Phenicia International Voice Festival returns to the parish field | Theater | Hudson Valley
In 2009, Phenicia made history and put the small mountain town of 300 inhabitants on the international music map with the first open-air opera festival. Over the past 10+ years, last-minute fundraising for playground equipment has become one of the northern summer’s cultural highlights, attracting world-class artists and fans to open-air opera.
The Phenicia International Festival of the Voice made history again last year when, in the grip of the pandemic, they hosted the country’s first-ever drive-through opera house at the defunct IBM campus in Kingston. The sprawling parking lot is filled with more than 350 cars, trucks and vans as opera fans listen to the orchestra live and acclaimed singers perform Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ over FM radio.
This year, in a last-minute pivot, the festival will return to its home location in Phenicia, Parish Field, August 27-29 for a live, vehicle-less celebration of the open-air opera house. Constantly renewed, the festival will offer a collaboration with two companies from the north of the State: Teatro Grattacielo, specializing in lesser-known verist operas, and the famous New York City Opera.
The Teatro Grattacielo (TGC), which has built its reputation on using young talent and innovative visual technologies to shine the spotlight on more obscure post-romantic operas, will present “Amico Fritz” by Pietro Mascagni on Friday 27 August. Rarely performed, the three-part opera set to the libretto by P. Suardon, is a love story between a wealthy single landowner and the daughter of one of his tenants. The interior of the high tent will be illuminated by cutting-edge projects for a sensory and multidimensional experience. “We are delighted and grateful to Maria and Louis for this invitation,” said Stefanos Koroneos, General and Artistic Director of TGC. “We congratulate them for their hard work and dedication throughout these difficult times. ”
On Saturday, the Festival will present a new production of “Pagliacci”, Leoncavallo’s spicy tale of jealousy and vengeance. Headliners for the production include Metropolitan Opera tenor Errin Brooks, international soprano Marcelina Beucher and veteran Troy Cook. Festival founder Maria Todaro is the director, under the direction of festival musical director David Wroe, in this colorful and modern take on timeless history, moved here from late 19th century Calabria to the western border.
To close the festival on Sunday, August 29, the historic New York City Opera will present Verdi’s “rigoletto” with an ensemble of stars, including Michael Chioldi in the title role, Brandie Sutton as his daughter Gilda and Won Whi Choi like the lustful Duke of Mantua. The company will perform a new 90-minute version of the production with updated narration by actor and playwright Bill Van Horn, under the direction of Michael Capasso, under the direction of Maestro Constantine Orbelian in his early days as principal conductor and NYCO Music Director. .
The 2021 Phenicia International Voice Festival will take place at Parish Field in Saugerties from August 27-29.