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Posted by on Dec 30, 2011 in News | 0 comments

Madison Opera Presents a New Production of Galileo Galilei

Madison, Wis. – Madison Opera continues its Season of Dreamers with a new production of Philip Glass’s Galileo Galilei. This highly theatrical work will have four performances in the 350-seat Playhouse at Overture Center for the Arts from January 26 through 29, 2012. Among Glass’s most acclaimed recent works, Galileo Galilei offers a moving portrait of the famous astronomer’s life. Beginning with Galileo’s final days and moving backwards through time, the opera recounts his trial before the Inquisition, his fall from public grace, and his ascent from youthful aspirant to accomplished scientist. The opera explores the relationship between science and spirituality, and, ultimately, the question of humanity.

 

My instinctual reaction to the piece was a tremendous empathy,” says stage director A. Scott Parry. “Galileo questioned the accepted beliefs of his time and suffered for it, but regardless, his mental and spiritual growth continued to expand like the universe he so unendingly peered into.” Parry, along with production designer Barry Steele, envisions using the unique attributes of the Playhouse to create a highly theatrical work, with projections moving the audience across time and space.

 

Galileo Galilei is the first Philip Glass opera produced by Madison Opera. The prolific Glass, well-known for his film scores and concert hall pieces, has composed more than twenty operas, including Satyaghra, The Fall of the House of Usher and Einstein on the Beach. Galileo Galilei premiered June 24, 2002 at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre. Kelly Kuo, who conducted Madison Opera’s Così fan tutte in 2009, returns to lead thirteen members of the Madison Symphony Orchestra for Glass’s minimalist opera.

 

In performing contemporary music, I like to remember that there was a time when the only music being performed was music written at that time,” says Kuo. “I think it’s important to keep performing music written by living composers so that the best music being composed can be recognized. There were countless other composers living and working at the same time as Mozart, and yet we don’t remember many others because Mozart’s music was much more able to withstand the test of time.”

 

Celebrated tenor William Joyner makes his Madison Opera debut as the conflicted Older Galileo, who struggles to reconcile a life of the mind with his religious devotion. Internationally-acclaimed bass-baritone Dean Peterson, who appeared with Madison Opera as Daland in The Flying Dutchman, tackles multiple roles, including that of Pope Urban VIII, whose admiration for Galileo conflicts with political pressures. Soprano Jamie-Rose Guarrine, whose season engagements include performances at Wolf Trap Opera and Chicago Opera Theater, sings the role of the Older Maria Celeste, Galileo’s beloved daughter and scientific muse. Bass-baritone John Arnold makes his debut as an idealistic Young Galileo. Mezzo-soprano Jennifer DeMain, last seen with Madison Opera as Flora in The Turn of the Screw, joins the cast as Young Marie Celeste.

 

Madison Opera offers an array of events surrounding the opera and Galileo’s life. The Opera Up Close series will provide insight into Galileo Galilei on January 22, and Pre-Opera talks will be hosted by General Director Kathryn Smith one hour prior to each performance. In addition, the adventurous and curious are invited to attend “Galileo’s Heavens” on January 14, an interactive event presented by Madison Opera and hosted by UW Madison’s Space Place.

 

PRODUCTION TEAM AND CAST

 

Conductor……………………………………………….Kelly Kuo

 

Stage Director……………………………………A. Scott Parry

 

Costume Designer…………………Karen Brown-Larimore

 

Production Designer…………………………….Barry Steele*

 

Older Galileo……………………………..…..…William Joyner*

 

Pope Urban VIII……………………………………Dean Peterson

 

Older Maria Celeste……………….…Jamie-Rose Guarrine

 

Young Galileo………………………………………..John Arnold*

 

Young Maria Celeste…………………………Jennifer DeMain

 

1st Cardinal…………………………………..……Alex Edgemon*

 

2nd Cardinal………………………………………..Darik Knutsen*

 

3rd Cardinal…………………………………………..…Errik Hood*

 

Scribe…………………………………………………Allisanne Apple

 

Sagredo……………………………………………….…Saira Frank*

 

* Madison Opera debut

 


RELATED EVENTS

 

Galileo’s Heavens: Hosted by Space Place Saturday, January 14, 2012, 4 p.m., UW Madison Space Place, 2300 S. Park St. Free and open to the public | Reservations required The adventurous and curious are invited to learn more about Galileo’s work and inventions through a special event hosted by UW Madison’s Space Place. Tour the Space Place exhibit hall, receive an introduction to Galileo’s amazing discoveries from Space Place Director Dr. James Lattis, and view Jupiter and Venus through a telescope from the Space Place observation deck (weather permitting). In addition to these free activities, you can try your hand at invention and continue astronomical observing at home by purchasing a Galileoscope telescope kit, which Space Place will help you assemble. The event (hot cocoa included) is free; the Galileoscope kits are $20 each (cash or check only). Space is limited. Reservations can be made online at www.madisonopera.org or by calling Madison Opera at (608) 238-8085. The reservation deadline is January 11.

 

Opera Up Close: The Galileo Galilei Preview Sunday, January 22, 2012, 1-3p.m., Madison Museum of Contemporary Art Lecture Hall $20 general admission; tickets available at the door or in advance by calling Madison Opera at (608) 238-8085 Join Madison Opera for a behind-the-scenes exploration of Galileo Galilei, including a multimedia look at the works of iconic American composer Philip Glass, hosted by General Director Kathryn Smith with commentary from stage director A. Scott Parry, Maestro Kelly Kuo, and members of the cast. Special guest lecturer Michael Shank, History of Science and Integrated Liberal Studies professor at UW-Madison, will discuss the life of famed astronomer Galileo.

 

Pre-Opera Talks January 26-29, 2012 | One hour prior to curtain | Rotunda Studio at Overture Center | Free to ticket holders Attend an introduction to Galileo Galilei one hour prior to curtain to learn about the music, Philip Glass, and Galileo himself.

 

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