. Interchanging Idioms: Patrick Summers Conducts Don Carlos and Mary Stuart in Houston This Spring; Makes LA Opera Debut with La bohème

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Patrick Summers Conducts Don Carlos and Mary Stuart in Houston This Spring; Makes LA Opera Debut with La bohème

Patrick Summers continues his stellar first season at the helm of the Houston Grand Opera this spring, leading performances of Verdi’s Don Carlos (April 13-28) and Donizetti’s Mary Stuart (April 21-May 4). Summers – named HGO’s Artistic and Music Director in May 2011, following a 13-year period as Music Director – began his Houston season with rave reviews for his work on Verdi’s La traviata, promising further excitement in store when Don Carlos opens in April. The Houston Chronicle wrote: "Beyond the orchestra's polished playing and full, lush sound, the strength of Summers' conducting is its understanding of Verdi's dramatic purpose in every measure." Last fall, the conductor continued his long association with San Francisco Opera as principal guest conductor, leading the world premiere of Christopher Theofanidis’ Heart of a Soldier and, soon after, the company premiere of Handel’s Xerxes. He returns to the West Coast this spring, making his Los Angeles Opera debut by conducting Puccini’s La bohème (May 12-June 2).

With Don Carlos in Houston, Summers will lead the company in the five-act French version of this grandest of grand operas. The cast includes Brandon Jovanovich in the title role (a role debut for the Montana-born tenor), Tamara Wilson as Elisabeth de Valois, Christine Goerke as Princess Eboli, and Scott Hendricks as Rodrigue, with the staging directed by John Caird. Always a singer’s conductor, Summers has a legacy of working with the world’s most acclaimed singers, preparing them for important role debuts – from Renée Fleming and her first Violetta to Anna Netrebko and her first Elvira. Now he is doing the same in Houston with star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato, for her debut in the title role of Mary Stuart – a part the HGO Studio alum will play next season at the Metropolitan Opera. It’s the supportive working conditions HGO provides for singers that makes such working relationships possible, with adequate rehearsal time and Summers’ guiding hand and experience on call – in his 13 years as Music Director of HGO, Summers has conducted 45 different operas across a full spectrum of repertoire, from Baroque and Classical works to seven world premieres. Alongside DiDonato, the cast for Mary Stuart includes Katie Van Kooten as Elizabeth I and Eric Cutler as the Earl of Leicester, with stage direction by Kevin Newbury.

Patrick Summers comments: “My first year as artistic director of HGO has been extraordinarily fulfilling, and I am particularly excited to close the season by conducting our mini-Schiller festival. For Verdi's epic Don Carlos, I look forward to working with a stellar cast. Donizetti's Mary Stuart is rarely performed, and we are proud that HGO Studio alumna Joyce DiDonato has chosen to debut the title role in Houston – a role that is bound to become hallmark in her already prodigious career.”

For his debut on the podium at the Los Angeles Opera, Summers will conduct La bohème, in the company’s signature staging by filmmaker Herbert Ross, closing the LA Opera’s season (May 12-June 2). The excellent young cast includes the “double rising-star” husband-and-wife team of Stephen Costello as Rodolfo and Ailyn Pérez as Mimi. Summers notes, “After several years of trying to find the time, I am thrilled to finally accept Plácido Domingo's invitation to conduct in Los Angeles, and I look forward to exploring Puccini’s perennial masterpiece with such a fine young cast.”

No comments: