Friday, April 1, 2011

Apollo & Dafne + Clarence & Anita, June 8-9, 2011

 A double bill of Handel’s 1710 cantata
and the stage premiere of Ben Yarmolinsky’s 2010 opera
of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill story  

Apollo & Dafne + Clarence & Anita comprises a pair of operas separated by 300 years, contrasting yet thematically related. The archetypal story of Apollo’s aggression toward Dafne, her escape via metamorphosis, and the laurel wreath woven from her limbs, is revisited from multiple perspectives as American mythology. John Scott leads Sinfonia NY in the Handel; Mark Shapiro conducts the C&A Band in the Yarmolinsky. Gina Crusco directs.

Dafne -- Amelia Watkins, Soprano
Apollo -- Jesse Cromer, Baritone

Anita Hill -- Adrienne Danrich, Soprano
Clarence Thomas -- Anthony Turner, Baritone
Joe Biden -- William Ferguson, Tenor 

Two Performances Only!
June 8-9, 2011 at 8 pm
The Riverside Theatre
91 Claremont Avenue at 120th St.
Q&A with the composer at 7:30 pm

Box Office:  212-870-6784


The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Venable Foundation

1 comment:

  1. Scenic design by David S. Goldstein; Lighting Design by Kia Rogers; Costumes by Francesca Cerullo; and choreography by Edgar Cortes.

    Handel began work on Apollo & Dafne in Venice in 1709 and completed it in Hanover in 1710. While conceived as a secular cantata, the drama and pathos of the score, and the many clear references to specific actions, render it appropriate for the stage. The work opens with the god Apollo proclaiming his victory over the Python. No sooner has he declared his invincibility, even to Cupid’s assaults, than he is stricken with an infatuation for the mortal Dafne. Apollo tests every method to win this follower of the chaste goddess Diana, finally resorting to force. At the moment of crisis, Dafne is transformed into a laurel tree.

    Ben Yarmolinsky’s Clarence & Anita takes its libretto verbatim from the transcripts of the 1991 U.S. Senate confirmation hearings of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court during which Anita Hill accused the nominee of sexual harassment. Although these events unfolded in a confined congressional chamber and were couched in legal language, they generated high drama. Mr. Yarmolinsky’s music, with its emphasis on clear and natural English text-setting, is sly, subversive, and transcendent, embracing everything from Rhythm & Blues to Renaissance & Baroque.

    Ben Yarmolinsky has written chamber music, choral music, musical theater works, orchestral music, film scores, and six operas. Before graduating from Harvard in 1977, Yarmolinsky had two years of private study with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. From 1978 through 1982, he lived in Morocco where he taught music at the American School of Tangier, immersed himself in the local music, and was friendly with Paul Bowles. On returning to New York, he studied composition with David Del Tredici, Robert Starer, and Ned Rorem. In 1991, he received the Ph.D. in music from the City University of New York, and is a professor of music at the Bronx Community College.

    Sinfonia New York was founded in 2007 by Christine Gummere, Artistic Director and baroque cellist, and Sandra Miller, baroque flutist. Since its debut on October 1, 2007 at Town Hall, Sinfonia has given four concerts in New York City. At Town Hall they gave a "spirited" and "deft" reading of his "Harmoniemesse" (all quotes from The New York Times). In May 2008 they gave "lithe and gracious" performances of Mozart and Haydn at the Society for Ethical Culture. In October 2008 they joined the St. Thomas Choir for Mozart's Requiem and the U.S. premiere of Franz Xaver Richter's Mass in A -- "a terrific concert." In May 2009 they performed "The Art of the Chaconne" with Baroque dancers at Ethical Culture -- "impeccable, thoughtfully shaped, dramatically taut."

    John Scott, Music Director of Sinfonia New York, received diplomas from the Royal College of Organists. Upon graduation from Cambridge University he was appointed Assistant Organist at Southwark and Saint Paul's Cathedrals, London. He served the latter for an unbroken tenure of 25 years, becoming Organist and Director of Music in 1990. In 2004 he assumed the post of Organist and Director of Music at Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue, New York City. Mr. Scott, a renowned organist, also tours the planet as a recitalist.

    Versatile conductor Mark Shapiro is one of a handful of conductors in North America to have won a prestigious ASCAP Programming Award four times. Shapiro is Artistic Director of Cantori New York and the Monmouth Civic Chorus. This season he conducted Poulenc’s opera Les Mamelles de Tirésias at the Juilliard School; Handel’s Saul in the 5000-seat Roman amphitheater in Vaison-la-Romaine, France; and the St. Cecilia Chorus in Carnegie Hall. Shapiro’s opera credits include American Opera Projects, the Center for Contemporary Opera, Metro Lyric Opera, and the Opera Company of Middlebury (VT).