ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 30, 2015) – Skylark Opera’s Summer Festival 2015 features two first-ever Twin Cities productions: Stephen Sondheim’s Putting It Together and Giacomo Puccini’s La Rondine. The area premieres will be presented in repertory from June 12-21 at the 310-seat E.M. Pearson Theatre at Concordia University, 312 N. Hamline Ave. in Saint Paul.
Tenor Won Whi Choi stars in the lead role of Riggero in La Rondine. He is an international singer, recently performing with Hong Kong Opera, the Croatian National Theater and Opera pa Skaret (Sweden). Of a July 2013 Tales of Hoffmann performance, a New York Times reviewer raved, “Mr. Choi sang with an attractive tenor, demonstrating strong top notes, fluid phrasing and a darker-hued lower register, revealing nuanced shades of Hoffmann’s impetuous, drunken and melancholy moods.”
Puccini’s La Rondine, directed by Ben Krywosz of Nautilus Music-Theater with musical direction by Skylark Artistic Director Steve Stucki, opens at 7:30pm on Saturday, June 13. A passionate love story with a fascinating heroine, this exquisite blend of operetta’s romance and opera’s deep emotion features some of the most sumptuous music Puccini ever wrote.
This La Rondine (The Swallow) will be set in post-WWII Paris and sung in English, and will welcome four rising opera stars to the Twin Cities: Cecilia Violetta López as Magda, Won Whi Choi as Ruggero, Lindsay Russell as Lisette, and Norman Shankle as Prunier.
According to Opera News, “López has a sumptuous, flexible soprano that carries emotion easily without ever being overwhelmed by it.” She recently performed with Virginia Opera (Norfolk) as Violetta in Verdi’s La Traviata in March and will understudy the role of Sylviane in the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming production of Lehar’s The Merry Widow in April and May.
Soprano Russell is “poised on the fast track to the major league” (Opera Today) and has been praised as “radiant and authentic” by Opera News and an artist with a “gracious tone” by The New York Times. She recently had her Carnegie Hall debut in Schubert’s Mass in G Major and Mozart’s Missa Brevis in C.
Tenor Shankle is currently enjoying worldwide acclaim for his portrayals of Mozart’s most famous tenors. The Boston Globe called Shankle “a real find, a singer of elegance, grace and conviction,” and the San Francisco Chronicle praised him equally as “clearly a singer to watch.”
Skylark favorite Robert Neu returns to direct Putting It Together, a compelling evening of theater offering songs from many of Sondheim’s familiar musicals, including Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Merrily We Roll Along. Drawing its title from a song in Sunday in the Park with George, this unique blend of book musical and revue features two couples and a mysterious guest exploring the many dimensions of life and love during an elegant Manhattan cocktail party.
Andrew Fleser provides musical direction and Paul Coate, Vicki Fingalson, Emily Gunyou Halaas, Jeffrey Madison and Gabriel Preisser supply the singing in this brilliant, clever and witty production. Putting It Together opens the Summer Festival at 7:30pm on Friday, June 12.
Summer Festival Tickets are available at www.ticketworks.com or by phone at 612-343-3390. A festival package for both productions is $78 for adults and $40 for students, and single tickets are $45 for adults and $22 for students with discounts available for seniors, children, and groups, and a limited number of front-row seats for $29. There is a free preview talk 45 minutes before each performance.
Skylark Opera presents two Twin Cities premieres for its Summer Festival 2015. Stephen Sondheim’s brilliant, clever and witty Putting It Together and Puccini’s gorgeous, aching La Rondine.
Friday, June 12 @ 7:30pm – Putting It Together
Saturday, June 13 @ 7:30pm – La Rondine
Sunday, June 14 @ 3pm – Putting It Together
Wednesday, June 17 @ 7:30pm – La Rondine
Thursday, June 18 @ 7:30pm – Putting It Together
Friday, June 19 @ 7:30pm – La Rondine
Saturday, June 20 @ 7:30pm – Putting It Together
Sunday, June 21 @ 3pm – La Rondine
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
A musical revue
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Directed by Robert Neu
Musical direction by Andrew Fleser
Friday, June 12 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, June 14 @ 3pm
Thursday, June 18 @ 7:30pm – Open Captioning
Saturday, June 20 @ 7:30pm
Five characters, an elegant Manhattan cocktail party and Stephen Sondheim songs from many of his musicals create a compelling evening of theater.
LA RONDINE (The Swallow)
By Giacomo Puccini
Directed by Ben Krywosz
Musical direction by Steve Stucki
Saturday, June 13 @ 7:30pm
Wednesday, June 17 @ 7:30pm
Friday, June 19 @ 7:30pm
Sunday, June 21 @ 7:30pm
A passionate love story with a fascinating heroine, this exquisite blend of operetta’s romance and opera’s deep emotion features some of the most sumptuous music Puccini ever wrote.
About Skylark Opera
Skylark Opera, founded in 1979, is known for a wide-ranging repertoire of opera, operetta and musical theatre, emphasizing strongly balanced musical and theatrical values. The company performs a distinctive mix of familiar favorites, new creations and off-the-beaten-path adventures, including many productions that are first-runs on Twin Cities’ stages. All productions are in English and performed without artificial amplification. Skylark also performs free public concerts and offers educational programs introducing middle and high school students to the wonderful art of opera.
Skylark Opera’s Summer Festival 2015 is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.