The double bill includes Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, music by Claudio Monteverdi and I Have No Stories To Tell You (World Premiere), music by Gotham’s Composer-in-Residence, Lembit Beecher and libretto by Hannah Moscovitch, commissioned by Gotham Chamber Opera for performance. The creative team consists of Neal Goren, conductor and Robin Guarino, stage director, with set design by Andromache Chalfant and costume design by Gabriel Berry. Featured singers will be mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton and baritone Craig Verm. The cast also includes tenor Samuel Levine, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, soprano Sarah Tucker, and mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway.
The performances will be staged in two locations in the Museum: Monteverdi’s opera will be performed in the Museum’s Emma and Georgina Bloomberg Arms and Armor Court, and Beecher’s new work will be performed in the Medieval Sculpture Hall. Instruments from the Met’s musical instrument collection will be used in the performances.
Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda was published in 1638 in the composer’s Eighth Book of Madrigals. This operatic scena tells the story of the Christian soldier Tancredi who battles with a Muslim soldier, unknown to Tancredi as his lover Clorinda because she is disguised in armor. When Clorinda is mortally wounded, Tancredi discovers her identity. As she lies dying, she asks to be baptized. The instrumentation for the scena is string quartet and continuo.
Gotham Chamber Opera composer-in-residence Lembit Beecher and librettist Hannah Moscovitch respond to Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by focusing on the aftereffects of war. Their 30-minute opera, I Have No Stories To Tell You, turns from the battlefield to domestic life to tell the story of a soldier’s return home after extended assignment in the Middle East. Haunted by her experiences and reluctant to discuss them with a husband who no longer seems to understand her, she struggles to readjust to home. As we see glimpses into her life over the course of a year, we begin to understand the burden of guilt she carries, her inability to communicate it with her husband, and the way in which her husband's need to know will drive their relationship to the brink. Scored for a period instrument ensemble and inspired by interviews with soldiers and army psychologists, I Have No Stories To Tell You explores the effects of war on one's identity and sense of home. The instrumentation for the opera is string quartet, theorbo, harpsichord, Baroque oboe, and electronics. The cast includes Beth Clayton, mezzo-soprano, and Craig Verm, baritone.
About the Company: Gotham Chamber Opera
Gotham Chamber Opera is the nation's foremost opera company dedicated to producing rarely-performed chamber operas from the Baroque era to the present. The company's mission is to present innovative, fully-staged productions of the highest quality in intimate venues. Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren in 2000, Gotham Chamber Opera has, in its short history,presented seven U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione; Darius Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's Dada opera Les Larmes du Couteau; and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne. In February 2005, Gotham presented the U.S. stage premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta. Also in 2005, Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA presented Gotham Chamber Opera's U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi's fantastical puppet opera La bella dormente nel bosco, featuring the puppetry of Basil Twist. In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring received its first professional staging in New York in more than 30 years, and in winter 2007, Rossini's Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in more than half a century. In the 2007/2008 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with Astor Piazzolla's tango opera, María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance. In 2009, Mark Morris directed the U.S. stage premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata. Most recently, in 2010, Gotham made news world-wide for its high-tech production of Haydn's Il mondo della luna, staged in the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History, and for Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), at The New Victory Theater, staged by Tony Award-nominated director Moisés Kaufman, with puppet design by Blind Summit Theatre. For more information, visit www.gothamchamberopera.org.