December 27, 2010: Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Vistors
Opera@theLibrary completed a successful 2010 season with a historical 1955 televised performance of Menotti’s classic holiday favorite, Amahl and the Night Visitors. 45 hardy opera fans were in the house on a cold afternoon to enjoy the delightful one-act opera based on the story of the visit of the Magi and a special Christmas gift. Guests were entertained by the musical accompaniment of Al Leslie on keyboard who played holiday tunes before and after the performance, and everyone enjoyed cookies and warm punch after the program. January 2011 brings us to the start of our much-anticipated German cycle, beginning with Richard Strauss’s Salome and Der Rosenkavalier, followed by Wagner’s Grail operas Lohengrin and Parsifal, and two Mozart favorites, Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte. The second half of the year will be devoted to our all-Verdi cycle, for purists of great Italian opera at its best.
Opera@theLibrary celebrated its first anniversary in November with 65opera lovers in attendance, including distinguished guests and friends, to a bravura 2007 ROH/Covent Garden production of Humperdinck’s perennial holiday favorite, Hansel und Gretel, with Diana Damrau and Angelika Kirschlager in the title roles. Everyone was given a token of appreciation for their loyal support and great success of the program, and was treated to cider, candies, and cookies at the intermission. Next month we will be presenting Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, commissioned exclusively by NBC to be the first opera ever written for and produced for television. In January 2011 we begin the German cycle, and will examine Richard Strauss’s Salome, and his Der Rosenkavalier in February. We will continue in March and April with the Grail operas of Richard Wagner, with the tale of the swan knight Lohengrin, and his father, the “pure fool”, Parsifal. In May and June we will contrast W.A. Mozart’s early Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail with the Masonic themes in his last opera Die Zauberflote.
October 25, 2010: Charles Gounod’s Faust
A total of 48 opera fans and guests were in attendance for a 1985 taped performance of Gounod's masterpiece Faust, live from the Wiener Staatsoper, which was based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust. This production was directed by Ken Russell, and featured Francisco Araiza in the title role, Ruggero Raimondi as Mephistopheles, and Gabriela Benackova as Marguerite. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the program and delighted in cherry cookies drizzled in chocolate and sipped on some foaming devil's brew punch at the intermission. In November, we will be viewing Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel, and Opera@theLibrary will celebrate its 1st anniversery. In December, we will watch the perennial Christmas favorite, Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors, which will complete the 2010 cycle. In January, we will begin the 2011 German cycle with one of Richard Strauss's most controversial operas, Salome.
September 27, 2010: Arrigo Boito's Mefistofele
Over 54 Opera fans and guests were treated to a spectacular performance of Boito's rarely performed masterpiece Mefistofele, which was based on Goethe's Faust. The 1989 live production from the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco featured world-renowned bass Samuel Ramey in his signature role as the devil Mephistopheles. Everyone was duly impressed with the program and enjoyed miniature chocolate and red devil's food cupcakes and sipped on some black cherry devil's brew punch at the intermission. We will continue examining differing interpretations of the Faust legends in Gounod's Faust in October. In November and December we look forward to perennial opera favorites Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel and Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors to round out the 2010 year. In January we eagerly look forward to the long-awaited German cycle for the first half of 2011 featuring works of Richard Strauss, W.A. Mozart, and Richard Wagner.
August 30, 2010: Jules Massenet’s Manon
We’ve opened our second operatic cycle this month with a magnificent performance of Massenet’s Manon from the 2001 Opera National de Paris production with Marcelo Alvarez and Renee Fleming in the title role. Over 72 opera fans were in attendance, including members and guests from the Legacy Opera Club in Leesburg. Everyone was enthralled with the performance and guests relished upon madeleines and petite chocolates, and sipped an elegant mock champagne punch at the intermission. We now look forward to our upcoming opera programs, which will include differing interpretations of the Faust legends in Boito’s Mefistofele and Gounod’s Faust; with holiday offerings in November from Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel, and in December with Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors.
July 26, 2010: Giacomo Puccini's Manon Lescaut
We've completed our Puccini cycle this month with a splendid performance of Manon Lescaut from the 1983 Royal Opera House, Covent Garden production with Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa. Over 66 people were in attendance, including distinguished guest Dr. Charles Mojock, LSCC President. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the program and guests relished upon un petit cupcakes, rainbow sherbet, and an elegant punch at the intermission. We now eagerly look forward to our exciting second cycle of great opera programs, which will include differing interpretations of Manon in the Abbe Prevost novel in Massenet's Manon; Faustian themes in Boito's Mefistofele and Gounod's Faust; and holiday offerings from Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel and Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors.
June 28, 1010: Giacomo Puccini's Il Trittico (the Triptych)
Fifty opera fans were in attendance for Puccini's trio of these one-act operas that make up the Triptych. Each opera was composed to convey the powerful emotions of jealousy, sentimentality, and greed. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this exciting performance from La Scala's 1983 season. At intermission our opera-goers savored sparkling punch, teacakes, and assorted treats. Our Puccini cycle concludes next month with his Manon Lescaut, and we will then begin a new cycle of exciting operatic performances featuring operas in French and English, as well as new German and Italian cycles in 2011.
May 24, 2010: Giacomo Puccini's La Rondine
Forty opera aficionados enjoyed viewing a vintage performance of Giacomo Puccini's La Rondine, which is rarely performed in the repertory. However, a renewed interest in the work has seen new productions of La Rondine being performed at major opera houses the world over. Guests enjoyed the decadent hand-made dark chocolate truffles, petite eclairs, and a sparkling black cherry punch (a la Parisienne) at the first intermission. We will continue our Puccini cycle of operas through August, when we will begin an exciting new cycle of great opera performances. Please check out our web presence at http://sites.google.com/site/operaatthelibrary/home for updated news and information about our monthly opera programs at the library.
April 26, 2010: Giacomo Puccini's Turandot
There were 76 die-hard opera fans in attendance for this spectacular performance of Puccini's final opera. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the program which showcased Placido Domingo and Eva Marton in a lavish Zeffirelli production at the Met. Everyone there was enthralled with the glorious music and eagerly anticipates the following operas in the remainder of our Puccini cycle. Chow mein cookies and ginger snaps with bubbling jade punch was a big hit at intermission, as was the fortune cookie everyone received before the final act. We look forward to bringing you more great operas and thank everyone for their support for quality cultural programs.
Over 75 guests were in attendance at one of Puccini's most popular and endearing operas. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this stark and authentic La Scala production that featured Japanese leads. At intermission, our opera patrons enjoyed butterfly cookies and cherry blossom punch. There were few dry eyes in the house at the end of this powerful and tragic story of a Japanese woman's enduring love and devotion to the American Naval officer who married and then abandoned her.
February 22, 2010: Giacomo Puccini's La Fanciulla del West
Forty-nine guests enjoyed a fast-paced adventure set during the 1850's California Gold Rush at our fourth opera event, Puccini's La Fanciulla del West. Based on the play The Girl of the Golden West by David Belasco, the lavish La Scala production featured Placido Domingo, Maria Zampieri, and Juan Pons. Sparkling golden cowboy punch and strawberry shortcake made up the refreshments. (The bottle of whiskey on the red-checked tablecloth was just for show!) In addition, Roxanne Brown of the Daily Commercial was on hand to take photos and interview guests. The excellent article she wrote about Opera@theLibrary can be found at http://www.dailycommercial.com/022710opera!
January 28, 2010: Giacomo Puccini's Tosca
Our third opera event, Puccini's Tosca drew over thirty opera devotees. Everyone enjoyed the lavish production and stellar performances of Placido Domingo, Hildegard Behrens, and Cornell MacNeill. Fresh, homemade baked goods and fruit punch were served and enjoyed by all during the intermissions. We welcome all interested persons to join us at future programs for your education and entertainment of the operatic experience.