June 17 and 24, 2013, at 7 p.m.
Release Date: 05/03/2013
The creative team for La hija de Rappaccini consists of Neal Goren (conductor), Rebecca Taichman (director), Andrew Eggert (associate director), Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Justin Townsend (lighting design), Anita Yavich (costume design), and Mark Dendy (choreographer). The cast stars Elaine Alvarez, Daniel Montenegro, and Eric Dubin, with Brian Downen, Jessica Grigg, Ariana Wyatt, Cassandra Zoè Velasco, and Nora Graham-Smith.
With a libretto by the Mexican Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz, based on the classic short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, La hija de Rappaccini tells of a doctor who seeks to protect and control his daughter by keeping her locked in a garden where he experiments with poisonous plants. She is immune to them but is a carrier of their danger, and when a young student falls in love with her, he is faced with the knowledge that pursuing that love will surely lead to his death. The Mexican-born Catán (1949–2011) composed his music in a neo-Romantic style, with long melodic lines, Debussy-like harmonies, and rich orchestrations. Though clearly contemporary, La hija de Rappaccini is as lyrical as works by Puccini and Mozart. Also appealing are the contemporary resonances of the 160-year-old story. “An ideal can be made to serve the most horrific and inhumane causes,” Catán wrote of his opera. “The 20th century has provided us with more examples than we would ever want.” La hija de Rappaccini takes place at that intersection of beauty and danger. Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s expansive Cherry Esplanade features two stately allées of cherry trees and borders the renowned Cranford Rose Garden, which will be in full flower in June. La hija de Rappaccini is the Garden’s first staged opera presentation in its 103-year history.
Gotham Chamber Opera, now in its 11th season, is the nation’s leading company dedicated to the highest quality productions of chamber operas rarely performed today. Its mission is to produce vibrant, fully staged productions of works from the Baroque era to the present intended for intimate venues. Gotham Chamber Opera is recognized nationally as the only company committed solely to producing chamber opera.
Founded by conductor and artistic director Neal Goren as Henry Street Chamber Opera, the company debuted in 2001 with the American premiere of Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione and in subsequent seasons produced such works as Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Milhaud’s Les malheurs d’Orphée, Bohuslav Martinu’s Les larmes du couteau and Hlas Lesa, Heinrich Sutermeister’s Die schwarze Spinne, Handel’s Arianna in Creta, Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, and Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino. The company renamed itself Gotham Chamber opera and became an independent 501(c)3 organization in 2003.
In its first decade, Gotham Chamber Opera has produced 18 operas, including 7 American premieres, 2 New York City premieres, and 2 world premieres. Gotham Chamber Opera has partnered with notable New York and U.S. institutions, including Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto USA for the 2005 production of Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco; the Morgan Library and Museum for an evening of song cycles by Janáček and Dvořák, Scenes of Gypsy Life, in 2008; and the American Museum of Natural History and the American Repertory Theater for 2010’s production of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, which featured lunar exploration video, developed by the Museum and NASA, and broadcast on the Hayden Planetarium’s 180-degree dome. In March, Gotham Chamber Opera presented a sold-out run of Eliogabalo at the Box.
Gotham Chamber Opera has earned a reputation for showcasing outstanding young singers alongside established professional and world-class directors and choreographers, including Mark Morris (the 2009 production of Haydn’s L’isola disabitata), David Parsons (the New York stage premiere of Astor Piazzola’s tango opera, María di Buenos Aires), Karole Armitage (the world premiere of Ariadne Unhinged), Basil Twist (La bella), Christopher Alden (Scipione and Arianna in Creta), and Diane Paulus (Il mondo). In October 2010, Gotham Chamber Opera partnered with director Moisés Kaufmann and his company, Tectonic Theater Project, to coproduce the first U.S. stage performances of Xavier Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas at the New Victory Theater. For the 2011–12 season, the company celebrated its tenth anniversary with the world premiere of Dark Sisters, by composer Nico Muhly, and a revival of Gotham’s first production, Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione (1772).
For more information, visit gothamchamberopera.org.