April 15, 2009

Carol Vaness Vocal Master Class and Menotti Opera Are Spring Highlights

EVANSTON, Ill. -- A (May 5) vocal master class led by distinguished lyric soprano and educator Carol Vaness and two performances (May 21 and 23) of Gian Carlo Menotti’s contemporary opera, “The Consul,” directed by Jay Lesenger, professor of voice and director of opera for the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, will complete Northwestern University’s 2008-09 opera season on a high note.

Both spring events will be held on the University’s Evanston campus, as noted below.

Vaness will give a vocal master class at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, in Lutkin Hall, 700 University Place. Since launching her career at the New York City Opera, Vaness has sung on the world’s top stages and at premier music festivals. She also has collaborated with today’s foremost operatic and symphonic conductors, appeared on numerous television broadcasts throughout North America and Europe, and compiled a distinguished catalog of recordings. Her interpretations of Mozart’s dramatic heroines -- including the roles of Fiordiligi in “Cosi fan tutte,” Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in “Don Giovanni,” Elettra in “Idomeneo,” and Vitellia in “La Clemenza di Tito” -- have been hailed as definitive. In 2004, Vaness sang the title role in Puccini’s “Tosca” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera opposite Luciano Pavarotti in the legendary tenor’s final operatic performance. Vaness is a music professor at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Tickets for the master class are $7 for the general public; $5 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $4 for students with valid IDs.

Gian Carlo Menotti’s first full-length opera, “The Consul,” will be directed by Lesenger and conducted by Joel Revzen at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 21, and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 23, in Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St. Menotti composed the darkly suspenseful score of “The Consul” in 1950 to his own libretto. This nightmare thriller focuses on Magda Sorel, a woman trapped by borders and politics. Her husband’s activities in the resistance have brought the secret police to her door, and she must free her family from the state’s suffocating oppression. Her only hope is to obtain a visa, all too rarely granted, from the consul of a neighboring country. Set in an unidentified European totalitarian nation, this tale of repression and fear remains as pertinent as ever in today’s world. When “The Consul” opened on Broadway in 1950, it established Menotti as a great man of the lyric theater, winning both the Pulitzer Prize for music and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best musical. The Bienen School’s production marks the first time the opera has been performed at Northwestern. It will be performed in English and is made possible by arrangement with G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher and copyright owner. Tickets are $18 for the general public; $15 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $8 for students with valid IDs.

For more information, call the Pick-Staiger Concert Office at (847) 491-5441 or visit the Pick-Staiger Web site. To order tickets by phone, call the Pick-Staiger Ticket Office at (847) 467-4000.