From our News Desk: The Select Conservatory of Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT) will present Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas Aug. 19 and 20 at 8 p.m. on Hubbard Hall’s mainstage at 25 East Main Street in Cambridge. Performances will be fully costumed and staged, and sung in English, with piano accompaniment by Elizabeth Bonomo of the Manhattan School of Music. Tickets, at $15 general, $12 members, $10 students, may be obtained by visiting www.hubbardhall.org or by calling 518-677-2495.
About Dido and Aeneas
A tragic opera of love and heartbreak, Dido and Aeneas was originally performed at an all-girls’ high school in London in 1688. Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, falls in love with Trojan Prince Aeneas, who is shipwrecked on his way to Italy. A sorceress plots Dido’s destruction and conjures a storm to break out when the royal couple are hunting. During the mayhem, the courtiers hasten back to town and a witch disguised as Mercury tells Aeneas he must leave Dido and sail for Italy. Dido’s heartbreak at losing the second love of her life brings the opera to its tragic but musically brilliant climax.
Director Julia Mintzer said the opera can be interpreted as allegorical with Aeneas potentially representing James II, who is misled by the Sorceress and her witches (representing Roman Catholicism) into abandoning Dido, who symbolizes the British people. Mintzer has spent the past two summers at the Tanglewood Institute directing opera scenes for the Young Artists Vocal Program, and recently directed Il Tabarro for Garden State Opera.
“The Select Conservatory teaches college and graduate-level students the basic and finer points of classical and musical theatre performance from the perspectives of both actor and singer,” noted HHOT Artistic Director Alexina Jones. The intensive, four-week workshop is sponsored in part by Hand Motors, The Vermont Country Store, and The Golub Foundation.
Karen Jesse of the Curtis Institute, who recently received the Martha-Ellen Tye Award by the Metropolitan National Council Auditions and won first place for the Iowa district, will play Dido. American tenor Patrick Cook, a doctoral student in the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland, will play Aeneas. Cook has performed for President Obama and across the country in venues including The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall; he appears regularly as a recitalist, chamber musician and concert soloist performing with the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club, Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, Washington DC Wagner Society and Berkshire Bach Society.
Other cast members include Abigail Seaman of Peabody Conservatory, Kaitlyn McMonigle of Florida State University, Amy Shake of SUNY Fredonia, Amanda Perera of McGill University, Sanghyun Im of Williams, and James McAdams of Friends University.
About Hubbard Hall Opera Theater (HHOT)
Founded in 2008 by Jones, HHOT has since presented three critically acclaimed summer productions with orchestra, Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (2008), Bizet/Brook’s La Tragedie de Carmen (2009), and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel (2010). Recently, HHOT mounted two additional productions: an abridged version of Puccini’s La Boheme featuring past, young artists, which was performed both at Hubbard Hall and the Saratoga Springs Public Library; and Menotti’s The Medium, sponsored by a grant from the Saratoga Arts Festival and performed at Cafe Lena in Saratoga Springs and at the Lee Middle and High School.
Building off of the rich tradition of arts in the Cambridge Valley, HHOT seeks to bring yet another element of culture to an already bustling center. The mission of HHOT is to provide classically trained singers and instrumentalists in New England and upstate New York greater opportunities to create something beautiful close to home, while also giving rural audiences the chance to enjoy an opera without having to spend the night in a city to do so. HHOT is dedicated to providing young artists with the chance to perform key roles in a nurturing environment alongside experienced field professionals.
Hubbard Hall is an historic opera house located at 25 E. Main St. in Cambridge, NY. Best of all, you can’t get there without driving on beautiful country roads. For information, visit www.hubbardhall.org