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Major Directs Odyssey Opera Production

NEC alumni James Maddalena, David Kravitz featured in Verdi's "Il giorno di regno".

NEC’s Chair of Opera Studies Joshua Major will direct and two distinguished NEC vocal alumni, James Maddalena ’76 and David Kravitz ‘88, will have featured roles in Giuseppe Verdi’s seldom performed opera, Un Giorno di Regno, to be performed by Odyssey Opera, Wednesday June 11 and Friday June 13 at 7:30 pm at the Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave.

A new, Boston-based opera company dedicated to exploring the full spectrum of adventurous repertoire, Odyssey is headed by conductor Gil Rose, Artistic and General Director. Apparently striving to fill the gap left by the demise of Opera Boston, Odyssey made its debut last September in a critically acclaimed concert performance of Wagner’s Rienzi. The Giorno di Regno production is part of the company’s first mini-festival of fully-staged productions. It will play in alternation with two one-acters, Pietro Mascagni’s Zanetto and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s Il segreto di Susanna. Those operas will be performed June 12 and 14. Rose conducts all three works.

Tickets are $25--$100. To purchase, click here  or call 617-933-8600.


Joshua Major, Stage Director
Toronto-born Joshua Major joined the New England Conservatory faculty in fall 2012 as Chair of Opera Studies. He had previously been a guest director at NEC, staging productions of Ariadne auf Naxos, Dido and Aeneas, and La Perichole. This season, he directed Strauss’ Die Fledermaus and the concert staging of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito.

Major began his opera stage directing career at the age of 23 with La Cenerentola for Opera Omaha. Soon after, he worked as an assistant to Rhoda Levine at Juilliard, Cynthia Auerbach at both Chautauqua Opera and New York City Opera, and William Gaskill at the Welsh National Opera.

He 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 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.

Prior to joining the NEC faculty, Major completed his 20th year on the faculty of the University of Michigan where he had overseen the Opera Program, both teaching and directing, and where his productions included Falstaff, Armide, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Eugene Onegin, L'Amico Fritz, and Postcard from Morocco.

Joshua Major has proudly 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.

James Maddalena, Barone di Kelbar
The renowned baritone James Maddalena commands a large and varied repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to contemporary opera. He first gained international recognition for his notable portrayal of the title role in the world premier of John Adams’ Nixon in China, directed by Peter Sellars with Houston Grand Opera followed by performances at Netherland Opera, the Edinburgh Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Washington Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Australia’s Adelaide Festival, the Chatelet in Paris, English National Opera, the Greek National Opera and most recently for his debut with the Metropolitan Opera.

His association with John Adams continued in two more recent roles: the Captain in Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, which premiered at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and received performances at the Opera de Lyon, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, San Francisco Opera, and at the Vienna Festival prior to being recorded by Nonesuch under Kent Nagano; and Jack Hubbard in Doctor Atomic for San Francisco Opera.

Mr. Maddalena has appeared with many other leading international opera companies: New York City Opera, San Francisco Opera, Atlanta Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Boston, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Frankfurt Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, as well as with the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Royal Scottish Orchestra, Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and the London Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent collaborator with director Peter Sellars and sang major roles in Sellars’ stagings of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas (the title character in Don Giovanni, the Count in Le nozze di Figaro and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte), as well as his productions of operas by Haydn, Handel and John Adams.

He has collaborated with many contemporary composers, including John Harbison, Gunther Schuller, Elliot Goldenthal, Robert Moran, Domenic Argento, Marc Blitzstein, and Michael Tippett, among others. He sang the world premiere of Stewart Wallace’s Harvey Milk with Houston Grand Opera, later heard at San Francisco Opera and recorded by Teldec under Donald Runnicles. He sang the premiere of Wallace’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter at San Francisco Opera in 2008. In St. Louis, James Maddalena sang Hobson in the premiere of David Carlson’s The Midnight Angel. He sang the role of Gideon March in Mark Adamo’s Little Women at the Houston Grand Opera, and title role in the premiere of Kirke Mechem’s John Brown at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, where he returned in 2010 for the Nixon In China. He gave the premiere of Elliot Goldenthal’s Fire Water Paper: A Vietnam Oratorio with the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, recorded for Sony Classical and later performed with the Boston Symphony under Seiji Ozawa at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and the world premiere of Harbison’s Four Psalms with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

An active concert artist, James Maddalena can be heard in repertoire ranging from Bach to Hindemith. He has performed The Messiah with Boston’s Handel and Haydn Society; Hindemith’s Requiem with Wolfgang Sawallisch and the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santi Cecilia in Rome; the St. John Passion in Turin, Italy; Harbison’s Words from Paterson with the San Francisco Symphony; and Carmina Burana in Seville, Spain and Palermo, Italy. He made his Houston Symphony debut in fall 2010, singing Lawrence Siegel’s Kaddish, conducted by Hans Graf. He sang Schubert’s Die Winterreise at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with Robert Spano as accompanist and the complete cycle of Bach cantatas with Boston’s Emmanuel Music.

David Kravitz, La Rocca
David Kravitz’s 2013-2014 season brings a company debut with Dallas Opera to reprise the role of United Nations in Death and the Powers; Paolo Orsini in Rienzi for the debut performance of Boston’s Odyssey Opera; the role of Frederik in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music with Emmanuel Music; as well as performances with Boston Lyric Opera as both the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte and Marullo in Rigoletto. Mr. Kravitz’s concert performances this season include Mohammed Fairouz’s Symphony No. 3 (Poems and Prayers) with the UCLA Philharmonic, and A Sea Symphony, with the Pioneer Valley Symphony Orchestra.

Future seasons include his debut in a world premiere with Palm Beach Opera, and a return to Boston Lyric Opera.

The baritone's 2012-2013 calendar included appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for Le rossignol under the baton of Charles Dutoit; The English Concert, as Farasmane in Radamisto at Carnegie Hall; Boston Pops, for holiday concerts conducted by Keith Lockhart; Boston Lyric Opera, for Abraham in the North American premiere of MacMillan's Clemency; the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, for his debut, as Poo-Bah in The Mikado; Boston Modern Orchestra Project, for King Fisher in a concert performance of The Midsummer Marriage; Chautauqua Opera, for Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes, and the Tanglewood Music Festival, for Nick in Emmanuel Music's production of Harbison's The Great Gatsby. Additionally, Mr. Kravitz created the role of Davis Miller in the world premiere of D.J. Sparr's Approaching Ali at Washington National Opera.