by Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart, Libretto by
Lorenzo da Ponte
In this live presentation, the talented performers of Divaria Productions and Rioja Lirica present a comedy about an exchange of couples in which a philosopher bets with two young friends that women are fickle. Offended by the injury, the two men agree to the bet, and attempt to make their respective lovers believe that they have been called to war. In fact, they have not left at all and return disguised as Turks to put the girls’ fidelity to the test.
Set in 1790 Naples, this production begins with a classical atmosphere but changes as the reality of the sisters does. In the style of Commedia dell’ Arte, the characters create hilarious moments as if in a silent film but exhibit more natural acting in the serious parts of the work.
Cosi is not only an exchange of couples. It´s about society, our society, how we live, and how we change depending on the benefits we can get from that change. The first exchange is only the path to show how we can decide to even do something we don´t agree with if it means that we can obtain some benefit from it. Money, pleasure, power…In one word, corruption. And this corruption is in all levels of society; it was there in 1790, and it still exists now.
Augusta Caso, mezzo Soprano (Dorabella) Hailed by the LA Times as “mysteriously smoldering…a name to remember,” mezzo-soprano Augusta Caso is becoming known for her “silken…beguiling mezzo” and “fine subtle acting” (Brooklyn Daily Eagle). In the 2016-2017 season, Ms. Caso made her debut with the Center for Contemporary Opera (NYC) as Anaïs Nin in a double-bill of Andriessen’s Anaïs Nin and Odysseus’ Women; the New York Times called her performance “compelling” and “courageous,” and the Wall Street Journal wrote, “fearless”; “she was electrifying.” She covers the role of Suzuki in Madama Butterfly and sings Mother Jeanne in Dialogues des Carmélites at Sarasota Opera/ Ms. Caso sings with the Ars Musica Chorale’s (NJ) Encore Young Artist program as the alto soloist in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Handel’s Messiah; she also performs the alto solos in the Reading Choral Society’s Messiah (PA). She joined Caramoor’s Bel Canto Young Artist program as an Apprentice Artist in Katonah, NY in summer 2016.
In 2015-2016, Ms. Caso sang Prince Charming in Cendrillon (Utopia Opera, NYC); the title role in Cenerentola (Opera on Tap, NYC); the cover of Mercédès in Carmen as an Emerging Artist with St. Petersburg Opera (FL); and performed Mahler’s Rückert-Lieder with the Manchester Symphony Orchestra (CT); Berlioz’s Les nuits d’été with the South Shore Symphony (NY); and Handel’s Messiah with the Winston-Salem Symphony (NC). Augusta was a finalist in Annapolis Opera’s Competition and winner of the Adrienne Goldberg Study award. Augusta received her Bachelor of Arts with Highest Honors from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Stefanos Koroneos, baritone (Don Alfonso) continues to build a reputation as a world-class performer. Stefanos’ recent performances have included Captain Michael (baritone solo) with the Berlin Philharmonic, Don Pasquale (title role) and L’elisir d’Amore (Dulcamara) with Miami Lyric Opera, The Godson with Greek National Opera, Tosca with LoftOpera (Sagristano), La Cenerentola (Dandini) with New York City Opera, and El Gato con Botas (the King) with Gotham Chamber Opera.
Stefanos has performed throughout Italy in Il Viaggio a Reims (Don Alvaro), Madama Butterfly (Sharpless), Isabeau (the King), Rigoletto (Monterone), La Traviata (Barone), Le Nozze di Figaro (The Count), and Un Ballo in Maschera (Sam). Additionally, he has performed internationally in La Traviata (Barone) with the Bolshoi Opera and at the Athens Concert Hall, Le Nozze di Figaro (the Count) with Seoul Opera, La Bohème (Alcindoro and Benoit) at Oslo’s Den Nye Opera, La Bohème (Schaunard) at Staatstheater Freiburg, and La Forza del Desinto (Fra Melitone) at Theater Osnabrück. In the US, Stefanos has appeared in Tosca (Sagristano) with Palm Beach Opera, Adrianna Lecouvreour (Il Principe) with the Opera Orchestra of New York, Il Pagliacci (Silvio) with Maryland Lyric Opera, Gianni Schicchi (Spinelloccio), and Tosca with Opera Tampa (Sciarrone), and The Merry Widow (Danilo) with St. Petersburg Opera.
Ashley Bell, soprano (Fiordiligi) Hailed by Opera News as “delightful”, soprano Ashley Bell has performed as a soloist in the United States, Italy, Spain, France and Russia. Recent performances have included her debut as Gilda in Rigoletto with New Jersey Verismo Opera, a Shakespeare concert with the New York City Opera, Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte and Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in the Narni Festival in Italy with the Orchestra Filarmonica di Roma, Norina in Don Pasquale in Logroño, Spain, Isabella Colbran in the premiere of Discovering Mrs. Rossini at the new Sheen Center in NYC, and Musetta at the National Opera Center. Ms. Bell, fluent in Spanish, has also appeared frequently in zarzuela productions with company Rioja Lirica in Spain and New York City, including the lead in Serrano’s La Dolorosa.
Other recent performances include the soprano soloist at the Basilica of St. Patrick Old Cathedral’s commemoration of the 175th Anniversary of Lorenzo da Ponte, Dorothée in the U.S. premiere of Offenbach’s La Bonne D’Enfant with Salome Chamber Orchestra, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro with Teatro Lirico D'Europa and Opera New Hampshire, Molpe in the world premiere of the Odyssey at the 92nd Street Y, Beauty in Giannini’s Beauty and the Beast and Mimi in La Bohème with Dicapo Opera. Ms.Bell is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale University and speaks five languages fluently. Upcoming performances are include Violetta in Traviata with Mid-Atlantic Opera & covering Blanche in Dialogue of the Carmelites and the title role in Madama Butterfly as a Winter Studio Artist with the Sarasota Opera.
Victor Starsky, tenor (Ferrando) is a native of Queens, New York where he works as a teacher, carpenter, martial artist, and socially conscious musician. After two years of Philosophy at St. John's University, Mr. Starsky studied for three years at the Aaron Copland School of a Music under the guidance of Rose Marie Crouse. After singing the role of the Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein's "Mass" under the baton of Maestro Maurice Peress, Mr. Starsky went on to sing Don José in Bizet's Carmen with New York Opera Exchange in May 2015. Opera Today writes, "Victor Starsky's Don José is terrifying and compelling, with a voice that performs vocal acrobatics with strength and beauty that remains undiminished through his final line."
Mr. Starsky has recently sung the roles of Tony in Opera North's production of "West Side Story", Gustav Mahler's "Das Lied Von Der Erde" with M. Peress in October of 2015, and makes his solo debut in Carnegie Hall in November of 2016. His future engagements include Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata, Ferrando in Mozart's Cosí Fan Tutte, an Italian Aria concert with the Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra under Maestra Tong Chen, and a premier of new music for tenor and orchestra under Maestra Dorothy Savage with Brooklyn Community Chamber Orchestra this spring. Mr. Starsky studies with Andrea del Giudice, and is advised and mentored by Mr. Peter Randsman and Mr. William Thomas Smiddy. Victor owes tremendous gratitude to his parents, teachers, friends, and loved ones, without whom none of this would be possible.
James Wright, baritone (Guglielmo) Described by critics as "tremendous," "entertaining" and "talented," baritone James Wright is a favorite among audiences for his charismatic presence and warm tone. His recent operatic roles include Rev. Gruffydd in Roger Ames’ How Green was My Valley with El Paso Opera, Angelotti in Tosca with Nickel City Opera and Papageno in The Magic Flute with Undercroft Opera of Pittsburgh. This season James will be appearing as the Sacristan in Puccini’s Tosca with El Paso Opera, Count Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro and Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief with Nickel City Opera and as a festival artist with The Savannah VOICE Festival in Savannah, GA lead by Sherrill Milnes. Other operatic roles include The Pilot in Portman’s The Little Prince with Opera Sacra and John Sorel in The Consul with Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Valentin in Gounod's Faust, Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La Bohéme and King Melchior in Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors both with Nickel City Opera of Buffalo.
James is equally comfortable on the concert and recital stage. He has performed in concert with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus, The Savannah Voice Festival, VOICExperience, Western New York Chamber Orchestra, Buffalo Chamber players, Olean Academy Orchestra, Vocalis Chamber, Camerata di Sant' Antonio, Nickel City Opera, Opera Sacra, Rochester Lyric Opera, Amherst Symphony Orchestra and the Western New York Opera Buffs
Claire Leyden, soprano (Despina) is a New York-based singer and actress, with an extensive background in operatic, oratorio, and musical theater repertoire. She is a recent graduate of Williams College, where she graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Music and English. Claire has sung as a soloist with the Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, Bennington Chorale Society, and Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs, and has performed various roles as a member of the College Light Opera Company's 2016 Vocal Company. She is the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Hubbard Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship in Music, and has won prizes from the Berkshire Symphony, Hudson Valley Music Club, and the Chaminade Music Club of Yonkers.
Upcoming engagements in 2017 include Valencienne in New Rochelle Opera’s The Merry Widow, and a gala performance of “Glitter and Be Gay” with the Longwood Symphony Orchestra at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall. Over the summer, Claire will also appear as a Young Artist at the Narnia International Vocal Arts Festival in Narni, Italy. Claire currently studies voice in New York City with Andrea Delgiudice. She is a former student of Keith Kibler, Artist Associate in Voice at Williams College.
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