January 25, 2012

NEC Opera Whisks Winter-Weary Audiences to Hot, Hot 1950’s Peru for Offenbach’s La Perichole

Four Performances February 11—14 at Cutler Majestic Theater

Joel Revzen Conducts; Joshua Major Directs

New England Conservatory will offer opera lovers a chance to bask in sunshine, laughter and infectious melody in its production of Offenbach’s opera bouffe La Perichole, Feb. 11—14 at the Cutler Majestic Theater. Joel Revzen conducts and Joshua Major directs the all-student cast and orchestra.

The mad-cap opera, to be sung in French with English spoken dialogue, concerns the adventures of two street singers too poor and hungry to get married and the complications created by a lecherous viceroy. The plot is based loosely and irreverently on the historical life of Micaela Villegas, a celebrated 18th Century entertainer, who was also the subject of Prosper Merimee’s one-act comedy, Le Carosse du Saint-Sacrement; Jean Renoir’s loving cinematic tribute to the theatre, Le Carosse d’or, starring Anna Magnani; and, more seriously, in Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey.

Performances take place on Feb. 11, 13, 14 at 8 p.m. and on Feb. 12 at 3 p.m. The theatre is located at 219 Tremont St. Boston. Tickets are $20, $16 for students/seniors. To order, call 617-824-8000 or online .

For further information, check the NEC Website or call the NEC Concert Line at 617-585-1122. 

Joel Revzen is the Principal Conductor of Arizona Opera where he has led over 100 performances of operas featuring such renowned artists as Stephanie Blythe, Dolora Zajick, Christine Brewer, Greer Grimsley, Nancy Gustafson and Gordon Hawkens. Revzen will also take over as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Lake Tahoe Summerfest, which will have its inaugural season this summer.  The festival will present symphonic and chamber music concerts with internationally prominent artists in the breath-taking setting of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

During his 14 year tenure as Artistic Director of the Berkshire Opera, he commissioned and produced the world premiere of Steve Paulus’ opera Summer, based on the Edith Wharton novella, and the critically acclaimed recording of Menotti’s The Consul. In the world of opera, Maestro Revzen has led productions with the National Theatre of Mannheim Germany, the Washington Opera at the Kennedy Center, Minnesota Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre, the Norwegian Opera in Oslo, and numerous productions with the Kirov Opera at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia.

In the symphonic world, Maestro Revzen served as Assistant Conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra from 1984-1989, a post to which he was appointed by violinist and conductor Pinchas Zuckerman, and was on the conducting faculty of the Aspen Music Festival from 1982 – 1991. Since that time, he has appeared as guest conductor with the Prague Symphony, Prague Chamber Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic, Orchestra National de Lyon, National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center Chamber Players, Seattle Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra.

Toronto-born Joshua Major began his opera stage directing career at the age of 23 with La Cenerentola for Opera Omaha and has worked as a stage director for over 25 years throughout the United States and Canada developing an impressive repertoire of productions. Recent engagements include The Cunning Little Vixen for the Cape Town Opera; Lucia di Lamermoor 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.

Mr. Major is in his 18th year on the faculty of the University of Michigan where he oversees the Opera Program, both teaching and directing. Recent productions at the University of Michigan include, Armide, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Eugene Onegin, L'Amico Fritz, and Postcard from Morocco.

Major is also the Artistic Director of the Pine Mountain Music Festival, where he has been for the past 7 years, producing over 300 concerts of opera, symphony and chamber music. He continues to be a stage director and faculty member with the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where he has directed annually since 1993. 

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 Theatre 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.

(Costume designs by Katherine Stebbins)

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115