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The Impresario & Le Rossignol 2014

July 19 - August 15, 2014

The Healing Power of Music…

Divas vie for a plum role while a producer struggles to cope with their rivalry and the stresses of work in the music business. That’s the scenario of Mozart’s brief, witty opera The Impresario, but it could also be a news story in The Hollywood Reporter. In these ingeniously framed productions, the stars’ rivalry centers on casting Stravinsky’s exquisite one-act opera Le Rossignol, which forms the second half of a perfectly balanced double-bill.

The Impresario takes us to 1920s Paris for the high stress auditions. Then, with the same cast, Le Rossignol enfolds us in Hans Christian Andersen’s poetic fable in which an emperor learns the lesson of humility. This production of Le Rossignol honors the centennial of the opera’s premiere in Paris, in 1914.

 

The Impresario Music By
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The Impresario Libretto By
Gottlieb Stephanie
Le Rossignol Music By
Igor Stravinsky
Le Rossignol Libretto By
Igor Stravinsky & Stepan Mitusov

Synopsis

  • The Impresario

    The one-act opera The Impresario shares the trials and tribulations an impresario encounters in leading a group of traveling players. Otto van der Puff suggests to the impresario that he should sign the actors at low wages, and he recommends bribing the critics and disregarding artis­tic merit. The banker takes care of the finances for the impresario in return to have his mistress play a role in the production.

    As the impresario begins to hold auditions, it is clear that Madame Vladimirescu and Madame Vocedoro-Gambalunghi are divas trying to outdo each other for the same role. The two women continue their rivalry and the competition heats up. When the impresario cannot choose and threatens to cancel the production, the singers decide that only through peaceful collaboration can art thrive.

  • Le Rossignol

    Set in ancient China. The Fisherman acts as narrator for the story’s events.

  • Act I

    Just before dawn, a Fisherman awaits the arrival of the singing Nightingale. The Cook arrives bringing court officials and says how the bird’s beautiful song makes her cry. The Chamberlain, unable to hear, tells her he will appoint her as private cook to the Emperor if she can find the bird. The Nightingale appears and the Cook and Chamberlain invite it to sing for the Emperor. The Nightingale accepts the invitation but reminds them that her sweetest song is in the forest.

  • Act II

    Courtiers prepare the palace for the Nightingale’s song with lanterns. They ask the Cook about the bird and she responds that though the Nightin­gale appears plain, tears of happiness will flow from listeners’ eyes. The Emperor’s procession enters and he commands the bird to sing. The Emperor is moved by the beautiful singing and offers the bird a reward of a golden slipper. Three Japanese Envoys enter the palace and offer the Emperor a mechanical nightingale. The mechanical bird sings and the Nightingale flies away. The Emperor banishes it from the empire. He names the mechanical bird “first singer” in the court.

  • Act III

    As the Emperor is dying and Death is near his side, the ghosts of his past deeds visit him. He calls for his court musicians, but instead the Nightingale appears – disregarding the banish­ment. Death hears the Nightingale sing and asks it to continue. The Nightingale agrees, but only if Death returns the crown, sword and standard to the Emperor. Death agrees and the Emperor offers the Nightingale the position of “first singer.” The Nightingale declines, stating that the Em­peror’s tears are reward enough, and promises to sing each night from dusk until dawn.

Artists