Jennifer Rowley, Tamara Mumford Lead Teatro Nuovo’s First-Ever Bel Canto Festival

By Logan Martell

From July 28 through August 5, 2018, Teatro Nuovo, headed by Will Crutchfield, will be holding an inaugural festival at Purchase College titled “The Dawn of Romantic Opera.” The festival will perform two versions of Rossini’s “Tancredi,” as well as Mayr’s “Medea in Corinto,” in productions that will not only feature some of opera’s current stars, but will shine a light on the next generation of performers.

Rossini’s “Tancredi”

Featuring mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford, soprano Sydney Mancasola, and tenor Santiago Ballerini in a semi-staged production that will be sure to make for a fitting opening for this celebration of Bel Canto. “Tancredi” was the young Rossini’s first ‘hit,” says Crutchfield, “and it has some of the freshest, most appealing, and most touching music he ever composed.”

Performances – July 28 & August 3, 2018

Mayr’s “Medea in Corinto”

“Medea in Corinto” features soprano Jennifer Rowley and tenors Mingjie Lei and Derrek Stark. Of this seldom-performed work Crutchfield says, “Mayr is not a figure on the margins; he is a master awaiting rediscovery. He was the teacher and lifelong friend of Donizetti, and the most important link between Mozart and Rossini.”

Performances – July 29 & August 4, 2018

Rossini’s “Tancredo rifatto” or “Tancredo re-made”

This version of the Rossini opera will showcase mezzo-soprano Aleks Romano, soprano Christine Lyons, and tenor David Margulis. Elaborating on this revised version, Crutchfield says “In Rossini’s time, when you re-mounted an opera in a new city, you wrote some new music for it. Over time, Rossini wrote alternate pieces for practically half the score. Every time I have conducted ‘Tancredi,’ I’ve looked at the gorgeous music printed in the Appendix, and thought ‘this belongs on stage.’ Now’s the chance!  So our final performance is not a repeat, but a different score with a different cast – with some of Rossini’s best music, most of it unknown even to Rossini fans.”

Performance – August 5, 2018

 In addition to these productions the festival will also hold a number of smaller events:

Jennifer Larmore Masterclass

Monday July 30, 2018.

Parlami d’amore (Speak to me of Love)

This event will explore bel canto style as it transitioned to Italian popular song, with favorites of figures such as Tito Schipa, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli, and Carlo Buti.

Tuesday July 31, 2018

Oldest Voices, Newest Voices

Two events will be held this day: The first is an afternoon multi-media presentation of Italian singers who were born between 1843 and 1873; the second is an evening performance from the Teatro Nuovo Apprentice Artists as part of their Role Preparation Project directed by Rachelle Jonck.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Bel Canto da camera

A performance of instrumental and vocal chamber music, featuring works from Rossini, Mayr, Donizetti, and more.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

All events will be held at The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College

Teatro Nuovo will build on the celebrated work of Bel Canto at Caramoor, a highly-selective training program which ran for twenty years under the direction of Will Crutchfield. One notable aspect of their approach will be to integrate the orchestra into production rehearsals from the start, and exploring the relationship between vocal style and music through seminars on Italian language and libretto analysis.

Teatro Nuovo is a newly-founded organization committed to the art of Italian opera and specifically bel canto. Their mission is to stage neglected bel canto works as well as closely-studied interpretations of better-known operas, and to train young musicians, thus giving them the skills needed to breathe new life into the beloved repertory.