SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – I had a colleague who on June 22 took great pleasure in letting the world know that from that day forward we began to lose sunlight every day. It’s not something you want to hear when summer has just begun.
I feel like that person as I write to let everyone know that Opera Saratoga 2022 is halfway done. Unfortunately, due to COVID, this summer Opera Saratoga was forced to perform in six different venues, and all for just one or two performances. Under these conditions, it would be easy to lose track of this important cultural asset.
For example, Thursday night will be the last chance to see the brilliant musical “Sweeny Todd” which opened last night at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
It was only scheduled for two nights, so if you want to see why many people (including me) are calling this Stephen Sondheim’s masterpiece, hurry and get tickets. Production begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are available.
As a bonus, the production stars Schenectady native, three-time Tony Award nominee and Drama Desk winner Carolee Carmello. In 2017, she played the role of Mrs. Lovett. It was an immersive Off-Broadway production that I saw. She was wonderful.
Bass-baritone Craig Colclough plays Sweeny. Not only is he a great singer, but he’s also an intense actor who made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2019 in the title role of Verdi’s “Macbeth.” In 2017 he also performed Falstaff at the Saratoga Opera.
In a recent phone interview, Edelson expressed his pride in the entire cast, saying, “It’s a combination of actors from the worlds of Broadway and Opera who are at the top of their game.”
In a strange and unforeseen way, the last three productions are a mini-version of Edelson’s 8-year tenure as Artistic and General Director of Opera Saratoga.
He leaves at the end of July for the University of Houston as professor of practice and artistic director of Moore’s Opera Center. He retains his position as artistic and general director of the American Lyric Center in New York. Both institutions have a strong focus on developing performers and composers of the future.
It is clear that the future of the art form and Edelson’s career and the future of opera are intertwined.
It is no coincidence that he both doubled the size of the young artists program during his stay and presented several new dramatic operas to the public.
This season also includes a new work in the region, “Sky on Swings”. It premiered in Philadelphia in 2018.
It tells the story of two patients with Alzheimer’s disease. A woman suffered from the effects of. loss of memory and other cognitive functions. The other is in the early stages of the disease.
Luckily, they find themselves in a retirement home to learn from each other, learn from each other and learn to love each other.
There are thirty million people affected by this disease which also wreaks havoc on family and friends. Edelson’s father is one of those thirty million people.
He’s the production director who promises to be an insightful and human experience. He plays at 7:30 p.m. at The Egg in Albany, July 7-9.
If you’re going to leave, go big. It’s hard to think of a greater farewell than performing “The Barber of Seville” on the Proctors main stage in Schenectady. Rossini’s ode to love and laughter airs at 7:30 p.m. on Friday July 8 and at 2 p.m. on Sunday July 10.
Edelson has many notable accomplishments of which he is rightfully proud. This season is an example of his ability and willingness to collaborate with other artistic groups and venues. Yet when he talks about what promises to be a glamorous and cheerful ‘Barber of Seville’, it is the individual performances of which he is most proud.
He says he’s honored to have the distinguished baritone Sidney Outlaw to play the funny, scheming barber Figaro, but there’s added pride when he highlights the important role of Count Almaviva, who is played by Brian Yeakley, a former pupil of the young artists of the Saratoga Opera. Program.
The pride doubles when he reveals that the production is being directed by Eve Summer, another Young Artists alumnus.
With Edelson leaving the city of Saratoga, the entire region loses an innovative leader. But I am convinced that the future of opera is in good hands, thanks to Edeslon’s nurturing talents.