- The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice celebrates its seventh season;
- Fisher Center at Bard College presents “The Symphonic and The Operatic” featuring works by Italian composers Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Martucci;
- And Arts Society of Kingston presents “Landscape Still Lives” art show by Richard Kirk Mills.
Learn more at Upstater.com.
- Glimmerglass Opera Festival’s 40th Anniversary Concert;
- Writers in the Mountains’ Annual Summer Reading Event;
- The 13th Annual Saugerties Artists Studios Tour;
- And, Chronogram Magazine’s 3rd Annual Block Party.
Read more at Upstater.com.
Baritone Jeffrey Tichenor was born in Kentucky. He studied opera performance at Murray State University, and after moving to New York City he continued his studies with Richard Barrett at Brooklyn Conservatory. Roles in his repertory include Masetto in Don Giovanni and Gugliemo in Cosi Fan Tutte both by Mozart, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss, and Albert in Werther by Jules Massenet. Tichenor performed Dr. McVeigh in Do Not Go Gentle by Robert Manno, premiered at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice this past weekend.
I spoke with Jeffrey after his performance.
Simona David: Jeff, was this your first year at the festival?
Jeffrey Tichenor: The first year as a performer, but I attended the festival in the past.
SD: How were you cast for this role? By the way, you made a great Dr. McVeigh!
JT: I took a voice lesson with the Festival’s Artistic Director Louis Otey in 2014. I must have impressed him enough to have him cast me in this role. I am very appreciative of his support and look forward to more lessons with him and hopefully more performance opportunities.
SD: What did this role mean to you?
JT: It wasn’t until we started group rehearsals that I realized what a pivotal role Dr. McVeigh plays. He and Dr. Gilbertson are the ones trying to convince Dr. Feltenstein that his diagnosis is incorrect. The scene between the three doctors was quite intense.
SD: How many hours did you rehearse?
JT: I’m not really certain how many hours, but there were several group rehearsals in addition to a private coaching with pianist Doug Martin, and also practice on my own.
SD: How was it working with composer Robert Manno and conductor David Wroe?
JT: They were both extremely supportive. Not to mention very friendly. I had not met either of them until the rehearsals started. Immediately there was a genuine personal rapport. Composer Robert Manno was great to answer any questions the cast had regarding the score, and Maestro David Wroe was clear and concise in his conducting technique. It’s a very difficult score, which they both realized. They made suggestions to help the cast through the scenes and do their best.
SD: How about the other members of the cast? You seemed like a great team together. Did you bond right away or did it take many hours of rehearsal to getting to know each other and each other’s parts?
JT: The cast was absolutely top notch and professional, and we seemed to bond right away and lend support from the beginning. No one complained about an extra added rehearsal. There was a great sense of camaraderie to come together and really make the opera happen and shine. I personally sat in awe of many of the singers’ level of skill and professionalism. They all were truly great!
SD: Was it fun, was it difficult to work on this production?
JT: Fun yes, but of course sometimes very difficult. The opera has some very complex music, rhythms and words. There was not a lot of rehearsal time. So you really had to be on top of your game to put it all together. Not to mention, most of the scenes involved many performers. Performing an aria is one thing. You are usually on stage by yourself. But performing in ensemble, in group scenes, you are responsible to do your best for the others that are relying on you to get it right.
SD: Were you familiar with Dylan Thomas’ poetry prior to working on this production, or was it new to you? What did you take out from Thomas’ story?
JT: I am not familiar with Dylan Thomas’ poetry. That’s probably my own fault and this experience should inspire me to become more familiar with his work. I think what I took most is that many artists have many hidden issues. Alcohol, drug abuse, etc. But they are very sensitive people, and spend many hours either alone trying to work or before the public in a very raw and revealed state. It’s a difficult balance to maintain.
SD: What is your overall impression of the festival?
JT: I feel that the festival is very professionally executed, and that a lot is expected of the performers and volunteers, but if we all come together and do our best, it will be a great success. I have been attending the festival for two years now and each year gets better and better. I cannot express how fortunate I feel to have settled into a community with a world class festival less than 30 minutes from my house.
SD: Do you plan to come back next year?
JT: I certainly hope to! I’m already looking at the 2016 season to see where I might fit. And, I’m also thinking of suggestions for concerts that might happen during the day. “Hey Louis, I’d love to perform Brahms’s Liebeslieder Waltzes with a great quartet or octet or perhaps Bach’s cantata for baritone Ich habe genug!
© 2015 Simona David
This weekend in the Catskills:
- The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice celebrates its sixth anniversary: composer Carlisle Floyd and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade are among celebrities attending this year;
- Saratoga Race Course is in full swing (the National Museum of Racing, also in Saratoga, is open every day during the race season in July and August);
- Jan Harrison is showing at Bright Hill Literary Center in Treadwell;
- And The Urge Unchecked group show is on view in the Commons Building in Margaretville – the show includes works by Lisbeth Firmin and Gary Mayer among others.
For more, visit Upstater.com.
This weekend in the Catskills:
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in Cooperstown;
- New York City Ballet dancers perform at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center;
- Abstract painter Adam Cohen exhibits at Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson;
- And Phoenicia Art Tour (formerly known as the Shandaken Art Tour) celebrates its eight anniversary.
For more, go to Upstater.com.
This weekend in the Catskills:
- The Magic Flute at Glimmerglass Opera Festival;
- A quilt show at the Erpf Center;
- Experimental dance at Mount Tremper Arts;
- And a Plein Air Painting Festival at Olana.
Read more at Upstater.com.
Bard Spring Season
The Spring Season at Fischer Center at Bard College in Dutchess County begins this Saturday, January 31 at 8 p.m. with an Opera workshop called “Danger and Devotion,” staging operatic scenes from the 1600s to the 1900s. Students from the Bard College Opera Workshop will perform in the chorus and as soloists. Founded in 1860 in Annandale-on-Hudson, in Dutchess County, New York, Bard College has been a haven for writers, artists, intellectuals, and scientists since the mid-1930s, when many luminaries fled Europe and settled in New York. The college is an important cultural institution in the region, and includes the Hessel Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. In addition, every summer Bard offers an eight week long arts festival – Bard SummerScape, which takes place in July and August, and a classical music festival – Bard Music Festival, which takes place in August. For full program, visit http://fishercenter.bard.edu/springevents/.
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College
Also, in Dutchess County the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College is opening a new exhibit this Friday, January 30 – XL: Large-Scale Paintings from the Permanent Collection, on view through March 29. Founded in 1864, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center houses over 18,000 paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, textiles, ceramics and glass wares from ancient times to the present. The collections include many European and American masters, such as Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Pablo Picasso, and others. The Warburg Collection contains works by leading artists of the Hudson River School of Painting such as Frederic Edwin Church. Two new installations are also worth checking out: http://info.vassar.edu/news/announcements/2014-2015/150123-fllac-installations.html. For more information about Vassar’s Art Center, visit http://fllac.vassar.edu.
Carrie Haddad Gallery
Carrie Haddad Gallery, located in Hudson, Columbia County, opened in 1991 as the city’s first gallery. It showcases many established as well as emerging artists. Painted Cities, a multi-media group show, opened this Wednesday, January 28 and will run through March 1. The gallery is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 12 noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://carriehaddadgallery.com/
Historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, Ulster County, includes seven authentic historic stone houses built by Huguenot settlers fleeing Europe in the late 1600s – early 1700s. The seven existing homes were built between 1705 and 1799 in the Dutch rural architectural style – some of these households also include Federal elements. In addition to these homes, the Historic Huguenot Street includes a church, a research library, and an archive. The street, in its current state, was founded in 1894 by the descendents of the first settlers; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. Special events are organized year round. For more information, visit http://www.huguenotstreet.org.
Arts Society of Kingston
Arts Society of Kingston (ASK) in Ulster County was founded in 1995, and presents ten – twelve juried art shows each year. Workshops and other events are organized year round, including poetry readings, musicals, plays, and other performances. On view through January 31 there is a member exhibition called Interaction of Color, and a spotlight exhibit featuring paintings by Isaac Abrams inspired by Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m., and by appointment. For more information, visit http://www.askforarts.org.
Enjoy an artful Catskills weekend!
Art in the Catskills, The Definitive Guide to the Catskills’ Rich Cultural Life is a compendium of one hundred and twenty-three arts organizations, events and other attractions in the Catskills and surrounding area, some in the neighboring Hudson Valley, and others elsewhere upstate New York. The guide includes anything from museums and memorial sites to summer festivals, art galleries and residencies, as well as theater and literary retreats. It walks the reader through a wide geographic area, from Woodstock to Livingston Manor, and Saratoga Springs to Cooperstown. Easy to digest, Art in the Catskills is a great resource for art enthusiasts travelling through the region.