Met-Juilliard Collaboration: 4 Semistaged Comic Operas

James Levine

 (Photo by Koichi Miura)

And now for something completely different…


The fourth Juilliard-Metropolitan Opera coproduction, which takes place February 11, 14, and 16, celebrates comic opera with a range of works so broad that it’s almost comic in and of itself. James Levine (Diploma ’63; orchestral conducting) will lead the Juilliard Orchestra and singers from Juilliard and the Met’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program in semistaged works by Mozart, Stravinsky, Berlioz, and Donizetti.

“In these works, you’ll meet four sets of young lovers, each with their own passions and their own set of obstacles to overcome,” Brian Zeger (M.M. ’81, piano) wrote in the program note. “Though the musical languages of Mozart, Stravinsky, Berlioz, and Donizetti are diverse, the ebullience of the young talent you’ll discover here is the common denominator,” he added. Zeger, the artistic director of Juilliard’s Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts, is also the executive director the Lindemann program, which Levine founded in 1980.

The program pairs two well-known works with two rarities: the opening scene of Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini and Stravinsky’s seldom-performed one-act opéra bouffe, Mavra (1922). This tale of mistaken identity was inspired in part by a Pushkin poem and will be performed in its entirety. Also on the bill are Act I of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Act I, Scene 2 of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore.

Two of the Lindemann singers, tenor Mario Chang and soprano Ying Fang, are also first-years in Juilliard’s Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program. The other Lindemann singers are soprano Mary-Jane Lee; mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore; tenors Benjamin Bliss, Anthony Kalil, and Andrew Stenson; baritones Alexey Lavrov and Yunpeng Wang; and bass-baritones Brandon Cedel (Pre-College ’06) and Ryan Speedo Green. The additional Juilliard singers are second-year Artist Diploma mezzo-soprano Lacey Jo Benter (M.M. ’11, voice), second-year master’s soprano Puerum Jo (Pre-College ’08; B.M. ’12, voice), and third-year baritone Jake Alan Nelson.

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