With Three New Productions to Celebrate its 40th Anniversary, Wolf Trap Opera Company Opens with Wolf-Ferrari's Rare Gem, The Curious Women

Jun 07, 2011, 16:03 ET from Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts

Opera performances at Wolf Trap Include a new Operascape production of Sweeney Todd at the Filene Center and The Tales of Hoffmann at The Barns

VIENNA, Va., June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The GRAMMY-nominated Wolf Trap Opera Company, a nationally acclaimed residency program for pre-eminent emerging professionals in the operatic industry, proudly presents The Curious Women, Sweeney Todd, and The Tales of Hoffmann for its 2011 summer opera performances.  Starting in three short weeks, audiences will experience the stories of the desperate housewives of Venice, the blood-thirsty barber from London, and the hopelessly romantic poet from Germany. All operas will be sung in the original language with English translations projected for both The Curious Women and The Tales of Hoffmann. Sixteen Filene Young Artists have been selected to perform lead roles in these productions, and 16 Studio Artists for supporting roles for the Company's 40th season.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110607/DC15746)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110414/MM83739LOGO)

Known for breaking down barriers in the classical music industry, the Wolf Trap Opera Company will offer several new opportunities for audiences with these productions. The Curious Women by Wolf-Ferrari will be the first professional production of the romantic comedy in the United States since its premiere in 1912 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Sondheim's Sweeney Todd is rarely heard with the sheer force of an orchestral ensemble as impressive as the National Symphony Orchestra. The Tales of Hoffmann, from French composer Offenbach, will introduce a newly minted reduction of the work that closely mirrors that of the original premiere in Paris from 1881.

In addition to the season operas, the Wolf Trap Opera Company will present a special 40th Anniversary Alumni Concert starring internationally recognized artists from all four decades of its lauded history; the recital program entitled, Couples: From Getting Hitched to Getting Ditched with GRAMMY Award-winning pianist and artistic powerhouse Steven Blier; and site-specific collaborative programs with The Phillips Collection, as well as interactive family events and educational opportunities to engage audiences of all ages.

"In this historic anniversary year, we honor the enduring legacy of our founder Catherine Filene Shouse by presenting an exciting summer season that will engage our audiences and showcase the strengths of our artists in three unique and compelling ways," said Company Director Kim Pensinger Witman. "It's an extraordinary opportunity to experience a rarely heard gem like Wolf-Ferrari's The Curious Women with the depth of talent that we've brought together for this production. In partnering with the National Symphony Orchestra and commissioning a new digital video environment for Sondheim's masterwork, we're sure that Sweeney Todd will exceed expectations. Finally, we present a new production and a new orchestral reduction of The Tales of Hoffmann that will give our audiences a chance to experience Offenbach's opera in an intimate theatrical setting."

The Repertoire
The Curious Women at The Barns at Wolf Trap
Friday, June 17, 8 p.m.; Sunday, June 19, 3 p.m.; and Saturday, June 25, 7 p.m.
Director Pat Diamond updates Wolf-Ferrari's wacky world of the desperate housewives of Venice to the 1960s. The aesthetic of AMC's hit TV show Mad Men meets a playful, jaunty soundtrack, perfectly in tune with the crazy antics of inquisitive ladies, as they scheme to uncover the secret activities in their husbands' private clubhouse. Performed in Italian with English supertitles.

Sweeney Todd at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
Friday, July 22, 8:15 p.m.
Clever and dark, this musical thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish as conductor James Moore leads the National Symphony Orchestra through one of Sondheim's most evocative scores. Staged by Tara Faircloth in a stunning new Operascape production that features video projections designed for the Filene Center, the tale of the blood-thirsty barber comes to life in vivid, powerful detail.

The Tales of Hoffmann at The Barns at Wolf Trap
Friday, August 5, 8 p.m.; Sunday, August 7, 3 p.m.; Thursday, August 11, 8 p.m.; and Saturday, August 13, 7 p.m.
Full of despair over his unrequited love for the beautiful Stella, the poet Hoffmann recounts stories of the three women who broke his heart: the perfect doll, Olympia; the sensitive artist, Antonia; and the dangerous seductress, Guilietta. This intimate new production designed for The Barns is performed with French dialogue. Performed in French with English supertitles.

Couples: From Getting Hitched to Getting Ditched at The Barns at Wolf Trap,
Sunday, July 10, 3 p.m.
Love is a fickle master that delivers heartache as often as it does the perfect match. Pianist and commentator Steven Blier of the New York Festival of Song joins singers of the Wolf Trap Opera Company to bring you an unforgettable evening with Faure, Sondheim, Chausson, Cole Porter, and Joni Mitchell.

Vocal Colors, at the Center for Education at Wolf Trap and The Phillips Collection
Sunday, June 12, 3 p.m. and Thursday, June 16, 6:30 p.m. (Cast 1) and Wednesday, July 27, 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. (Cast 2)
Filene Young Artists craft a personal soundtrack to visual art from The Phillips Collection in a creative exploration that bridges musical genres and styles. Previous programs have resulted in unlikely, but ultimately beautiful partnerships between Paul Cezanne and Joni Mitchell, Mark Rothko and Richard Strauss, Edgar Degas and Peter Tchaikovsky, and Marc Chagall and Fiona Apple.

Collaborative, Family & Educational Programming:
Backstage Buzz, Tuesdays, June 7, July 19, and July 26, 7:30 p.m. at Center for Education at Wolf Trap
In a format popularized by Bravo's TV show Inside The Actor's Studio, audience members participate in a lively moderated panel discussion with cast and crew members. Together, we discover what makes opera work in the 21st century.

Inside the Opera, one hour prior to every opera performance at The Barns at Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap Opera Director Kim Pensinger Witman reveals her unique perspective on the show—don't miss your opportunity to become an insider before each opera performance.

Instant Opera!, August 2–6, 11 a.m., Wolf Trap's Children's Theatre-in-the-Woods
Opera is turned upside down as the ever-popular opera "Mad Libs" returns to the woods once more! Never the same show twice, members of the Wolf Trap Opera Studio create instant operas on the spot with characters and stories made up by the audience. Both parents and children will love this hilarious introduction to opera.

Behind the Curtain, Tuesday, August 9, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Your family jumps out of the audience and into the spotlight! Tour behind the scenes, watch make-up transformations, craft opera-related props, meet the 2011 resident artists, take a family photo on stage, and lunch together with company members.

The Artists
The Wolf Trap Opera Company is one of the only companies in the world to select its operas after the roster has been set, matching the strengths of the performers to the repertoire. The 32 artists performing this season have been handpicked from a pool of 1,015 singers who applied for the residency program. Artists were selected following a six-week, eight-market, coast-to-coast tour, in which more than 450 singers auditioned.

Principal roles in the Company's productions will be performed by the 16 singers selected as the Wolf Trap Opera Company's 2011 ensemble of Filene Young Artists, featuring: Lindsay Ammann, contralto; Eric Barry, tenor; Margaret Gawrysiak, mezzo-soprano; Eve Gigliotti, mezzo-soprano; Jamie-Rose Guarrine, soprano; Craig Irvin, bass-baritone; Kenneth Kellogg, bass; Ryan Kuster, bass-baritone; Angela Mannino, soprano; Catherine Martin, mezzo-soprano; Michael Anthony McGee, baritone; Edward Mout, tenor; Nathaniel Peake, tenor; Ashlyn Rust, soprano; Marcy Stonikas, soprano; and Michael Sumuel, bass-baritone.  

Supporting roles will be performed by the 16 Wolf Trap Studio Artists featuring: Jake Armstrong, tenor; Frederick Ballentine, Jr., baritone; Allegra De Vita, mezzo-soprano; Hunter Enoch, baritone; Calvin Griffin, bass; Jason Lee, tenor; Dustin Lucas, tenor; Amy Owens, soprano; Shea Owens, baritone; Stephen Pace, baritone; Jill Phillips, mezzo-soprano; Jacqueline Piccolino, soprano; Colin Ramsey, bass; Aleksandra Romano, mezzo-soprano; Claudia Rosenthal, soprano; Galeano Salas, tenor.

Established in 1971, the Wolf Trap Opera Company continues to earn national and international recognition for its mission to discover and encourage outstanding emerging talent in the opera field, serving singers of exceptional achievement and potential who are ready to make the transition to full-time professional careers. In addition to the young professional singers, the company also features the work of emerging designers, directors, and conductors; and provides opportunities for aspiring stage managers, administrators, coaches, and technical theatre professionals.

Tickets for Wolf Trap Opera Company performances can be purchased at the Wolf Trap Box Office located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts at 1551 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia; by calling 1(877) WOLFTRAP; or online at www.wolftrap.org. For more information, call Wolf Trap at (703) 255-1868.

SOURCE Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts