Yale Opera prepares for Fall Opera Scenes programs

Richard Cross, left, and Doris Yarick-Cross

Shortly after arriving at the Yale School of Music to study in the Yale Opera program, ascendant vocalists are handed an envelope containing the repertoire they’re expected to learn and memorize for the Fall Opera Scenes performances. This year, those concerts take place on November 3 and November 4 and feature excerpts from classic and contemporary operas.

The repertoire is chosen by faculty soprano and Yale Opera Artistic Director Doris Yarick-Cross and YSM faculty bass-baritone Richard Cross with each student’s development in mind. That approach, Yarick-Cross said, is “how we can best get them ready for their future. We choose the roles that we feel will give them the best opportunity to progress.

“What we try to do is give them the tools to be professionals,” Yarick-Cross said. “Our students get hired because they’re prepared.”

And that means going beyond the vocal parts, “to break through inhibitions,” Cross said. “To become a convincing character on stage” isn’t just about singing and acting, he said. “It’s also internalizing the repertoire” — “to get them into the habit of meeting the demands” that will be placed on them throughout their careers, Yarick-Cross added.

As much as the repertoire for the Fall Opera Scenes programs is chosen with pedagogy in mind, the Yale Opera audience is also part of the programming equation. While “La Bohème is perfect for young singers,” Cross said, pointing out that the characters in that opera are themselves young, it’s long been an audience favorite, too.

Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, based on Sister Helen Prejean’s 1993 book of the same title, has been appreciated by audiences since its premiere in 2000 at the San Francisco Opera. The New Haven audience, Yarick-Cross said, will be “overwhelmed by the Heggie.” Likewise, she said, the first act of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos will appeal to local concertgoers. “I think they will really like it,” Yarick-Cross said. “It will be new to most of them. There’s a lot going on” and “There is some wonderful singing.”

On Friday and Saturday, November 3 and November 4, the Yale Opera presents performances of scenes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni, Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Puccini’s La Bohème, Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel, Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia, and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos

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Published October 26, 2017
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Yale Opera presents “Così fan tutte” at Shubert Theater for 3 shows

Giasone

Chas Rader-Shieber. Photo by Bridget Elliot

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

If you’re not taking advantage of the best entertainment options Yale University has to offer, it’s on you. Yale Opera, for example, does a sterling job, and the next opportunity to see a polished production comes Feb. 17-19 at the Shubert Theatre.

Così fan tutte offers not only Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s impeccable music (the overture should be very familiar) but also comedy and, as classicfm.com puts it, “a satirical tale of love that takes a cynical swipe at men and women.”

Chas Rader-Shieber, the veteran opera stage director handling the two-act production for the first time since the mid-2000s, said while he’s done unconventional things with certain operas before, there’s no reason to mess with this one.

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Published February 13, 2017
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Paweł Konik reaches finals of “Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra”

Paweł Konik | Photo by Anna Płóciennik

Paweł Konik | Photo by Anna Płóciennik

Earlier this month, bass-baritone Paweł Konik reached the final round of “Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra,” the International Voice Competition organized by the Bucharest National Opera. Konik earned a special Excellency Prize, presented by the Russian Embassy, for his interpretation of “Aleko’s Cavatina” from Rachmaninoff’s Aleko. He also performed “Vedro mentr’io sospiro” from Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and “O du mein holder Abendstern” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser.

Konik, a native of Poland, is a member of the Yale Opera program, where he studies with Doris Yarick-Cross and Richard Cross. Konik also worked on his competition repertoire with YSM faculty members Douglas Dickson, Timothy Shaindlin, and Kyle Swann. During the 2015-2016 concert season, Konik appeared in Yale Opera productions of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Massenet’s Don Quichotte. Prior to coming to Yale, Konik attended the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. MORE

Published August 24, 2016
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[ in the press ]

Yale Opera’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ to chase midwinter’s chill

midsummerNew Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

When Yale Opera honcho Doris Yarick-Cross signed a director for the School of Music’s big February production, she didn’t just get a big name, but one with a pedigree that, it turns out, inspired the show’s Norwegian conductor when he was a boy.

Director Claudia Solti is the daughter of late-great conductor Georg Solti and former BBC presenterValerie Pitts. Sir Georg is best known for his work with opera companies in Europe and as longtime music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. His daughter is making her Yale Opera debut with this opera about “the fickle nature of romantic love,” as she put it.

And in a release, Yarick-Cross said she chose Bergmann because, “I was convinced that his joyous, convincing and skillful handling of the orchestra was exactly what was needed for our production.”

The new production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Benjamin Britten’s atmospheric opera adapted from Shakespeare’s revered play, will take place Feb. 19-21 at the Shubert Theatre on College Street. MORE

Published February 12, 2016
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[ yale opera ]

Yale Opera presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream in February 2016

Rune Bergmann, conductor

Rune Bergmann, conductor

The Yale School of Music presents Yale Opera‘s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream this coming February 19–21. One of the most frequently performed operas today, Benjamin Britten’s atmospheric opera is adapted from Shakespeare’s revered play of the same title.

The production will be directed by Claudia Solti, making her Yale Opera debut. Known for her work in theatre and film as well as opera, Solti previously directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2011 with conductor Valery Gergiev.

Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann will also make his Yale Opera debut. Currently music director of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra and the Fjord Cadenza Festival, Bergmann is considered “one of the most talented Scandinavian conductors” working today. MORE

Published December 17, 2015
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Arts Journal: Opera at Old Eli

Photo by Matt Fried

Photo by Matt Fried

Opera Sleth | Arts Journal
By Speight Jenkins

Doris Yarick Cross for more than thirty years has directed Yale Opera, a division of the Yale School of Music. She and her husband, Richard Cross, serve as the voice teachers for the program, a mammoth task. Such major artists as Matthew Polenzani, Patrick Carfizzi, Tamara Mumford, and Christian Van Horn have graduated from the program, which in every school year has fifteen artists, chosen from hundreds of applicants.  All of the singers in this “class” are working on their Master of Music degrees.

Three days in New Haven demonstrated to me the viability of the program,  allowed me to experience two performances of opera scenes, and have several hours with all the young artists involved. Though the majority of artists, all in their twenties, come from the United States, recruitment is international.  Young singers from Poland, China, Italy, and Canada joined their American colleagues. The two evenings of opera scenes at Yale’s Sprague Hall, fully staged and costumed, surveyed the repertory from Handel to Britten.

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Published November 18, 2015
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Yale Opera presents its annual Fall Scenes November 7 & 8

Photo by Matt Fried

Photo by Matt Fried

The Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music presents its annual Fall Opera Scenes on Saturday, November 7 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 8 at 2:00 pm. Each performance features a different selection of scenes from diverse operas.

A favorite of local audiences, the annual Fall Opera Scenes production will showcase the voice students of the highly selective Yale Opera program, which is directed by Doris Yarick-Cross.

This autumn’s production will also feature the work of stage director Marc Verzatt and musical directors Douglas Dickson and Timothy Shaindlin. John Carver Sullivan provides costume design, and Doug Harry is the lighting designer. MORE

Published October 13, 2015
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Three Yale divas on bill with New Haven Symphony Orchestra

Nicole Percifield, soprano

New Haven Register | By Joe Amarante

NEW HAVEN » Soprano trifecta. That could refer to three talented sopranos performing the week before Thanksgiving with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra. Or to Nicole Percifield’s fall plans.

Percifield, Canadian-raised and Northeast-educated in Boston and New York, has three major singing gigs this autumn — Nov. 21 in the title role of “Suor Angelica” with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, her Carnegie Hall debut Dec. 7 with the Yale in New York series and teaming with the NHSO again just before Christmas as soprano soloist for three performances of “The Messiah.” MORE

Published November 20, 2014
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Yale Opera presents La Bohème February 14–16

bohemeThe Yale School of Music and Yale Opera present a new production of Puccini’s beloved La Bohème this coming February. Set in nineteenth-century Paris, the classic opera tells the poignant story of young artists in love.

Giuseppe Grazioli conducts and Michael Gieleta is the stage director. Both are veterans of Yale Opera: Grazioli has conducted Don Giovanni  (2011) as well as productions of Gianni Schicchi, Suor Angelica, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Gieleta directed last spring’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta.

The cast features the vibrant young singers of the Yale Opera program, which is directed by Doris Yarick-Cross. The Philharmonia Orchestra of Yale will play Puccini’s rich score.

Anya Klepikov, a past winner of Opera America’s Emerging Director/Designer Showcase, is the scenic designer. John Carver Sullivan and William B. Warfel return to Yale Opera as costume designer and lighting designer, respectively.

The opera will be performed February 14–16 at the Shubert Theater. The Friday and Saturday performances take place at 8 pm; the Sunday performance is at 2 pm. The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English supertitles.

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Published January 16, 2014
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Yale Opera performs Tchaikovsky rarity May 3–4

Michael Gieleta directs, Timothy Shaindlin is musical director

The Yale Opera program at the Yale School of Music presents Tchaikovsky’s one-act opera Iolanta on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4 at 8 pm. The “richly melodious opera” (New York Times) was a great success upon its premiere; its fairytale plot features a blind princess growing up in an enclosed garden and, through the illumination of love, regaining her sight.

The production will be directed by Michael Gieleta, the artistic director of the Cherub Company who works in both theater and opera. Timothy Shaindlin, whose expertise is well-known to Yale Opera devotees, will be the musical director.

Iolanta was Tchaikovsky’s last opera; it premiered in 1892, less than a year before the composer’s death at age 53, and has become “unfairly obscure” (Boston Globe). This lyrical, one-act masterpiece runs approximately ninety minutes.

Performances will take place at Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College St., corner of Wall Street). The singers are all students in the prestigious Yale Opera program, which is directed by Doris Yarick-Cross. Casting will be announced shortly.

Both performances take place at 8 pm. Tickets are $10–15, $5 with student ID. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158 or visit music.yale.edu. Tickets can also be purchased on Facebook; join the event here. MORE

Published April 1, 2013
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