NEW YORK –– The Juilliard Opera season opens with a production of Gioachino Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia (The Turk in Italy), a drama buffo in two acts with a libretto by Felice Romani. Juilliard alumna Speranza Scappucci conducts the Juilliard singers and the Juilliard Orchestra in her conducting debut at Juilliard in the production directed by John Giampietro. Performances take place on Wednesday, November 19, 2014 and Friday, November 21, 2014 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 2 p.m., in Juilliard’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Tickets for Juilliard Opera’s production of Il Turco in Italia are $30 and available at events.juilliard.edu or at the Juilliard Box Office. Juilliard students may attend for free; non-Juilliard students with valid ID may purchase tickets at $15 at the Juilliard Box Office.
The cast features Juilliard singers Kara Sainz as Zaida; Nathan Haller as Albazar; Szymon Komasa as Prosdocimo, a playwright; Daniel Miroslaw as Geronio; Hyesang Park as Fiorilla; Michael Sumuel as Selim; and Joseph Dennis as Narciso.
Scenic designer is Alexis Distler; costume designer is Sydney Maresca; and lighting designer is Derek Wright.
Artistic Director Brian Zeger writes in his notes: “Turco has not been seen in a staged performance by New York audiences since the New York City Opera production in 1978 starring Beverly Sills. It overflows with Rossini’s signature wit but, as in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the comedy turns dark, revealing the pain and loneliness that can accompany marital infidelity.”
About Speranza Scappucci (Conductor and Continuo)
Speranza Scappucci is one of the most dynamic new conductors on the international scene. Her recent Italian debut at the Macerata Opera Festival conducting La traviata was described by the press as a true revelation. She has led Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at Glimmerglass, Don Giovanni at the Scottish Opera and the Finnish National Opera, Norma at Teatro São Carlos Lisbon, Rossini’s L’equivoco stravagante in Bilbao, and Così fan tutte and I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Yale.
Her upcoming opera appearances include La sonnambula (Mozarteum Orchestra/Landestheater Salzburg), La cenerentola (Washington National Opera), and La fille du régiment (Santa Fe Opera). Her future symphonic engagements include appearances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, and Orchestra Regionale Toscana. In 2013 her first CD, of Mozart arias with soprano Marina Rebeka, was released on Warner Classics. A graduate of The Juilliard School and Conservatorio di Musica Santa Cecilia in Rome, she worked with Riccardo Muti for eight years (Salzburg Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Rome Opera). As assistant conductor, she has worked at the Met, Vienna State Opera, New York City Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, The Santa Fe Opera, and Glyndebourne.
About John Giampietro (Director)
John Giampietro has directed opera and theater at Accidental Theater, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Vermont Shakespeare Festival, Curtis Institute of Music, Serials @ The Flea, N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the Chautauqua Institution School of Music, among others. At Juilliard, he has directed Le nozze di Figaro and a double bill of Curlew River and Riders to the Sea. Recent credits include Eric Dufault’s Year of the Rooster at Ensemble Studio Theatre (Outer Critics Circle Award for playwriting and Drama Desk nomination for featured actor). Mr. Giampietro is a frequent director for E.S.T.’s Obie award-winning playwriting program Youngblood. He is a faculty member of the Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard and principal director for the Chautauqua Institution Voice Program. He is the author of the plays, The Immolation of Kathy Chang(e) and Strength of God and other grotesques.
About the Cast:
Joseph Dennis (Narciso)
Tenor Joseph Dennis, from McKinney, Texas, is an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at Juilliard, studying with Robert C. White, Jr. Mr. Dennis has already gained recognition for his vocal talent and also for his comedic gifts. In summer of 2013, as an apprentice with the prestigious Santa Fe Opera, he sang the role of Giuseppe in La traviata. In the 2013-14 season he returned to Santa Fe Opera to sing as soloist in their holiday concert series. Also in 2013-14 he joined the roster of Palm Beach Opera in the role of Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth. In the summer of 2014 he rejoined the roster of Santa Fe Opera for the American premiere of Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, by Chinese-born American composer Huang Ruo, a Juilliard alumnus and faculty member. Mr. Dennis stepped into the title role at the last moment, to great acclaim.
Nathan Haller (Albazar)
Tenor Nathan Haller, a native of Ottawa, Ontario, is a master’s student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Wiens. He was a soloist in Juilliard415’s performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Gary Thor Wedow, Purcell’s Hail! Bright Cecilia, Z. 328 with Richard Egarr, and Charpentier’s Actéon with William Christie. Mr. Haller has performed with the New York Festival of Song at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the Peter Jay Sharp Theater. He studied in Germany at the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie. While there he performed with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester under Paul Hostetter and sang in a Liederabend at Steingraeber & Söhne in Bayreuth and in Bach’s Mass in B minor under Helmuth Rilling. Mr. Haller was awarded the Mitzi Koo Scholarship, for which he performed concerts for CTBC Bank in Taiwan and the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles. This past summer, he performed Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte in Miami.
Szymon Komasa (Prosdocimo, a playwright)
Baritone Szymon Komasa, a native of Warsaw, is in his second year of studies in Juilliard’s Artist Diploma in Opera Studies program, studying with Edith Wiens. Mr. Komasa recently attended the Opera Studies program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He performed the role of Schaunard in La bohème at the Arena di Verona Teatro Filarmonico (2009) and at the Semperoper in Dresden (2012), and the role of Papageno in Die Zauberflöte in Łódź, Poland. He has won several international competitions in Poland, Germany, and Italy, and made it to the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World finals, representing Poland. He also sang at Valery Gergiev’s 60th Birthday Gala Concert at London’s Barbican Hall, conducted by the honoree. This season Mr. Komasa will make his debut at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy, performing the role of a German Soldier in Henze’s Gisela!
Daniel Miroslaw (Geronio)
Bass Daniel Miroslaw is an Artist Diploma in Opera Studies student at Juilliard, where he studies with Edith Wiens. Mr. Miroslaw won a Special Prize at the 15th Ada Sari International Vocal Artistry Competition. He earned his bachelor's degree from the Łódź Academy of Music and a master’s degree from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He also studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim.
Hyesang Park (Fiorilla)
Soprano Hyesang Park, from South Korea, is a Master of Music student at Juilliard, studying with Edith Bers. She debuted as Violetta (La traviata) with Korea National Opera. Ms. Park has received support from and performed at the Sejong Cultural Center. She trained at the Korea National Opera Young Artist Program, and placed first in the Korean National Opera and the Sejong Cultural Center Competitions. She was also a finalist in the Queen Elizabeth Voice Competition in 2014, after which she appeared in several concerts in Belgium. She has participated in master classes with Sir Richard Bonynge, Renée Fleming, Mariella Devia, and Luciana Serra. She also participated in the Georg Solti Accademia and Verbier Festival, conducted by Sir Richard Bonynge.
Kara Sainz (Zaida)
Mezzo-soprano Kara Sainz, from Temecula, California, is a first year Master of Music student at Juilliard, where she received her Bachelor of Music degree, studying with Edith Bers. Ms. Sainz was awarded the ASCAP Foundation’s 2010 Lieber and Stoller Scholarship. From 2009 through 2011 she attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival and School where she studied with Elizabeth Hynes. Ms. Sainz made her Peter Jay Sharp Theater debut as Cricket in Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen. She returned to Aspen in the summer of 2013 to perform the role of La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. She also sang the role of Zefka in Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Vanished. She spent the summer of 2014 at Wolf Trap Opera, where she sang the role of Nireno in Handel’s Giulio Cesare.
Michael Sumuel (Selim)
Bass-baritone Michael Sumuel began the current season at Lyric Opera of Chicago as Masetto in a new production of Don Giovanni, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. He also returns to Houston Grand Opera as Papageno in The Magic Flute, and returns to Glyndebourne Festival Opera as Junius in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia. On the concert stage, Mr. Sumuel will return to Mercury Baroque Houston to sing a series of Bach cantatas, Handel’s Messiah with the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and selected scenes from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess with the Santa Barbara Symphony. Recent highlights include the title role in Le nozze di Figaro at Central City Opera, returns to HGO, debuts with San Francisco Opera, and Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and appearances with the San Francisco Symphony, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
About the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at Juilliard
Brian Zeger, Artistic Director
One of America’s most prestigious programs for educating singers, The Juilliard School’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts offers young artists programs tailored to their talents and needs. From bachelor and master of music degrees to advanced Artist Diploma programs in voice and opera studies, Juilliard provides frequent performance opportunities, featuring singers in its own recital halls, on Lincoln Center’s stages, and around New York City.
Juilliard graduates may be heard in opera houses and concert halls throughout the world; diverse alumni include well-known performers, such as Leontyne Price, Renée Fleming, Simon Estes, Tatiana Troyanos, Shirley Verrett, and Risë Stevens. Recent alumni include Isabel Leonard, Susanna Phillips, Paul Appleby, and Sasha Cooke, among others.
Pianist Brian Zeger has built a distinguished international performance career in addition to serving as artistic administrator, educator, and radio broadcaster. In a career spanning three decades, Mr. Zeger has enjoyed collaborations with many of the world’s top artists and enjoys an active career as a chamber musician. Currently he is artistic director of the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts at The Juilliard School and the executive director of the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Development Program.
Il Turco in Italia
Music by Gioachino Rossini
Libretto by Felice Romani
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 8 p.m.
Friday, November 21, 2014 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 2 p.m.
Speranza Scappucci, Conductor and Continuo
John Giampietro, Director
Alexis Distler, Scenic Designer
Sydney Maresca, Costume Designer
Derek Wright, Lighting Designer
The Cast, in order of vocal appearance
Zaida: Kara Sainz
Albazar: Nathan Haller
Prosdocimo, a playwright: Szymon Komasa
Geronio: Daniel Miroslaw
Fiorilla: Hyesang Park
Selim: Michael Sumuel
Narciso: Joseph Dennis
Juilliard students may attend for free; non-Juilliard students with valid ID may purchase tickets at $15 at the Juilliard Box Office.
TO READ THE PROGRAM NOTES, CLICK HERE: Juilliard Opera Presents Rossini's "Il Turco in Italia"