(Fort Lee, New Jersey; September 21, 2015) – The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera will bring the Scottish highlands to the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) again in Lucia di Lammermoor. Last performed by the company in 2007, Verismo Opera presents Gaetano Donizetti’s immortal opera on Sunday, October 18, 3:00 p.m., at (bergenPAC), 30 North Van Brunt Street, in Englewood, New Jersey.
Under Artistic Director Lucine Amara, the only grand opera company in Bergen County, New Jersey will present this dark, romantic tale of family honor, betrayal and madness set in the Lammermuir Hills of Scotland. “Lucia di Lammermoor, the jewel of Donizetti’s compositions, is a joy to see and hear with gorgeous costumes and beautiful melodies. This is intense emotion with the elegance of the ‘bel canto’ style. Stage Director Evelyn La Quaif always brings Lucia to life with real people, not just characters from a novel. Don’t take your eyes off the stage.” said Amara.
The cast features several performers from New Jersey. Hea-Ran Kim from Ridgewood rejoins the company in the lead role. “Soprano Hea-Ran Kim was terrific in her debut last year with Verismo Opera as Violetta in La Traviata. She will be a smash, again, as Lucia,” said La Quaif.
Kim has performed a range of roles such as Gilda in Rigoletto, Elizabeth in The Secret Marriage, Violetta in La Traviata, Pamina in Die Zauberflote, and Mimi in La Boheme. The Bergen Record called her “a phenomenon that must be heard to be believed.”
Fort Lee residents appearing in the production are bass-cantante Hyong Sik Jo as Raimondo Bidebent and tenor Giovanni Simone as Normanno. In 2014, Sik Jo joined the company’s production of La Boheme as Colline. He has performed with several other companies, such as Connecticut Opera, Bulgaria’s Plovdiv Opera, and New York Lyric Opera. Simone, co-founder of Verismo Opera and a familiar face behind the scenes as technical director, has performed with several opera companies, including the Baltimore Opera, New Jersey State Opera, and Philadelphia Grand Opera. He has performed in over 57 productions of Lucia di Lammermoor singing the roles of Normanno and Arturo.
Other singers from the Garden State returning to the Verismo Opera stage are mezzo-soprano Erika Bourque of Hackensack as Alisa and tenor Daniel Byerly from Jersey City, debuting in the role of Lord Arturo of Bucklaw. Previously, Bourque performed with the company as Flora in La Traviata and Suora Infermiera in Suor Angelica. Byerly makes his second appearance with Verismo Opera and was seen previously as Le Remendado in Carmen.
Baritone Young Joo An, second prize winner in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera’s 2013 Annual International Vocal Competition, will perform Lord Enrico Ashton, Lord of Lammermoor and Lucia’s brother. Last year, he debuted with the company as Marcello in La Boheme.
Originally from Tennessee, Verismo Opera welcomes tenor Luke Grooms to the company as Sir Edgardo of Ravenswood. He appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Prokofiev’s The Gambler and made his Carnegie Hall debut as Fante in Opera Orchestra of New York’s concert of Verdi’s I Due Foscari.
BALAM Dance Theatre (BALAM) returns to Verismo Opera’s stage as performers celebrating the betrothal at the beginning of Act Two. Artistic Director Carlos Fittante, a world-renowned Baroque dancer and co-choreographer with the Boston Early Music Festival, will perform period-informed choreography with references to Scottish folk dance. BALAM dancer Barbara Romero of Hasbrouck Heights, who debuted with Verismo Opera in the 2015 spring performance of Carmen, will perform in this new production.
The fully staged production will be presented with the cast singing in Italian with English supertitles provided. Chorus Director Mara Waldman will lead the Verismo Opera Chorus, under the baton of Maestro Anthony Morss, who is stepping down as Principal Conductor/Music Director after Lucia di Lammermoor.
Based on the novel The Bride of Lammermoor by Sir Walter Scott, Verismo Opera will present Lucia di Lammermoor in three acts with the libretto written by Salvatore Cammarano. The complete cast will appear in period costumes designed by Costume Designer/Wardrobe Director Barbara Konig of Dumont, Assistant Costumer Elaine McKhann from Wood Ridge and Costume Consultant Catherine Mirabella of Hillsdale. Jeromy Hunt and Adam Greene return to the company as Stage Manager and Lighting Director, respectively.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.bergenpac.org, at the bergenPAC box office, and by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW. Senior citizens receive a 10% discount. The company is offering a reduced rate of $10 on all tickets for children, ages 12 and under. Special senior citizen and children’s discount ticket rates are available at the box office only and must be requested before the purchase. For special rates for group sales only, call (201) 224-2809. Discount tickets are not available for purchase online.
Verismo Opera is committed to ensuring its programs and services are accessible to all. bergenPAC is handicapped accessible. Street parking is available in front of the theatre with designated handicapped parking spaces. Hearing assist systems are available upon request to the house manager in the lobby.
The 2015 season is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grand funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. Other supporters include Children’s Aid Foundation, Robert J. Campbell, MD, Cesare L. Santeramo, KSJ, Paul Weiss Matching Fund, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Inc., Mary Casella Briggs Fund, and Vanguard Charitable Endowment Fund.
For further information about the opera or Verismo Opera, call (201) 886-0561 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera
For 26 years, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera has been an integral part of the region’s classical music culture. Led by Metropolitan Opera luminary Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera delivers a rich, grand opera experience for performers and viewers.
The organization provides performing opportunities for young musicians and artists through its semi-annual productions at the Bergen Performing Arts Center and concerts held in community settings. Community members are invited to get involved as supernumeraries and volunteers.
An annual international vocal competition is conducted in November with finals generally drawing artists throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Verismo Opera also organizes opera workshops, master classes and concerts and offers affordable, highly professional productions.
For more information about the nonprofit opera company, visit its web site, www.verismopera.org; follow the company on Facebook, http://bit.ly/9JXTP8, Twitter @NJVerismoOpera or Pinterest at http://bit.ly/1Du1wjY; or call (201) 886-0561.
Headshots of individual vocalists, dancers, and performers are available upon request.
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