Senior artists-in-residence Stephen Stubbs and Cyndia Sieden lead students from the UW vocal performance program in scenes from Mozart’s operas.
Instructors: Cyndia Sieden, Stephen Stubbs
Stage direction: Cyndia Sieden, Linda Kitchen, Deanne Meek
Musical direction: Stephen Stubbs
Musical coaching: Rhonda Kline
Piano Accompaniment: Andrew Romanick
Le Nozze di Figaro: 1786
The Marriage of Figaro takes place in the palace of the Count and Countess Almaviva. Figaro is the Valet to the Count and Susanna the maid and confidantee of the Countess. The Count is a philanderer and has his eyes on Susanna. Prior to the opera he abolished the law of ‘droit de seigneur’, the right of the lord of the manor to take the virginity of a bride before the wedding, but with Susanna, about to get married, he plans to re-establish this law. This provides the emotional foundation for all the characters in the opera, leaving Figaro angry, Susanna confused and the Countess bereft, relying on her page, Cherubino to cheer her up. They are reduced to hatching a plot to obstruct the Count’s plans and to humiliate him.
1.Act I, sc. 1: Figaro and Susanna
Susanna: Gemma Balinbin
Figaro: Jacob Caspe
Figaro and Susanna are preparing their bedroom as their wedding is taking place later that day. Figaro takes measurements to see if the bed will fit, while Susanna is concerned by the position of the room, placed between those of the Countess and the Count – convenient in Figaro’s eyes but dangerous in Susanna’s. She knows the Count has designs on her, and warns Figaro of this.
2.Act II, sc. 1: Susanna, Countess, Cherubino
Susanna: Krissy Terwilliger
Countess: Christine Oshiki
Cherubino: Inna Tsygankova
Susanna and the Countess toy with young Cherubino about his youthful desires and make him sing the song he wrote. In it he expresses his desire to know what love is all about.
3. Act III sc. 8: Susanna, Countess
Susanna: Arrianne Noland
Countess: Elizabeth Nice
The Countess and Susanna decide to team up to ensnare the Count in his illicit seduction of Susanna. The Countess dictates a letter to set the assignation.
Così fan tutte: 1789
Così fan tutte, the translation of which is – this is what women do – refers to two sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella’s reaction to a plot set up by Ferrando and Guglielmo. These boyfriends insist that their lovers will always remain faithful no matter what. Their jaded friend Alfonso suggests they put this to the test. The boys pretend to be called off to war and whilst away the girls are visited by two ‘strangers’. The girls are seduced, one more easily than the other, by these exotic visitors that they are on the point of marrying them when they hear the sound of the army returning. With the help of the shrewd maid Despina, the test is completed and it is revealed that, all along, they have been seduced by their own boyfriends. Così fan tutte.
4. Act I sc. 8-10: Despina, Fiordiligi, Dorabella
Fiordiligi – Arrianne Noland
Dorabella – Dakota Miller
Despina – Krissy Terwilliger
Despina bewails her fate, preparing delicacies like hot chocolate which only her mistresses will enjoy. Just as Despina decides to try the chocolate herself, the sisters enter. Dorabella, tortured by her boyfriend’s departure to war, flies into a frenzy. Despina disabuses the sisters of their belief in “faithful” men. She sings that all men are faithless, and women should pay them back in the same coin!
5. Act II sc. 1: Despina, Fiordiligi, Dorabella
Fiordiligi – Suzanna Mizell
Dorabella – Elizabeth Nice
Despina – Christine Oshiki
Because the sisters are torn about having affairs with the new men (their actual boyfriends in disguise!), cynical Despina tells them that women should already know at the age of 15, all the tricks they will need to beguile and control men. At first they seem shocked, but then sing a duet about which of the two new suitors each of them prefers.
Die Entführung aus dem Serail: 1781/82
Die Entführung aus dem Serail is otherwise known as Il Seraglio. Both Serail and seraglio translate as harem, which is where the opera takes place. It is the Pasha Selim’s harem, a place full of his many wives. But it is only when Costanze appears that he falls in love and, rather than keeping her prisoner, wants her to live with him of her own free will. Meanwhile, Costanze and her maid, Blonde, have managed to survive what will always be a prison, but which has become comfortable with time. The arrival of Belmonte, Costanze’s betrothed, provides an escape, which is bitter sweet.
6.Quartet: Blonde, Costanze, Belmonte and Pedrillo
Blonde: Katie Kelley
Costanze: Yun Hye Kim
Belmonte: Nic Varela
Pedrillo: Trevor Ainge
Belmonte, Constanze’s betrothed, has long been searching for her and has finally found her. The lovers are reunited, but Belmonte is troubled by rumors of Costanze and the Pascha. Meanwhile the servant pair, Blonde and Pedrillo hatch a plot for all of them to escape the harem; they all sing to celebrate the victory of Love.
Die Zauberflöte: 1791
Die Zauberflöte is a story of magic, endurance and love. Tamino, a prince, finds himself in a strange land where he meets a bird-catcher, Papageno. They are set on a mission by the Three Ladies to find the daughter of the Queen of the Night, Pamina. She has been kidnapped by Sarastro, the leader of a Priesthood. The Queen accuses Sarastro of stealing the symbol of the sun, which gives its owner extraordinary powers and will trade even her own daughter’s life to get it back. Sarastro, meanwhile, is searching for a follower who can pass all his rigorous trials to enlightenment and who can be the keeper of the powerful Sun.
7. Quintet: Three ladies, Tamino, Papageno
Tamino – Zach Buker
Papageno – Nic Varela
Ist Lady – Arrianne Noland
2nd Lady – Elizabeth Nice
3rd Lady – Brittany Walker
Papageno, the bird-catcher, has had a lock placed on his mouth for lying by the Three Ladies who are emissaries of the Queen of the Night. Tamino, the young prince, would like to help him but can’t. The ladies relent, releasing Papageno, presenting Tamino with a magic flute and Papageno with magic bells to help them on their quest. They tell the men to seek out three “Spirits” for guidance.
8. First portion of the Finale: Three Spirits, Pamina
Pamina – Katie Kelley
Ist Spirit - Krissy Terwilliger
2ndSpirit – Yun Hye Kim
3rd Spirit – Dakota Miller
Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night and beloved of Prince Tamino, is distraught because she believes Tamino no longer loves her and has been told by her mother to kill Sarastro. This has driven her to the point of taking her own life when the Three Spirits intervene to stop her. They inform her that Tamino still loves her and promise to take her to him.
Don Giovanni: 1787
Don Giovanni is a character we know in literature as Don Juan but could equally be Casanova. The opera is the story of the lives he affects through his uncensored existence. His murdering of the Commendatore during one of his seductions, instigates the unraveling of his life, now haunted by the dead man.
9. Don Giovanni, Zerlina
Don Giovanni – David Wadden
Zerlina – Yoojeong Cho
Don Giovanni, master seducer, applies all his charms to his newest victim, Zerlina. Torn between her love for Masetto, the boy she is about to marry, and her attraction to this ‘Casanova’, she surrenders to Don Giovanni’s charisma.
10. Quartet: Don Giovanni, Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, Don Ottavio
Don Giovanni – David Wadden
Donna Elvira – Gemma Balinbin
Donna Anna - Suzanna Mizell
Don Ottavio – Josh Lutman
Donna Elvira, obsessed with Don Giovanni, her seducer, interrupts to accuse him and warn Zerlina. Giovanni pretends that Elvira is mad and that Zerlina should ignore her. Exit Elvira and Zerlina.
11. Don Giovanni, Donna Anna, Don Ottavio, Donna Elvira
Don Giovanni – David Wadden
Donna Anna - Suzanna Mizell
Don Ottavio – Josh Lutman
Donna Elvira – Gemma Balinbin
At the beginning of the opera, Don Giovanni seduced Donna Anna and then killed her father, the Commendatore. Not recognizing Don Giovanni, she and her betrothed Don Ottavio ask him for help to find the murderer of her father. Elvira again interjects to berate Don Giovanni for being unfaithful. Giovanni shrugs off her behaviour as mere madness, telling the others to ignore her. It is only as Don Giovanni takes his leave that Donna Anna realizes that Giovanni is the assassin himself. She tells Don Ottavio the whole tragic story, and demands vengeance!
Stephen Stubbs is Senior Artist in Residence and member of the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Washington.
After a thirty year career in Europe, musical director and lutenist Stephen Stubbs returned to his native Seattle in 2006. Since then he has established his new production company, Pacific Musicworks, and developed a busy calendar as a guest conductor specializing in baroque opera and oratorio.
With his direction of Stefano Landi’s La Morte d’Orfeo at the 1987 Bruges festival, he began his career as opera director and founded the ensemble Tragicomedia. Since 1997 Stephen has co-directed the bi-annual Boston Early Music Festival opera and is the permanent artistic co-director. BEMF’s recordings of Conradi’s Ariadne, Lully’s Thesee, and Psyché were nominated for Grammy awards in 2005, 2007, and 2009.
Stephen was born in Seattle, Washington, where he studied composition, piano and harpsichord at the University of Washington. In 1974 he moved to England to study lute with Robert Spencer and then to Amsterdam for further study with Toyohiko Satoh and soon became a mainstay of the burgeoning early-music movement there, working with Alan Curtis on Italian opera in Italy, William Christie on French opera in France and various ensembles in England and Germany particularly the Hilliard Ensemble.
With his return to Seattle in 2006 he formed the long-term goal of establishing a company devoted to the study and production of Baroque opera. His first venture in this direction was the creation of the Accademia de’Amore, an annual summer institute for the training of pre-professional singers and musicians in baroque style and stagecraft, now housed at the Cornish College of the Arts.
In 2008 he established Pacific MusicWorks. The company’s inaugural presentation was a revival of South African artist William Kentridge’s acclaimed multimedia marionette staging of Claudio Monteverdi’s penultimate opera The Return ofUlysses in a co-production with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. After a warmly received 2010 presentation of Monteverdi’s monumental Vespers of 1610 at Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, PMW presented a full subscription season, opening with a program based on the Song of Songs and ending with two triumphantly successful performances of Handel’s early masterpiece, The Triumph of Time (1707).
As a guest conductor Stubbs has led performances of Gluck’s Orfeo and Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto in Bilbao, Spain, and Monteverdi’s Orfeo at Amsterdam’s Netherlands Opera. Following his successful debut conducting the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in 2011, he was invited back in 2012 to conduct the Symphony’s performances of Messiah. He will also debut with the Edmonton Symphony in Messiah this season.
American soprano Cyndia Sieden moves easily among the Baroque, classical, romantic and contemporary repertoires to worldwide acclaim. In addition, her performances and recordings of his works affirm her status as one of the sovereign Mozart interpreters of the present day.
Highlights of 2011 included performances in Morton Feldman's monodrama Neither for New York City Opera, Ariadne in Wolfgang Rihm's Dionysos at the Netherlands Opera and Soprano I in Luigi Nono's Prometeo at the Salzburg and Berlin Festivals. In contrast to these knotty modern works, she returned to Blondchen in Mozart's Abduction with Frans Brüggen and the Orchestra of the 18th Century at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and on tour throughout Holland.
Sieden has starred at most of the world's great opera houses, including the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper, the New York Met, Paris's Opéra Bastille, the Wiener Staatsoper, Barcelona's Gran Teatre de Liceu, Brussels's La Monnaie, and London's Covent Garden and English National, as well as in Beijing and Australia. Her highly-praised Metropolitan Opera debut was as Berg's Lulu, and her success quickly led to reengagement in 2008 for Die Zauberflöte's Queen of the Night, one of her signature roles.
She is a brilliantly idiomatic interpreter of the works of Richard Strauss. She frequently performs Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos (Munich, Japan, Vienna), as well as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier (Paris Châtelet) and Aminta in Die schweigsame Frau (Palermo and Munich).
Her performances in the high-flying role of Ariel in the premiere of Thomas Adès's The Tempest at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, ignited rave reviews and an astonished public. She has garnered equal enthusiasm and devotion for her Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte and Blondchen in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, all over the world. Other specialties are Cunegonde in Leonard Bernstein's Candide, and the operas of Handel.
Sieden is much in demand for Orff's Carmina Burana, the oratorios and masses of Handel, Mozart, and Haydn, and works of Bach, Strauss and Mahler. She has sung with many of the most renowned symphony orchestras in the world, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, and at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival. In addition, her Lieder recitals are always highly-anticipated events.
Cyndia Sieden was born in California, USA, and received her first vocal instruction there. The significant milestone in her studies was work with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in master classes in Carmel Valley, CA in 1982. Schwarzkopf then invited Sieden to become her private student, and also to work with her in master classes at the 1983 Salzburg Mozarteum. Sieden sang in the culminating concert/competition and won first place, the springboard for her first professional engagements.
In 1984, Cyndia Sieden made her European debut in Il Barbiere at the Bavarian State Opera; her American debut also took place in 1984, in La Fille du Regiment, in Tampa, Florida.