera Inside/Out, Interactive Opera!, and Opera Out!

 

Arturo Chacón-Cruz (Rodolfo) and Kelly Kaduce (Mimi) sing "O soave fanciulla".



Kelly Kaduce - Mimi



Arturo Chacón-Cruz - Rodolfo



Allyson Cambridge - Musetta



Sandra Bernhard - Stage Director



Antonello Allemandi - Conductor




Listen to the Music

O soave fanciulla o dolce viso

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Quando men vo soletta

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Che facevi Che dicevi

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Sono andati Fingevo di dormire

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Musical excerpts used courtesy of EMI.

Schedule

Sep 25, 2009
Friday 7:30 pm
Sep 27, 2009
Sunday 2:00 pm
Oct 1, 2009
Thursday 7:30 pm
Oct 3, 2009
Saturday 7:30 pm