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Toledo Opera, 2016- Published Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Toledo Opera Goes for Laughs
Toledo, OH – Toledo Opera‘s season will begin with performances of Rossini’s comic masterpiece The Barber of Seville at the Valentine Theatre on October 7, at 7:30pm, and October 9 at 2pm. Setting the first of the French playwright Beaumarchais’ three “Figaro” plays, The Barber of Seville will be followed, in February, by Mozart’s charming masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro, which sets the second installment of the trilogy.
Ever since its premiere in 1816, The Barber of Seville has captivated audiences with its rollicking humor, charming music, and dynamic singing. The mad-capped comedy pits the wits of the lowly barber Figaro against those of the aged Doctor Bartolo, as Figaro tries to bring together the young lovers Count Almaviva and Rosina, Bartolo’s ward.
The Barber of Seville will be a co-production with Opera Carolina, directed and designed by Bernard Uzan, with Toledo underwriting from Block Communications Inc. and ProMedica. Soprano Kathryn Lewek, who wowed Toledo audiences in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor in 2015, will play Rosina. Figaro will be played by baritone Hyung Yun, who appeared alongside Ms. Lewek as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. Tenor Victor Ryan Robinson, as Count Almaviva, and baritone Steven Cody, as Dr. Bartolo, will complete the cast. James Meena will conduct the production, with the Toledo Symphony Orchestra in the pit.
In addition to lectures for ticket holders one hour before each performance at the Valentine Theatre, Toledo Opera will host a Tuesday Talk at 5:30pm on October 4 at Registry Bistro. Free and open to the public, the talk will be an opportunity to hear about Beaumarchais, Rossini, and The Barber of Seville from conductor James Meena, director Bernard Uzan, and University of Toledo French literature scholar Dr. Linda Rouillard. A wine reception ($10) will follow the discussion.
Tickets are now on sale, range in price from $40 to $90, and can be purchased by calling the Toledo Opera box office at 419-255-7464 or visiting www.toledoopera.org. There will also be a Student Night at the Opera performance on Wednesday, October 5, sponsored by The Andersons, allowing middle, high school, and university students an opportunity to see the production for only $5. Interested students and teachers should contact the Toledo Opera Box Office.
ARTIST PHOTOS AND INTERVIEWS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
JAMES MEENA, CONDUCTOR
James Meena, Opera Carolina’s General Director and Principal Conductor since 2000, consistently earns critical acclaim for his artistic vision and dynamic presence on the podium. The breadth of his repertoire is represented by the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, Berlioz and Verdi, the world première of Victor Davies’ Transit of Venus, to full ballet productions and symphony concerts. This season, at Opera Carolina he conducts their productions of Fidelio and an exciting new co-production of Roméo et Juliette, which he will also be conducting at Virginia Opera, and Toledo Opera, Madama Butterfly at Opéra de Montréal, Porgy and Bess at Toledo Opera, and Die Zauberflöte at Michigan Opera Theatre. In recent engagements, he conducted Nabucco, Turandot, and Lucia di Lammermoor for Opera Carolina, Tosca and Lucia di Lammermoor for Toledo Opera, and Porgy and Bess with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. He also conducted the Gala Concert for the Marcello Giordani Foundation in Taormina, and débuts with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra Classics series and symphony concerts with the Orchestra of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Italy.
Bernard Uzan, stage director
As a stage director and producer, Bernard Uzan’s 400 productions have won numerous awards and appeared on the stages of more than 100 opera companies throughout the world in such cities as Buenos Aires, Caracas, Catania, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Mexico City, Miami, Monte Carlo, Palermo, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santiago, Seattle, Zurich, Toronto, Vancouver, and Erfurt, where his recent production of Carmen was voted Best Production of the Year. Committed to nurturing the artists of tomorrow, Mr. Uzan has kept teaching courses, classes, and workshops an integral part of his schedule. He is also co-founder and Director of Uzan International Artists, a leader in international artist management with a diverse roster including classical singers for opera and concert, actors for stage and screen, directors, designers, and conductors.
KATHRYN LEWEK, SOPRANO
Soprano Kathryn Lewek is rapidly establishing herself as one of the most promising coloratura sopranos of this generation. Ms. Lewek’s interpretation of her signature role, a quintessential Mozart villain, Queen of the Night, has garnered international critical acclaim: “Kathryn Lewek was sensational as The Queen of the Night. She produced all those acrobatic vocal runs effortlessly, without a single note out of place.” She performed the role in productions of Die Zauberflöte in débuts with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bregenzer Festspiele, the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Opera Leipzig, Opera de Toulon, English National Opera, Nashville Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Last season alone, she reprised the Queen in débuts worldwide with The Royal Danish Opera, Wiener Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera, Welsh National Opera, and in a return to The Metropolitan Opera. During the 2015-2015 season, she appeared in the role at Teatro Real in Madrid.
Victor Ryan Robinson, tenor (Count Almaviva)
American tenor Victor Ryan Robertson offers versatile singing ability and style, allowing him to cross seamlessly between genres. From opera repertoire to pop music and everything in between, Robertson has delighted international audiences to critical acclaim. This season, he will perform the role of Benny Peret Jr. in Champion with Opera Parallele, Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess with Spoleto Festival USA, and sings with an exciting new project entitled World Tenors Unleashed produced by the creators of Three Mo’ Tenors. Widely noted for the portrayal of Count Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, he has performed the role with the Minnesota Opera, Opera Carolina, Michigan Opera Theatre, Manitoba Opera, PORT Opera, and Arizona Opera.
Hyung Yun, baritone (Figaro)
Baritone Hyung Yun regularly performs on some of the most esteemed opera stages in the United States. With The Metropolitan Opera he has performed numerous roles including Valentin in Faust under Maestro James Levine, Ping in Turandot, Lescaut in Manon with Renee Fleming in the title role, and Silvio in Pagliacci. With Los Angeles Opera he made his début as Angelotti in Tosca and returned to sing Marcello in La bohème, Micheletto Cibo in Die Gezeichneten, and Lescaut in Manon under the baton of Plácido Domingo. He débuted as Ping in Turandot with the Santa Fe Opera and returned to sing in their 50th Anniversary Gala Concert. This season, Yun returns to The Metropolitan Opera for productions of Turandot, Les pêcheurs de perles, and Roberto Devereux, and will perform the role of Germont in La traviata with Ash Lawn Opera. He will also perform as the baritone soloist in Hayes’ Requiem and Faure Requiem with Mid-America Productions. He last appeared with Toledo Opera in the role of Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (2015).
Steven Condy, baritone (Bartolo)
Steven Condy enjoys a career filled with notoriety and acclaim for his creative portrayals of the great “buffo” roles, and is admired not only for his robust and nuanced voice but also for his natural acting ability. The Washington Times enthused that he has “the comic timing of John Candy and a voice that remains flexible, rich and true through every intricacy,” and Anthony Tomassini of the New York Times offered that he would “vote the prize for the most naturally clear diction of the cast to the hardy baritone Steven Condy.” This season, Condy will delight audiences with his performances in the title role of Don Pasquale at Opera Naples and Opera on the James; make an appearance as Falstaff with Opera Delaware; sing Handel’s Messiah with New Jersey Masterworks Chorus; and appear as Dr. Bartolo in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Lyric Opera Baltimore.