A Letter from the Director of the Stony Brook Opera

For our chamber opera production on Friday, March 2 , and Sunday, March 4 in the Recital Hall at Stony Brook University, we are pleased to collaborate with the Stony Brook Baroque Players in an all-French Baroque program. The first half of the program will be purely instrumental, and will include Antoine Dornel’s Quartet for 3 violins, cello and continuo, several harpsichord pieces by François Couperin, and Rameau’s 5e pièce de clavecin en concert, for harpsichord, violin, and viola da gamba. The second half will feature a staging of Jean Phillipe Rameau’s opéra-ballet Pigmalion. Tenor Morgan Manifacier sings the title role, while mezzo-soprano Natasha Nelson portrays the Statue, and sopranos Alina Tamborini and Catherine Sandstedt perform the roles of Céphise and Amour (Cupid), respectively. There will also be a chorus of four solo singers, sung by Elyse Saucier, Kristen Starkey, Daveed Buzaglo, and Sidney Outlaw. We are particularly pleased to present the three dancers of the Parnassus Historical Dance Company, who will perform the dance sections of this work. Arthur Haas will be music director and conductor for the entire program, and Catherine Turocy, the foremost American expert in Baroque movement and gesture, will stage and choreograph Pigmalion, using period costumes from the stock of her own New York Baroque Dance Company. This issue of our Newsletter is devoted primarily to Rameau’s acte de ballet Pigmalion, and features an article about the work and the rest of the program by Erika Honisch, Assistant Professor of Music in the Department of Music (see pp. 2-4). There are also photos and brief bios of all the principal performers (pp. 5-11). I am convinced that this will be a wonderful evening in the theater. Tickets for the performances are available at the Staller Center Box Office for $10 each. Finally, the benefit concert for Stony Brook Opera that dramatic soprano and Stony Brook alumna Christine Goerke performed with the Stony Brook Symphony Orchestra conducted by Timothy Long this past December, was a great success, both artistically and financially. Thank you for your support in purchasing tickets for this event. However, as the great playwright Molière wrote long ago, “Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive.” We would welcome additional donations towards our production costs for our upcoming shows. If you have been meaning to make a contribution but have not yet done so, it is still not too late. Please make your check out to the Stony Brook Foundation. Your tax-deductible contribution will be deposited in the Long Island Opera Guild account and will be used to help finance Pigmalion, as well as our full production of Die Fledermaus inApril. Our March issue will be devoted to Die Fledermaus.

Sincerely, David Lawton