The creative team for La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter) consists of Neal Goren (conductor), Rebecca Taichman (director), Andrew Eggert (associate director), Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Justin Townsend (lighting design), Anita Yavich (costume design), and Mark Dendy (choreographer). The cast stars Elaine Alvarez, Daniel Montenegro, and Weston Hurt, with Brian Downen, Jessica Grigg, Ariana Wyatt, Cassandra Zoé Velasco, and Nora Graham-Smith.
With a libretto by the Mexican Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz, based on the classic short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne, La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini's Daughter) tells of a doctor who seeks to protect and control his daughter by keeping her locked in a garden where he experiments with poisonous plants. She is immune to them, but a carrier of their danger; when a young student falls in love with her, he is faced with the knowledge that pursuing that love will surely lead to his death. The Mexican-born Catán (1949-2011) composed in a neo-Romantic style, with long melodic lines, Debussy-like harmonies, and rich orchestrations. Though clearly contemporary, La hija de Rappaccini is as appealing as Puccini and Mozart. Also appealing are the contemporary resonances of the 160-year-old story. “An ideal can be made to serve the most horrific and inhumane causes,” Catán wrote of his opera. “The 20th century has provided us with more examples than we would ever want.” La hija de Rappaccini takes place at that intersection of beauty and danger. Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s expansive Cherry Esplanade features two stately allees of cherry trees and borders the renowned Cranford Rose Garden, which will be in full flower in June. La hija de Rappaccini is the Garden’s first staged opera presentation in its 103-year history.
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.