Two Italian Operas Take to the Stage at Cambridge’s Hubbard Hall
In its eighth summer season, Hubbard Hall Opera Theater presents Verdi’s masterpiece, ‘Rigoletto’ – a tragedy of the first order and a must-see on the level of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet.’ The performance will be directed by Kirk Jackson, a revered actor in his own right and resident instructor at Bennington College. His verismo directing style is refreshing for audiences looking for an opera experience that is more than just spectacle. Jackson will be updating this production to a 1930s circus, a perfect fit for this tale of arrogance, corruption, off-kilter love and vengeance gone awry.
Pittsburgh-based conductor, Maria Sensi-Sellner, who is the first three-time winner of the coveted American Prize in conducting, returns to Hubbard Hall to lead the 21-piece resident ensemble. The cast is a star-studded ensemble featuring Benjamin Bloomfield who served as a cover artist with the Metropolitan Opera in 2011 and with the New York City Opera in 2012, who will lead the cast in the title role of the cursed clown. Christopher Lucier sings the philandering Duke and Meghan Picerno will be making her role debut of the innocent Gilda, after competing as a finalist in London for Placido Domingo’s prestigious international Operalia competition.
Running on alternating nights and doubling up on Saturdays with ‘Rigoletto’ is Menotti’s ‘Old Maid and the Thief,’ presented with piano and cello in English and running just over an hour. Menotti, best known for ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors,’ had this work commissioned as a radio play for NBC. In this dark comedy, a lonely woman and her equally lonely housekeeper struggle to conceal an innocent hitchhiker they believe is a thief in order to keep him safe from the authorities. In their quest to entice their guest to stay, the two desperate ladies ultimately become thieves themselves. Director and mezzo-soprano Julia Mintzer directs.
Hubbard Hall is an historic opera house located at 25 East Main Street in Cambridge, N.Y. Tickets may be obtained in advance by visiting hubbardhall.org or by calling 518-677-2495. Tickets to ‘Rigoletto’ are $35/general admission and $10/students; to ‘Old Maid and the Thief’ $20/ general, $5/students. Visit the website for further details.