HHH will take place on the grounds surrounding Green-Wood’s landmarked Gothic Arch and will officially kick off the fourth season of The Angel’s Share, the acclaimed opera and classical music concert series that takes place in the Green-Wood’s Catacombs, curated by Andrew Ousley and Harry Weil.
The company will also resume its renowned training program, giving an immersive course in Bel Canto style and technique to 22 elite young singers who will serve as the understudies and chorus of the two operas. As before, the performances will be accompanied by Teatro Nuovo’s own hand-picked orchestra of period-instrument players, with its groundbreaking restoration of the performance setup used in the Bel Canto era.
“Our approach was radical but unproven when we rolled it out in 2018,” said Artistic Director Will Crutchfield in announcing the new season, “and I’m thrilled to say the results were even more exciting than we could have hoped. We have spent the whole pandemic period working together to take it to the next level, and we can’t wait to share it again with the public.”
Maometto (1820) depicts the Siege of Negroponte by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, a tale of doomed valor, forbidden love, and heroic self-sacrifice under the shadow of war. Sonnambula (1831) is a story of village life and wedding bells, whose joyous finale is postponed by the frisson of a sleepwalking bride mistaken for a ghost.
The Sonnambula cast is led by soprano Teresa Castillo as the titular sleepwalker, returning after her debut as Creusa in Medea in Corinto in Teatro Nuovo’s first season in 2018. Elvino will be sung by the Mexican tenor Enrique Guzmán in his New York debut, and returning artists Dorian McCall (bass-baritone), Meagan Sill (soprano), and Allison Gish (mezzo-soprano) will be heard as Rodolfo, Lisa, and Teresa.
Associate Artistic Director Jakob Lehmann emphasized the significance of Maometto, one of the nine serious operas composed by Rossini for the Teatro San Carlo of Naples, and the first one in Teatro Nuovo’s repertory: “We all know the pure delight of Rossini,” he said, “with his melodies, his brilliant orchestral colors, his virtuosity, his strokes of drama. And the farther you get into his mature operas, the more you stand in awe of the architecture. He pushed his blueprints to their limits—the structures grow until they reach as far as the eye can see, but they never bend or break.”
Crutchfield spoke of a complementary quality in La sonnambula: “Bellini never had to invent a musical form in his life—Rossini had done it all. So, he could take that inheritance and fill it to the brim with his unique gift, which was a kind of melody the world had never heard before. People found it hypnotic. Even supposed opposites like Verdi and Wagner were under Bellini’s spell.”
Teatro Nuovo’s orchestra, like those of Italy in the age of Bel Canto, is led jointly by a violinist and a keyboardist, without a standup conductor. In 2022, Crutchfield will serve as maestro al cembalo (keyboard director) for the Bellini opera and Lehmann as primo violino e capo d’orchestra (violinist-director) for the Rossini. They will be joined by two musical directors and co-directors, making Teatro Nuovo debuts: Australian violinist Rachael Beesley in La sonnambula and Lucy Tucker Yates, the company’s Director of Language Studies, as keyboard leader for Maometto. Biographies of these two and the singers mentioned above can be found HERE.
Audiences and critics have been quick to recognize what a difference this makes. At Teatro Nuovo’s debut in 2018, Heidi Waleson reported in The Wall Street Journal that “the effect is transformative.” The following year she returned to observe “an unusually flexible sense of pacing… remarkably different from conventional performances of these operas.” In 2019, James Jorden in The Observer called it “revelatory…the orchestra seemed to beat with a single heart.”
In 2021, Anthony Tommasini in The New York Times wrote of “a fresh, lively performance full of ideas and rich in subtleties” by performers emboldened “to start from scratch and think for themselves.” Philip Pierce, the company’s Executive Director, underlined the ensemble nature of the experience: “Last summer we faced the extreme challenges of the pandemic, with strict health protocols and a fifty-plus company living more or less in a Covid bubble—and never have I seen such discipline and esprit de corps. The joy of making music together in this group is irresistible.”
Death of Classical will continue its third season of The Angel’s Share this August, with the innovative PUBLIQuartet performing in the Catacombs of The Green-Wood Cemetery on August 4, 6, and 7. The Angel’s Share is the Death of Classical’s second concert series, curated by the creator, curator, and leader of the series, Andrew Ousley, in partnership with Green-Wood. The perform will take place in the Catacombs of The Green-Wood Cemetary in Brooklyn, New York City.
The quartet will perform a program inspired by its GRAMMY-nominated 2019 album Freedom and Faith, featuring works that celebrate women composers through the ages, and explore ideas of spirituality, resilience, and inspiration.
Performances of Freedom and Faith will take place over the course of three evenings, with two performances per night, and include music by Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Jessie Montgomery, Hildegard von Bingen, as well as original MIND THE GAP compositions by PUBLIQuartet.
The innovative, barrier-breaking string quartet performs a program inspired by its GRAMMY-nominated album Freedom and Faith, featuring music that celebrates women composers through the ages, and explores ideas of spirituality, resilience, and inspiration.
The ensemble is innovating the performance of classic music and opera by incorporating free-flowing improvisational instrumentation and group compositions into their exhibitions. Death of Classical represents a modern take on timeless classic compositions by giving a voice to emerging performers and underrepresented composers. While many people say “Classical Music is Dead,” this group’s revitalized take on classical music allows for the group’s performances to reach new, younger, unexpected audiences then ever before. With their innovative and exciting twist on the performing arts, Death of Classic is reviving a passion for the genre.
Concerts feature works by Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Jessie Montgomery, Hildegard von Bingen, and original MIND THE GAP compositions by PUBLIQuartet.
Each performance includes a pre-concert reception with a whiskey tasting overlooking the Manhattan skyline and harbor at sunset, with distilleries including Madre Mezcal, Appalachian Gap Distillery, Ume Plum Liqueur, and more
The Angel’s Share series takes its name from the distiller’s term for whiskey that evaporates while maturing in the barrel, thus going to the angels. Accordingly, the live concert events on August 4, 6, and 7 will open with a spirits tasting, with distilleries including Madre Mezcal, Appalachian Gap Distillery, Ume Plum Liqueur, and more. The Angel’s Share is curated by Andrew Ousley and co-presented by Death of Classical and The Green-Wood Historic Fund.
August 4, 6 & 7, 2021 at 6:00PM and 7:30PM
PUBLIQuartet: “Freedom and Faith”
Live at The Green-Wood Cemetery
JESSICA MEYER: Get into the Now (2017)
Years of In Me
Go Big or Go Home
MIND | THE | GAP: Sancta Femina *
HILDEGARD VON BINGEN: O ignee Spiritus
FRANCESCA CACCINI: Regina caeli laetare Alleluia
CHIARA MARGARITA COZZOLANI: O quam suavis est Domine spiritus tuus
MIND | THE | GAP: Ella! & Nina! *
VAN ALEXANDER: A Tisket a Tasket
NINA SIMONE/HERB SACKER : Blackbird
LESLIE BRICUSSE/ANTHONY NEWLEY: Feelin’ Good
NINA SIMONE/WELDON IRVINE: Young Gifted and Black
NINA SIMONE: Mississippi Goddam
*Arr. Gookin, Norpoth, Revel, Stewart 2017-2018
Curtis Stewart, violin
Jannina Norpoth, violin
Nick Revel, viola
Hamilton Berry, cello
Applauded by The Washington Post as “a perfect encapsulation of today’s trends in chamber music,” and by The New Yorker as “independent-minded,” the GRAMMY nominated PUBLIQuartet’s modern interpretation of chamber music makes them one of the most dynamic artists of their generation. Dedicated to presenting new works for string quartet, PUBLIQuartet rose on the music scene as winner of the 2013 Concert Artists Guild’s New Music/New Places award, and in 2019 garnered Chamber Music America’s prestigious Visionary Award for outstanding and innovative approaches to contemporary classical, jazz, and world chamber music. PQ’s genre-bending programs range from 20th century masterworks to newly commissioned pieces, alongside re-imaginations of classical works featuring open-form improvisations that expand the techniques and aesthetic of the traditional string quartet.
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