Tag: opera

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/5/2016

This weekend:

  • 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.

Featured Artist: Baritone Jeffrey Tichenor

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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.

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Jeffrey Tichenor performing in Do Not Go Gentle

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.

Conductor David Wroe and composer Robert Manno in a post-performance forum
Conductor David Wroe and composer Robert Manno in a post-performance forum

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.

Phoenicia, New York
Phoenicia, New York

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

Weekend in the Catskills – 7/17/2015

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.

Enigma by Adam Cohen
Enigma by Adam Cohen. (c) artinthecatskills.com

Weekend in the Catskills – 7/10/2015

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.

Quilt Show at Erpf Center. (c) artinthecatskills.com
Quilt Show at Erpf Center. (c) artinthecatskills.com

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/15/14

This weekend in the Catskills brings fabulous events for writers, classical and opera music lovers, and design aficionados.

exposed posterWriters in the Mountains presents its annual summer reading event this Sunday, August 17, from 1 to 3 pm at the Erpf Center in Arkville. From the event’s description, “On Sunday August 17th, come hear what your neighbors have been thinking and writing about. Be prepared to experience the exhilaration of returned affection, the heart wrenching pathos of ordinary life, and triumph over emotional fears. See and hear writers lay bare their innermost thoughts, indulge fantasies, and lash out at a world gone haywire. Come and meet people who, “Dare to Write”. Open mic to follow fearless readers.” For more information, visit http://writersinthemountains.org/

Great weekend for opera lovers in Cooperstown, Otsego County! This weekend’s performances at Glimmerglass Opera Festival include Madame Butterfly by Giacomo Puccini, written in 1903, to be performed tonight, August 15 at 7:30 pm; the musical Carousel by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, written in 1945, will be performed tomorrow August 16 at 1:30 pm; also, An American Tragedy written in 2005 by Tobias Picker, based on Theodore Dreiser’s 1925 novel of the same name, will be performed Saturday evening at 8 pm. In addition, Ariadne in Naxos, an opera by Richard Strauss, written in 1912, will be performed Sunday, August 17 at 1:30 pm. This summer, the festival, which began on July 11, runs through August 24. For more information, visit http://glimmerglass.org

Maverick Concert Hall, which celebrates its 99th season this summer, is the oldest continuous chamber music hall in the country. The program this weekend includes a “Trio Solisti” concert Sunday, August 17 at 4 pm: Maria Bachmann, violin, Alexis Pia Gerlach, cello, and Adam Neiman, piano, will perform classical and romantic compositions by Beethoven and Brahms, but also contemporary pieces like Lowell Liebermann’s Piano Trio No. 3, Op. 122, written in 2012. For more information, visit http://maverickconcerts.org

Music at the Olana State Historic Site in Hudson: Frederic Edwin Church’s 1872 estate will host “Music from the High Peaks to Olana’s Orchard” tonight at 6 pm: chamber music by Vivaldi, Gershwin and others will be performed in the orchard – an exhilarating experience. For more information, visit http://olana.org.

Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild presents “Art House,” a documentary by Don Freeman about twelve artists designing their own homes, including painter Frederic Edwin Church’s Olana mansion built in 1872, and the Arts and Crafts Byrdcliffe colony, built in 1903. The film will be shown Saturday, August 16 at 2 pm at the Upstate Films in Woodstock. For more information, go to http://www.woodstockguild.org/arthouse.html.

Have a great weekend in the Catskills!

Weekend in the Catskills – 8/1/14

Weekend in the Catskills – and, what a weekend!

This evening at 8 pm the Bolshoi Ballet and Orchestra will perform Don Quixote at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs – for tickets and more information go to http://www.spac.org/events/2014/08/01/bolshoi-ballet-orchestra.

The Phoenicia Festival of the Voice
The Phoenicia Festival of the Voice. (c) Simona David

The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice kicked off its fifth season Wednesday night with flamenco and popular Spanish songs. The highlight of the season – opera Barber of Seville by Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, based on the French comedy Le Barbier de Séville, written by Pierre de Beaumarchais – will take place this Saturday, August 2 at 8 pm at the Parish Field. For more information, go to http://www.phoeniciavoicefest.org.

The Belleayre Music Festival presents the Catskill Mountain Jazz Series with a Django Reinhardt Festival All-Stars performance tonight, August 1 at 8 pm. For tickets and more information, visit http://www.belleayremusic.org.

Yesterday, July 31 the Woodstock Playhouse opened its West Side Story summer production (music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim) – West Side Story can be seen in Woodstock through August 10. For tickets and more information, visit http://woodstockplayhouse.org.

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair which took place in August 1969 at Yasgur’s farm in Bethel Woods. Remembering Woodstock: A Timeline of Reunions exhibit opens at the Bethel Woods Museum this Saturday, August 2, and runs through Tuesday, August 5. For more information, go to http://www.bethelwoodscenter.org/events/detail/remembering-woodstock-a-timeline-of-reunions

Bolshoi ballet, Italian opera, Django Reinhardt jazz, West Side Story, and Woodstock memorabilia – an outstanding program of arts in the Catskills!