We’ve finished 12 of the 20 days on our audition tour (with still many miles and 4 cities to go…), and it’s time for the first iteration of the Short List. Much can and will change between now and November 15, but here’s what we’re brainstorming so far for next season. Exact outcome dependent on what we hear in the next 200 auditions :)
Alphabetical by composer, so as to show no misleading favoritism:
Le Philtre (Auber): A different and charming take on the Elixir of Love story. Actually preceded Donizetti’s opera, whose libretto was modeled on this original one by Scribe. Vocal casting really similar to the Donizetti, mezzo role a bit larger than Giannetta. Downside? Only 5 roles.
The Rape of Lucretia (Britten): Hasn’t been at The Barns in 24 years. Too long to be away. Nice vocal distribution, with 6 nicely featured roles. Chamber orchestra fits comfortably in our small pit. Downside? No ensemble to showcase our Studio Artists.
Il matrimonio segreto (Cimarosa): Hasn’t been at The Barns in 16 years. 6 featured roles. Downside: I never really got this opera, but then again, it’s not about me:)
L’Opera Seria (Gassmann): A recent find. (Thanks, John!) I’m currently smitten by this satirical take on the opera seria tradition, written by Leopold Gassmann, a Viennese composer a generation older than Mozart. Downside? Having trouble finding the orchestral materials. Publisher inquiries resulting in dead ends.
L’île de Merlin (Gluck): Done at Spoleto USA a few years ago. One of the few Gluck operas whose orchestration will fit in our pit. 7 featured roles. Downside: Nothing for Studio. And French dialogue. (Since we spent a lot of time on French dialogue for last season’s Hoffmann, it would be great to offer returning artists a different language experience.)
La vera constanza (Haydn): Would love to do a Haydn opera. This one captures my imagination musically. Beautiful stuff. We’ve heard some people already who would fit these roles well. Downside: The story is kind of convoluted. (Well, no more so that most of its time and genre) and there’s no chorus.
Il mondo della luna (Haydn): Ditto re the Haydn. 7 solid roles, nice variety among the types. Small male ensemble, good for our Studio guys. Fun story. Downside? Opera Lafayette presented this beautifully with François Loup a few years ago at Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and I’m not sure if it’s time to bring it back to the DC area yet.
The Fortunes of King Croesus (Keiser): Minnesota Opera did this in 2008, with excellent results. Nice baroque instrumentation and amazing array of voice types (3 sopranos, 1 mezzo, 1 countertenor, 3 tenors, 2 baritones, 2 basses) Downside? Daunting array of voice types…
The Abduction from the Seraglio (Mozart): Absent from The Barns since 1998. Amazing piece. 5 fabulous roles. Great chorus. Downside? Very specific casting (Osmin, Konstanze), speaking role, no mezzo or baritone…
Don Giovanni (Mozart): Don’t typically do standard stuff at The Barns, but this might be irresistible in a year like this. 7 amazing roles. We’ll see.
The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart): See above.
The Merry Wives of Windsor (Nicolai): I happen to love this piece. Finding some good people for these roles. Great ensemble. Downside? Would have to be done in reduced orchestration, and I don’t know if I want to go there two years in a row.
Giulio Cesare (Handel): Needs to come back to The Barns. Amazing roles. Breathtaking music. Downside? Too many mezzos, not enough anything else… (Pick almost any Handel opera and the same will apply; tough for an ensemble company.)
Il Re Teodoro in Venezia (Paisiello): King Ted is an annual audition tour companion. I don’t think he’ll ever make the big time, but I’d miss him if he weren’t along.
La pietra del paragone (Rossini): Love this story and this music. Audience loves Rossini. Downside? Finding enough folks who are ready to tackle these virtuosic roles. Oh, and the piece is really bottom-heavy – lots of guys. (So maybe it’s a companion piece to Cesare with all of those girls, right?)
Il trionfo dell’onore (Scarlatti): Scarlatti’s only comic opera. 8 roles. Great potential. Downside: Can’t find the score… Kind of a dealbreaker.
The Rake’s Progress (Stravinsky): A perfect fit for us – both for the venue and our artists. Great roles. Downside? Roles are terrific, but there are only 5. And there’s no baritone.
We’re playing around with possible double bills (and even a crazy triple bill) of various combinations: Dido and Aeneas (Purcell), Docteur Miracle (Bizet), Une education manquée (Chabrier), Angelique (Ibert), Le pauvre matelot (Milhaud), Amor rende sagace (Cimarosa), L’inganno felice and La scala di seta (Rossini), Don Quichotte auf der Hochzeit des Comacho (Telemann)
OK – got all of that straight? I’m sure there’s something missing. And it’ll probably end up being something we end up choosing but just don’t know it yet.
Wish us luck :)