National Philharmonic Presents a Concert Performance of Bizet’s Carmen at Strathmore
National Philharmonic Presents a Concert Performance of
Bizet’s Carmen at The Music Center at Strathmore
North Bethesda, MD, December 1, 2009 - Nationnal Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski will lead a simply staged concert performance of Georges Bizet’s passionate and heart-wrenching opera Carmen on January 9, 2010 at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. The performance will feature mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen (Carmen), soprano Theresa Santiago (Micaёla), tenor Dan Snyder (Don José), bass baritone Dean Elzinga (Escamillo) and host Eliot Pfanstiehl, in the Concert Hall at Strathmore.
Set in Seville, Spain in 1830, Carmen tells the story of a beautiful gypsy with a fiery temper who entices the young corporal Don José, a naïve soldier. Their relationship leads to his rejection of his adoring Micaëla, defiance of his superior and joining a gang of smugglers. The play ends tragically when in a jealous rage, Don José murders Carmen after she rejects him for the bullfighter Escamillo.
Bizet, born in 1838, died of a heart attack when he was only 37 years old, never knowing how popular Carmen would become. Since the 1880s, it has been one of the world's most performed operas and one of the most popular of the operatic repertoire. Carmen appears as number four on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.
Carmen was a ground-breaking work. The initial public debate was about the shocking aspects of the story, despite the fact that Bizet and his librettists' toned down some of dramatic and sensual elements. The opera was controversial because it not only took its characters from real life, but it also dared to treat their emotions with absolute seriousness.
Mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen (Carmen) has earned a reputation as an important young artist and has been heard throughout the United States with the San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, San Francisco Symphony and in New York at Carnegie Hall. Ms. Gladen made her Los Angeles Opera debut as Mercédès in Carmen. She also sang the title role of Carmen for her debut at Michigan Opera Theatre. In the summer of 2009, Ms. Gladen made her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas.
Soprano Theresa Santiago (Michaëla) has attracted international attention for her highly beautiful, lyrical voice. Awards include placing first in the Naumburg Competition and prizes in the D’Angelo and Puccini Foundation Competitions. An equally accomplished concert singer, Ms. Santiago has been a guest soloist with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, the Seattle Symphony and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. Among the distinguished conductors with whom she has collaborated include Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Heinz Fricke, Kurt Masur, Gerard Schwarz and Hugh Wolff. Ms. Santiago holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Juilliard School.
Tenor Dan Snyder (Don José) is a critically acclaimed artist and currently a scholarship recipient of the prestigious Evelyn Lear and Thomas Stewart Emerging Singers Program of Washington, DC. As a recitalist, Mr. Snyder has been a regular performer in the Embassy Series in Washington, DC and has performed with the Washington Bach Consort and the National Cathedral Choral Society. A review in The Washington Post described said Mr. Snyder’s “virile low notes and ringing, tightly focused top (with its flickering vibrato and rock-solid high notes) gave the most pleasure.”
Bass-baritone Dean Elzinga (Escamillo) is a superb singer and actor, regularly welcomed on concert and opera stages, often in contemporary works requiring his unique dramatic conviction, stage-presence and assured musicianship. Mr. Elzinga's opera credentials include the Los Angeles and Metropolitan Operas, San Diego Opera, Seattle Opera, Sacramento Opera, Glimmerglass and New York City Operas, Vancouver Opera and Los Angeles Opera. Mr. Elzinga is acclaimed for his rich, ringing sound and compelling stage presence. He has been described in the press as “physically commanding, with a powerful voice, Elzinga portrays his role in a masterful fashion.”
Eliot Pfanstiehl (host) is the President and CEO of the Strathmore Hall Foundation Inc., which operates and presents programming at Strathmore, a multi-disciplinary arts center, including the Music Center at Strathmore and the Mansion at Strathmore, in Montgomery County, Maryland. Mr. Pfanstiehl has held this position since the foundation’s inception in 1983.
Mr. Pfanstiehl has been a founder, president or chair of Montgomery County Arts Council, the Round House Theatre, the League of Washington Theatres and Strathmore. His past board service includes the Friends of the Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Black Rock Arts Center, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, Maryland Association of Non-Profit Organizations and chair of both the Maryland State Arts Council and Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
A free pre-concert lecture will be offered at 7:00 pm, one hour before the performance in the Education Center at the Music Center at Strathmore. To purchase tickets to National Philharmonic’s concert on January 9, 2010 please visit below or call the box office at (301) 581-5100. Tickets are $29-$79; kids 7-17 are FREE through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette). ALL KIDS tickets must be purchased in person or by phone.
Last edited by Howard Hartman; 12-09-2009 at 06:14 PM.
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