RESONANCE WORKS |
Pittsburgh music bridging passion and place
For immediate release
Media contact: Media@resworks.org (412) 501-3330
Resonance Works presents Verdi’s comedic masterpiece Falstaf in collaboration with Pitt’s Department of Theatre Arts PITTSBURGH, PA RESONANCE WORKS returns to the Charity Randall Theatre with a new, fully staged production of Verdi’s last opera on Friday, May 12 at 8pm and Sunday, May 14 at 3pm, conducted by Maria Sensi Sellner.
|Falstaff May 12 to 14 at Charity Randal Theatre in Pittsburgh|
This marks the start of an exciting partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Theatre Arts, with students, faculty and staff working alongside Resonance Works artists to bring this rousing ensemble piece to life. Falstaf will be performed with the Resonance Chamber Orchestra and sung in the original Italian with projected English supertitles.
|University of Pittsburgh Theatre Arts|
Based on the character of Falstaff in Shakespeare’s plays The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Verdi’s opera, with a libretto by Arrigo Boito, premiered in 1893, and was the composer’s final work. The story follows the travails of Sir John Falstaff, a portly, aging knight who has come upon hard times and endeavors to improve his stature by seducing married women away from their husbands. Mistaken identities, thwarted assignations, hapless misadventures, fairies, disguises, and a wedding -- these all combine to form a delightful comic farce that is a tour de force of ensemble work.
Written as he approached the age of 80, Verdi’s score sparkles with freshness and originality and overflows with wit. “Verdi loved Shakespeare, and it is no coincidence that his final two operas (Otello and Falstaf ) were Shakespearean tales. At this point, he had been writing opera for more than 50 years, but continued to innovate and evolve the art form through this last masterpiece. In many ways, this is Verdi thumbing his nose to critics who said he could never write a great comedy. Well, he really showed them!” says Artistic Director Maria Sensi Sellner. “I think this is the greatest opera for an ensemble cast, and it has allowed us to assemble an amazing team of creative talent, both on and off the stage.”
University of Pittsburgh faculty members Gianni Downs (Scenic Design) and Karen Gilmer (Costume Design) join the creative team, which includes regular Resonance Works collaborators Kate Devlin Matz (Lighting Design) and Carnegie Mellon faculty member Tina Shackleford (Stage Manager). Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumna Stephanie Havey (North Carolina Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Atlanta Opera) will direct this new production, which is made possible with support from the Heinz Endowments through their Small Arts Initiative.
“Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor has seen many incarnations, none so perfect a marriage of music and text as Verdi's quintessential composition Falstaf ” says director Stephanie Havey. “ Our production draws on the imagery of the idealized housewife and the apple, as both a symbol of hospitality and sexual manipulation. Set in the manor house of an apple orchard, romance and jealousy take center stage in this comedy of misguided seductions.” Baritone Benjamin Bloomfield (Castleton Festival, NY City Opera) makes his Pittsburgh debut with the title role of Sir John Falstaff. Benjamin Robinson (Michigan Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh) and Matthew Scollin (Pittsburgh Opera, Glimmerglass Festival) portray his cronies Bardolfo and Pistola.
In the roles of the merry wives, local favorites Kara Cornell (Trouble in Tahiti) and Amelia D’Arcy (Macbeth) play Meg Page and Alice Ford, with returning mezzo Brooke Larimer (Song of the Earth, Macbeth) in the mischievous role of Mistress Quickly. Newcomer Natalie Polito (Opera Saratoga, Virginia Opera) and Resonance Works veteran Christopher Lucier (Elixir of Love, Macbeth) will sing the pair of young lovers, Nannetta and Fenton, with baritone Joshua Jeremiah (Arizona Opera, PROTOTYPE Festival) making his Pittsburgh debut as the jealous husband, schemer, and disapproving father, Ford.
Former Pittsburgher and Resonance Works founding board member Joseph Gaines returns to reprise the role of Dr. Caius, which he previously performed at Pittsburgh Opera and covered at the Metropolitan Opera under the baton of James Levine. Run time is 2 hours, 30 minutes, including two intermissions. Tickets for Falstaf begin at $30, available online at www.resworks.org/tickets
Special rates are available for senior citizens, students, and priority seating, with a $5 discount for advance sales online; Group rates are available; contact firstname.lastname@example.org Performances are at the Charity Randall Theatre, inside the Stephen Foster Memorial at the University of Pittsburgh, 4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213 ###
|Beautiful edifice of exterior of Charity Randall Theatre|
About Resonance Works | Pittsburgh Resonance Works is an artist-driven, multi-modal performing arts company dedicated to exploring the confluence of artist, audience, music, and space. Artist-driven programming sets Resonance Works apart. Seasons are created to showcase outstanding professional artists from Pittsburgh and beyond, performing in a variety of venues in Pittsburgh. In four years, the company has quickly become an important part of the professional arts ecosystem in Pittsburgh, and is committed to maintaining a rich and vibrant community of professional musicians in the region. Resonance Works’ multi-modal approach takes the form of a variety of musical performances that include opera, chamber music, orchestral music, and choral music, often with interwoven elements of dance, visual media, and spoken word. Venues are chosen to enhance performances and offer a more intimate and unique musical experience for the audience.
|Intimate In the Round Interior, Charity Randall Theatre|
Resonance Works was founded in 2013 by conductor Maria Sensi Sellner who is recognized for her versatility as a conductor of opera, orchestras and choruses. The first three-time winner of The American Prize for Opera Conducting, she is active as an opera conductor throughout the northeast, and has previously held positions with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, the Akron Symphony, and Carnegie Mellon University. Maria holds degrees in conducting, composition,
and engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. www.MariaSensiSellner.org