Operavocateur Productions presents
La Farranucci
World Premiere - March 15th & 16th at The Brooklyn Playhouse, NY

David Chesky - Composer and Librettist
Shelly Watson - Director, set and costume designer
Anthony Aibel - Conductor
Victoria Rodriguez  - Producer

Cast (in alphabetical order by last name)
Tina Boosahda, Jay Chacon, Jonathan Christopher, Daniel Foltz-Morrison, Allison Gish, Lauren Gismondi, Christina Kay, Rachel Music, Tim Powers, Victoria Rodriques, Jessa Salemo, Sam Strickland
 

La Farranuccci, a new comic opera will open at the Brooklyn Playhouse Theater on March 15th & 16th. Music & Libreto by Grammy-nominated composer David Chesky, directed by Shelly Watson, conducted by Anthony Aibel and produced by Victoria Rodriguez.

Featuring a stellar cast of ten performers and an orchestra of 15 musicians, La Farranucci is a comedic opera about opera, La Farranucci takes the industry to task.


“I wanted to look at opera from behind the scenes and show all the things that can go wrong” says creator Chesky. “The audience gets to watch a rehearsal of an opera company putting on an opera. From the stage to the board of directors. La Farranucci is a mixture of some very crazy characters that find themselves on the same stage.” La Farranucci through the eyes of a Hippie composer, an opera singer, and a rich donor, the opera tackles how catering to a few rich donors stifles creativity and authenticity in opera. Where will it all end up?

"The contemporary opera, La Farranucci follows the inhabitants of an opera house in the throes of a perilous production on and off stage," says director Shelly Watson. "They struggle with the future of opera, humanity and politics in our current nonsensical society. Juxtaposing a strong classical form with a neo opera buffa style, La Farranucci explores the truths of artistry vs. administration, policies vs. pursuance of the American dream, time honored traditions vs. the digital age; and challenges the audience to ask: do money and power really trump Art and artists?"



March 15th & 16th 8PM

The Brooklyn Playhouse,
126 St. Felix Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217


For press tickets and inquiries please contact :
pamalucmusic@gmail.com



Creative Team

David Chesky - Composer and Librettist


Three-time Grammy nominee David Chesky is a composer of orchestral works, operas and ballets, the author of children’s books, a jazz pianist, and a world-renowned innovator of audio technologies. His unique style of composition, heralded as “Urban Orchestral” music, merges classical techniques with the sounds of New York. Chesky was composer in residence for the Taiwan Philharmonic orchestra. This year Chesky was commissioned to compose Krzysztof Penderecki’s birthday orchestral work that premiered in Warsaw Poland. He just finished recording the concerto for two guitars and orchestra featuring Angel and Pepe Romero, and his family ballet The Zephyrtine will tour Europe this fall. As the founder of the audiophile label Chesky Records & hi-res digital download store HDtracks, he pioneered ultra-high-resolution recording techniques and has produced over 500 albums in genres spanning classical, jazz and world music.



Shelly Watson - Director, set and costume designer

Shelly Watson has cultivated every artistic opportunity in New York over the last 28 years. Music, dance, theater, film, comedy, costume/set design, radio, burlesque and television are just a few of her creative outputs.

She received a BM and MM from Juilliard in opera and was honored with the first ever “Inter arts Award” by the prestigious institution for pioneering the Inter Arts program, which brought all three disciplines of music, dance and drama together to collaborate for the first time in the history of the school. The program still thrives today.

The NY Times characterized Shelly as "Rambunctious, over the top and of considerable charm.”  Whether performing, producing or directing, she brings her own distinct combination of both high and lowbrow Art.

www.shellywatson.com


Anthony Aibel - Conductor

Anthony graduated with honors from Juilliard and studied acting and directing for many years with Tony-nominated director/acting teacher Terry Schreiber. As a writer, he won an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and he has been published in The New York Times. In addition to TV/Film prep, he also prepares actors and singers for agents as well as for auditions/roles in musical theater/plays. Besides the above projects, he has subbed on Broadway, and he was the conductor and musical director for Area 31 and orchestra album, which received a Grammy Award Nomination.


Producer

Victoria Rodriguez

Victoria Rodriguez, originally from El Paso, Texas, is woman of many professions within the performing arts community. In the Gogo dancing world she’s known as “Star” and in the burlesque community she goes by “Queenceañera”, and as an opera singer she specializes in the “pants role” variety from Cavalli’s “Satirino” to Mozart’s “Cherubino.” She also sings with a Pierrot Ensemble, and is a current member of The Actor’s Project NYC , which specializes in comedy. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice from University of North Texas, and a Master of Music from New York University, and was also apart of the last graduating class of the Institute of Audio Research, where she received a certificate in audio studies, specializing in live sound. Victoria is the resident engineer at Brooklyn Music School Playhouse, and has worked as both an engineer and stage manager at venues in NYC such as Opry City Stage by Grand Ole Opry, Chelsea Music Hall, Provincetown Playhouse, and worked with individuals and events such as Nels Cline, Vince Gill, Sean Lennon, Marjan Farsad, Persian Arts Festival, and many others. She also served as the technical director for In Scena, a traveling two week Italian Theatre festival that ventures to all five boroughs.


Cast (in alphabetical order by last name)
TINA BOOSAHDA  (Nancy the Understudy/Chorus)
Admired by The Wall Street Journal as an “impassioned, and impressive talent on the rise,” soprano Christina Boosahda has been featured in a variety of roles including The Governess (The Turn of the Screw), Giulietta (The Tales of Hoffmann), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), First Lady (The Magic Flute), and Gabrielle (La vie parisienne). On the concert stage, she was recently featured as Violetta (La traviata), Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), and Musetta (La boheme). Ardent about contemporary opera Ms. Boosahda had the privilege of premiering the role of Bita Parvin in Houston Grand Opera’s production of Gregory Spears’ The Bricklayer. Other notable premiere performances include: Anya in Adam Gorb’s Anya17, and Lulu Baines in Robert Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry. Please visit www.christinaboosahda.com to stay up to date with Ms. Boosahda’s future engagements as well as to connect with her via Facebook and Instagram.


JAY CHACON  
  (Richard/Chorus)
Described as "versatile" and having "comedic instincts" (Voce di Meche), Jay has been an active and noticeable artist in NYC.  Recently, Jay made his debut with Center forContemporary Opera' Developmental Series as the Soldier in Scott Wheeler. The Sorrows of Frederick and returned to dell;Arte Opera Ensemble for the American premiere of Salieri; La Cifra in the role of Sandrino, receiving excellent reviews from Operawire, Broadway World, among others. In NYC, Jay has been seen as The Count in Capriccio with Apotheosis Opera and as George Page in Sir John in Love with Bronx Opera. Regionally, Jay has performed with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as Innkeeper/Governor in Man of La Mancha, and has performed and covered the role of Schaunard in La bohème with Long Island Opera Company and Saint Petersburg Opera Company, respectively.Later this spring, Jay will play the role of Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana with Brooklyn Philharmonia Chorus.


JONATHAN CHRISTOPHER
(Stephen)
Thrilled to work with the La Farranucci team! New York: The Day Before Spring (York Theatre), The Secret Garden (Dev. Lab), Farmed: A Live Musical Podcast (Joe’s Pub, The Parsnipship). Regional: Candide (Clarence Brown Theatre), Ragtime (Great Plains Theatre), The Marriage of Figaro (ConcertIA, Iowa). International: Rent (Aruba National Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe), Mozart and Salieri (TimeZone Theatre, London), An Evening with Sir Tim Rice (Seabourn Encore Cruise/Belinda King Prod.). Thanks to Wolf Talent Group and family. IG: @geezjawn


DANIEL FOLTZ-MORRISON
(Seymour/Phineas Grump/Chorus)
Daniel Foltz-Morrison, Tenor, is a Bronx native. Opera credits include Don José (Carmen), Max (Der Freischütz), Sam (Susannah), The Magician (The Consul), Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas), Harris (Fallujah), Agostino Tassi (Artemisia), Paolino (Il Matrimonio Segreto), and Don Anchise (Die Gärtnerin aus Liebe). He has sung with Lighthouse Opera, Bronx Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Hot Springs Festival Orchestra, Opera in the Ozarks, and the Kennedy Center's World Stages Festival. He will perform as Tony Candolino in the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Art's production of Terrence McNally's Master Class in March and and as B.F. Pinkerton in Opera in the Rock's production of Madama Butterfly this May.


ALLISON GISH
(Movie producer’s wife/Mezzo soloist/Chorus)
Praised for her “full-flavored mezzo,” (Parterre Box), “substantial instrument and stage presence” (Voce di Meche) and “plushy instrument of vast range” (Oberon’s Grove), Allison Gish is a singing actress based in NYC. Last season, her performance of Lisotta in the American premiere of Salieri’s La cifra was lauded as “hilarious to the nth degree” (Broadway World). In addition to her “knack for comedy” (Oberon’s Grove), Ms. Gish has also received accolades for her dramatic roles, achieving “fresh shades of self-flagellating nuance” (Log Journal) in her “flawless” (Opera News) portrayal of Green Pants in a critically-acclaimed new production of Robert Ashley's DUST and cutting a “stern presence” in her portrayal of Wine Mom in the world premiere of Jarrar/Goodwin’s Tabula Rasa.


LAUREN GISMONDI (Esmeralda Schwarz/Developer’s Wife/Chorus)
Lauren Gismondi is delighted to be a part of La Farranucci! She is a fiery Sagittarius, a native NYer, and jazzer at heart. She has performed all over the US, most notably: Symphony Space, The Green Room 42, and the Metropolitan Building. Favorite credits: The Sound of Music, Grease, Marat/Sade. Many thanks to Beth Saunders, Ben Boecker, and Mimi Lieber. BFA: SUNY Fredonia. www.laurengismondi.com and @lagizz_sangs


CHRISTINA KAY
(Daphne Blueberry/Chorus)
Soprano Christina Kay is a versatile singer of early and contemporary music. In 2018, she performed the role of Lead Singer in Petr Kotik’s chamber opera, Master-Pieces, for which she was praised as portraying a “vital, intelligent, generous and deeply rewarding” Gertrude Stein. Christina has enjoyed collaborations with Wisconsin’s Fresco Opera Theatre, where she premiered the role of Young Clara in a new dramatic production about Clara Schumann, featuring the music of the Schumanns and Brahms. She also appeared with Fresco as Gretel in a garage opera outreach of Hansel and Gretel, and as a Mermaid-Alien in a Star Wars-themed Rinaldo. Other roles include Dalinda in Ariodante, Second Woman and First Witch in Dido and Aeneas, and First Spirit in Die Zauberflöte. An active soloist and chorister, Christina has sung with many professional groups and enjoys her weekly position at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. www.christinakaysoprano.com

RACHEL MUSIC (Octopussy/Chorus)
Rachel Music is a performance artist flailing all eight arms over her first opera role. Thanks to her signature energy and humor, Shelly dubbed her "The Hummingbird of Burlesque." She has shimmied, sung, flown, and chewed scenery everywhere from Coney Island to 54 Below to Bowery Electric to the Slipper Room. She's the founder of Schadenfrau Studio.

TIM POWERS (Allan/Chorus)
Tim Powers is an opera and musical theatre crossover performer based in NYC. He has a M.M. in Opera/Musical Theatre performance from Arizona State University, and a B.M. from Ithaca College. His performances have taken him from Alaska to Italy and everywhere in between, with styles ranging from the pop musical ‘Legally Blonde’ to the french absurdist opera ‘Les Mamelles de Tiresias’. He is also passionate about new works, having performed in workshops of ‘The Halloween Tree’, by Theo Popov and Tony Asaro, and ‘Prism’, by Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins. More photos and recordings available at timpowersvoice.com


VICTORIA RODRIGUEZ (Janet Grump/Chorus)
Victoria is thrilled to be working alongside such a dynamic cast for La Farranucci. Originally hailing from the lone star state, Victoria ventured to the big city to attain her M.M. in Classical Voice at NYU, after which she obtained a certificate in live audio studios from the Institute of Audio Research. She’s performed with New York Lyric, dell’Arte Opera, Metro Chamber Orchestra, TAP NYC. Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival, and sings new works with a local Pierrot Ensemble.


JESSA SALERNO (Ellen/The Judge/Chorus)
Jessa V Salerno is thrilled to be a part of La Farranucci. She is a recent graduate of Oklahoma City University with a Bachelor of Music degree. Credits include; 42nd Street, Le Nozze di Figaro, Suor Angelica, Nine, In the Heights and Ragtime. A huge thank you to this amazing team as well as her friends and family. Alla Famiglia. Website: jessavsalerno.com IG:jessavsalerno


SAM STRICKLAND (Brian/Lorenzo/Chorus)
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Sam Strickland is an up-and-coming tenor currently based in New York City. He recently graduated with his Master's degree in Voice Performance from the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and he earned a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. Sam's recent roles include Ralph Rackstraw in H.M.S. Pinafore and Sam Kaplan in Street Scene. Other recent engagements include a workshop with Sante Fe Opera, David Lang's Mile Long Opera, and Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble's productions of Don Giovanni and La Cifra. Sam is one of the founding members of The Victoria IV, a four-voice madrigal ensemble based out of Montreal. He is proud to appear in Operavocateur's production of La Farranucci.


LUKE VAN MEVEREN
(Chuck/Chorus)
Tenor Luke van Meveren is excited to be performing with Oprovocateur Production's premier of "La Farranucci." and getting a chance to bring to life Chuck for the first time. Being comfortable in both opera and musical theater he has performed a wide variety of characters including Billy Bigalow (Carousel), Alexis(The Sorcerer), and Jean Val Jean(Les Miserables).








"Chesky could turn out to be a one-man Brecht-Weill for the twenty-first century.”
Opera News
Tina Boosahda

Tina Boosahda

Jay Chacon

Jay Chacon

Jonathan Christopher

Jonathan Christopher

Daniel Foltz-Morrison

Daniel Foltz-Morrison

Allison Gish

Allison Gish

Lauren Gismondi

Lauren Gismondi

Christina Kay

Christina Kay

Rachel Music

Rachel Music

Tim Powers

Tim Powers

Victoria Rodriques

Victoria Rodriques

Jessa Salemo

Jessa Salemo

Sam Strickland

Sam Strickland

Luke Van Meveren

Luke Van Meveren