On Saturday, July 9th and Friday, July 15th at 7:30 PM, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts will present Rossini's Guillaume Tell in the Venetian Theater. Renowned for its complexity, Guillaume Tell is Rossini's final opera, his masterpiece, and his most important legacy to the half-century of French and Italian grand opera that followed after its 1829 premiere.
Due to the work's demanding casting requirements, it is very seldom produced, and has not been heard at the Metropolitan Opera in over 75 years. Therefore, New Yorkers are offered an exceptional opportunity this summer when Caramoor presents two performances of the opera with baritone Daniel Mobbs in the title role, alongside tenor Michael Spyres, soprano Julianna di Giacomo, mezzo-soprano Vanessa Cariddi, tenor BrIan Downen and soprano Talise Trevigne.
"Though universally admired - and known all over the world by its famous overture - William Tell is rarely performed because of its sheer difficulty," says Crutchfield. "Soloists, chorus and orchestra alike are stretched to the limit by its demands, but the reward is a feast of music and drama with few parallels in the whole history of opera."
Saturday, July 9 at 7:30pm - Venetian Theater
Friday, July 15 at 7:30pm - Venetian Theater
GUILLAUME TELL by Gioachino Rossini
DANIEL MOBBS, baritone (William Tell)
Julianna di Giacomo, soprano (Mathilde, the Habsburg princess)
MICHAEL SPYRES, tenor (Arnold)
TALISE TREVIGNE, soprano (Jemmy)
VANESSA CARIDDI, mezzo-soprano (Hedwige, wife of William Tell)
BRIan DowNEN, tenor (Fisherman)
NICHOLAS MASTERS, bass (Walter)
ROLANDO SANZ, tenor (Rodolphe)
SCOTT BEARDEN, baritone (Gesler)
JEFFREY BERUAN, bass (Melchtal)
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Will Crutchfield, conductor
Pre-Opera Events: Guillaume Tell
During the afternoon prior to each performance (beginning at 3:00 PM on July 9 and 4:30 PM on July 15) all ticket-holders can also enjoy a varied menu of lectures and recitals along with the chance to picnic in Caramoor's famous gardens:
1. Creating and re-creating Guillaume Tell * Philip Gossett and Will Crutchfield discuss what Rossini wrote, how it changed before the premiere, how it changed again under Rossini's hands in successive seasons, and what the work meant for the future of grand opera.
2. "What? The whole of it?"* This was Rossini's ironic question when told that the third act of Guillaume Tell had been performed as part of a gala evening at the Paris Opera. In fact, "the whole" of Tell is a difficult thing to define, because Rossini wrote more music for the opera than has ever been performed in a single evening. The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists present a program of alternative excerpts from other versions of the score.
3. Schiller and the Yearning for Freedom: The most progressive idea in world politics around the dawn of the 19th century was that nations and ethnic groups might aspire to self-government - not yet democracy, but simply the freedom from foreign rule. Wilhelm Tell, on which Rossini's opera is based, is one of an important series of plays exploring variations on this theme. Others - all turned into successful operas - include Mary Stuart, Don Carlos, The Robbers, and The Maid of Orleans. Meanwhile the new genre of the German Lied eagerly embraced Schiller as well. The Caramoor Bel Canto Young Artists offer a recital of works in several languages drawn from Schiller's dramas and poetry.
4. Pre-opera lecture: Phillip Gossett introduces Guillaume Tell
*events that will take place before the July 9 performance only
ABOUT BEL CANTO AT CARAMOOR
Under the leadership of Director of Opera Will Crutchfield, Caramoor's renowned Bel Canto at Caramoor - an operatic exploration that The New York Times calls "an essential contribution" - begins its 15th season of outstanding opera programming during the 2011 Caramoor International Music Festival. Bel Canto at Caramoor began in 1997 with Rossini's La Donna del Lago, starring Vivica Genaux, Marguerite Krull, Bruce Fowler, and Matthew Chellis. The flagship summer productions have included operas by Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti and Verdi, individual works by Handel, Gluck, Francesco Conti and Pauline Viardot, in addition to a wide range of concerts.
At its inception, diva Marilyn Horne predicted success: "These singers are very lucky to have Will Crutchfield," she told the press before summer festival. The New York Times quickly agreed, praising "a palpable conviction that Rossini's serious operas are not static vehicles for elaborate vocal display, but elegant and humane musical dramas" in a review of the opening. Ever since, growing ranks of critics from the national and international press have maintained that consensus, and capacity audiences have filled Caramoor's 1714-seat Venetian Theater. Bel Canto at Caramoor productions made The New Yorker "Best Performances of the Year" lists in both 2009 and 2010, with chief classical critic Alex Ross declaring that "Under Crutchfield, Caramoor has become an operatic paradise". In 2010, The New York Times review of Bellini's Norma with Angela Meade proclaimed that "the future arrived" at Caramoor with Meade's "stunning" performance; "The ovations on Saturday were tumultuous...The entire cast was fortunate to have coached this opera under Mr. Crutchfield, who has made Bel Canto at Caramoor an important workshop for fresh investigation into the practice and style of this misunderstood repertory."
Caramoor is a performing arts center located on a unique 90-acre setting of Italianate architecture and gardens in Westchester County, NY. It enriches the lives of its audiences through innovative and diverse musical performances of the highest quality. Its mission also includes mentoring young professional musicians and providing educational programs for young children centered around music. It is often described as "a Garden of Great Music" where audiences are invited to come early, explore the beautiful grounds, enjoy a pre-concert picnic, and discover beautiful music in the relaxed settings of the Venetian Theater, Spanish Courtyard, Music Room of the Rosen House, and the magnificent gardens.
Festival concerts take place in three venues. Two outdoor theaters - the 1714-seat, acoustically superb Venetian Theater and the more intimate, romantic Spanish Courtyard - and the Rosen House's intimate Music Room. The historic Rosen House, built in the 1930's, and its Music Room are "the heart of Caramoor." Upon its completion in 1939, Caramoor founders Walter and Lucie Rosen began to present private concerts in the Music Room, and today it is used for all 'Caramoor Indoors' concerts and arts-in-education programs. Tours of the Rosen House by the general public are currently on hiatus as Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts has embarked on a comprehensive planning project to restructure the programs and usage of the historic Rosen House. It is Caramoor's intention to complete this process during the next few years.
Caramoor's gardens are also well worth the visit and include nine unique perennial gardens. Among them are a Sense Circle for the visually handicapped, a Butterfly Garden, Tapestry Hedge, and Iris and Peony Garden, which may be enjoyed on one's own or seen on a guided tour. With its unique heritage, Caramoor is a place where magical summer days and nights are shared and enjoyed by thousands.
GETTING TO CARAMOOR
By car from the West Side of Manhattan and New Jersey, take the Saw Mill River Parkway north to Katonah. Exit at Route 35/Cross River. Turn right and, at the first traffic light, make a right turn onto Route 22 south. Travel 1.9 miles to the junction of Girdle Ridge Road. Follow the signs to Caramoor. (For detailed directions call 914.232.5035 and press 2, or online at www.caramoor.org). Parking at Caramoor is free.
By train, take the Harlem Division of the Metro-North Railroad to Katonah, New York. Taxi service from the station to Caramoor (5 minutes away) is available.
From Manhattan, take the Caramoor Caravan to Bel Canto at Caramoor opera performances, and ride comfortably in a luxurious, air-conditioned coach. The busses depart from Grand Central station at 4:00pm.
Tickets are $26.00 (round-trip) and $19.00 (one-way). For information and reservations call the Caramoor Box Office at 914.232.1252.
Tickets for Guillaume Tell are $106, $88, $70, $52, $34. To purchase, call the Box Office at 914.232.1252, or visit www.caramoor.org. Groups of 16 or more may purchase discounted tickets by contacting Matthew Scarella at 914.232.5035 ext. 252 or email@example.com.