THE IMPRESARIO OPERA IN ONE ACT MUSIC WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART LIBRETTO AFTER THE ORIGINAL BY JOSEPH GOTTLIEB STEPHANIE ADDITIONAL WORD SETTING BY SEBASTIAN FREEBURN AND OLIVER ZEFFMAN CONDUCTOR OLIVER ZEFFMAN DIRECTOR SEBASTIAN FREEBURN COSTUME DESIGNER EVAN PHILLIPS LIGHTING DESIGNER CHRISTOPHER NAIRNE
5 PREVIEW|6|7|8|9|10|11|12 AUGUST – EDINBURGH 15 AUGUST – LONDON
CAST MME HERZaa aaNAZAN FIKRET MLLE SILVERTONaa aaVICTORIA ATKINSON FRANK SQUALLIDOaa aaSAMUEL CARL BUFFaa aaBRADLEY SMITH
PERFORMANCE NOTE On 7th February 1786, Emperor Joseph II of Austria presented an evening of entertainment at Schönbrunn in honour of Duke Albert of Sachsen-Teschen, the Governor-General of the Austrian Netherlands, and his wife, the Archduchess Marie Christine, Joseph’s sister. For this occasion, the emperor commissioned two works to be performed that evening: an Italian opera buffa by Antonio Salieri and a German Singspiel by Mozart. The choice of two works in these particular styles was largely a result of the architecture of the hall chosen to host the reception. The Orangerie at Schönbrunn, built in 1755, is an enormous room with a stage at each end, one designed for plays, one for operas. Salieri’s offering was Prima la music e poi le parole, written in conjunction with the librettist Giovanni Battista Casti. Largely forgotten today, it is like Mozart’s work, a comic treatment of the difficulties faced by an impresario. The protagonist in Prima la musica was intended as a caricature of Lorenzo da Ponte, the librettist for three of Mozart’s greatest operas, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. Mozart’s collaborated on his contribution to the festivities, Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario) with Joseph Gottlieb Stephanie, who is today remembered chiefly as the librettist for Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. The basic idea for the opera, suggested by the emperor himself, concerns an actor Puf (Buff) and his boss, Frank the impresario, and their attempts to assemble a company of actors for a production in Salzburg. The sopranos, Madame Herz and Mademoiselle Silberklang (anglicised in this production as Silverton), vie for the position of prima donna, while the tenor, Herr Vogelsang, tries to mediate. Mozart composed the music, consisting of an overture, two arias, a trio and a finale, in just over two weeks – between 18th January and 3rd February 1786 (this was at the same time he was writing Le nozze di Figaro). The trio was composed first, the Overture last. An account of the evening that appeared in the Weiner Zeitung the following day paid little attention to the music, neglecting to name either Mozart or Salieri and treating the whole affair as a royal social function (which indeed it was). As was so often the case, the importance, and even identity of the composers was obscured by the pomp and ceremony of the situation. The first critical mention of Der Schauspieldirektor comes from the diary of Count Karl von Zinzendorf, a member of the court circle in Vienna, who thought it thoroughly mediocre and, like the Weiner Zeitung, failed to mention either composer by name. At the public premiere, however, on 11th February at the Kärntnertnor Theatre in Vienna (again performed in conjunction with Prima la musica) it was enthusiastically received and thus repeated on the 18th and 25th of that month. These were the only performances during Mozart’s lifetime. Since his death, the work has been performed in numerous versions in variety of languages. Some incorporated additional music by Mozart; some appended excerpts from Cimarosa, Dittersdorf and others; but all, most likely, adapted the libretto to include more topical and contemporary subject matter. A performance in 1845 by Louis Schneider revised the work, replacing Stephanie’s characters with Mozart himself, Emmanuel Schikaneder (Mozart’s librettist for Der Zauberflöte), Aloysia Lange (Mozart’s sister-in-
Law), and so on. This version, known as Mozart und Schikaneder, was the basis for many later performances. Of a production in London in 1892, as L’Impresario, George Bernard Shaw wrote that “every number in it is a masterpiece…How far its finest qualities are above our heads, both before and behind the curtain, I need not say.” The first performances in the United States were (as Mozart und Schikaneder) on 9th November 1870 at the Neues Stadt-Theater in New York, and on 26th October 1916 at the Empire Theatre, as The Impresario. For this production, an entirely new, English libretto has been written which keeps to Stephanie’s basic storyline but differs in almost all other respects. It is set in the present day and all nonsinging characters have been cut, with the roles of Puf, Eiler (the banker), and Herr Vogelsang (the tenor) combined into one.
ORCHESTRA VIOLIN 1 VIOLIN 2 VIOLA ‘CELLO BASS
LUCIA VEINTIMILLA WILLIAM NEWELL LUBA TUNNICLIFFE NATHAN GIORGETTI LUCY NELSON
FLUTE OBOE CLARINET BASSOON
HENRY ROBERTS GRACE WARREN ANTHONY FRIEND TOM MOSS
HORNS CHRIS MCKAY JOEL ROBERTS
CREW STAGE MANAGER MEDIA & PUBLICITY MANAGER PROPS MANAGER TECHNICAL ASSISSTANTS
ANTIGONE IKKOS-SERRANO JAMIE PATRICK SARAH-LUCIE BINNING CHARLOTTE AMHERST JAKOB HOFMANN THOMAS WRIGHT MEDIA DESIGN BILLY CAPE CHRISTOPHER PIZEY
BIOGRAPHIES Oliver Zeffman Conductor Oliver first started conducting at the age of sixteen, when he directed a small ensemble from the London Schools Symphony Orchestra on their tour to the Netherlands and Belgium. Soon after, he the founded the Melos Sinfonia, which gave its first concert in February 2010. In the following years, the orchestra has gone from strength to strength and together they have performed works by composers as diverse as Mozart and Britten, and Beethoven and Prokofiev. Now a first year undergraduate at Durham University reading History and Russian, Oliver has set up an orchestra there, the Durham Philharmonia, which gave its first concert in January, in a programme of Haydn and Beethoven. In Sebastian Freeburn Director Sebastian has been involved in the operatic world since the age of five, acting and singing as a boy soprano at the Royal Opera House, appearing in production by directors as diverse as Franco Zeffirelli and Phyllida Lloyd. During his gap year he shadowed Francesca Zambello as she staged Tchaikovsky's Cherevichki at the ROH. He made his London directorial debut with a production of Roald Dahl's Little Red Riding Hood at King's Place. Sebastian studied a Foundation Diploma in Fine Art and Design at Camberwell College of Art and, following an internship at Alexander McQueen, he now studies Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins. Sebastian is also a violinist, playing with Sinfonia d'Amici and Melos Sinfonia. Evan Phillips Costume Designer Evan first developed his dressmaking skills by designing and making clothes for himself and his friends. In 2010, he exhibited a collection during London Fashion Week after winning the BBC and V&A Your Label competition. He has since completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Central Saint Martins, where he is currently studying a BA (Hons) in Fashion Design Womenswear. Alongside his design work, Evan works as a stylist and recently worked with the singer Anna Calvi. He also plays the piano and cites music as a major source of inspiration, alongside contemporary fine art. Christopher Nairne Lighting Designer Christopher is a freelance lighting designer and production electrician based in London. Previous opera credits include: For a Look or a Touch (King’s Head Theatre), Albert Herring (Surrey Opera), The Cunning Little Vixen (Ryedale Festival Opera) and La bohème (OperaUpClose; 2011 Olivier Award winner). Other recent productions include: The Vocal Orchestra (Udderbelly), NOLA (Underbelly), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me and The Belle’s Stratagem (Southwark Playhouse), Peer Gynt Recharged (Riverside Studios), Shallow Slumber (Soho Theatre), The Kissing-Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre) and A Dish of Tea with Dr Johnson (Out of Joint, UK tour & Arts Theatre). Cabaret work includes numerous shows for Frisky and Mannish, Shlomo, Morgan & West and various burlesque troupes (including at the O2).
Victoria Atkinson Mlle Silverton Victoria completed the BMus (Honours) course two years ago at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then went on to take the Master’s in Performance programme at the RCS under the tutelage of Judith Howarth, from where she has graduated this year. Roles include Cherubino – Le nozze di Figaro (Music for People, Giggleswick), Susanna – Le nozze di Figaro, Zerlina – Don Giovvani, Poppea – L’incoronazione di Poppea, Norina – Don Pasquale, Controller – Flight and Queen Angelica in Handel’s Orlando (RCS Opera Scenes) and Olympia – Les contes d’Hoffmann (Fife Opera). Equally comfortable on the concert platform, Victoria’s recent performances have included Haydn’s Nelson Mass, Fauré’s Requiem and Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Earlier this year Victoria took part in a research project into Sprechstimme in association with The University of Glasgow, which finished with a semi-staged performance of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire in the Conservatoire Concert Hall. Samuel Carl Frank Squallido Samuel is a bass-baritone currently reading English and Music at the University of Glasgow. After spending a year in Perugia studying under Alessandro Avona he now learns with Scott Johnson at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Samuel is the Bass Choral Scholar in the University of Glasgow Chapel Choir and is one of twenty-two singers chosen for the inaugural year of the Genesis Sixteen programme. His previous roles include Sweeney in Sweeney Todd and a chorus member in Dorset Opera’s productions of Carmen, Tosca and Otello. He has participated in masterclasses with John Butt, Toby Spence and Mary King. Nazan Fikret Mme Herz Nazan graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in 2010 with First Class BMus (Honours) and the coveted Concert Recital Diploma. She continued her studies at GSMD on the Master’s programme under Yvonne Kenny, which she has just completed with Distinction. Winner of the 2012 English Song Prize, Nazan has appeared as a soloist on BBC Radio 3 on numerous occasions and regularly performs at the Barbican Centre. As Flora in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, Nazan has toured all over Europe, at venues such as English National Opera under the late Sir Charles Mackerras and at Aix-en-Provence under Daniel Harding and working with directors Elijah Moshinsky, Luc Bondy and David McVicar. Later this year she will be singing the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute for Wexford Opera, and in 2013 she will create the role of Lucy in Philip Glass’ new opera The Perfect American for Teatro Real, Madrid and English National Opera. Bradley Smith Buff Bradley recently graduated from St John’s, Cambridge, where he held a choral scholarship and was Music Director of the renowned a cappella ensemble The Gentlemen of St John’s. Highlights whilst at Cambridge include Don Basilio – Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Pierre the Scholar – Holst’s The Wandering Scholar and a one-to-a-part Bach’s St Matthew Passion under the leadership of Margaret Faultless. Bradley is now taking a two-year Master’s degree in vocal performance at the Royal Academy of Music where he studies with Ryland Davies and Audrey Hyland. Recent performances include Schumann’s Liederkreis, both the Evangelist and Aria soloist in Bach’s St John Passion, tenor soloist in Handel’s Solomon and Mozart’s Requiem and soloist in a concert of the music of Henry Purcell at the Cadogan Hall. Bradley recently understudied Tamino from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for Longborough Festival and will be performing it in his own right for the Young Artists’ Tour this September. He is grateful to the Josephine Baker Trust for their continued support.
MELOS SINFONIA Founded in 2010 by young conductor, Oliver Zeffman, the Melos Sinfonia is an exciting and dynamic orchestra. Putting on a several concerts a year, it draws its players from the top music conservatoires and major universities across the country, at both an undergraduate and postgraduate level. Many players are alumni of the National Youth Orchestra, London Schools Symphony Orchestra and Pro Corda.
Board of Trustees David Green (Chair) Claire Angus Ed Smith David Zeffman Oliver Zeffman
This production is generously supported by the Lord Ashdown Charitable Trust, John Kennedy, David and Nancy Zeffman, Peter Bull, Penny Carrega, Natasha Rayne, Francis Bergin, Lewis and Norma Cutner, David and Jane Waksman, Tom Beadle, Paul and Catherine Thomas, Mark Samuelson and Deborah Blackburn, Nigel and Beth Hankin, Hedwig Verdonk, David and Paula Pereira-Mendoza, and June Huntington. The Melos Sinfonia would also like to extend its thanks to George Freeburn, Beth Sbresni, Leo Nicholson, James Henshaw, Laurie Oâ€™Brien, Theo Jameison, Sharon Weller, Claire Went, Tommy Ga-Ken Wan, Monsignor Nicholas Rothon, St. Maryâ€™s Roman Catholic Church Blackheath, The Royal Opera House, Lee Bodkin, Simon Sheena and David Syrus.