Genre: Classical, Other
two chamber operas by Gustav Holst directed by Philip Shneidman and conducted by Richard Cordova.

59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, Artistic Director; Peter Tear, Executive Producer) welcomes The Little Opera Theatre of NY with TRAVELERS, the premiere pairing of Gustav Holst’s chamber operas The Wandering Scholar and Sāvitri, directed by Philip Shneidman and conducted by Richard Cordova.

TRAVELERS is an original double bill of two one-act operas by British composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934).

With libretto by Clifford Bax, The Wandering Scholar is a comedy about a traveling scholar, his young wife, and a priest; and what the husband finds when he returns home. Based on the book The Wandering Scholars by Helen Waddell, the opera received its premiere on January 13, 1934 at the David Lewis Theatre in Liverpool, but Holst – too ill to attend – never heard a live performance of the opera.

Dating from 1908, Sāvitri features a libretto by Holst, and is taken from the episode from the Mahābhārata, which Holst translated from Sanskrit himself. A moving tale of pure love and devotion, the myth of Sāvitri revolves around Sāvitri and Satyavān alone together in the woods, and their encounter with the god of death.

In Imogen Holst’s preface to the published score of Sāvitri, she noted that her father had suggested that if a prelude was needed, one of the hymns from his Choral Hymns of the Rig Veda would help establish the appropriate atmosphere. The Little Opera Theatre of NY’s production of TRAVELERS will incorporate that work as an interlude between the two operas.

The cast of The Wandering Scholar  features Maria Alu, Sharin Apostolou, Ron Loyd, Jeffrey Tucker, and Benjamin T. Robinson. The cast of Sāvitri features Heather Johnson, Rufus Muller, and Toby Newman.

The design team includes Neil Patel (scenic design); Natalie Robin and Amanda Clegg Lyon (lighting design); and Sara James (costume design). The Production Stage Manager is Aaron Heflich Shapiro.

Richard Cordova (Conductor) was recently appointed Music Director of The Little Opera Theatre of New York following his success as conductor for LOTNY's New York stage Premiere of Mozart's Mitridate, Re di Ponto. Mr. Cordova made his professional conducting debut leading the Scandinavian Premiere of Bernstein's Candide in Bergen, Norway, and has subsequently conducted productions for Oper der Stadt Bonn, Opera North (New Hampshire), Sarasota Opera, Opera Company of Boston, Long Beach Opera, Berkshire Opera, Florida Grand Opera and Baltimore Opera. He has served as Music Director for both Julie Taymor's Juan Darien during its initial off-Broadway inception (later conducting the work during its Tony Award nominated run at Lincoln Center Theater during the 1996-97 season); and earlier for Music-Theater Group's groundbreaking off-Broadway production of Virgil Thomson's The Mother of Us All, an opera he later conducted more often than any other living conductor. As a pianist, he has collaborated with such artists as Martina Arroyo, Frederica von Stade, Renato Bruson, Florence Quivar and Julia Migenes, and has worked in this capacity for several major opera companies around the world. For the past 18 years, he has toured internationally with various productions of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, conducting the work on four continents. He continues long standing artistic associations with both Des Moines Metro Opera and Sarasota Opera, having held various titles with the latter organization including that of Program and Music Director for the Studio Artists.

Philip Shneidman (Director) founded The Little Opera Theatre of NY in the summer of 2004. Work includes: Mitridate, re di Ponto - the NYC stage premiere; La Finta Giardiniera, The Mother of Us with the artist Sherrie Levine, and 2 Little Tragedies of Pushkin with Mungo Thomson. Concerts include: Make Believe, The Bohemians and New York Music all at Socrates Sculpture Park. Mr. Shneidman has directed Eugene Onegin and Dialogues of the Carmelites at The Mannes College of Music. His theater directing credits include: A Drowned Girl [1919] (HERE); Fully Committed (Adirondack Theatre Festival); Romeo & Juliet (Queens Theatre in the Park). On Broadway and at Lincoln Center Theater he has served as the Assistant Director on The Full Monty, A Delicate Balance, The Heiress, Pride’s Crossing, among many others. Early days found him stage-managing operas such as Albert Herring (Aldeburgh Festival) and The Marriage of Figaro (Aspen Music Festival.) 

Open:   05/10/12
Close:   05/13/12

Thursday - Friday at 8:00 PM
Saturday at 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM
Sunday at 3:00 PM
Theater:   59E59 Theaters
Address:   59 East 59th Street
New York, NY
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