Oswego Opera Theater Presents Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte To Open 2011-12 Season

OSWEGO, NY – Are “all women” really that fickle in love and romance?

Or do guys have “issues,” too?

The 33rd season of the Oswego Opera Theater opens with Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which has been translated as “All Women Do the Same” and was originally subtitled as “The School for Lovers.”

No other opera has had so many alternative titles and the German “So Machen es Alle” or “Thus Do They All” eventually became standard.

Angela Libertella Calabrese
Angela Libertella Calabrese

As it plays out in Mozart’s very sympathetically human comedy, nothing is gender-certain when it comes to love.

For beautiful music and the art of singing, a good case can be made that this is Mozart’s greatest opera and most accessible comedy. The production stars Eileen Mackintosh as Fiordiligi, Elizabeth Bouk as Dorabella, Angela Libertella Calabrese as Despina, Victor Khodadad as Ferrando, Alfred Barclift as Guglielmo and John Davies as Don Alfonso.

Khodadad and Barclift are making their regional debuts.

Nancy James of Syracuse University Setnor School of Music makes her debut as chorus master as well as pianist with company pianist Rebecca Horning.

Artistic director Mack Richardson conducts, with John Davies, stage director, and Stephen F. Braun, technical director and stage and lighting designer.

Mozart’s Così fan tutte, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte Nov. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 2 p.m. in Waterman Theatre, Tyler Hall, SUNY Oswego,
sung in Italian with English supertitles.

Mezzo-soprano Bouk (Dorabella), known for her powerful voice and convincing acting, has a variety of exciting performances planned for the 2011-2012 season. Bouk is thrilled to be making her Syracuse Opera debut in October as Flora in La Traviata. In addition to several recitals this fall, Bouk returns in Spring 2012 to Syracuse Opera to portray Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly.

Alfred Barclift
Alfred Barclift

Recent performances include a French Woman in Persis Vehar’s Wold Premiere of Eleanor and La Zia Principessa with OperaOggiNY’s production of Suor Angelica. She earned rave reviews for her portrayal of her signature role, Dorabella (Cosi fan Tutte), with Underworld Productions, gave a gripping performance of Madame Flora (The Medium) with OperaOggiNY and was an apprentice artist with Center City Opera Theater in Philadelphia during the 2008-09 season.

In October 2009 Bouk was featured in Opera Oswego’s “Opera Love Scenes” as Amneris (Aida), Buttercup (HMS Pinafore), and Suzuki (Madama Butterfly). Other roles performed include Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Nancy (Albert Herring), Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), The Monitor (Suor Angelica), Marie (Moïse et Pharaon), Wood Nymph (Rusalka), Anne (The Mother of Us All) and Cinderella’s Mother (Into the Woods).

As an oratorio soloist, Bouk has performed in Handel’s Messiah, Handel’s Dixit Dominus, Haydn’s Creation, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Vivaldi’s Gloria and Saint-Saens’ Christmas Oratorio. She has recently appeared as a soloist with the Mid-York Brass Ensemble, SUNY Oswego Orchestra and the Sherburne Community Choir.

Bouk holds a B.M. in Voice Performance and Music Education from the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and a M.M. in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance from Westminster Choir College. She lives in Hamilton, NY and is an Instructor of Voice at Colgate University.

Elizabeth Bouk
Elizabeth Bouk

Soprano Mackintosh (Fiordiligi) is a lifelong musician, singer, teacher, conductor, and accompanist. She began her musical studies at the age of four with piano lessons. Coming from a musical family, she was brought to church choir rehearsals where she learned to sing sitting in on her father’s rehearsals. Performing parts like The Angel in the church Christmas Pageant at the age of 3 where her big line was usually “Hi, Dad!” spurred on her desire to pursue a musical performing life.

Mackintosh is a product of the Pine Bush Central School District. Her early accomplishments include two summers of vocal and piano study at the New York State Summer Music Camp, and the title role in My Fair Lady.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in music from SUNY Fredonia as both a voice and piano major, studying conducting with Dr. Donald Lang and holding the position of Student Director for the Festival Chorus. She received a Master’s in Music from the University of Connecticut, studying conducting with Dr. Peter Bagley.

Passionate about choral conducting, Eileen formed The Middletown Chorale in 1996 and over the course of 11 years, built it to become an outstanding member of the performing arts community in Orange County before handing the baton over in 2006. TMC not only performed in many venues locally, but gave several performances with Mid America productions in Carnegie Hall performing the major works of Mozart, Beethoven, Rutter and Orff. Combining her interest in both opera and choral conducting, Eileen began work in Summer 2011 as Chorus Master for the Delaware Valley Opera in Narrowsburg, NY, and prepared the chorus for Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and Donzetti’s L’Elisir d’amore.

Victor Khodadad
Victor Khodadad

As soprano, early vocal performances include the Mozart roles of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan Tutte), Marcellina (Le Nozze di Figaro), and First Lady (Die Zauberflöte) as a Young Artist with Intermezzo Opera, New York Opera Studio and Naomi Music. In recent years, Eileen’s voice has settled into the dramatic soprano repertoire and in 2007, she performed the role of Verdi’s Lady Macbeth (Macbeth) with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble. In the summer of 2009, she performed the title role in Delaware Valley Opera’s production of The Merry Widow to rave reviews. The Times Herald Record called her voice “vocally powerful” and the River Reporter says “her pure soprano voice rose easily over the orchestra.”

Eileen recently completed a season as Artist-in-Residence with New York Lyric Opera, culminating in a performance at Symphony Space in New York City.  In 2009, she sang the Verdi role of Aida (Aida) in the production of “Opera Love Stories” with Oswego Opera, where she returned in concert this fall to perform the music of Strauss including the Four Last Songs and highlights from Der Rosenkavalier. This February, Eileen made her debut in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall as a finalist in the Nico Castel International Master Singer Competition.

Later this year, Eileen will sing the soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem with Opus Cantorum in Ithaca and Abigaille (Nabucco) with Amici Opera in Philadelphia in 2012. Mackintosh maintains a full-time private voice studio and holds the position of choir director and organist at the St. Paul’s Methodist Church in Middletown, NY.

Soprano Libertella Calabrese (Despina) recently premiered Mark Olivieri’s “Expulsions on Poetry by James McCorkle” at the 175th Anniversary of SUNY Brockport. She has performed with Tri-Cities Opera, Brevard Music Festival, V.O.I.C.E Experience at Epcot Center, Empire Lyric Theater, Mercury Opera, Oswego Opera, HWSCC and Fingerlakes Chorale.  Her operatic roles include Kate in Pirates of Penzance with Mercury Opera, Norina in Don Pasquale and Amor in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Oswego Opera, Angelina in Trial by Jury with the American Landmarks Festival, Zerlina in Don Giovanni with Binghamton’s Tri-Cities Opera, Papagena in Die Zauberflote, Despina in Cosi fan Tutte, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Ida in Die Fledermaus, Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly and Suor Genovieffa in Suor Angelica.

Eileen Mackintosh
Eileen Mackintosh

Calabrese has performed as a soloist with the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Community Chorus and the Fingerlakes Chorale, most recently as Eve in Haydn’s The Creation and the First Lady in Handel’s Solomon. A first prize winner in the Chicago Italian Cultural Center Voice Competition, she has also been a finalist in the Friends of Austria Lieder Competition, Chicago Bel Canto Competition and received an Honorable Mention from the American Society of Musicians. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Nazareth College where she studied with Joan Floriano and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance and Literature from Northwestern University, where she studied with Elizabeth Fischer and Sherill Milnes.

Calabrese is currently a voice instructor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and resides in Geneva, with her husband, percussionist Anthony Calabrese.

Bass-baritone Barclift (Guglielmo) is a native of East Orange, NJ, and studied with internationally acclaimed bass-baritone, Simon Estes and internationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano, Betty Allen. Operatic roles for Dr. Barclift include Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro, the title role and Leporello in Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso/Guglielmo in Così fan Tutte, Colline/Shaunard in La Boheme, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Porgy in Porgy and Bess, and Count des Grieux in Manon. Equally at home in more contemporary opera roles, he has performed the roles of Il Nonno/Bargello in I Compagnacci (Jazz at Lincoln Center), Un Cerimoniere in Il Re (Jazz at Lincoln Center), La Tigre in Il Piccolo Marat (Avery Fisher Hall – Teatro Grattacielo), Ned in Treemonisha (New York City Opera Education Program).

Oratorio and concert works include Johannes Brahms’ A German Requiem, Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, W. A. Mozart’s Coronation Mass, M. Charpentier’s Messe di Minuit,
G. F. Handel’s Messiah and Dettigen Te Deum, Schubert’s Die Winterreise and Schwanengesang, R. Schumann’s Liederkreis Op. 39, and P.I. Tchaikovsky’s Song Cycles Op. 6 and Op.38.

Barclift has been a prize winner in numerous competitions such as First Prize in the Friday Woodmere Vocal Competition of New York, Second Prize in the New Jersey N.A.T.S. Vocal Competition, a finalist in the Leontyne Price Vocal Competition, and a finalist in the YWCA Vocal Competition of New York. Alfred has worked with numerous noted conductors and directors such as Thomas Bo, Anton Coppola, Paul Hicks, Paul King, Jay Meetze, and Lou Rodgers.

Tenor Khodadad (Ferrando) was born in Shiraz, Iran of an Iranian father and a Cuban mother, and shortly after his birth the entire family moved to the U.S. His mother, a classically trained pianist and conductor, provided a childhood full of music and performing opportunities.

In college he pursued classical theatre training and in 1992 received a Master of Fine Arts in Acting from San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. Following several years of work in Los Angeles, he moved to New York to pursue his career in theatre. By 2000, Khodadad had worked at Boston Center for the Arts, Hartford Stage Company, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Theatreworks/USA and Yale Repertory Theater. He was also in the original New York International Fringe Festival production of “Urinetown! (the musical).”

After playing the role of Jesus in a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Khodadad shifted his focus and began formal vocal study with Jerome Pruett, Associate Professor of Voice at the Hartt School of Music, in April of 2001. That summer he was cast as Ferrando and Don Ottavio in concert readings in Italian for New York Opera Productions. After a turn as a super in the Met’s War and Peace (Prokofiev, under Valery Gergiev) in the summer of 2002, he joined the Resident Artist Program at Natchez Opera Festival and then traveled to Italy and the Spoleto Vocal Arts Symposium, where he studied Italian and voice with Master Teachers Enza Ferrari and Bruno Rigacci.

Singing in the chorus of Connecticut Opera in the fall of 2002 brought him his first contact with a larger regional house and in the summer of 2003, he returned to Natchez Opera Festival, alternately performing the roles of Benvolio and Romèo in Gounod’s  Romèo et Juliette, and then to Hot Springs Music Festival, performing in their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. He was then accepted into the Graduate Professional Diploma Program at the Hartt School of Music where he could gain leading role operatic experience and continue studying with Mr. Pruett.

In February of 2004, playing the role of the Male Chorus in Benjamin Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia at The Hartt School, conducted by Kyle Swann, Assistant Conductor for Connecticut Opera, proved to be another turning point for Mr. Khodadad. This was the beginning of a string of performances including Testo in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Tamino in The Magic Flute conducted by the Met’s Steven Crawford, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and his professional operatic debut singing the role of Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Opera Theater of Connecticut.

From 2006-09 he had formative private lessons with legendary tenor Nicolai Gedda in Switzerland.

Subsequent performances included Alfredo in La traviata, Rodolfo in La Bohème, Roméo in Roméo et Juliette and Nanki-poo in The Mikado. In January 2007, Khodadad sang as a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in a concert of
Der Rosenkavalier excerpts conducted by Donald Runnicles. In October 2007, he sang Don Carlo and Bishop of Puebla in Carla Lucero’s new Spanish opera Juana. Engagements for 2008 included being in the Young Artist Program at Opera Santa Barbara, where he understudied Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and a return to Commonwealth Opera, CT Lyric Opera and Natchez Opera Festival as the Duke in Rigoletto, Alfred in Die Fledermaus and Ferrando in Così fan tutte, respectively.

Recent engagements include Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly for Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra, Nadir in Les p?cheurs de perles at Taconic Opera in April 2011, the Tenor Soloist in “Elijah” at Hot Springs Music Festival in June 2011 and Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore for Delware Valley Opera in August 2011. He was also named as a finalist for The American Prize in 2011.

Bass-baritone Davies (Don Alfonso and Stage Director) has performed with opera companies throughout the United States, including the Metropolitan Opera Company, San Francisco Opera and the opera companies of Boston, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Phoenix and Anchorage. He has also performed in concert as bass-baritone soloist with the symphony orchestras of Boston, San Francisco, St. Louis, Detroit, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Chattanooga and Syracuse. In addition to singing in hundreds of productions, he has a significant career as a stage director.

A father of six children, Davies takes an active interest in performing arts for young people. More than 60 opera companies, included the Syracuse Opera and Oswego Opera, universities and symphony orchestras have presented operas he has written for young audiences.

Artistic director and conductor Richardson is an Adjunct Professor Music at SUNY Oswego while leading Oswego Opera Theatre since July 2008.

He earned Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in Music Theory and Music History. He holds a Masters in Orchestral Conducting and Arts Administration from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He also studied for several summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors.

After a period of post-graduate study, he served as Music Director of the Seven Hills Sinfonietta and the American Opera Auditions in Cincinnati, where he led productions of Mozart’s The Impresario, Salieri’s First the Music Then the Words, and Pergolesi’s La serva padrona. From 1992-2005 was Chief Executive Officer of  the BC Pops in Binghamton, NY; the South Dakota Symphony in Sioux Falls and the South Bend Symphony (IN), where he once stood in for the indisposed maestro Valery Gergiev in the  Alexander Toradze Piano Festival in a concert of Mozart, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with Mr. Toradze as soloist.

In Oswego he has led the recent productions of Bizet’s Carmen, “Opera Love Stories,” “Mozart’s Leading Ladies and Gentlemen,” and “An Afternoon with the G-Men” (Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini), as well as Oswego Opera Family “OperaTUNESities” programs and its in-school programs.

Tickets are on sale in person at all SUNY Oswego box offices, by phone at 315-312-2141 or online at www.oswego.edu/tickets

Regular ticket prices are $22 with discounts for seniors and all faculty/staff personnel at area collegiate, secondary and elementary schools. All student/child tickets are $5, and the opera is appropriate for all age groups.

More information is available by email at [email protected]