Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ryan Kuster in Weber rarity "Euryanthe"

Ryan Kuster as Escamillo at Virginia Opera
Bard SummerScape 2014 is presenting Carl Maria von Weber's rarely performed Euryanthe with barihunk Ryan Kuster as Lysiart. There will be five performances running from July 25-August 3. Revivals of the complete opera are rare, especially in the United States, where it has not been seen since the Metropolitan Opera’s 1914 staging 100 years ago. A check on Opera Critic showed the last fully staged performance at the Badisches Staatstheater in Karlsruhe, Germany in 2010. Oper Frankfurt will present the opera next April with Erika Sunnegardh, Eric Cutler, Heidi Melton and James Rutherford.   

Ryan Kuster, who was part of the prestigious Merola Opera Program and Adler Fellows in San Francisco, has become an audience favorite on the West Coast.  In 2012, he made his symphonic debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic singing the role of Masetto in their highly acclaimed production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Christopher Alden and conducted by Gustavo Dudamel. At the San Francisco Opera he has performed the Mandarin in Puccini's Turandot, Astolfo in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, Masetto in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen (for families), Count Ceprano in Verdi's Rigoletto, the 4th Noble in Wagner's Lohengrin,  Angelotti in Puccini's Tosca.

The rest of the cast, which will be directed by Kevin Newbury,  includes Ellie Dehn as Euryanthe, William Burden as her fiancé Adolar, Wendy Bryn Harmer as Euryanthe’s rival Eglantine and Peter Volpe as King Ludwig. Performances will be at the beautiful Frank Gehry-designed Sosnoff Theater at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.T Tickets are available online.

Weber's greatest single success was probably his 1821 opera Der Freischütz. With his next opera, Weber wanted to break new ground. So in Euryanthe the spoken dialogue disappeared, replaced by continuous music. However, even the composer's great music couldn't save the opera from a ridiculous libretto, which has attributed to its relative obscurity. Perhaps the most well-known music from the opera is its overture, which is often performed by orchestras. It uses material from the opera, including Adolar's rebuttal of Lysiart and his second act romance.

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