Think you’ve heard everything your favorite composers wrote? Think again. A concert of staged opera scenes, and a dagger.
Think you’ve exhausted your favorite composers’ catalogues of works? We’ll make you think again - and throw in a few pieces from the standard repertoire, for good measure.
(Or, “What Did You Say About a Dagger?”)
This is a concert of staged opera scenes that range from the rather familiar to the entirely unfamiliar, the light to the dramatic, the fast to the not-quite-so-fast, the (very) high to the (very) low, and the lovely to the deadly and back again, written by some of the most well-known names in opera.
The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, August 24th, at the WMP Concert Hall in Manhattan, located at 31 E. 28th St. between Park Av. and Madison Av.
Many pieces on the program are lesser-known works by well-known composers, chosen specifically to integrate repertoire that isn't standard without alienating (or scaring off) audiences who know and love the standard fare. We hope that, after hearing and seeing this concert, our audience will be inspired to explore the dustier corners of music libraries. Only a minuscule portion of the extant operatic repertoire is performed on a regular basis, but thousands of hours of beautiful music are waiting to be found, appreciated, and revived.
The program, to be performed by three singers and a pianist, ranges from excerpts of R. Strauss's famous Der Rosenkavalier to pieces from G.F. Handel's obscure Poro, Re dell'Indie. Other composers whose work is featured include (but are not limited to) W. A. Mozart, J. Offenbach, G. Bizet, and G. Verdi. The singers are Allegra Durante (soprano), Hayden DeWitt (mezzo-soprano), and Nathan Baer (bass), with Aaron Butler at piano.
(Or, “What Do You Think You’re Doing?”)
The background for this concert comes from my (Allegra’s) whole childhood and education. If you want to learn more about that, read my bio.
As a young opera singer, performing with "real world" companies has been an invaluable part of my training, but as a relative newcomer, opportunities to separate myself from the chorus are rare. This spring, after nearly three years of training, I decided to create my own opportunity. A solo recital may have been easier to organize than a concert with multiple people, but one of the things I enjoy most about opera is being able to interact with other performers in scenes.
In late spring, I contacted an accompanist I’ve worked with for years, and two singers whom I’ve greatly enjoyed performing with in the recent past. I lured them in with the idea that the main theme of the concert is “fun”, and that I want all four of us to enjoy not only the performance, but the rehearsal process and everything in between. I was thrilled when each agreed to be a part of this adventurous venture! Since then, we've been planning rehearsals, exploring venues, collaborating on staging, and pulling costumes together.
In addition to forming the concept and choosing the repertoire, I (still Allegra) am the producer, administrator and all-purpose organizer.
We’ve been rehearsing since late May, and I’m delighted to say that the entire process continues to be as much fun as I could hope for!
(Or, “Singers Need Food, Too”)
I've discovered, while pulling this performance together, that organizing a concert, even on a relatively small scale, is not inexpensive. I've found multiple ways to cut costs while keeping the standards of performance high, and I've calculated the most likely means by which to break even or profit, but financial success is still not guaranteed. I would happily negotiate for financial support, in exchange for anything from offering a company advertisement in the program to an extra-comfortable seat at the concert itself. The more successful this concert is, the more likely I am to arrange another one in the near future, and I have at least ten other ideas that I would love to unleash on the opera-going public!
The amount that I am asking for in pledges will not cover the full cost of the concert. However, it will greatly help to defray expenses. If the concert does better than break even, the profit will be split among the singers – as of now, compensation for any of the three of us is not guaranteed. I would love to be able to reward my colleagues’ excellent work with something more tangible than my eternal gratitude!
I hope that somewhere in the above paragraphs I've earned your trust, your support, and maybe even your enthusiasm!
Thank you for reading!
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(Or, “Wait, There's More!”)
Regular updates are being posted to facebook.com/allegratura, sound bytes are audible at soundcloud.com/allegratura, and the most recent and accurate information about the concert can be found at allegradurante.wordpress.com.
The easiest way to have your name added to the list is to make a pledge to this Kickstarter campaign, and select the reward corresponding to the number and type of tickets you desire. You must either pledge in your own name, so it can be added to the list at the door, or, if you pledge anonymously, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the time and date of your pledge (for verification) to make sure that your name makes it to the list. Seats can also be reserved by e-mailing email@example.com with the number of tickets you want, or by paying at the door on the day of the event. Waiting to pay at the door is NOT recommended.
Especially when deciding on music from popular operas, we've purposefully chosen scenes that are rarely done in concert. I (Allegra again) don't want to reveal yet which specific scenes we're performing, but I'll add here that we're doing at least one scene in each of the four major operatic languages, including excerpts from Rigoletto, Les Contes D'Hoffmann, Don Procopio (yes, Procopio), Susannah, and La Clemenza di Tito in addition to those given above.
I can't attend the concert, but I'd like to get a reward for pledging something. Do you have anything for me?
Not yet, but I definitely want to figure out something to offer those who can't attend in person! Ideally, I'd offer a DVD or audio recording of the final performance, or at least photos, but I (as ever Allegra) have to discuss it with the rest of the team. I'll post an update about that (and new rewards) as soon as I can, so please bear with me!
There are no physical tickets; a list of names will be kept at the door.
To ensure that your name is down correctly, it is VITAL to pledge in your name, and select the proper reward.
Messages will be sent to any backers whose decision to take a seat or not is unclear, but this does NOT ensure smooth sailing on the day of the event. Obviously, in the event of any snafus at the door, priority will be given to those who have already paid for seats (for instance, through Kickstarter), but clear pledges and reward choices will help to avoid such snafus as much as possible, so the concert can begin on time and run smoothly.
Separate lists will be kept of those with and without preferred seating. When the doors to the hall open at 7:00 on the night of the concert, those who have pledged for "preferred seating" will be admitted and have first choice of seats (among those with preferred seating, it's first come, first served). At 7:15 those with "standard admission" seating will be admitted.
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