Steaming live on WKNO at 7pm CT on Thursday, April 15
Stepsister's Lament from Cinderella (Rodgers) - Ensemble
Scorsi gia molti paesi from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Paisello) - Jake Stamatis
Je suis gris from Chérubin (Massenet) - Stephanie Doche
Il est doux, il est bon from Herodiade (Massenet) - Maria Fasciano
Se Romeo from I Capuletti e i Montecchi (Bellini) - Stephanie Doche
Giulietta, son io from Giulietta e Romeo (Zandonai) - Dane Suarez
Genug! Mein Kopf steht nach andren Dingen! from Turandot (Busoni) - Maria Fasciano
Lasciatemi morire from Lamento d'Ariana (Monteverdi) - Stephanie Doche
Alas, My Love You Do Me Wrong from Sir John in Love (Williams) - Maria Fasciano and Jake Stamatis
Esprit gardiens de ces lieux from Sigurd (Reyer) - Dane Suarez
Ecco il mondo from Mefistofele (Boito) - Jake Stamatis
L'altra notte from Mefistofele (Boito) - Maria Fasciano
È destin, debbo andarmene... Marcello, mio from La Boheme (Leoncavallo) - Stephanie Doche
Testa adorate from La Boheme (Leoncavallo) - Dane Suarez
Stephanie Doche, mezzo-soprano
Praised as “explosively eloquent” (Memphis Flyer) and beholding “fervent, commanding vocal prowess,” (San Diego Story), French-American mezzo-soprano Stephanie Doche (rhymes with posh) is highly coveted for her “darkly shaded voice". Critically acclaimed for her fioratura singing, Stephanie performed her “triumphant” portrayal as Angelina in La Cenerentola with both Opéra Louisiane and Opera NEO in 2019. Stephanie joins the Florida Grand Opera FGO Studio for the 2020/2021 season anticipating to perform the roles of Flora Bervoix in La traviata and Siébel in Faust (both canceled due to COVID-19). In 2021, Stephanie performs the roles of Dinah in Trouble in Tahiti, Pamela/Mama in New York Stories (Hagen), and Rosine in Signor Deluso (Pasatieri) as part of Florida Grand Opera’s Winter Opera Series. During the 2018/2019 season she was a Handorf Company Artist with Opera Memphis, successfully performing the wide-ranging roles of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore, and Toledo in The Falling & the Rising (professional premiere). In 2021, Stephanie is slated to appear with Opera Company of Middlebury, Opéra Louisiane, and Finger Lakes Opera, as well as make her role debut as Bizet’s iconic femme fatale, Carmen.
Maria Fasciano, soprano
Maria Fasciano is a three-time Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist as well as a graduate of the prestigious Merola Opera Program at San Francisco Opera. Maria has appeared with Opera Memphis in their 30 Days of Opera in addition to various community performances. Fasciano has also sung performances ranging from Beethoven to Pops with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, and Texarkana Symphony Orchestra. Favorite roles include Lady Billows (Albert Herring), Mimì (La Boheme), Angelica (Suor Angelica), and Cio Cio San (Madama Butterfly).
Cris Frisco, curator & pianist
Cris Frisco is delighted to join Opera Memphis as the Interim Director of Musical Activities. As a pianist and conductor, he is equally at home in the worlds of classical and popular music. In past seasons, he has worked on productions on Broadway, at the Philadelphia Orchestra, McCarter Theatre, Walnut Street Theater, Opera Birmingham, Opera Fayetteville, Kentucky Opera, The Princeton Festival, and the Bucks County Playhouse. A committed educator for the next generation of artists, he has served on the faculties of Rutgers University, Westminster Choir College, the New School for Drama, and Hunter College.
Jake Stamatis, baritone
Jake Stamatis, born and raised in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, has performed a variety of roles on the operatic stage. His quick, kind, and loveable demeanor has charmed audiences in such roles as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni, Ko-Ko in The Mikado, Schaunard in La Bohème, and Frosch in Die Fledermaus where he “never sang a note yet stole the third act with his hilarious delivery of lines” (Lee Shephard, the Broome County Arts Council). As an Opera Memphis Handorf Company Artist, Jake appeared as Betto in Gianni Schicchi and Guglielmo in Cosí fan tutte. (cancelled due to COVID19) and was a pioneering member of the celebrated Sing2Me program. He received his bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Susquehanna University and his master’s degree from Binghamton University.
Dane Suarez, tenor
Praised for his "big, heroic voice" and "powerful emotions," tenor Dane Suarez has developed an exciting and varied career. In the winter of 2020, Mr. Suarez returned to West Bay Opera to perform the role of Macduff (Macbeth). For the remainder of the 2020 season, he was scheduled to reprise the role of Rodolfo (La bohème) with Fort Worth Opera (COVID19 postponement), perform the title role in Faust with Opera Neo (COVID19 postponement), and make his role debut as Manrico (Il trovatore) with Opera in the Heights (COVID19 postponement). For 2020-2021, Mr. Suarez is happy to have returned to Opera Memphis, he joined the Memphis Symphony Orchestra for their holiday concert, and he will perform the role of Don José (Carmen) with Festival Opera. Dane was a National Semi-Finalist of The Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he made his Washington National Opera debut in 2015 and his New York City Opera debut in 2017. He's sung leading roles with Opera San Jose, Opera Memphis, Aspen Music Festival, and more. Dane currently resides in Memphis with his wife and their two perfect dogs.
Richard Rodgers (1902-1979)
With 43 Broadway musicals to his credit, Rodgers was one of the most important stage composers of the 20 th century. His collaborations with Oscar Hammerstein II, which yielded Oklahoma!, Carousel, The King and I, and South Pacific – among others, are largely credited with bringing the American musical to a new maturity. Originally written for television in 1957, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella starred Julie Andrews and was viewed by over 100 million people. It was subsequently remade for television in 1965 and 1997.
Giovanni Paisiello (1740-1816)
Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia premiered in 1782 – 34 years before Rossini’s ultimately more popular setting bowed in Rome. Based on the same play by Pierre Beaumarchais, the two versions feature a nearly identical plot. In fact, there had been several operatic settings of the play before Paisiello’s, but his was the first to achieve widespread fame. Such was its popularity that Mozart composed an alternate aria for his sister-in-law, Josepha Hoffer, to sing in place of Rosina’s Act 3 aria – a common practice for the time. Paisiello’s Barbiere was regularly performed through the beginning of the 19th century, but ultimately fell from the repertoire as Rossini’s setting gained in popularity.
Jules Massenet (1842-1912)
Massenet was extraordinarily popular during his own lifetime, with over forty stage works written for the greatest stages of the day. His Chérubin is also based on the Beaumarchais plays, taking place immediately following the action of Le Nozze di Figaro. Hérodiade is based on the same Biblical story as Strauss’s Salome, but is decidedly less psychological and violent than Strauss’s featuring an Oscar Wilde libretto. Unfortunately, by the time of his death in 1912, Massenet’s works were seen as old-fashioned and musically passé, but they have recently enjoyed a revival with major performances around the world.
Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924)
Busoni originally wrote incidental music for Carlo Gozzi’s play, Turandot, in 1905. He later expanded this music into a full opera with dialogue in 1917. Written in a. commedia dell’arte style, the work was in contrast to the hyper-realistic plays that were becoming popular in the early 20th century. Interestingly, Puccini first encountered the Turandot story in the production of Gozzi’s play featuring Busoni’s music. Of course, he ultimately wrote his own (now, more famous) setting of the story, which premiered in 1926.
Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
A prime exponent of the bel canto style, Bellini was renowned for his melodic writing. Despite his life being tragically cut short, he produced a number of masterworks – several of which are still part of the standard repertoire today. I Capuletti ed I Montecchi was composed to a second-hand libretto (originally intended for Vaccai’s Giulietta e Romeo) based on the famed Shakespeare play, Romeo and Juliet. It was an immediate success and secured Bellini’s reputation in Italy. The work has continued to be performed into modern times, joining several other settings of the same story.
Riccardo Zandonai (1883-1944)
A student of Mascagni, Italian composer Zandonai was born in Borgo Sacco, then a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. While his fame largely rests on his opera, Francesca da Rimini, Zandonai wrote thirteen operas, which includes his own setting of the Romeo and Juliet story: Giuletta e Romeo. When Puccini died without completing his Turandot, Zandonai was the composer his publisher, Ricordi, preferred to complete it (ultimately, Puccini’s son chose another composer for the task). Later in life, he was instrumental in reviving interest in a number of Rossini operas while he served at the conservatory in Pesaro.
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, was instrumental in changing the direction of British classical music. Along with Benjamin Britten, he was influenced by English folk-song and the music of Tudor England and broke with the German-dominated style of 19th century English music. While less famous than Verdi’s Falstaff, his Sir John in Love is likewise based on Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor. In contrast to the operatic settings by Verdi, Nicolai, and Holst, Vaughan Williams’ focuses less on comedy and more on the romantic life of the characters.
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
Among the first stage works we now refer to as “operas”, Monteverdi’s L’Arianna was composed early in the 17th century. The score is lost, except for the Lamento d’Arianna, which perhaps only survives because it was published by Monteverdi independently of the opera. The libretto, which survives complete, was again set to music in 1995 by contemporary composer, Alexander Goehr. Like Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos, the opera is based on the mythic tale of Ariadne, Theseus, and Bacchus.
Ernest Reyer (1823-1909)
Like Wagner’s monumental Der Ring des Nibelungen, Reyer’s Sigurd is based on the Scandinavian legend of the Edda and Nibelunglied. The music of Sigurd, however, is quite unlike Wagner’s revolutionary music. While an admirer of Wagner’s, Reyer’s music more closely resembled that of his mentor, Berlioz. While he achieved some level of fame during his lifetime, Reyer’s music is now mostly forgotten, except for occasional revivals of Sigurd and this aria, which is often performed as an extract.
Arrigo Boito (1842-1918)
Perhaps best known as the librettist for Verdi’s Otello and Falstaff; and Ponchielli’s La Gioconda, Boito was nonetheless a composer in his own right. His adaptation of Goethe’s Faust, for which he also wrote the libretto, was in direct conflict with Gounod’s popular Faust, which Boito regarded as superficial and frivolous. Mefistofele centers the action on the title character and features extensive choral writing. While the opera is infrequently performed today, the arias are favorites of singers around the world.
Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)
Leoncavallo’s setting of La Boheme was hailed as a triumph in 1897, but unfortunately has been eclipsed by Puccini’s opera of the same name. Based on the identical source material, Henri Murger’s Scènes de la vie de bohème, Leoncavallo’s treatment focuses on the relationship of Musetta and Marcello. The rival settings proved a bit of a rift between the composers. Leoncavallo began his Boheme first, showing the early sketches to Puccini, who then decided to set the subject himself.
Stepsister's Lament from Cinderella (Rodgers)
Why would a fellow want a girl like her? A frail and fluffy beauty?
Why can't a fellow ever once prefer a solid girl like me?
She's a frothy little bubble with a flimsy kind of charm,
And with very little trouble I could break her little arm!
Oh why would a fellow want a girl like her? So obviously unusual?
Why can't a fellow ever once prefer a usual girl like me?
Her cheeks are a pretty shade of pink, but not any pinker than a rose is.
Her skin may be delicate and soft, but not any softer that a doe's is.
Her neck is no wider that a swan's. She's only as dainty as a daisy.
She's only as graceful as a bird...So why is the fellow going crazy?
Oh why would a fellow want a girl like her, a girl who's merely lovely?
Why can't a fellow ever once prefer a girl who's merely me?
What's the matter with the man?
Scorsi gia molti paesi from Il Barbiere di Siviglia (Paisello)
I have already gone through many countries:
I started in Madrid. I made a trade, and I fell,
and with my baggage on me, I travelled as much as I could.
In Castilla-La Mancha, in Asturias, in Catalonia,
Then I passed through Andalusia, and went around Extremadura,
even as far as Sierra Morena, and finally in Galicia,
in one place well welcomed, in another in laces tied,
but however of good humor, of every event superior.
With only a razor, without money, shaving beards, I got by.
Here is Seville, I made a home, ready to serve your Excellency,
If only I deserve such an honor.
Je suis gris! from Chèrubin (Massenet)
I am tipsy! I am drunk!
The sun has made me tipsy,
the sun has made me drunk,
Duke, I'm so happy to be alive that I could embrace you!
I am seventeen years old!
No more tutor! Freedom!
I want to make so much mischief that you will be terrified!
The sun has made me tipsy, I am drunk!
Il est doux, il est bon from Herodiade (Massenet)
The one whose words erase all grief,
The prophet is here! And it is he that I now seek!
He is mild, he is good, his words are soothing:
He speaks... all is quiet.
Gently over the plain the wind listens without noise;
He is speaking!
Ah, when will he return? When will I hear him again?
I was suffering, I was alone but my heart grew calm
Upon listening to his melodious and tender voice.
Beloved prophet, how can I live without you?
It was there in the desert that the crowds followed him
There he welcomed me too one day,
A forsaken child, and he opened his arms to me!
Se Romeo from I Capuletti ed i Montecchi (Bellini)
If Romeo killed your son, his death came about in battle.
You must blame fate for it.
He wept for it then and still weeps for it now.
Therefore, calm yourself and another son you will find in me.
The terrible sword of vengeance Romeo readies himself to wield.
And like a terrible lightning bold, a thousand deaths it will cause.
But, an angry heaven will blame you if too much blood is spilled in vain.
But , if you let the blood fall on you, it will cost you your fatherland.
Giulietta, son io from Giulietta e Romeo (Zandonai)
Giulietta, it is I, can't you see?
I who weep no more, I who implore you,
I who come to fall dead at your feet
Because without you, my beloved, I die blessed and despairing, Giulietta.
But I want to place my chilled hands on your hair,
I want to place my heart on your heart
And those lips that have been rent by tears,
Want you lips, your lips, my love.
Ah, tell me, how shall I wake you?
With what cry, with what gentle lament,
What ardent kiss, my beloved?
My Giulietta, oh dead! Dead! I am wretched.
It is I, Romeo, alas!
Genug! Mein Kopf steht nach andren Dingen! from Turandot (Busoni)
Enough! My mind dwells on other matters.
My heart is throbbing as it has never done,
My thoughs wander, my blood runs hot and cold.
I do not know what ails me... Am I in love with him? Can this be so?
Or do I hate him? Double my pain.
Till now, to myself I've always been true.
Now if I weaken, this I shall rue.
Could I but find what would shaem him,
Yet to his person all my being is in thrall.
But whether he's vanquished or he's victorious,
My pride must take a fall.
Take courage, my native sense, now for the last time, come to my defense.
Worth the ending, I vow. Turandot, dying, shall still be pure!
Lasciatemi morire from Lamento d'Ariana (Monteverdi)
Let me die!
And whom would you want to comfort me in such a cruel fate,
in such great torment?
Let me die!
Alas, My Love You Do Me Wrong from Sir John in Love (Williams)
Alas, my love, you do me wrong to cast me off discourteously,
And I have loved you for so long, delighting in your constancy
Greensleeves is all my joy, Greensleeves is my delight,
Greensleeves is my heart of gold, and who but my lady Greensleeves.
Have I caught my heavenly jewel, teaching sleep most fair to be?
Now will I teach her that when she wakes is too, too cruel.
Sing sweet sleep her eyes hath charmed, the two only darts of love,
Now will I, with that boy, prove some play while he is disarmed.
Ah, those lips so sweetly swelling, do invite a stealing kiss.
Now will I but venture this, now let me die, for I have lived long enough.
Oh blessed hour!
Alas, O sweet Sir John, heaven knows how I love thee!
Esprit gardiens de ces lieux from Sigurd (Reyer)
The sound of singing fades in the vast forest,
Beneath the sacred linden trees all is in shadow, silent.
And in my heart I feel a hero's daring.
Why delay? May battle commence!
My horn, awaken the echoes of these dark forests.
No, if my strength and my courage perish in the effort,
If death awaits me on this savage island.
Spirits, guardians of this revered place,
Know what name, once more uttered by your mouth,
will wake me on my funeral bed when I come to sleep on it.
Hilda, virgin with the pale smile, young lily trembling beneath its blossoms,
It is your sweet name that the night will come to speak, weeping on my grave!
Ecco il mondo from Mefistofele (Boito)
Here is the world, empty and round,
It rises, falls, dances, glitters, whirls about under the sun,
Trembles, roars, creates, destroys,
Now barren, now fecund - such is the world,
Upon its huge and rounded back dwells an unclear and mad race
Wicked, subtle, proud, vile,
Which forever devours itself,
From the depths to the heights of the guilty world.
This proud and foolish race, amid vanities and orgies,
Laughs, exults, merrily, heedlessly,
Wealthy, proud, and swells up on the foul globe of the guilty world!
L'altra notte from Mefistofele (Boito)
The other night into the depths of the sea
They cast my baby and now to drive me mad they say I drowned him.
The air is cold, the cell is gloomy and my sad soul,
like the bird in the wood flies away.
Ah, have pity on me.
Into a deep slumber my mother fell sleeping
And now the ultimate horror, they say I poisoned her.
The air is cold, the cell is gloomy and my sad soul,
like a bird in the wood flies away.
Ah, have pity on me.
È destin, debbo andarmene... Marcello mio from La Boheme (Leoncavallo)
It's fate, I have to go, be brave!
Oh, poor Marcello, if I did change my mind today
Would I have the strength to suffer tomorrow?
This is a hellish lie!
No, I can't take any more.
It's better to end it.
"My dear Marcello, don't wait for me.
I'm going out and I don't know if I'll be able to come back.
I'm tortured by hunger, and to take my mind off it
I am going to stroll along the boulevards.
I can see the sparkling dome of Les Invalides.
It's dazzling to me and seems to whisper sad advice to my wandering mind.
Go, if lace didn't cost so much, if at least I could count on bread every day,
I wouldn't be writing to you now in tears
That I love you, but this is my goodbye."
Testa adorate from La Boheme (Leoncavallo)
Musetta! O the joy of my home
Is it true that now you're gone?
Is it true that I've just chased you away
And I'll never hold you to my heart again?
Beloved head, you'll never come back to rest happily on my pillow.
Little white hands that I warmed on my heart
My lips will never be able to kiss you again.
Cheerful songs of the days of love
Your echo has already fled far away.
My room is silent and in this tedium
My widowed heart mourns those lost days.