Performances are on Saturday, February 9 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 10 at 4:00pm in Mildred and Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall at the Music Building of The College of New Jersey. The production will be sung in English in a costumed semi-staging accompanied by the Boheme Opera Chamber Orchestra. Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti directs and conducts this updated version of the classic. Courtesy shuttle will again be available on campus.
Donizetti’s 64th opera and his final comedy, Don Pasquale is about a doddering old fool who is tricked into marrying a supposedly nice young lady who then makes his life hell until she gets what she wants. The Don took love into his own hands, but wasn’t prepared for the disastrous results. Starring in the title role is veteran bass-baritone Edward Bogusz is one of the popular singers to appear with Boheme Opera, having sung in 14 productions with the company including a record four portrayals of “Sacristan” (Tosca) in 4 different venues. He first sang Don Pasquale with Boheme in 1991. Mr. Bogusz’s repertoire encompasses well over 100 operatic as well as nearly 80 oratorio-concert roles. In addition to his continued singing career, he is a producer (Philadelphia’s Ed Bogusz and Friends), coach, teacher and adjudicator within the opera field.
A talented young trio joins Mr. Bogusz on stage, beginning with soprano Sungji Kim as Norina, an emerging artist who has appeared in leading roles in numerous performances in Japan, Korea, Germany, Canada and throughout the United States. She is a much sought after artist with a repertoire ranging from Renaissance and Early Music to contemporary pieces. As an active contemporary singer, she has been featured in premiere performances with the Telesis Music Ensemble, Sound Clock Ensemble and at the Universities of Pennsylvania, New York, Princeton (sponsored by Novel Laureate Toni Morrison), at the Curtis Institute of Music and the Manhattan School of Music. Currently a doctoral candidate at Rutgers University, she is being featured in the role of Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff. She was last heard with Boheme as soprano soloist in its staging of Messiah in 2009.
Singing the role of Dr. Malatesta is baritone Kevin Grace. A regional artist from the New York City Opera roster, he has appeared as Escamillo (Carmen) with Hudson Opera Theatre, as Happy (La Fanciulla del West) with the New York City Opera, as Schaunard (La Boheme) with New Rochelle Opera, as Elder Ott (Susannah) with Boheme Opera New Jersey; as the Marchese/ Barone (La Traviata) with Caramoor International Festival; as the Baritone Soloist in Mozart’s Missa Brevis in D with the Connecticut Master Chorale; as the Baritone Soloist in the Bach Christmas Oratorio with the Greater Trenton Choral Society, and as Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors) with NJ Artist Performance Alliance. He was last heard with Boheme as Sharpless in its 2009 production of Madama Butterfly.
Rounding out the cast as Ernesto is tenor David Gagnon, who last appeared with Boheme as Frederic in its 2010 production of The Pirates of Penzance. He appeared in the world premieres of Grendel at LA Opera directed by Julie Taymor and in John Brown at Lyric Opera Kansas City. Other credits include Nemorino in The Elixir of Love with Cedar Rapids Opera, Tamino in The Magic Flute with Townsend Opera, Alfredo in La Traviata and Belmonte in Abduction From the Seraglio, both with Skylight Opera, Camille in The Merry Widow and the title role in The Student Prince, both with Opera Columbus. Mr. Gagnon made his European debut as Ferrando in the Giorgio Strehler production of Cosi Fan Tutte in Moscow and in Recanati, Italy. David appeared in the first national tour of Ragtime and on Broadway as Enjolras in Les Miserables.
Tickets for Don Pasquale are $30 and $20. Groups of 10 or more get an automoatic $5 off each ticket when ordering online. The TCNJ online box office can be accessed using the free download of JAVA. www.tcnj.edu/boxoffice. Also order by phone at (609) 771-2775, Monday-Friday, 10am – 2pm and 6pm – 8pm. Student rates also available.
Boheme has added a new feature to its opera experience this season, that of Opening Night Dinners at TCNJ’s 1855 Room, within walking distance from the Mayo Concert Hall. For information and reservation, call Boheme at (609) 581-9551. For more details, visit www.bohemeopera.com.
PHOTO CAP: Bass-baritone Edward Bogusz and soprano Lorraine Ernest in one of Boheme Opera’s early productions of La Boheme. Edward is singing the title role in Don Pasquale.