Saturday, October 15, 8pm at National Sawdust
In partnership with National Sawdust and Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ
The Center for Contemporary Opera will be giving the U.S. premieres of a double-bill by Louis Andriessen, showcasing his Anais Nin paired with Odysseus’ Women. The double-bill will be staged at the National Sawdust, an artist-led, non-profit venue located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The librettos, with texts adapted from Anais Nin and Homer are by Andriessen. Jorinde Keesmaat, recently named the CCO’s first Guest Director-in-Residence will direct. Ms. Keesmaat comes from The Netherlands and with these performances will be making her US directing debut. It will also mark her first time that she and Louis Andriessen will be working together. Neal Goren, founder and Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera is the conductor. The Louis Andriessen double-bill is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The production will travel to Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw for a performance to take place on December 9, 2016.
Anais Nin from 2010 is a monodrama based on a text by Anais Nin, scored for one voice, that of Anais Nin, an ensemble of eight musicians and projected film fragments. Anais Nin sings of her love affair with her father, the composer and pianist Joaquín Nin, whom she meets after an absence of twenty years. Her lovers, René Allendy, Antonin Artuad and Henry Miller are heard on film and on tape. Anais Nin, a commission by Siena’s Academia Musicale Chigiana and the London Sinfonietta, received its world premiere on July 10, 2010, at Siena’s Teatro dei Rozzi. It has a running time of 30 minutes.
Odysseus’ Women from 1995 was originally scored for four female voices and synthesizers with a chamber version created in 1998 for 2 sopranos and 2 mezzo‐sopranos with chamber orchestra. Odysseus’ Women received its world premiere in its original version on May 6, 1995 at Rotterdam’s Departure Hall. The concert version was premiered on January 29, 1999 at Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam performed by the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and Thierry Fischer. Odysseus’ Women is 25 minutes in length.
Jorinde Keesmaat, Stage Director
Neal Goren, Conductor
Augusta Caso, Anais Nin
Sharin Apostolou, Voice 2
Maggie Finnegan, Voice 1
Nicole Mitchell, Voice 4
Hilary Ginther, Voice 3
Jerome Tan, Piano
Koen Bollen, Dramaturg
Ascon de Nijs, Set and Costume Design
Bruce Steinberg, Lighting Design
Emma Wykes Rihlig, Draper
Scott H. Schneider, Production Manager
Brianna Poh, Production Stage Manager
Sharin Apostolou, (Voice 2) soprano was most recently seen in New York as La Comtess Adèle in Loft Opera’s critically acclaimed Le Comte Ory. Some of her career highlights include Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel at The Glimmerglass Festival, Almirena in Rinaldo, Le feu/ La princesse/ Le rossignol in L’enfant et les sortileges, and the title roles in both Rodelinda and La Calisto, all with Portland Opera; Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and Nellie Forbush in South Pacific with Ash Lawn Opera, Valencienne in The Merry Widow with Utah Opera and Pensacola Opera, Belinda in Dido and Aeneas with the Macao International Music Festival, Yum-Yum in The Mikado with Anchorage Opera, Nannetta in Falstaff with both Utah Opera and Opera Delaware, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance with Pensacola Opera, and covering the Messenger in the world premier of Matt Aucoin’s Crossing with American Repertory Theater.
Koen Bollen (dramaturg) studied Art History in Brussels and Leiden and Theatre Sciences in Antwerp. He was assistant dramaturg at Opera Vlaanderen Antwerpen/Gent for the season 2009-2010. From 2010 until 2014 he worked for the Junge Oper Stuttgart, where he was responsible as dramaturg for world creations such as Die Taktik by Jennifer Walshe (2011) and Momo by Matthias Heep (2013). Koen Bollen received the Akademie Musiktheater heute Scholarship 2012-2014. As dramaturg, Koen Bollen worked for o.a. Frühlings Erwachen by Benoît Mernier for the International Opera Academy in Gent, Nixe (an adaptation of Dvořáks Rusalka) for the Opera of Stuttgart, Nobolero with choreographer Chantal Yzermans, the world creation Tonguecat for the State Opera of Munich and Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito with director Jorinde Keesmaat for the Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier. Since 2016 Koen Bollen has been dramaturg for Opera and Ballet Vlaanderen where he works with choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.
In 2016-2017, mezzo-soprano Augusta Caso (Anais Nin) looks forward to making her debut with Center for Contemporary Opera in the title role of Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin. She will sing Margaret’s Ghost in the world premiere of Leonard Lehman’s The Triangle Fire, and joins Ars Musica as an Encore Young Artist. Her 2015-2016 season included Prince Charmant in Cendrillon with Utopia Opera; the title role in Cenerentola with Opera on Tap; Stéphano in Roméo et Juliette with Maryland Lyric Opera; Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder; Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été; and Handel’s Messiah. Ms. Caso sang with Divaria Productions in a new production about Isabella Colbran-Rossini. Other operatic roles include Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro; Carmen and Mercédès in Carmen; Poppea in L’incoronazione di Poppea; and Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito. Ms. Caso holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Oklahoma. She grew up in Phoenix, Maryland.
Hailed for her ‘focused soprano and crystal tone,’ soprano Maggie Finnegan (Voice 1) is a versatile singer, performing repertoire spanning from medieval to contemporary. Her opera performances this year include premieres with The American Chamber Opera Company (as Lisa in Lisa’s Room: A Dream Opera),Vital Opera (in Joshua Groffman’s Unfinished,) and the Center for Contemporary Opera in Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women. Past seasons include performances with Paper Mill Playhouse (Fraulein Schweiger/Ensemble), Metropolitan Opera Guild’s School Touring Program (Second Lady, The Magic Flute), The Juventas New Music Ensemble (as Arrangiarsia in The Little Blue One) and The Metropolitan Opera Chorus (Boris Godunov). Maggie is a core member of the early and new music ensemble The Broken Consort. This fall she brought her solo recital The Goddess Wept: Contemporary American Song to the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington DC. Maggie made her Kennedy Center debut this spring as the winner of the Washington International Competition for Voice.
Neal Goren (conductor) Recent Engagements: Transformations by Conrad Susa, for San Francisco Opera Center; Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly (world premiere) for Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia; I Have No Stories to Tell You by Lembit Beecher (world premiere) for Gotham Chamber Opera; U.S. stage premieres for Gotham Chamber Opera by Kaija Saariaho, Toshio Hosokowa, Bohuslav Martinu, and Xavier Montsalvatge; La tragédie de Carmen for UNCSA Additional Credits: Founding Artistic Director and conductor, Gotham Chamber Opera (2001-2015); The Turn of the Screw (Angers Opéra and Opéra de Nantes); The Magic Flute (New York City Opera); recital accompanist for Leontyne Price, Kathleen Battle, Hei-Kyung Hong, Harolyn Blackwell, Hakan Hagegard, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Aprile Millo, Hermann Prey, among others; Associate Professor, Mannes College, The New School for Music (1992-present)
Jorinde Keesmaat (director) is a stage director of opera performances and staged classical concerts in the Netherlands and abroad. She creates multi-disciplinary performances that explore the relationships between the individual spectator and the actors and musicians. In 2003, she graduated at the College of Arts ArtEZ with the performance The Honey Makers, which was shown during the ‘Vital Signs’ festival at Vital Theatre (NYC). Jorinde Keesmaat is the permanent director of the concert series TRACKS at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. She also directed semi-staged versions of three Mozart operas commissioned by the Residentie Orkest and Hans en Grietje for the Concertgebouw. Recent highlights were her staging of Mozart’s opera La clemenza di Tito for the Montpellier Opera, the music-kickboksshow Slaande Ovatie in Amsterdam and the performance What the woof for the ‘Serenade Festival’ in Washington DC. Jorinde Keesmaat is appointed guest director-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Opera in New York 2016-2018.
Nicole Mitchell (Voice 4) is a native of Brooklyn and has performed regularly with American Opera Projects and The Walt Whitman Project promoting works of new composers. She has performed at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and with New York City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Piedmont Opera, Lincoln Center Festival and abroad in Teatro di San Carlo, Landestheater in Linz, Austria and at the Festival de Wiltz in Luxembourg and this summer in Dresden at Semperoper as Maria in Porgy and Bess. In 2015 Nicole appeared in Stefan Weisman’s acclaimed world premiere opera Scarlet Ibis as part of the Beth Morrison Projects’ and HERE ARTS CENTER production at the PROTOTYPE Festival. Last year she sang the role of the Old Woman in David Lang’s The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (Beth Morrison Production) and can be heard on a studio recording of the opera which was released last summer by Cantaloupe Music. She will perform the role with Portland Opera in 2017. In addition Nicole will perform the role of Erde in Wagner’s Das Rheingold with Trilogy: an Opera Company in March 2017.
Ascon de Nijs (set/costume design) makes stage designs for theatre, musical theatre, modern dance, cabaret and operas. His work diverges from rough and unpolished images to clean and styled designs, with lots of dynamic and playful elements. After he graduated as a scenographer in 1992 at the Royal Academy in The Hague he worked with modern dance choreographers on different international stages. The last 15 years he has been working intensively with choreographers Guy Weizman and Roni Haver, for instance The Language of Walls by Club Guy & Roni, which played the ‘Jacobs Pillow’ festival in New York State in 2007. Recent works by Ascon de Nijs include a new version of Il viaggio a Reims (Dutch National Opera), a new version of Roméo et Juliette by composer Hector Berlioz (Konzert Theater Bern) and Mozart’s La clemenza di Tito at Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier.
Mezzo-soprano Hilary Ginther was profiled in Opera Now Magazine as one of ten young American singers intent on taking the opera world by storm in an article entitled “Written in the Stars” (May 2016). raised for her “voice that is unusually flexible and flourid for such a substantial and richly colored instrument”. During the 2015-2016 season, Ms. Ginther displayed the range of her artistry as both the winsome Rosina in Rossini’s evergreen romp Il barbiere di Siviglia and the imprisoned Vlasta in Mieczysław Weinberg’s work of historical trauma The Passenger, both with Florida Grand Opera. Ms. Ginther made her Philadelpha Orchestra debut as a featured soloist in the orchestra’s first-ever performances of Bernstein’s MASS under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. She has created the role of the gauche Bobachino in the world premiere of John Musto’s opera buffa The Inspector mounted by Wolf Trap Opera and has performed the role of the Stewardess in the Arkansas premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Flight. She makes her debut with Little Opera Theater of New York in early 2017, creating the role of Lady Meresvale in the New York premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s new opera Prince of Players.
Brianna Poh (production stage manager): Credits include Take One (FringeNYC), Guys and Dolls (MSM), You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (YAA),Mary Poppins (UHSPAC), La Vie Parisienne (Hofstra Opera), Wayward (LSTFI), I Wish! (YAA), Beauty and the Beast (MSM), Aida (MSM), SM: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Half Moon Theatre), I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti (Half Moon Theatre), The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen (Somerled Arts), Billy and Ray (101 Productions), Empire the Musical (Bespoke Theatricals), and many more. Other credits include CFDA Awards, American Theatre Wing Gala, and other work in dance, fashion and opera.
Scott H. Schneider’s (production manager) work as Production Manager for the Bronx Opera Company over the past decade was highlighted last year in an Opera News profile and includes Carmen, Orpheus…, The Magic Flute, La Boheme, The Rivals, La Traviata, Albert Herring, Cinderella, and Regina. Other credits include The Preacher and The Shrink and An Error of the Moon at The Beckett Theatre, Kulturefest at the Abrons Arts Center and The Megile of Itzik Manger at the Nagelberg Theatre (both for the National Yiddish Theatre), She Loves Me (Caramoor), Marie Galante (Opera Francais de New York), Turandot (Connecticut Grand Opera), Darkling (American Opera Projects), and Joy (The Actors’ Playhouse). Stage manager for opera and theatre Off Broadway, regional, and on tour. Design credits include lighting for Centenary Stage Company, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, and Club Med International. Former treasurer of The Stage Managers’ Association; graduate Wesleyan University; Artistic Director Bad Dog Productions.
Jerome Tan, (pianist) a native of Singapore, came to the US on a music scholarship to the Peabody Conservatory of Music at the Johns Hopkins University, where he received master’s degrees in both piano performance and ensemble arts. A student of Marian Hahn, he has participated in master classes led by Warren Jones, Leon Fleisher, Mark Markham, Robert McDonald, Marilyn Horne, Grace Bumbry, Elly Ameling, and Thomas Hampson. Since receiving the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award for Vocal Collaboration from the Music Academy of the West, he has become a regular collaborator with the highly acclaimed foundation. Notable engagements include both The Song Continues … and On Wings of Song programs in New York, and a birthday gala in honor of Miss Horne at Carnegie Hall. In summer 2004, he was invited to accompany singers at L’Accademie Villecroze in southern France. He has also served as a staff pianist at the Steans Institute of the Ravinia Festival. Recent engagements include with Gotham Chamber Opera’s presentation of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire. His most recent appearance was during the Marilyn Horne Foundation’s Mediterranean Cruise, a nine-day tour around the Mediterranean filled with musical performances throughout the journey. Mr. Tan was also apart of the foundation’s national residency at Oberlin Conservatory with baritone Lester Lynch.
Center for Contemporary Opera programs are supported in part by public funds from the National Endowment of the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the city council, and with generous major contributions from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Geoffrey C. Hughes Foundation, The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, The Jewish Community Fund, and the Ramon Llull Institute. We are most appreciative of all our supporters.