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Julliard Opera Presents Benjamin Britten’s “The Rape of Lucretia”

Mike Lawson • Performance • February 9, 2015

Conductor Mark Shapiro

Conductor Mark Shapiro

Conducted by Mark Shapiro and Directed by Mary Birnbaum, and Featuring Juilliard Singers and Members of the Juilliard Orchestra.

3 Performances: Wednesday, February 18, 2015 and Friday, February 20, 2015 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Juilliard’s Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater.

NEW YORK ––The Juilliard Opera season continues with a production of Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by Mark Shapiro and directed by Mary Birnbaum, and featuring Juilliard singers and members of the Juilliard Orchestra. Scenic design is by Grace Laubacher, costume design is by Sydney Maresca, lighting design is by Anshuman Bhatia, and choreography is by Adam Cates. The libretto by Ronald Duncan is based on André Obey’s play, Le viol de Lucrèce (1931). The opera was composed in 1945- 46 and was premiered on July 12, 1946 at Glyndebourne in Sussex, England; the U.S. premiere took place on June 1, 1947 at the Shubert Theater of Chicago Opera.

Performances take place on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 and Friday, February 20, 2015 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 2 p.m. in Juilliard’s Rosemary and Meredith Willson Theater.

Tickets for $30 are available beginning February 11 at events.juilliard.edu or at the Juilliard Box Office. Tickets for Juilliard students are free. Non-Juilliard students may purchase tickets for $15, only at the Juilliard Box Office.

The cast features tenor William Goforth (Male Chorus), mezzo-soprano Marguerite Jones (Female Chorus), bass Daniel Miroslaw (Collatinus), baritone Joe Eletto (Junius), baritone Kurt Kanazawa (Prince Tarquinius), mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau (Lucretia), mezzo-soprano Amanda Lynn Bottoms (Bianca), and soprano Christine Price (Lucia).

Mark Shapiro (Conductor)
Versatile conductor Mark Shapiro is music director of the Prince Edward Island Symphony and of the Cecilia Chorus of New York, which performs twice annually at Carnegie Hall; artistic director of Cantori New York; and principal guest conductor of the chamber orchestra Nova Sinfonia in Halifax. Opera credits include Juilliard Vocal Arts, American Opera Projects, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Underworld Opera, and the Opera Company of Middlebury. Mr. Shapiro is one of a handful of North American conductors to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award four times. He has released several commercial recordings, one of which was an Opera News Editor’s Choice. Each summer he directs the conducting program of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris. He lectures frequently on Music and Mind, and is active as a speaker at orchestral concerts.

Mary Birnbaum (Director)
Mary Birnbaum’s recent production of The Classical Style at Carnegie Hall was hailed as “absurdly funny yet genuinely insightful” by The New York Times. Ms. Birnbaum has directed in Ojai (world premiere, The Classical Style), Houston (Hänsel und Gretel), New York (Eugene Onegin, La finta giardiniera, and others), Melbourne, Israel, and worked with the New World Symphony and New York Festival of Song. She has assisted Stephen Wadsworth at Santa Fe Opera and on Broadway, and was associate director of his Ring Cycle at Seattle Opera. Ms. Birnbaum’s theatrical work includes the feminist pop concert, Baby No More Times. She has an A.B. from Harvard and a certificate from École Jacques Lecoq. At The Juilliard School, she was the first Marcus Directing Fellow and is currently the associate director of the Artist Diploma program, where she teaches acting to singers.

The Cast

Avery Amereau (Lucretia)
Mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau, from Jupiter, Fla., is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. Ms. Amereau has garnered much attention for the unique quality of her voice and sensitivity to interpretation. Last season at Juilliard, Ms. Amereau made her operatic debut as Olga in Eugene Onegin, followed by Mme. de la Haltière in Cendrillon. Ms. Amereau has established a wide repertoire of oratorio and concert work, and is equally comfortable in the world of art song. Later this season, Ms. Amereau will sing the title role of Carmen with New York Opera Exchange, as well as in an all-Bach tour with Juilliard415, conducted by Masaaki Suzuki. Avery Amereau is a proud recipient of a Kovner Fellowship at The Juilliard School.

Amanda Lynn Bottoms (Bianca)
Amanda Lynn Bottoms, mezzo-soprano, is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Marlena Malas. Under the instruction of Mrs. Laurie Tramuta, Ms. Bottoms won the 2013 Fredonia Concerto Competition. With the Hillman Opera Company, she performed the roles of Angelina/Cenerentola in La Cenerentola, Frau Reich in Die Lustigen Weiber Von Windsor, and La Principessa in Suor Angelica. With Western New York Chamber Orchestra and Student Opera theatre Association at SUNY Fredonia Opera Scenes, she appeared as the Secretary in The Consul, Mum in Albert Herring, Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas, and Dryad in Ariadne auf Naxos. Her master class credits include work with Suzanne Mentzer, Dawn Upshaw, Stefania Donzelli, Barbara Hocher, Jay Lesenger and Victoria Vargas. She is a Toulmin Foundation Scholar.

Joe Eletto (Junius)
Baritone Joe Eletto is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Robert C. White Jr. This summer, he will sing Malatesta in Don Pasquale with Crested Butte Music Festival and create the role of Felix Mendelssohn in Victoria Bond’s new opera Clara with Cutting Edge Concerts New Music Festival. While at Juilliard, he sang Le Surintendant des plaisirs in Cendrillon and made critically acclaimed debuts with Juilliard415, New York Festival of Song, and the FOCUS! festival. Last fall, he received an Encouragement Award from the Opera Index Vocal Competition. Mr. Eletto has received further training at Rice University, Caramoor Bel Canto, HGO Young Artists Vocal Academy, Oberlin in Italy, Aspen Music Festival and School, and SongFest, as a Stern Fellow. He holds the Marion L. Dears Memorial Scholarship and the Risë Stevens Scholarship.

William Goforth (Male Chorus)
Tenor William Goforth is a second-year Master of Music student from Vancouver, Wash., studying with Robert C. White Jr. At Juilliard he appeared as Triquet in Eugene Onegin and Tom Rakewell in scenes from The Rake‘s Progress. He sang in concerts including Juilliard’s Songfest, which featured works by Benjamin Britten. Mr. Goforth has received Juilliard‘s Lucrezia Bori grant for language study. He is a graduate teaching fellow in the Ear Training department. Internationally, Mr. Goforth studied at the Franz Schubert Institut (Austria), Georg Solti Accademia (Italy), and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme (U.K.). He recently performed with pianist Wenwen Du at the Casalmaggiore International Music Festival (Italy), and with Steven Blier in a New York Festival of Song residency. He holds the Philo Higley Scholarship, the Ben Holt Memorial Scholarship in Voice, and the Risë Stevens Scholarship.

Marguerite Jones (Female Chorus)
A native of Long Island, N.Y., mezzo-soprano Marguerite Jones is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. Ms. Jones has previously worked with Lorraine Nubar and Cynthia Sanner at the Juilliard Pre-College program, as well as with Marlene Rosen at Oberlin Conservatory. She has also worked with Danielle Orlando and Enza Ferrari at the Oberlin in Italy Program, and Dalton Baldwin and Sung-Kil Kim at the Académie Internationale d‘été de Nice. Her most recent opera performances include the roles of Dorothée in Massenet’s Cendrillon, Anya, a new role created for the 2014 Juilliard Opera production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Concepción in Ravel’s L’heure espagnole, and Tulip Brenner in Bolcom’s A Wedding. She holds the Philo Higley Scholarship, the Mary E. Birsh Scholarship in Voice, and the Edith B. Carr Scholarship.

Kurt Kanazawa (Tarquinius)
Baritone Kurt Kanazawa, from Los Angeles, Calif., is pursuing a Graduate Diploma at Juilliard, studying with Marlena Malas. Mr. Kanazawa has recently performed under James Levine, Speranza Scappucci, and Richard Egarr, and is the winner of the Premio Speciale at the Riccardo Zandonai Concorso and the Lucrezia Bori Grant to the Sorbonne. Mr. Kanazawa is a graduate of Columbia University. His Juilliard performances have included vocal solos with Juilliard415 (Hail! Bright Cecilia), and covering Il Conte (Le nozze di Figaro) and Prosdocimo (Il Turco in Italia). Other past performances have included concerts with I Sing Beijing in Paris, Beijing, and New York’s Alice Tully Hall, and the title role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, receiving The Scotsman’s Four Stars and a Top 30 Show award. He holds the Raymond Brick Memorial Scholarship, the Risë Stevens Scholarship, and the Janet Southwick Norwood Scholarship.

Daniel Miroslaw (Collatinus)
Bass Daniel Miroslaw is an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at Juilliard where he studies with Edith Wiens. Mr. Miroslaw won a Special Prize at the 15th Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Competition. He earned his bachelor‘s degree from the Łódź Academy of Music and his master‘s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim. He holds the Risë Stevens Scholarship, the Pfeiffenberger Memorial Scholarship and is supported by the Hardesty and Beverley Peck Johnson Fund.

Christine Price (Lucia)
Soprano Christine Price, from Tulsa, Okla., is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. Ms. Price made her Alice Tully Hall debut in 2012 as the soloist in Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 with the Juilliard Pre-College Orchestra conducted by Adam Glaser. She graduated from Juilliard’s Pre- College Division in voice in 2010, and that same year sang at the dedication of the Mary Rodgers Guettel Pre-College Suite. In 2012, Ms. Price sang the title role in the Manhattan School of Music’s Summer Voice Festival production of La Calisto. In 2013, she sang in Side By Side by Sondheim at M.S.M. with the American Musical Theater Ensemble. Ms. Price also sang the role of Doriclea in M.S.M.’s Senior Opera production of La Doriclea in 2014.

About the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard Brian Zeger, Artistic Director

One of America’s most prestigious programs for educating singers, The Juilliard School’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts offers young artists programs tailored to their talents and needs. From bachelor and master of music degrees to advanced Artist Diploma programs in voice and opera studies, Juilliard provides frequent performance opportunities, featuring singers in its own recital halls, on Lincoln Center’s stages, and around New York City. Juilliard Opera has presented numerous premieres of new operas as well as works from the standard repertoire.

Juilliard graduates may be heard in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world; diverse alumni artists include well-known performers such as Leontyne Price, Renée Fleming, Simon Estes, Tatiana Troyanos, Shirley Verrett, and Risë Stevens. Recent alumni include Isabel Leonard, Susanna Phillips, Paul Appleby, and Sasha Cooke, among others.

Pianist Brian Zeger has built a distinguished international performance career in addition to appearing as artistic administrator, educator, and radio broadcaster. In a career spanning more than two decades, Mr. Zeger has enjoyed collaborations with many of the world’s top artists and enjoys an active career as a chamber musician. Currently he is artistic director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School and the executive director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program. 

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