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DICAPO OPERA THEATRE
New York United States of America
Thomas Pasatieri: THE SEAGULL
Drama in 3 acts, based on the play by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
Libretto by Kenward ELMSLIE
Nina (soprano): Molly MUSTONEN (USA)
Constantine (baritone): HAJA Zsolt (Hungary)
Irina Arkadina, an actress (soprano): Beverly O’REGAN THIELE (USA)
Sorin, Arkadina’s brother: Duncan HARTMAN
Shamrayeff, an estate manager: Daniel KLEIN
Pauline, his wife: Edith DOWD
Masha, their daughter: Kristin SAMPSON
Boris Trigorin, a novelist: Jonathan HARE
Dorn, a doctor: Willy FALK
Medvedenko, a schoolteacher: David GAGNON
With: Szeged Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Pacien MAZZAGATTI
Set design: ZÖLDY Z Gergely
Costume design: DEBRECZENI Ildikó
Lighting design: Susan ROTH
Director: Harangi Mária
Performed in English with Hungarian and English supertitles.
Produced by Dicapo Opera Theatre and in collaboration with Armel Opera Competition & Festival.
Padrevía (1967), Black Widow (1972), The Seagull (1972), The Trial of Mary Lincoln (1972), Signor Deluso (1974), Washington Square (1976), Before Breakfast (1980), Three Sisters (1986), Frau Margot (2007) and The Hotel Casablanca (2007). His newest opera, The Family Room, received its first readings in December 2009 in New York City. Mr. Pasatieri has composed hundreds of songs, and is a frequent composer for chorus, His works include Permit Me Voyage (1974), The Harvest Frost (1993), Bang the Drum Loudly (1994) and Mornings Innocent” (1995), which was premiered and recorded by the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus. Among his instrumental works are three piano sonatas. Recordings of Mr. Pasatieri's works include The Seagull, La Divina, Signor Deluso, The Hotel Casablanca, Frau Margot, Divas of a Certain Age, The Thomas Pasatieri Songbook, Theatrepieces, and Monologues (Before Breakfast and Lady Macbeth). Mr. Pasatieri has taught composition at Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music and Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. From 1980 through 1984, he held the post of Artistic Director at Atlanta Opera. In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed his film music production company, Topaz Productions. His film orchestrations can be heard in Road to Perdition, American Beauty, The Little Mermaid, The Shawshank Redemption, Fried Green Tomatoes, Legends of the Fall, Scent of a Woman, and Angels in America, among many others.
Act I: In the garden of Sorin's estate, the private premiere of an avant-garde theater piece is taking place. it has been created by Constantine, a young would-be writer, and is performed by the aspiring actress, Nina, with whom he is in love. As twilight falls, the audience gathers. They consist of Sorin, a semi-invalid bachelor; Dorn, his doctor; and Shamrayeff, his estate manager; along with Shamrayeff's wife, Pauline, and his daughter, Masha. Also present are Constantine's mother, Mme. Arkadina, a famous actress; Trigorin, a successful author with whom she is having an affair; and Medvedenko, a schoolteacher in love with Masha. Arkadina disrupts the performance with her jibes and jokes, and Constantine runs off, humiliated. Nina is introduced to Trigorin, and the two are mutually attracted. Voices from across the lake are heard singing, prompting Arkadina to recall the old days, full of love affairs, when the lake seemed magical. Night has fallen, and the members of the party go indoors. Masha confesses to Dr. Dorn that she is desperately in love with Constantine.
Act II, Scene 1: A picnic is in progress. A buoyant Arkadina reveals the secrets of her eternal youth to Masha and Nina. A quarrel erupts when Shamrayeff refuses to spare Arkadina any horses for a jaunt to town. In a rage, she threatens to leave for Moscow, and Shamrayeff resigns. Constantine appears with a seagull that he has just shot and lays the bird at Nina's feet. He grows bitter about the failure of his play and at Nina's subsequent coolness toward him. Seeing Trigorin, he leaves. Trigorin tries to deflect Nina's hero-worship of him by confessing how empty and absurd his life as a writer really is. Inspired by the sight of the dead seagull, he improvises an idea for a story: A man, who is just passing through, on a whim emotionally devastates a young girl at a lakeside. From the house, Arkadina calls out that she and her party are not leaving after all.
Act II, Scene 2: In Sorin's dining room, Masha drunkenly confesses to Trigorin that she has decided to marry Medvedenko, but that she couldn't have gone on living if a suicide attempt that Constantine has just made had succeeded. Nina gives Trigorin a medallion as a going-away present. Their emotional farewell is interrupted by the sound of Arkadina's voice. Alone with her son, Arkadina treats his head wound. They recall their happiness when he was a child and how they had all the time in the world to be together. Abruptly, Constantine harangues his mother about her involvement with Trigorin who, he says, is too cowardly to accept Constantine's challenge to a duel and is also toying with Nina's affections. A violent quarrel ends in a reconciliation between mother and son. Trigorin returns and asks Arkadina if they can stay a day longer. Arkadina attacks him for his infatuation with Nina and reveals the extent of her passion for him. Trigorin's resistance crumbles, and he agrees to leave with her at once. Shamrayeff announces that the horses are waiting, and in a flurry of farewells Arkadina sweeps out. Trigorin hangs behind, pretending to look for a notebook. Nina enters and announces that she has decided to become an actress and is leaving for Moscow too. Trigorin and Nina embrace.
Act III: Two years have passed. In Sorin's study, Masha quarrels with Medvedenko and refuses to go home to look after their baby. Arkadina returns from the station, Trigorin in tow. He and Constantine manage a chilly rapprochement. Pauline announces dinner. Constantine remains at his desk, but the others, including Sorin, now in a wheelchair, go into the dining room. Nina bursts into the study, and, spurred by her fear of being discovered, Constantine locks the doors. He tells her that he still loves her in spite of her past affair with Trigorin. Nina confesses that she still loves Trigorin and always will, even though he has now abandoned her. Alone, Constantine destroys his manuscript. The dinner party over, Arkadina, Shamrayeff, Trigorin, Dr. Dorn, Masha, and Pauline sit down to play lotto, while Sorin naps. Arkadina wins the first game and then exultantly describes her recent triumph as Jocasta in a performance at Kharkhov. As she is acting out a scene, a shot rings out. Dr. Dorn goes to see what it is and informs them that a bottle of ether has exploded. Quietly, he takes Trigorin aside to tell him what Arkadina already seems to sense: Constantine has killed himself.
Molly MUSTONEN (soprano)
American Soprano, Molly Mustonen, has earned praise for her expressive performances in major roles including Tallulah Carter in the New York premiere of Pasatieri’s The Hotel Casablanca, Mimi, Nedda, Frasquita, and Musetta with companies such as Dicapo Opera, Opera of the Hamptons, and Festa Lirica Italiana. Awards include Winner for dramatic performance from the Musicians’ competition of Long Island and District Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Auditions.
Zsolt HAJA (baritone)
The Hungarian baritone Zsolt Haja has been studying singing since the age of eighteen, under the guidance of Éva Mohos Nagy. After graduating from the Zoltán Kodály College of Music, he entered the Conservatory of the University of Debrecen. He made his debut in 2005 as Melitone in The Force of Destiny (Csokonai Theatre, Debrecen). In the following season he appeared in Manon Lescaut as Lescaut, and in the role of Enrico in Lucia de Lammermoor. At the Hungarian State Opera he debuted as Escamillo. He has won multiple competitions including the József Simándy Singing Competition (2006) and the Feruccio Tagliavini International Singing Competition.
Beverly O’REGAN THIELE (soprano)
The American soprano Beverly O’Regan Thiele has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera, Dicapo Opera, Glimmerglass Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera among others. Roles include Blanche Du Bois in Andre Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire, Magda in The Consul, Donna Elvira, Fiordiligi, Musetta, Georgetta, Ortlinda, title role of Tobias Picker's Therese Raquin, title role of Floyd's Susannah, Abigail in The Crucible, Elektra's 3rd Maid with Chicago Sympohony under Daniel Barenboim; and she has understudied Renee Fleming, Karita Mattila and Patricia Racette in Susannah, Kat'a Kabanová and Jenufa, respecitively. Roles in Germany and England include Chrysothemis, Miss Jessel, Giulietta and soprano leads in two world premiere operas by Michael Nyman. Education includes a Bachelor of Music degree from Simpson College in Iowa and Master of Music from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She is an alum of Lyric Opera Center for American Artists at Lyric Opera of Chicago and currently studies with soprano Catherine Malfitano.
Heralded by Opera News as “clearly a name to watch,” conductor Pacien Mazzagatti has already garnered considerable critical acclaim for his work conducting opera both in the United States and abroad. Maestro Mazzagatti made his conducting debut at Dicapo in 2003 leading performances of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. At the end of the 2008-09 season, having conducted over a dozen operas there, he was named Principal Conductor of Dicapo Opera Theater. In addition to his conducting in New York, Mr. Mazzagatti has been a regular conductor for the New England touring company National Lyric Opera. He has also conducted the Sarasota Opera, the Polish National Opera, the Russian Philharmonic, the Opera Orchestra of New York, and Fresno Grand Opera. An accomplished pianist, Maestro Mazzagatti completed his Bachelor of Music degree from Temple University at the age of 19, and earned a doctoral degree at The Manhattan School of Music, where he was a student of the eminent American pianist Constance Keene. He studied conducting privately with Giampaolo Bracali.
Gergely ZÖLDY Z. was born in Budapest in 1987. Studied set- and costume design under Róbert Menczel and Ágnes Gyarmathy at the Faculty of Arts of Kaposvár University. After graduating in 2009 he is continuing his studies at the University of Theater, Film and Television to obtain a Master’s degree in Cinematography. The young designer gained experience in scenery and set building during his professional summer practices at Scabello, a set-producing company located in Szeged. Had his debut as a set designer working with Csaba Tasnádi at the Hevesi Sándor Theatre in Zalaegerszeg (Feydeau: Le Dindon). His first work as a costume designer was Rossini’s Le comte Ory presented at the Szeged National Theatre, and at the Budapest Spring Festival. Lately he has designed set and costumes for a Péter Müller drama (Rashomon) premiering at Tűzraktér. Mr Zöldy is the designer of Armel Opera Competition’s public art installations during the Festival since 2009.
Ildikó DEBRECZENI has been designing the costumes for the Experidance Company for 10 years and she has been working in her profession for 22 years. Her company’s offices are in Budapest and Szolnok, where her team of 25 people works for several Hungarian theatres, including the Hungarian National Theatre, Comedy Theatre of Budapest, Madách Theatre and the Operetta Theatre. In 2008 she was the clothes designer for the most popular talent-spotting competition in Hungary, but it was the Opera Competition and Festival, by Mezzo’s invitation, that provided her professional breakthrough in 2007. She has a three year contract to make all the costumes for these international productions. In addition to this, she is making costumes for numerous German opera houses, was requested to make costumes for the Bayreuth Festival, and has work in Norway and Italy.
Mária HARANGI was born on the 15th of November, 1975 in Pécs. After graduating from ELTE University as a Hungarian-French major, she studied musical directing under Miklós Szinetár at the Academy of Drama and Film in Budapest. Her final performance for graduation from the Academy was directing Donizetti’s Rita which premiered at Millenáris Teátrum. She debuted at the Hungarian State Opera with Levente Gyöngyösi’s Gólyakalifa (The Stork Caliph). Her directing credits include Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Verdi’s Il Trovatore, Kodály’s Székely Fonó, Das Dreimäderlhaus (House of the Three Girls) by Schubert-Berté, a one of a kind adaptation of Die Zauberflöte by the HOPPArt Company, Bernstein’s West Side Story, and The Man of La Mancha, a musical by Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion, and Dale Wasserman. At Centrál Színház she staged two new musicals – Jimmy Roberts’ and Joe Dipietro’s off-Broadway success I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and the Tony Award Winning Avenue Q by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty – both representing a new trend in musicals. Miss Harangi directed her first operetta Jenő Huszka’s Baroness Lili at the Katona József Theatre in Kecskemét in 2009 and has just finished staging Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire in Székesfehérvár.