L’AMICO FRITZ – This week at Fort Mason

The Merola Opera Program presents Mascagni’s beloved comic opera this Friday and Saturday at the Cowell Theater

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By Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

The Merola Opera Program presents Pietro Mascagni’s L’Amico Fritz July 24th and July 26th at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center. L’Amico Fritz is Mascagni’s second opera following the world-wide success of Cavalleria Rusticana. In the leading roles are tenor Nathaniel Peake (second year with Merola) as “Fritz Kobus”, baritone Alexsey Bogdanov as “Rabbi David” and soprano Sara Gartland as “Suzel”. Conductor Warren Jones will lead members of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra in this black box theatre production directed by Nic Muni. This will be Warren Jones’ first time conducting L’Amico Fritz.

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NATHANIEL PEAKE and ALEXSEY BOGDANOV

L’Amico Fritz is Mascagni’s second opera following the world-wide success of Cavalleria Rusticana. Set in a Jewish community in Alsace, France, Fritz Kobus is a bachelor and wealthy landowner who has bet his friend Rabbi David one of his vineyards that he will never marry. Convinced that Fritz will find happiness in love, Rabbi David sets out to pair Fritz with Suzel, who is the daughter of Fritz’s tenant. Despite his best efforts to remain eternally a bachelor, Fritz falls in love with Suzel. As a wedding gift to the happy couple, Rabbi David returns the vineyard won from the bet. The charming romantic score contains many delights including the often excerpted “Cherry Duet”, Suzel, buon di .

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SARA GARTLAND and WARREN JONES

This production is graciously underwritten by the Frances K. & Charles D. Field Foundation. Supertitles are provided by Il Cenacolo Italian Cultural Club and Nic Muni is sponsored, in part, by Drs. Milton & Sandra Schlesinger. Warren Jones is sponsored, in part, by Darla & Richard Bastoni, Fred M. Levin & Nancy Livingston and the Shenson Foundation in memory of Dr. Ben Shenson.

L’Amico Fritz is part of the In Performance Series at the Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center which is supported by Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Fort Mason Foundation.

Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the two performances of L’Amico Fritz are scheduled for July 24th (8:00 p.m.) and July 26th (2:00 p.m.) 2009. The Merola Opera Program’s Summer 2009 Season will also include The Schwabacher Summer Concert at Herbst Theatre (July 10th-12th), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Cowell Theater (August 7th-9th) and the Merola Grand Finale at the War Memorial Opera House (August 22nd).

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The Cast of L’Amico Fritz.

Tickets are affordably priced ranging from $60 and $40 and with a special student price of $25. Student tickets must be purchased in person at the Box Office window, located inside the War Memorial Opera House at 301 Van Ness Ave. Valid student ID is required. Call the San Francisco Opera Box Office at 415-864-3330 to purchase tickets Monday 10:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. or Tuesday-Friday 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. The Cowell Theater is located at Fort Mason at the intersection of Marina Boulevard and Buchanan Street. There is no street address. Low cost parking is available in front of the theater.

The Merola Opera Program operates in collaboration with San Francisco Opera Center (Sheri Greenawald, Director), and San Francisco Opera (David Gockley, General Director). It has nurtured the careers of more than 1,000 up-and-coming singers, accompanists and stage directors since its establishment in 1957. Each year, more than 750 international artists vie for approximately 30 coveted spots in the summer program. Admission is based solely on talent rather than financial ability. There is no charge to the participants. Merola has served as a proving ground for many acclaimed artists including: Sylvia McNair, Anna Netrebko, Patricia Racette, Ruth Ann Swenson, Carol Vaness, Deborah Voigt, Susan Graham, Dolora Zajick, Brian Asawa, Gary Lakes, Kurt Streit, Jess Thomas, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson, John Relyea and Patrick Summers.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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