FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 5, 2013
Contact: Paula Mlyn
LITTLE OPERA THEATRE OF NY PRESENTS THE REFORMED DRUNKARD: A COMIC OPERA BY CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK
NEW YORK, NY—The Little Opera Theatre of NY announces its spring 2013 production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s tragi-comic opera The Reformed Drunkard. Eight performances will be presented from MARCH 16-24 at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Performance times are 8:15 pm for Fridays and Saturdays, including March 16, 22, and 23; 7:15 pm for Tuesday-Thursday performances, March 19-21; and 3:15 pm for two Sunday matinees, March 17 and 24. Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59e59 members), and can be purchased online at TicketCentral.com; by phone at (212) 279-4200; or at the 59E59 Theaters’ Box Office.
The production is directed by Philip Shneidman, conducted by Richard Owen, with set design by award-winning designer Neil Patel, costume design by Lara de Bruijn, and lighting design by Nick Solyom. The double cast for The Reformed Drunkard features Brian Downen/TBD, tenors (Mathurin); Teresa Bucholz/TBD, mezzo-sopranos (Mathurine); Candice Hoyes/Jessica Sandidge (Colette); Jonathan Winell/Michael Boley, tenors (Cléon); and Ron Loyd/Matthew Singer, baritones (Lucas). Sung in English, the original adaptation and translation is by the director and Ivana Mestrovic.
The Reformed Drunkard (1760) is a comic opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787) written two years prior to his celebrated work on Orfeo ed Euridice (1762). The opera is originally titled L’ivrogne corrigé, with a libretto by Louis Anseaume and Jean‐Baptiste Lourdet de Santerre, and is based upon a fable of La Fontaine.
In a state of inebriation, the drunkard Mathurin decides to marry off his niece Colette, who loves someone else. Colette, her aunt Mathurine, and her true love Cléon hatch a plan. When Mathurin passes out from too much drinking, they create a hallucinatory trip to the underworld. Disguised as Pluto and Two Furies, they place the marriage contract and their uncle’s reckless ways on trial.
Gluck’s first opéras comiques were imported from France to Vienna in the 1750s. The composer would replace the typically French ariettes with his own melodies, more to the taste of Austrian audiences. Over the next decade, Gluck contributed more to the pieces, rewriting them wholesale rather than revising them. Before long, Gluck’s writing was less adaptation, and more his own creation. The playful, inventive stories, and the corresponding dramatic structure were a strong departure from the prevalent opera seria. Gluck’s eight comic operas, dating from the middle of his career, helped to expand his musical vocabulary andlead to the operatic reforms of his later works.
The Reformed Drunkard, one of the most charming in the genre, premiered at Vienna’s Burgtheater in 1760. Gluck mixed buoyant folk tunes, comic trios, and heartfelt melodies. A tenor aria for the young lover Cléon is a sketch for Gluck’s celebrated “Che farò senza Euridice?” The nearly through composed scene in underworld presages his writing for Orfeo. Performed with some frequency during his lifetime, The Reformed Drunkard disappeared from the repertoire following Gluck’s death. It was rediscovered by Vincent D’Indy in France in 1922, and then staged in Berlin in 1943. The first known American performances were at Tanglewood in 1953 with piano. LOTNY’s presentation will use an intimate chamber ensemble and focus the attention on the five principal characters.
ABOUT LITTLE OPERA THEATRE OF NY AND THE PRODUCTION TEAM
The Little Opera Theatre of NY (LOTNY) is a chamber opera company that was founded in September of 2004. Last spring, LOTNY presented Travelers, a double-bill featuring two rarities by Gustav Holst (The Wandering Scholar and Sāvitri). A “Critic’s Pick” in The New Yorker and The New York Times, Travelers garnered critical praise with Zachary Woolfe noting the operas were “a delicate balance of grandeur and intimacy.” Parterre Box wrote, “The program is happily cast, the voices strong, the diction clear and emphatic, the acting polished.” In 2011, LOTNY presented the New York Stage premiere of Mozart’s youthful opera, Mitridate, re di Ponto to sold-out houses, and received widespread press coverage. Previous seasons have included the U.S. premiere of César Cui’s A Feast in the Time of the Plague with Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart & Salieri in a double-billed program entitled 2 Little Tragedies of Pushkin, Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, and a performance of Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein’s opera, The Mother of Us All at The Box in a collaboration with the artist Sherrie Levine. Work with living composers include the recent production of Inessa Zaretsky’s Man in a Black Coat as part of Target Margin’s Last Futurist Lab at The Bushwick Starr. Concert presentations have included, The Bohemians, music of Giacomo Puccini, presented at Socrates Sculpture Park as part of the city wide September Concert for 9/11.
Richard Owen (conductor) has a busy career as a pianist, organist and conductor. Following conducting studies in Vienna Austria, Maestro Owen was invited by Kurt Masur to guest conduct a reading with the New York Philharmonic and later became a staff conductor there. Mr. Owen is currently Music Director and conductor of Camerata New York Orchestra and has collaborated with artists such as Alec Baldwin, Alvin Ailey and Aprile Millo in concerts in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. From 2005-2007, Owen was a conductor at the Deutsche Oper Am Rhein. Mr. Owen was also a visiting conducting associate at the San Francisco Opera and has conducted, among others, the Belgrade Philharmonic, the Duisburg Symphony, the Dusseldorf Symphony, the Staatskapelle Symphony Weimar, the Monterrey Symphony, the Rzeszow Philharmonic, the Silesian Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Pacific Symphony, the Baltic Opera and the Jacksonville Symphony. He has been a music director of the Bleecker Street Opera, the Amore Opera and the Delaware Valley Opera. Mr. Owen graduated from Dartmouth College, where he was a recipient of a piano scholarship and studied piano, accompanying and conducting at the Manhattan School of Music.
Philip Shneidman (director) founded the Little Opera Theatre of NY. His most recent work was Travelers, an original double bill of two one act operas by Gustav Holst. For little OPERA he has also directed Mitridate, re di Ponto – the NYC stage premiere; La Finta Giardiniera, The Mother of Us All with the artist Sherrie Levine, and 2 Little Tragedies of Pushkin with Mungo Thomson. Concerts include: Make Believe, The Bohemians and New York Music all at Socrates Sculpture Park. Mr. Shneidman has directed Eugene Onegin and Dialogues of the Carmelites at The Mannes College of Music. His theater directing credits include: A Drowned Girl  (HERE); Fully Committed (Adirondack Theatre Festival) Romeo & Juliet (Queens Theatre in the Park). On Broadway and at Lincoln Center Theater he has served as the Assistant Director on The Full Monty, A Delicate Balance, The Heiress, and Pride’s Crossing, among many others.
Neil Patel (scenic design) Side Man for Broadway, the West End and the Kennedy Center, Dinner with Friends in New York and on national tour, the world premiere of Bright Sheng’s Madame Mao at the Santa Fe Opera, Amon Miyamoto’s production of Cosi Fan Tutte at the Nissay Theater in Tokyo which was awarded the Japanese National Art Festival Award for theatrical production, the production design for HBO’s Peabody Award winning In Treatment and Shadowland for Pilobolus throughout Europe.
Lara de Bruijn (Costume Designer) credits include work at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Portland Stages, Berkshire Theatre Festival, La MaMa, Peterborough Players, Flux Theatre, WORKhouse Theatre, Chutzpah! Festival, Trinity Rep Consortium, The Flea, Boston Conservatory, among others. Upcoming productions include Moonlight on the Bayou, Wall Ball and Summer Fall, and Actors’ Studio Spring season.
Nick Solyom (lighting designer) credits include The Threepenny Opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Trinity Rep Consortium, and productions at The Barrow Group, Dance Theater Workshop. He is the Associate Lighting Designer for the new musicals Giant (Public Theater / Dallas Theater Center), Far From Heaven (Williamstown Theater Festival), and he is ncurrently the Assisting Lighting Designer for Cinderella on Broadway.
Ivana Mestrovic (Co- Author of Adaptation and Translation) has written catalog essays for several artists as well as co-editing Socrates Sculpture Park: 20th Anniversary. She has studied poetry with Rachel Hadas and Cornelius Eady.
ABOUT THE CAST
Teresa Buchholz (mezzo-soprano) Recent performances include the role of Mercedes in Carmen with Roanoke Opera, and an appearance at the Bard Music Festival to perform Chausson’s Chanson perpétuelle with piano quintet, which The New York Times hailed as “beautifully sung .” Buchholz has also performed the mezzo solos in Bloch’s Sacred Service in a series of concerts this summer with the Collegiate Chorale and the Israel Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta conducting in Tel Aviv, Israel and Salzburg, Vienna. Other performance include: Carnegie Hall debut as mezzo soloist for Durufle’s Requiem, The New York Philharmonic (Mendelssohn’s Elijah), The Greenwich Choral Society (Bach’s Mass in B Minor), The American Symphony Orchestra in Franz Schreker’s opera Der ferne Klang and Schumann’s oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri, and with Teatro Grattacielo in Ferrari’s I Gioielli della Madonna.
Michael Boley (tenor), recent performance highlights include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Helena Symphony Orchestra, Remendando in Carmen at Opera Charleston. With Dicapo Opera in New York City, he appeared in La Fanciulla del West, as the Chevalier de Danceny in Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons, and the Beast in Giannini’s Beauty and the Beast for which The New York Times noticed, “Michael Boley sang the Beast ardently.” Mr. Boley also appeared in the internationally telecast performances of The Crucible from the Szeged National Theater in Hungary.
Brian Downen (tenor) has sung numerous productions of principal Rossini and Mozart tenor roles with Dayton Opera, Knoxville Opera, Cleveland Opera, Columbus Opera among others. Recent performances include The Fisherman in Rossini’s Guillaume Tell with the Caramoor Festival, Don Pasquale for Lake George Opera, Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Teatr Wielki, Poland and Little Bat in Susannah with Central City Opera. This season also includes Baglioni in Daniel Catan’s Rapaccini’s Daughter with Gotham Chamber Opera and Harlekin in Der Kaiser von Atlantis for Opera Moderne.
Candice Hoyes (soprano) is a distinguished prizewinner of the 2010 Los Angeles International Liszt Competition for Lieder, and was recently featured at both the Castleton Festival for Young Artists and at the Caramoor International Music Festival. Ms. Hoyes made her Zankel Hall debut in Opera Shorts, a showcase of opera by living composers, and has sung Adele in Die Fledermaus with Nevada Opera, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia at Florida Opera Theatre, Clara in Porgy and Bess with Akron Symphony Orchestra, Oscar in Un ballo in maschera at Verismo Opera, and Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with the Amadeus Opern Ensemble in Salzburg.
Ron Loyd (baritone) began the 2012-2013 season as Rigoletto in his title role debut with Salt Marsh Opera. Two other role debuts follow this season as Mr. Loyd sings Scarpia in Tosca with Baltimore Concert Opera and Leporello in Don Giovanni with Opera Southwest. Last season he appeared in Gustav Holst’s The Wandering Scholar with the Little Opera Theatre of NY. In concert, Opera News complimented Mr. Loyd’s “solid baritone” as baritone soloist with The Collegiate Chorale and The American Symphony Orchestra for Handel’s Israel in Egypt. Mr. Loyd has appeared with The Dessoff Choirs, The Choral Society and Orchestra, and The Metropolitan Opera Guild Lecture series. Other operatic highlights include the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro with Nevada Opera and Opera Southwest; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly with El Paso Opera, Mobile Opera, and Opera Southwest.
Jessica Sandidge (soprano) recent NY performances include Freia (Das Rheingold) and Janthe (Der Vampyr) with the Liederkranz Opera Theater, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro (Chelsea Opera, Brooklyn Repertory Opera) , Nella in Gianni Schicchi (Chelsea Opera) and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus ( New York Lyric Opera). She has been featured as an emerging artist for the New Jersey Opera Theater in Princeton and in master classes with Marcello Giordani, and holds a Master’s in voice from New England Conservatory.
Matthew Singer (baritone) recent appearances include Malatesta in Don Pasquale (Underworld Productions) and as soloist in the Brahms Requiem with the Westchester Orchestra Society. His “earnest, sorrowful” (NY Times) portrayal of Aegues in Giasone (Opera Omnia) was praised for his “even bright baritone”(NY Post). Other opera includes Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Marcello in La Boehme (Salt Marsh Opera); and Danilo in The Merry Widow and the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro (Asheville Lyric Opera) He is an alumni of the Seattle and Caramoor Young Artist programs.
Jonathan Winell (tenor) recently had his Lincoln Center debut at Avery Fisher Hall as Baroncelli in Wagner’s Rienzi with The Opera Orchestra of New York. In late 2011, he appeared as Alméric in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta with the Dicapo Opera Theatre. As an Apprentice Artist with Central City Opera in 2011, Mr. Winell covered Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and performed as Le Journaliste in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias and Léon in Pasatieri’s Signor Deluso. In 2010, he covered and performed Ernesto in Don Pasquale as a Studio Artist with Opera New Jersey. In 2011, he was an Eastern Region Finalist at the Met National Council Auditions.