LSM Newswire

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Green Mountain Opera Festival

Green Mountain Opera Festival Announces 2009 Season
May 28 – June 21, 2009

Waitsfield, VT -- Taras Kulish, Artistic Director of the Green Mountain Opera Festival, has announced plans for the 2009 Festival season. Now in its fourth year, the Festival brings talented artists to Vermont's scenic Mad River Valley to give concerts and master classes in the beautifully renovated historic Joslyn Round Barn ( and other venues. The three and a half week long Festival will culminate with two fully staged performances of Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro, at the Barre Opera House on June 19 and 21. The Festival orchestra and chorus will accompany the opera.

Kulish says, "Mozart's Figaro is one of my favorite operas, which will charm everyone. This piece is like a modern day soap opera filled with love and betrayal, laughter and tears, and of course the transcendent music of Mozart. What else could one wish for in today's world but to be swept away by a fun plot and gorgeous music!"

This year, Kulish is especially excited to have engaged Canadian maestro Jacques Lacombe as conductor. Lacombe served as principal guest conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal from 2002 to 2006 and is a regular guest conductor with orchestras throughout Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2009, he returns to the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In 2004, he conducted Massenet's Werther at the Metropolitan Opera and was invited back in 2005 to conduct Strauss's Die Fledermaus. Anthony Tommasini, opera critic for the New York Times, praised Lacombe's conducting as "lithe, crisp and refreshingly unmannered."

Ellen Schlaefer will join the Festival as stage director. She has directed productions for the Washington Opera and has collaborated with Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti. Schlaefer has directed all over the United States in houses such as Houston Grand Opera, Connecticut Opera, Michigan Opera, Orlando Opera, Santa Fe Opera among others. She is general director and founder of Fly By Night Productions, a nonprofit organization that produces Opera for Kids, with performances in elementary schools to introduce children to opera. Schlaefer serves as director of opera studies at the University of South Carolina.

American soprano Jennifer Aylmer will sing the role of Susanna. Aylmer made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera during its 2005-2006 season, singing Bella in Tobias Picker's An American Tragedy and returned the next year to sing Papagena in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In 2006, she sang Gretel in Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel at New York City Opera. Aylmer has recently sung with Portland Opera, Atlanta Opera, Utah Opera, Minnesota Opera and several other theaters and orchestras. She is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard Opera Center.

Minnesota baritone Andrew Wilkowske will sing the title role of Figaro, which he has previously sung for the Minnesota Opera. This season's engagements have included the role of the Scientist in the North American premiere of Howard Shore's The Fly at Los Angeles Opera, directed by David Cronenberg and conducted by Placido Domingo. He has also performed with Minnesota Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Lyric Opera San Antonio and Opera Pacific.

Mezzo-soprano Adriana Zabala will perform the role of Cherubino. She was recently praised by the New York Times as "a vivid, fearless presence," and by the L.A. Times as "extraordinary." She will sing the title role in Rossini's La Cenerentola with the Atlanta Opera and Rosina in The Barber of Seville at Opera Carolina. Zabala performs extensively internationally and throughout the United States. She also serves as Artistic Director of the Southeastern Festival of Song.

Chicago soprano Kate Mangiameli will sing Countess Almaviva, a role she has previously sung with Shreveport Opera. Since launching her career, she has won praise in roles from a wide repertoire. The Charlottesville Daily Progress called her voice "full and luxurious" with "beautiful sforzandos and pianissimos that were breath-taking." She has sung with opera companies such as Florida Grand Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Eugene Opera, Ash Lawn Opera Festival, Opera Omaha, and was a graduate of the prestigious San Francisco Opera Merola Program.

Canadian baritone Phillip Addis will sing the role of Count Almaviva. He is making his debut in this same role with the Florida Grand Opera just before he arrives in Vermont. During the last few seasons, he has sung with many opera companies in the United States, Europe and Canada, most notably singing the role of Zurga in Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles at L'Opéra de Montréal in 2008. Last season in the United States, he performed with Opera Carolina, Atlanta Opera and Fort Worth Opera.

Canadian mezzo soprano Katrina Corbeil will take on the role of Marcellina, and American bass Mark Freiman will sing the role of Bartolo. American character tenor Brett Noorigian-Colby will sing the roles of Basilio and Curzio.

For the third year, the Festival is continuing its Emerging Artist Program under the direction of pianist and coach Bruce Stasyna. This year the program welcomes five new singers who will spend three and half weeks of intense training and performing. Free and open to the public master classes will continue at the historic Joslyn Round Barn. The program features masters such as American bass-baritone Sanford Sylvan, maestro Jacques Lacombe and others. For the first time, the Festival will include an abridged version of Donizetti's opera The Elixir of Love performed by the Emerging Artists at the Round Barn on June 11.

The Festival also features the Opening Gala Performance on June 4, a Broadway Picnic on June 10, an Opera & Conversation Lunch on June 18, and a variety of free open rehearsals master classes. Prior to the Festival a concert of Opera's Greatest Moments will be performed on March 7 at the Barre Opera House and the Festival's Annual Gala Fundraiser will be held on March 22 at the Joslyn Round Barn.

The Green Mountain Opera Festival is sponsored by the Green Mountain Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Inn at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield, Vermont. The Festival is proud to announce that it has recently received a generous grant from the US National Endowment for the Arts and is supported by several foundations and individual contributions. For more information on Festival activities, call the GMCC at 802-496-7722 or go to

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