Rochester, NY — Eastman Opera Theatre kicks off its 2005-2006 season with a production of Claudia Legare, an adventurous opera composed by Eastman alumnus, Robert Ward.
Ward, who garnered a Pulitzer Prize in 1962 for his opera The Crucible, is excited to see Eastman School of Music’s acclaimed opera program produce Claudia Legare . The opera has only been produced three times since its premiere in 1978, and 88-year-old Ward is taking a very personal interest in EOT’s production. He made a special visit to the School in September to work directly with the cast, and will also be present for opening night. Of Eastman Opera Theatre’s Dramatic Director, Steven Daigle, Ward says: “He has a great sense of all the theatrical values, so I knew the staging would be wonderful.”
Based on the Henrik Ibsen play Hedda Gabler, Claudia Legare was reset in post-war South Carolina by librettist Bernard Stambler in what Ward describes as “one of the strongest opera librettos ever written.” The story follows a bored young woman caught in the middle of her husband’s and former lover’s differing plans for reconstructing the South. Torn between the past and the future, the heroine takes matters into her own hands during a fit of passion, with tragic results.
The production features two alternating casts of Eastman voice students, as well as the Eastman Philharmonia Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Eastman Opera Theatre Music Director Benton Hess. Performances are at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, November 3-5, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, November 6, in Kilbourn Hall (26 Gibbs Street) at the Eastman School of Music.
Reserved seating tickets are $18, 15, 12, and 8, and are available in person or online through the RPO Box Office (108 East Avenue), by phone at 454-2100, or at Rochester-area Wegmans Video Departments. Any unsold tickets may be purchased at the Kilbourn Hall box office one hour before the start of each performance.
In addition, the Friends of Eastman Opera will sponsor a special pre-performance talk by Russell Miller, a member of Eastman’s voice and opera faculty. The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Room 120 of the Eastman School one hour before each performance.
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