About The Opera
Music by Henry Purcell
Adaptation by CULTURE CLASH & Andreas Mitisek
"Lord, what fools these mortals be!" This re-imagination of A Midsummer Night's Dream is a gender-bending culture clash of social satire. Shakespeare's labyrinth of foolish love is explored through our multicultural America and fused together through Purcell's musical magic. The iconic CULTURE CLASH troupe updates the story with a Chicano tinge, and MUSICA ANGELICA—LA's premiere Baroque Orchestra - creates authentic sound.
"...an edgy contemporary cross between "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Cabaret,"" -Chicago Tribune
Purcell composed Fairy Queen in 1692 as a masque or semi-opera; The original libretto was an adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The score for the opera was lost and only rediscovered early in the twentieth century. Purcell did not set any of Shakespeare's text to music; instead he composed music for short masques in every act but the first. The play itself was shortened and updated, but in the main the spoken text is as Shakespeare wrote it. LBO has commissioned a new adaptation by CULTURE CLASH.
Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Henry Purcell was one of the greatest English composers, flourishing in the period that followed the restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period. He spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage (particularly in a hybrid musico-dramatic form of the time), for the church, and for popular entertainment. He was a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He died in 1695, a year after composing funeral music for Queen Mary.
Purcell wrote only one full opera, a short work supposedly designed for a girls’ school. The tragic story of Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, has a perfection of its own. Dido’s final lament, before she kills herself, follows the model for such compositions established by Monteverdi 80 years before. Other stage works by Purcell are in the hybrid form now known as semi-opera, combining spoken drama with a musical element that in the concert hall may be performed apart from its wider dramatic context. These semi-operas include King Arthur, with a text by the poet John Dryden, a work that includes fascinating music for a chorus of cold people, frozen by the Cold Genius but thawed by the power of Love. Purcell provided incidental music, dances and songs for a great many plays, including Aphra Behn’s Abdelazar or The Moor’s Revenge, a rondeau from which provides the theme for Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
What's a Semi-Opera?
In 17th-century England, opera hadn't really taken hold. No one seemed to like it. Instead, the English preferred a mix of musical numbers and songs inserted into a stage play, dominated by spoken dialogue. This was what Londoners expected, and as a result, it became the formula composers followed for several decades. The terms "semi-opera", "dramatic[k] opera" and "English opera" were all applied to Restoration entertainments (1660–1689) that combined spoken plays with masque-like episodes.
It might be called a "semi-opera," but The Fairy Queen required a whole crowd of performers -- essentially three separate casts comprising singers, dancers, and in its original form, actors, as well. Purcell based the piece on Shakespeare's popular play A Midsummer Night's Dream, but altered it at will to make room for self-contained musical masques (or scenes) in each of its five acts.
Ron and Tanya, known to some as Oberon and Titania, are preparing to throw a party to celebrate Ron’s birthday at Club Fairy Queen in sultry Las Vegas. The party planning comes to halt when Tanya discovers Ron flirting with one of the club’s dancers. In a haphazard attempt to fix the blunder, Puck (the fiendish club owner) offers Ron a mysterious juice from a cactus flower to renew Tanya’s love. The concoction does as promised, but cupid’s arrow has missed its mark. The magic potion finds its way into several unwitting hands causing lovers’ eyes to wander, lines of sexual orientation to blur, and hilarious chaos to arise. Shakes, a drunken poet, stands readily by to trade his sonnets for drinks and give his unsolicited advice to the lost lovers.
Musica Angelica is regarded as Southern California's premier Baroque ensemble. Since 1993 the orchestra has produced an annual subscription season of orchestral and chamber concerts in venues throughout Los Angeles County. Musica Angelica toured in March 2007 with Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Los Angeles, New York, Savannah (Savannah Music Festival), Mexico, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Italy and Germany.
Los Angeles Times hailed, "Musica Angelica soars in a Baroque gem… a triumph… Haselböck’s leadership was nuanced and inspiring." Musica Angelica was described as a "world class Baroque orchestra" by KUSC FM Classical Music Radio. In 1998, Musica Angelica issued a recording of Vivaldi Concertos for Lute, Oboe, Violin and Strings and in 2007, Handel's Acis and Galatea.
Musica Angelica collaborates with leading performing arts institutions in SoCal including Los Angeles Opera, Long Beach Opera, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Norton Simon Museum, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.
Stage Director/Production Designer/Adaptation
Since 2003, Mitisek has been LBO's Artistic & General Director. Recent LBO directing credits: The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, King Gesar, Macbeth, Tell-Tale Heart, Van Gogh, The Paper Nautilus, Ainadamar, and Maria de Buenos Aires. Recent LBO conducting credits:Thérèse Raquin, I was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, The Death of Klinghoffer, Camelia la Tejana, and The Fall of the House of Usher (co-production with COT). Other conducting credits: Joruri in Tokyo, Don Giovanni (Seattle Opera), Madama Butterfly (Orlando Opera), Jane Eyre (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis) and Eugene Onegin (Teatro Municipal in Santiago de Chile). Mitisek has also conducted the Austrian and Italian premieres of Nixon in China. In 2012, Andreas joined Chicago Opera Theater as General Director.
CEDRIC BERRY, Award winning Bass Baritone whose experience spans Opera, Broadway, American Song Book, jazz and gospel. He has performed with Los Angeles Opera, The Industry Opera, Long Beach Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival of Finnland, Banlieurs Bleues Festival of France and the Ravinia Music Festival, to name a few. He has appeared with Pacific Symphony, Arizona Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Luckman Jazz orchestra, Pasadena Pops Orchestra, California Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Telemann Chamber Orchestra of Japan. He has also been the recipient of several awards including first place in the Metropolitan Opera Western Region Competition. Notable recent engagements include the lead role of Kublai Khan in Invisible Cities, an opera which was a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. For more information visit www.cedricberry.com.
Culture Clash is Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza. Their works range from comedic sketches to full-length plays and screenplays, all of which feature political satire and social satire. The troupe's members have appeared separately and together in several films and received numerous awards, commissions and grants. In 1993 they filmed 30 episodes of a sketch comedy television series, also called Culture Clash. Some of them were aired on Fox affiliates. In 2006 they premiered two new full-length plays, the comedy Zorro in Hell and "SF: The Mexican Bus Mission Tour with CC!" Their works have been collected in two volumes, Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy and Culture Clash in AmeriCCa: Four Plays. Their papers are housed at the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Oviatt Library.
Darryl Taylor's performances have been noted for their compelling artistry and authority. His is an international career highlighted by performances of art song, opera and oratorio. Recent performance highlights include singing the title role in Phillip Glass' Akhnaten for Long Beach Opera; L.A. Opera’s groundbreaking production of Dido and Aeneas; Pergolesi and Vivaldi Stabat Mater with Lyra Baroque Orchestra of St. Paul, Minnesota; performances with the Carmel Bach Festival; the Bach Collegium San Diego under Richard Egarr, and performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Founder of the African American Art Song Alliance, his recordings on Naxos and Albany record labels have received lavish praise. Complete Solo Cantatas by Rosanna Scalfi Marcello was a Critic's Choice for Opera News this year. www.darryltaylor.com
Jonathan Weyant, tenor, hails from Scottsdale, AZ, Jonathan’s clarion tenor has been heard recently as tenor soloist in Orff’s Carmina Burana at Chicago’s Symphony Center, Lenny Small in Of Mice and Men at COI, Martin in The Tenderland Suite at Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra, and the Commanding Officer in Amelia at Chicago College of Performing Arts, where he also received his Master’s degree. Recent COT credits include Lucio Silla (Cover), Chorus, Lucio Silla; Gherardo (Cover), Gianni Schicchi.
Kimberly E. Jones
Tanya, The Fairy Queen
Soprano Kimberly Eileen Jones is an alum of the Ryan Opera Center with the prestigious Lyric Opera of Chicago. Her performances there include the slave girl, Margru, in the world premiere of Anthony Davis' Amistad, which was released nationally on the New World recording label. She also portrayed the feisty Olga in Fedora, Princess Xenia in Boris Godunov, and the spitfire Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte student matinee performances. With the Ryan Opera Center, she portrayed Laetitia in Menotti's Old Maid and the Thief. Kimberly performed in Houston Grand Opera's colorful production of the Magic Flute (Papagena), and reprised her role of Xenia in Boris Godunov. Also with Houston, she participated in their production of Porgy and Bess, as Clara. This tour graced the international stages of La Scala in Milan, the Bastille in Paris, and the Bunkamura in Tokyo, Japan. For her portrayal of Clara, she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by the NAACP Awards. Kimberly is on the voice faculty at Columbia College and Merit School of Music.
Kira Dills-DeSurra, mezzo-soprano, was born in Petaluma, CA and received a Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Arts from USC, followed by a Master’s in Vocal Performance from Roosevelt CCPA. Recently, she has sung Mary in Cabildo by Amy Beach (Chicago Premiere) with the COT Young Artists, Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette at the Castleton Fesitval, Chewy in Hand To Mouth (World Premiere) at First Look Sonoma, Sonja in The Circus Princess at Chicago Folks Operetta, and the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte at Roosevelt CCPA. Previous roles at COT include La Ciesca, Gianni Schicchi; Cecilio (Cover), Chorus, Lucio Silla.
Possessed of a rare high-tenor voice and a winning stage persona that comfortably embraces both comedic and dramatic roles, Marc Molomot enjoys an international career in opera and on the concert stage. Recent highlights include performances at Opéra Toulon and Paris's Opéra Comique in the role of "Adolphe de Valladolid" in Offenbach's Les brigands (led by conductor François-Xavier Roth). He was also featured as "Le Fils" in Poulenc's Les mamelles de Tirésias under the direction of Ludovic Morlot at Opéra de Lyon and in Paris at Opéra Comique.
The Austrian conductor and organist is the Founder and Music Director of Orchester Wiener Akademie, Vienna, Music Director of Musica Angelica, Los Angeles, and Conductor in Residence of the Liszt Festival Raiding, Austria. He has received numerous honours and awards as conductor and organist, including the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Diapason d’Or and the Hungarian Liszt Prize. Haselböck has conducts leading orchestras throughout the world. In North America his conducting credits include the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Francisco, Detroit and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Zacharias Niedzwiecki, a Michigan native, attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate degree. He performed in numerous productions with Michigan State University Opera Theater, including the collegiate premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's The Grapes of Wrath as Connie Rivers, Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance as The Pirate King, Offenbach's Les Contes d'Hoffmann as Schlémiel, Kurt Weill's Mahagonny Songspiel as Jimmy/Cypress Stark, and Puccini's La Bohème as Colline. He performed in two productions with Spiro Productions and The Other Mirror's partnership production of Claude-Michel Schönberg's Les Misérables as Javert, as well as appearing with Opera Grand Rapids in its Emerging Artist Program. Zacharias is in his first year as a member of the Professional Diploma in Opera Program at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts in conjunction with Chicago Opera Theater. He makes his debut this season with Chicago Opera Theater in Frank Martin’s The Love Potion as Duke Hoël, covers the role of Oberon in Purcell’s The Fairy Queen with Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera, and appears in the US premiere of Philip Glass’ The Perfect American. He studies with Judith Haddon.
Quinn Middleman, mezzo-soprano, currently studies with Judith Haddon. Recent engagements include premiering works by Harold Meltzer and Yehudi Wyner as a Fellow at Tanglewood Music Center, in recital with the Musicians Club of Women as the Edith Newfield scholarship recipient, and as the third-place winner in the Ziering-Conlon Recovered Voices competition. Quinn completed her master's degree at Northwestern University, where roles included Dinah (Trouble in Tahiti), Marcellina (Le nozze di Figaro), Ariodante (Handel's Ariodante), and Sister Helen (Heggie's Dead Man Walking, Chicago premiere). Quinn received degrees in both oboe and vocal performance from the University of Southern California, where performed the roles of Nerone (L'incoronazione di Poppea), Mother Marie (Dialogues of the Carmelites), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), and others. Quinn was last seen at Chicago Opera Theater in The Love Potion and The Fairy Queen.
Roberto Perlas Gomez has performed over ninety roles with many of the international and regional opera companies throughout the United States. He sings many standard leading baritones roles in Italian and French opera especially his signature role, Figaro in Il barbiere. He performed Rizal in Manila during the centennial year of the Philippine national hero and Marcello in La Boheme in Shanghai. Mr. Gomez made his European debut at the Arena di Verona as Chou en-lai in Nixon in China. Other roles include Vivaldi's Motezuma and The Emperor of Atlantis.
Ryan Belongie has recently made his debuts with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company. In concert he has appeared with Alabama Symphony, Grand Rapids Symphony, Grant Park Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Lexington Philharmonic, Music of the Baroque, San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Utah Festival Opera and Utah Symphony. Recent engagements include Agrippina (Ottone) with West Edge Opera, Angel Heart opposite Frederica Von Stade with Festival del Sole, and return engagements with San Francisco Opera and Canadian Opera Company. Career highlights include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon) with Wolf Trap Opera, Theodora (Didymus) with Opera Bergen, Norway, and Xerxes (Arsamene) and L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottone) with West Edge Opera. Mr. Belongie is a graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellowships at San Francisco Opera, and has been the recipient of numerous competition prizes and career grant awards from the Metropolitan Opera among others.
Chicago tenor, Scott J. Brunscheen has recently been seen in productions of Haydn’s L’isola disabitata with Haymarket Opera, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Donizetti’s La Favorite at the Caramoor Festival and Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and The Rape of Lucretia with Chicago Fringe Opera. As a young artist with Opera Theatre St. Louis, Chicago Opera Theatre, Madison Opera, and the Caramoor Festival, his work encompassed opera and concert work spanning from Cavalli and Bach to Unsuk Chin and Philip Glass. Future engagements this season include productions with Chicago Opera Theatre, Long Beach Opera, and Madison Opera.
Alexandra Martinez-Turano, soprano, was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alexandra has performed the roles of Sandrina, Pamina, Adele, Anna, Julie Jordan, and Suor Genovieffa. She has performed with Opera Southwest, Landmark Musicals, University of New Mexico’s Opera Theatre and Symphony Orchestra, University of Southern California Opera Theater, and the La Mirada Symphony amongst others. She made her European debut in the summer of 2012 with the International Lyric Academy in Viterbo, Italy singing the role of Suor Geniovieffa in Suor Angelica. Alexandra recently graduated from University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music with a Masters of Music degree. She will be joining the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University’s Professional Diploma in Opera Studies program. Furthermore, Alexandra is thrilled to join Chicago Opera Theater as a Young Artist in the fall of 2016.