January 29, 2013

NEC Opera to Present American Premiere of New Critical Edition of Rossini’s La Gazzetta, April 6—9, 2013

Comic Opera Written for Naples Features World Premiere of Newly Found Act I Quintet

Special Panel Discussion, Lecture by Philip Gossett, Editor of Critical Edition and Production Consultant, March 13 and April 3, 2013

Production Conducted by Joseph Rescigno, Staged by Joshua Major


Boston, MA--New England Conservatory will present the American premiere of Rossini’s comic opera, La Gazzetta (The Newspaper) in the 2002 critical edition by Philip Gossett and Fabrizio Scipioni, April 6—9, 2013 at the Paramount Theater in Boston. Not only will this production mark the first time the critical edition has been performed in the United States, but it will feature the world premiere of the Act I quintet recovered in 2011 in the Library of the Conservatory of Palermo. The fully staged production with all-student cast and orchestra will be conducted by Joseph Rescigno, Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and directed by Chair of Opera Studies Joshua Major. The leading women’s roles, Lisetta and Doralice, will be sung  by soprano Soyoung Park (April 7, 9 performances) and mezzo soprano Jaime Korkos (April 6, 8 performances), currently candidates for the Artist Diploma in Opera.

Internationally renowned expert on 19th Century Italian opera, Philip Gossett is serving as consultant for the April production. He is writing out recitatives for the singers and will advise them on appropriate 19th Century ornamentation and phrasing. NEC is also pleased to offer two special opportunities for the public to hear first-hand about what constitutes the definitive version of a musical work, the detective work that goes into making a critical edition, and, specifically, about La Gazzetta and the extraordinary recovery of the missing quintet. Gossett will take part with other scholars and performers in a panel discussion, The Musical Work in Transit: Revision, Reception, and Edition, Wednesday, March 13 at 4:30 in NEC’s Pierce Hall.  Then, he will present a lecture, Rossini's Comic Opera, “La Gazzetta,” Complete for the First Time Ever, Wednesday, April 3 at 5 pm in NEC’s Keller Room.

Additionally, in recognition of the service Gossett has done for opera, he will be the recipient of an honorary doctorate from the Conservatory and will give the Commencement address at the annual Commencement Exercises, Sunday May 18.

Maestro Rescigno, along with his wide experience conducting opera from the baroque to the present, brings a highly specialized expertise to this production.  Fluent in the Neapolitan dialect, he will be coaching the singers portraying Don Pomponio, the character who “speaks” in dialect.  Rescigno, as a little boy, learned Neapolitan from his great-grandmother and that was how he communicated with her throughout her lifetime.

April 6, 8, 9, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.; April 7, 2013 at 3:00 p.m.
The Paramount Theater
(559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111)
NEC Opera
Rossini, La Gazzetta
(American Premiere of Critical Edition by Philip Gossett and Fabrizio Scipioni; world premiere of the newly found Act I quintet)
Joseph Rescigno, Conductor
Joshua Major, Director
Soyoung Park, Soprano; Jaime Korkos, Mezzo-soprano

Wednesday, March 13, 4:30 p.m.
Panel Discussion "The Musical Work in Transit: revision, reception, and edition"  
with Philip Gossett
Pierce Hall, St. Botolph Building (241 St. Botoloph St., Boston)
Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
"Rossini's comic opera, La gazzetta, Complete for the First Time Ever"
with Philip Gossett
The Keller Room, Jordan Hall (30 Gainsborough St., Boston)

La Gazzetta Tickets: $20, $16 for students/seniors; 2 for 1 with WGBH Member ID.
    Lecture, Panel discussion: Free   
For more information, or to order tickets: http://necmusic.edu/opera .
or call  the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122.



La Gazzetta: Italian Romanic Comedy
First performed at Naples’ Teatro de’ Fiorentini in 1816, La Gazzetta was Rossini’s only Neapolitan comic opera (although he wrote several serious operas for that city’s San Carlo opera house). Falling between Il barbiere di Siviglia and La Cenerentola, it was based on Carlo Goldoni’s Il Matrimonio per concorso (“The Wedding Contest”) with a libretto by Giuseppe Palomba. Not surprisingly, the opera has a deliciously complicated plot involving two young women, their lovers, and their fathers, all residents of the same hotel. In The Gazzette of the opera's title, the ambitious and self-important Don Pomponio advertises for a husband for his flirtatious daughter Lisetta, who is already in love with Filippo. Anselmo, father of Doralice, takes a more conventional route to finding a suitable husband. Rossini exploited the many intrigues with great verve. Although borrowing substantially from earlier works (largely Il Turco in Italia and later reusing parts of Gazzetta in La Cenerentola), he rewrote the music, calibrating it to the new context. With irresistible fresh pieces, especially for Don Pomponio (a classic buffo singing in Neapolitan dialect), Lisetta, and her suitor, La Gazzetta was an immediate hit, and showed Rossini at his comic best.

Rossini and Critical Editions
Although Rossini (and Verdi) operas are now staples in the opera house, the need for critical editions of their works was urgent, according to Gossett (right in photo), who has headed up the work at the University of Chicago’s Center for Italian Opera Studies (CIAO).  Such an edition is a performing version of a score supported by extensive scholarly commentary. Gossett himself has worked on a number of scores as well as assigning others to distinguished colleagues, including NEC scholar Helen Greenwald, who has edited both Verdi’s Attila and Rossini’s Zelmira.

“Contrary to popular belief,” Gossett explained in an Opera Today interview, “neither of these composers saw their works in print until, in the case of Verdi, perhaps with Otello and Falstaff. And, Verdi’s letters to [the publisher] Ricordi complained of numerous mistakes in the materials, printed and manuscript, the firm prepared. Indeed, Ricordi tended to use sources that were available in Milan, autograph manuscripts when he had them, otherwise poor copies. He didn’t bother looking for alternate sources, particularly for works by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, or Verdi whose most important sources were in other collections. The printed scores that have been available for the last 100 years, then, do not represent the best evidence of the composer’s intentions.”

According to CIAO’s Patricia B. Brauner, “The critical edition restores, insofar as possible, Rossini's original version of a work and provides supplementary material to permit the performance of revisions made or approved by the composer. What the edition does not do is to determine a ‘definitive’ version of an opera. Neither which pieces are performed nor how they are performed is prescribed.” This allows productions flexibility but within a historically authentic context.

Who’s Who in the Gazzetta Production Team, Cast

Philip Gossett, Co-Editor of Critical Edition, Production Consultant
Director of the Center for Italian Opera Studies (CIAO), Philip Gossett is one of the world's foremost experts on opera. A music historian and recently retired Robert W. Reneker Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, he specializes in 19th-century Italian opera, specifically the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. Author of two books on Donizetti and of the recent Divas and Scholars: Performing Italian Opera (University of Chicago Press, 2006), Gossett serves as CIAO’s general editor of The Works of Giuseppe Verdi and of The Critical Edition of the Works of Gioachino Rossini.

Among the operas he himself has edited or co-edited are Rossini's Tancredi, Ermione and Semiramide. He is currently working on Verdi's La forza del Destino. In the US, he has consulted with the Houston Grand Opera (in 1979 for the first production of the critical edition of Tancredi, with its then newly-discovered tragic ending, starring Marilyn Horne); with the Metropolitan Opera for its November 1990 production of Semiramide; and with The Santa Fe Opera in 2000 for Rossini's Ermione and in 2012 for the new critical edition of Rossini's original Maometto II of 1820. In an ongoing relationship with Chicago Opera Theater, he has assisted in its productions of the reconstructed Il Viaggio a Reims in 2004, Mosè en Egitto in 2010 and Verdi’s Giovanna d'Arco in fall 2013.

In 1998 the Italian government awarded him its highest civilian honor, Cavaliere di Gran Croce.  He most recently won the Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award, an honor that carries with it a prize of $1.5 million. Early in 2004, Newsday wrote of Gossett that "some encomiasts claim that soprano Maria Callas did as much for Italian opera as Toscanini or Verdi. Musicologist Philip Gossett arguably has done as much for Italian opera as any of those geniuses."

Joseph Rescigno, Conductor
Joseph Rescigno (right in photo by Richard Brodzeller) has conducted symphonies, concertos, operas, and oratorios for more than 50 companies on four continents. Since 1981, he has served as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor of the Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Music Director of La Musica Lirica (Novafeltria, Italy) since 2005. He also served for four years as Music Director of the Metropolitan Orchestra of Greater Montreal.
 
In his permanent and guest engagements, Maestro Rescigno has conducted symphonies and concertos from the baroque to the modern era. Beyond the concert stage, Maestro Rescigno has conducted virtually all of the core Italian opera repertory, including romantic, verismo, and bel canto works; the standard French and German operas, including the works of Wagner and Richard Strauss; and contemporary works, including the Florentine Opera’s first world premiere, Don Davis’s Río de Sangre, in 2010.  Among his recordings is the highly regarded Verismo, featuring Diana Soviero. 
 
As a guest artist, Maestro Rescigno has led the New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, Hungarian State Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Seattle Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Vancouver Opera, Teatro Bellini, l’Opéra de Marseille, and l’Opéra de Montreal among others. The symphony orchestras he has conducted include the Montreal Symphony and the Milwaukee Symphony orchestras, both of which he has conducted in their regular subscription series as well as in opera productions. In addition, he won Quebec’s Prix Opus for a program of all five Beethoven piano concertos with Anton Kuerti at the piano and the Metropolitan Orchestra of Greater Montreal. The conductor Nicola Rescigno, a founder of both the Dallas Opera and Chicago Lyric Opera companies, was his uncle.


Joshua Major, Stage Director
Toronto-born Joshua Major joined the New England Conservatory faculty in fall 2012 as Chair of Opera Studies, as part of a leadership team that includes Vocal Arts Chair Luretta Bybee and Artistic Advisor Stephen Lord. Major has been a guest at NEC in recent years as stage director on productions of Ariadne auf Naxos, Dido and Aeneas, and La Périchole. Earlier this year, he staged Britten’s The Turn of the Screw.

Major has worked as a stage director for over 25 years throughout the U.S. and Canada, developing an impressive repertoire of productions. Recent engagements include The Cunning Little Vixen for the Cape Town Opera; Lucia di Lammermoor for the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, L'Impressions de Pelleas in Tel Aviv, La Traviata for the Jacksonville Symphony; L'Elisir d'amore for Cleveland Opera; The Tales of Hoffmann and Lucia di Lammermoor for Indianapolis Opera.

Before coming to NEC, Major served for 20 years on the faculty of the University of Michigan where he had overseen the Opera Program. He has also been the Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival since 2003. As well he continues to be a stage director and faculty member with the Israel Vocal Arts Institute, where he has directed annually since 1993, and the Institut Canadien d’Arts Vocal based in Montreal, where he has directed since 2005.

Soyoung Park, Soprano
Soprano Soyoung Park '12 M.M., '14 A.D. (right top in photo) studies with Lorraine Nubar. At Aspen in 2012, when she reprised her showcase role from NEC's 2011 production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, Park "delivered a relentless, forceful and blazingly sung Queen of the Night," according to MusicWeb's eyewitness. Park has also appeared at NEC in the 2012 Boston premiere of Benjamin Britten's Paul Bunyan, and sang the role of Cupid in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice.

Jaime Korkos, Mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-soprano Jaime Korkos '11 G.D., '13 A.D. (right bottom in photo) is a student of Luretta Bybee. During her previous studies at NEC, Korkos sang the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and the title role of La Périchole, as well as the solo part in Mahler's Symphony No. 3. Since returning to NEC in the Artist Diploma in Opera Program this fall, she has sung the role of Orfeo in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. Last summer, she participated in the Gerdine Young Artist Program at Opera Theatre of St. Louis, which allowed her to perform in four operas in a two-month span.

Cast List
NEC’s production will have two alternating casts. In the following pairs of names, the first sings in the April 6, 8 performances; the second sings in the April 7, 9 performances.
Don Pomponio—Leroy Davis, TBA
Filipo—David Lee, Jason Ryan
Alberto—Marco Batista, James Dornier (Cover: Eduardo Ramos)
Monsù Tavernen—Junhan Choi, Elijah Blaisdell
Anselmo—Yao Zhang, Chris Weigell
Lisetta—Bridget Haile, Soyoung Park
Doralice—Jaime Korkos, Gillian Cotter
Madame La Rosa—Sadie Gregg, Jennifer Fijal

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND CONSERVATORY

Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theater in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

PRESS CONTACTS:
NEC: Ellen Pfeifer, Senior Communications Specialist, 617.585.1143, ellen.pfeifer@necmusic.edu
Laura Grant, National Publicist,  978.208.0552: 917.359.7319; Laura@grant-communications.com
For interviews with Joseph Rescigno, please contact Nancy Shear Arts Services, National Press Representative for Joseph Rescigno, at 212/496-9418 or sheararts@nancyshear.com

Full biographies and photos available on request.


TO PLAY WITHOUT PASSION IS INEXCUSABLE! LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN