Symphony Space Pays Tribute to Gertrude Stein in SINGING STEIN Tonight
Back to the Article
by BWW News Desk
Symphony Space's Gertrude Stein's Paris, a month-long, multi-disciplinary festival devoted to the vibrant cultural milieu of Gertrude Stein's Paris, continues tonight, April 27 with two fully staged productions devoted to the inspiration Stein's work had on vocal and operatic repertoire. Encompass New Opera Theatre will present two one-act operas based on texts by Stein, Virgil Thomson's Capital Capitals and Ned Rorem's Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters. Directed by Nancy Rhodes, this salute to Stein's work through American opera is a fresh examination of the influence Stein has had throughout the arts.
Singing Stein takes place Friday, April 27 at 7:00pm and 9:30pm at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theatre at Symphony Space, located at Broadway and 95th Street. Tickets range from $15 to $30 and are available at symphonyspace.org or by calling the box office at 212.864.5400.
In this innovative program, Encompass New Opera Theatre and Symphony Space pay tribute to Gertrude Stein through song. The evening opens with Virgil Thomson's rarely performed 1927 piece Capital Capitals, a garrulous musical conversation among four gentlemen about the various landscapes, cuisines, peoples and customs among the Provencal cities of Aix, Arles, Avignon, and Les Baux. The evening concludes with Ned Rorem's Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (1968), a musical tour de force setting of Stein's melodrama of parlour games and murder mysteries that turn into an exploration of reality. With sets and projections by Michael Deegan and Sarah G. Conly and costumes by Angela Huff. Encompass' multimedia event has been called "audaciously entertaining" by The New York Times.
Encompass New Opera Theatre has been dedicated to developing and producing adventurous productions of new opera and music theatre works, as well as the revival of important musical works by American and international composers, since 1975. This program is particularly close to the Encompass New Opera Theatre's mission as Virgil Thomson was Encompass' Honorary Founding Chairman-and features such young rising singers as Alfred Barclift, Frank Basile, Erika Beth Hennings, Ryan Scott Lathan, Eapen Leubner, Joseph Peterson, Christopher Vettel, Jeanai La Vita, and Jennifer Rossetti. The evening is directed by Encompass' co-founder and Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes and conducted by Music Director Mara Waldman.
Encompass serves as an arts incubator for new composers and librettists; creates fresh, new productions to develop American opera; nurtures singers from a variety of diverse backgrounds; creates cross-cultural collaborations; and develops new opera audiences.
Bass-baritone, Alfred Barclift, studied with Simon Estes and Betty Allen. Operatic roles include Figaro - The Marriage of Figaro, the title role and Leporello - Don Giovanni, Colline - La Boheme, Don Basilio - The Barber of Seville, Porgy - Porgy and Bess, Il Nonno/Bargello - I Compagnacci, Un Cerimoniere - Il Re, La Tigre - Il Piccolo Marat, Ned in Treemonisha (New York City Opera) and many more. Awards include Friday Woodmere Vocal Competition of New York, NJ N.A.T.S. Vocal Competition, Leontyne Price Vocal Competition, and the YWCA Vocal Competition of New York.
Frank Basile is comfortable on the grand opera stage and cabaret alike. Mr. Basile studied at Indiana University. He made his European debut in Turandot in Augsburg. Frank debuted with Washington Opera in The Saint of Bleecker Street directed by Gian Carlo Menotti himself. He continued his career singing at the Metropolitan Opera, Baltimore Opera, Utah Opera, Nevada Opera and Sarasota Opera. Mr. Basile was featured as a soloist in Istanbul where he sang the title role of Leonardo's Bridge, specifically written for him to premiere.
Mezzo Erika Beth Hennings has been singing in New York City since 2005 and frequently sings with various NYC companies. Some of her recent highlights have included Hansel in Hansel & Gretel, Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro, Jenny Diver in Britten's Beggar's Opera, and Komponist in Ariadne auf Naxos. She's very excited to return to Symphony Space for another fun opera performance and she's also pleased to be singing with Encompass New Opera Theatre for the first time.
Ryan Scott Lathan received a MM in Performance and Literature degree and Performer's Certificate from the Eastman School of Music. He recently appeared as Don Alfonso in New York Lyric Opera's Così fan tutte and as the villainous pig, Orwell, in David Chesky's new chamber opera The Pig, The Farmer & The Artist in the New York International Fringe Festival. Upcoming engagements include Zuniga in Carmen and five, one-act opera premieres titled Night Caps with Opera Theater Pittsburgh.
Eapen Leubner has received national accolades from The New York Times and Musical America for a range of work from Mozart to 21st century opera. In Chelsea Opera's Glory Denied, Opera News hailed Eapen as "ardent and striking... At times his performance called to mind Hollywood portrayals of military heroes." His career has recently taken him as far north as Alaska, where he starred in Opera Fairbanks' L'elisir d'amore and as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.
NYC-based pianist Peter Nilsen collaborates with artists in opera, musical theater, classical, chamber music, and jazz. Most recently, Encompass New Opera Theatre: Angel of the Amazon. New York Lyric Opera Theatre: Don Giovanni. Off-Broadway: Rated P... Lincoln Center: Meet the Artist series with Teri Hansen and Holiday Songbook series with music by Thomson and Mann. Peter currently works with Broadway Pops International and is the resident accompanist for Montclair State University's musical theater program. BM in violin performance from MSU and Moscow Conservatory.
Joseph Peterson has worked closely with the St Petersburg Opera in Florida over the past two years, most recently as the Assistant Director of Die Fledermaus. SPO roles: Steward in Into the Woods and Gherardo in Gianni Schicchi. SPO covers: Goro in Madama Butterfly, Remendado in Carmen, and Borsa in Rigoletto. He has also portrayed Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus with South Florida Lyric Opera, and has sung under the baton of Maestro Anton Coppola with the Opera Tampa Chorus.
Soprano Jennifer Rossetti has quickly become a bright young star in New York City's vibrant opera community. In her NYC debut, Ms. Rossetti performed the role of Zerbinetta in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos, a performance that resulted in her recognition as one of the top 11 singers of 2011 by the opera review Superconductor. During the 2012 season, Ms. Rossetti continues to maintain a busy schedule with performances with Encompass New Opera Theatre, Bronx Opera, Manhattan Symphony Orchestra, and ROLE - NYC opera workshop.
Jeanai La Vita has performed with leading opera companies such as New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and the Ravinia Festival. Jeanai is half of the professional classical guitar/ voice duo, the La Vita Duo, who performed in 2010 for the United Nations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Their album, Nightfall, will be released this year. In addition to her performance career, Jeanai La Vita is also a voice instructor and speaks French, German and Italian.
Christopher Vettel is happy to be back with his friends at Encompass where he previously appeared as Herr Fallersleben in Henze's Das Ende Einer Welt. Chris has appeared in the Broadway National Tours of Annie and Sunset Boulevard as well as the Radio City Christmas Spectacular as Santa Claus. Regional theatre credits include: Flight of the Lawnchair Man; Jekyll and Hyde and, Off-Broadway: Cactus Flower and Wanda's World. Chris has sung with the Opera Company of Boston, Opera Cleveland, Opera New England, Utica Symphony, Hannoversche Operetten Tournee, Schenectady Symphony and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Leonard Bernstein's final conducting role.
Encompass New Opera Theatre is dedicated to creating, developing and producing adventurous productions of American opera and new music theatre. The first opera produced by Encompass in 1975 was The Mother of Us All, words by Gertrude Stein and music by Virgil Thomson and selected as Best Production of 1976 by Soho Weekly News. Virgil Thomson was the Honorary Chairman of Encompass New Opera between 1975-1982, and the mentor of Artistic Director Nancy Rhodes. Striving to discover and nurture new composers, librettists, singers and musicians; premier groundbreaking new productions; and revive important musical works by American and international composers, Encompass has produced over 56 premieres with orchestra and staged readings of more than 155 new works, from jazz and cabaret, to musicals and opera.
Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by Isaiah Sheffer and Alan Miller. The music marathon then drew hundreds of visitors and has since become one of the organization's signature events. Today, Symphony Space presents over 600 events during a year, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories hosted by Isaiah Sheffer, one of the most popular series on the airwaves; the Thalia Follies, one of the funniest and most engaging political cabarets presented in the city; the Thalia Film Club, a trendy film club hosted by Marshall Fine, featuring pre-release screenings and behind-the-scenes conversations with film stars; Just Kidding, one of the most popular family entertainments around town; and, more recently, The Music of Now, presenting an eclectic range of music in all styles and sensibilities, focusing on emerging artists, unusual work, and much more. www.symphonyspace.org