Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble Is UNTAMED! at La MaMa This Summer
ZEALnyc, August 2, 2017
Now that the summer doldrums are upon us, you may feel as though you need something to shake things up a bit. Well, you’re in luck, because the dell’Arte Opera Ensemble is bringing lots of wildlife and “wild things” into the theater this summer. Celebrating the 15th anniversary of their summer opera festival, this year’s annual event, entitled UNTAMED!, takes place at La MaMa, located at 66 East 4th Street (between the Bowery and 2nd Avenue), and performances run from August 12—27, 2017.
Beginning on August 12 dell’Arte Opera Ensemble kicks off the proceedings with its production of Francesco Cavalli’s Baroque masterpiece La Calista. The opera, based on a classic mythological story, involves gods, nymphs and a satyr or two (now if that’s not a wild thing, we don’t know what is!). The animal theme continues on August 19 when their production of Leoš Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (Příhody lišky Bystroušky) opens and runs in rotating repertory with La Calista. The opera brings to life the story of “Sharp Ears” (a vixen/fox) and her friends and foes, including a badger, an owl, a hen, a woodpecker, a dog and a rooster, to name just a few. But more than featuring animals, the opera’s themes explore parallels between the human and animal kingdoms.
The festival continues with an evening of scenes on August 18 and 22 (billed under the same title as the entire festival this year: UNTAMED!), and features selections from operatic classics Carmen, Pelléas et Mélisande, Rusalka, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and many more. Bringing the festivities to a thematic conclusion, there will be a special recital on August 26 entitled “Wild Things” presenting members of the ensemble and cover artists in song repertoire about the animal kingdom and other wild creatures—a not-to-be-missed treat.
The company was founded by Christopher Fecteau and Karen Rich in 2000, and has been mounting productions with the mission of “providing emerging opera artists with training and performance opportunities necessary to bridge the gap between the conservatory and a fully professional career.” The emphasis is on “learning by doing,” backed by the philosophy that superior craft creates great art. Since its inception, dell’Arte has been serving as a springboard for young operatic artists, with over 500 singers having participated in its various sponsored programs and performances. This year’s festival features the debuts of over 30 singers and production staff, all under the age of 35.
So take a walk on the “wild side” this summer and make plans to see some of the festival offerings by this growing company; you may finally get in touch with your inner animal. Woof.
For more information on dell’Arte Opera Ensemble click here.
Cover: Rachel Hall in publicity photo of ‘Cunning Little Vixen;’ photo: Claire Townsend.