Love Hurts

love-hurtsBy Nicola Moro
Libretto by Lisa Hilton

Co-production World Premiere
In partnership with Associazione Solocanto, Milan

October 28, 2016, 7:30pm
Symphony Space

Love Hurts, a one-act opera set in 1814, imagines the Marquis de Sade, in his lunatic asylum, re-enacting the trial of notorious 15th century hero-turned-murderer Gilles de Rais, the inspiration for the Bluebeard legend.

Conductor: James Ross
Director: Federica Santambrogio

Marquis de Sade: David Kravitz
Constance: Rebecca Nathanson
Lunatic one: David Neal
Lunatic two: David Gordon

Costume Design: Micaella Sollecito
Production Manager: Kasey Burgess


Kasey Burgess  has been a professional Production and Stage Manager in the greater New York City area since her completion at CUNY Hunter College. Focusing in opera, the companies she has worked with include Pocket Opera, Santa Fe Opera, New York Philharmonic, Amore Opera as well as the The Martina Arroyo Foundation. Productions that Kasey has contributed as production or stage manager include Alcina, Madama Butterfly, The Pearl Fishers, Tosca, Petrushka, La Boheme along with many other productions including both classic, alternative playing spaces and designs. This is her first show with the Center for Contemporary Opera and is looking forward to more opportunities.

Tenor David Gordon  is a singer, actor, director and educator.  He has appeared in leading and supporting roles with New York City Opera, New Rochelle Opera, the Center for Contemporary Opera (Alice in Wonderland, A Death in the Family, Fallen Angel), the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra; stage director and music director for Ramapo College of New Jersey, Under St. Marks Theatre, MSM Precollege; Founding Tenor, Director and Curator for Opera on Tap and New Brew; teaches studio voice, chamber music, acting and opera workshop for the Precollege Division at Manhattan School of Music.

Lisa Hilton

Lisa Hilton

Lisa Hilton  is the author of five historical biographies- the second of which Mistress Peachum’s Pleasure is a study of eighteenth century opera- and three historical novels. As L.S.Hilton, she is also the author of the Maestra thriller series. Lisa has worked widely in journalism and television as a presenter and historian and presently lives in London. Love Hurts is her first libretto.

Hailed as “a charismatic baritone” by the New York Times, “magnificently stentorian and resonant” by Opera News, and “a first-rate actor” by Opera (UK), David Kravitz’s (Baritone) recent and upcoming opera engagements include lead roles at Washington National Opera (Davis Miller in the world premiere of Approaching Ali), Chautauqua Opera (Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes), Skylight Music Theatre (Scarpia in Tosca), Opera Santa Barbara (The Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen), Grand Harmonie (Don Pizarro in Fidelio), Opera Saratoga (Don Magnifico in La cenerentola), Ash Lawn Opera (Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), Boston Lyric Opera (Abraham in Clemency), Emmanuel Music (Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby), and the New England Philharmonic (Wozzeck in Wozzeck). His many concert appearances include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, Boston Baroque, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Emmanuel Music, under conductors such as James Levine, Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, and Charles Dutoit, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. His distinguished legal career included clerkships with the Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor and the Hon. Stephen Breyer.


Nicola Moro

Nicola Moro  studied composition at New York University and at King’s College London supported by the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation and Radcliffe Trust, successfully completing a PhD in composition under George Benjamin and Silvina Milstein. His works have been performed by the Britten Sinfonia, the Ensemble Lontano, the Ligeti String Quartet, the Fidelio Trio, and by soloists Mary Dullea, Andrew Sparling and Rob Keeley in London, Prague, Berlin, Milan, New York, Paris and Boston. He wrote “WAR”, for two voices and ensemble, with Harold Pinter in 2007, and his chamber opera “Love Hurts” premiered in Milan at the Piccolo Teatro in 2016. He currently teaches at Cambridge University.

Bass-baritone David Neal has appeared with the Center for Contemporary Opera as The Commissioner in the world premiere production of The Secret Agent, in New York, Hungary, and France; as John Henry in William Mayer’s A Death in the Family in Szeged, Hungary; and in atelier performances of Héloise and Abelard and Bobby! He has sung with such companies as Syracuse Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Lake George Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera Ithaca, the Society for New Music, the Kitchen Theatre, and Lyric Opera Cleveland, and in concert at the Kennedy Center, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Syracuse.  A member of the composer Robert Paterson’s American Modern Ensemble, he has performed with AME at The TimesCenter, the DiMenna Center, and Bargemusic. He commissioned and premiered Lowell Liebermann’s Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening and Paterson’s Winter Songs, and premiered Paterson’s Night Songs earlier this month.  He can be heard in recordings on the AMR and Albany labels.

James Ross has conducted over 1,000 works in 16 countries throughout Europe, North America and Asia, including in London’s Royal Festival Hall, and Westminster Abbey for Queen Elizabeth II. Training first as a violinist, he studied at London’s American International School, Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, studying history then a doctorate on French Opera, Politics and the Press that was awarded the Sir Donald Tovey Prize. A BBC Conducting Competition finalist, he has conducted most of the symphonic and choral repertoire, operas by Bizet, Britten, Janáček, Mozart, Verdi and Wagner, worked with singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Olga Borodina and Danielle de Niese, led numerous contemporary music premières, and raised over $1 million in concerts for charities. He conducted the first performance of Love Hurts, at the Piccolo Teatro Milan, in June 2016.

French-Italian pianist Laetitia Ruccolo is the cofounder of the company Bare Opera and the original musical director of LoftOpera in Brooklyn. She was a Young Artist at the National Opera Studio in London for the 15/16 season, and she has been in residence at the Royal Opera House, Welsh National Opera and Opera North. She has performed widely as a solo artist, as well as collaborated with chamber ensembles, singers and with orchestra in France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal and Israel. In New York, she has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the New York Historical Society, the Museum of the City of New York and at the Metropolitan Opera Guild. She recently played for a concert presents by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. She worked with The Center for Contemporary Opera on the production Bobby in May 2015.She graduated from the Ecole Normale de Musique of Paris, University Mozarteum in Salzburg, and Mannes College of Music in New York.

Federica Santambrogio has a degree in Theatre and Music at University of Milano and a Masters in stage direction at Teatro alla Scala Academy. She has directed several operas and drama performances, in Italy and abroad, like Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Le Villi, Visita Meravigliosa, Cavalleria rusticana and several contemporary operas including Les invisibles, Salis 1,2,3, Il Paese delle Ombre by Matteo Manzitti and Heloise and Abelard by John Austin produced by CCO of New York. She won the third prize at Dimitris Mitropoulos Contemporary Opera International Contest and she was a finalist at the Graz International Prize for stage directors. In 2013 she founded Laboratorio Opera with M°Pilar Bravo producing and promoting contemporary opera.

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