Domenico Cimarosa’s two-act opera, The Secret Marriage (Il Matrimonio Segreto), with guest artist Stefanos Koroneos as Geronimo, accompanied by a cast of college students from the New World School of the Arts College Opera Theater Ensemble – directed by Rodney Miller – to be presented at the Miami Dade College North Campus’ William and Joan Lehman Theatre. The ensemble, mostly graduating college seniors majoring in voice, is being given the opportunity to appear in a professional-level production staged by Donald Westwood, a director with national and international credits. The fully staged opera includes magnificent period costumes, scenery and props, and live music by the NWSA Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Alfred Gershfeld.
The opera production takes place at the William and Joan Lehman Theatre (Pawley Creative Arts Center), Miami-Dade College North Campus on Friday, April 5 and Saturday, April 6 at 7:30 PM - 11380 NW 27th Avenue, Miami FL 33167. General admission is $10 / Students and seniors $5. Tickets can be purchased at nwsa.mdc.edu.
"It's great fun to be working again with Professor Miller and the NWSA Opera Ensemble," Westwood says. "We had a wonderful response to last year's Cinderella, and we'rerehearsing every day to achieve the same result this time. I have worked with our guest artist, Stefanos Koroneos, on several productions. Working with him is always a pleasure, and having a guest artist who has appeared at La Scala and many other world-class theatres is an inspiration to the young singers."
The inspiration for a variety of theatrical works culminating in The Secret Marriage was a series of etchings by William Hogarth entitled “Marriage a la Mode.” Themes depicted in these etchings emerged in the play, The Clandestine Marriage (London, 1766), later appearing in musical form on the Continent in the one-act comic opera Le Mariage Clandestin (1790, Paris) among others. Cimarosa’s version was given its world premiere in Vienna in 1792, two months after the death of Mozart. It was an immediate international hit. In its day, The Secret Marriage enjoyed more popularity than any of Mozart’s operas, with the possible exception of Cosi Fan Tutte. The opera’s popularity continued through most of the 19th Century, serving as a vehicle for famoussingers.
The Secret Marriage is set in Italy in the 18th Century. Geronimo, a formerly wealthy merchant, has lofty ambitions for his two daughters and dreams of aristocratic marriages for both young ladies. In terms of practical matters, Geronimo’s sister, Fidalma, a wealthy widow, supports the family. Carolina, Geronimo’s youngest daughter, is secretly married to Paolino, Geronimo’s private secretary. To date, the timid Paolino has been unable to muster the courage to reveal the marriage to Geronimo and ask forgiveness for marrying Carolina behind his boss’s back. This is a matter of some urgency since Carolina is pregnant. To be a hero to Geronimo, and thereby compensate for the indiscretion of the secret marriage, Paolino has hatched a scheme. He has arranged for his former employer, the British Count Robinson, to marry Geronimo’s oldest daughter, Elisetta. Upon his arrival, however, Count Robinson is immediately smitten with Carolina, pursuing her with a coarseness worthy of the spoiled nobleman that he is. Elisetta, who has already adopted the persona of the Countess she intends to be, is unceremoniously pushed aside. Meanwhile, Fidalma pursues Paolino, misinterpreting the young man’s obvious volatility as an expression of affection for her. Geronimo, caught in the vortex of these complications, struggles to restore peace to his household.
Donald Westwood (Stage Director) has worked in the music industry for four decades. New York Magazine, establishing his enduring career, called Westwood’s first New York City production “a welcome addition to this city’s music”. Highlights include eleven national tours – opera, operetta, and musical theatre – plus more than 200 regional productions. His work has been seen from Maine to California – including two productions in Las Vegas – and internationally as far away as Australia and Brazil. Mr. Westwood is Creative Director for American International Music Management. His AIM Management productions include Oklahoma! for the 2010/11 national tour and Fiddler on the Roof for season 2009/10. Writing credits include numerous shows for young audiences and eightyears as a music critic for Opera News Magazine. Westwood is Artistic Director of the Belleayre Festival Opera at the Belleayre Music Festival in New York, where he will produce and direct a company of fifty performers and musicians in Bizet’s Carmen for the Summer 2013 Season. He taught a series of master classes for NWSA in 2011 and directed Cinderella for NWSA in April 2012.
Stefanos Koroneos (Geronimo) has appeared in principal theatres in Italy, Germany, Russia, Greece, Korea, Malta, and theUnited States. Italian credits include Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro Reggio di Parma, and major theatres in Ravenna, Piacenza, Pisa, Ferrara, Modena, Livorno, and Trento, among others. Additional international credits include the Bolshoi Theatre, Seoul Opera, and Staatstheater Freiburg. His work in the United States includes the Palm Beach Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Opera Tampa, and Belleayre Festival Opera. Recordings include Verdi’s I Vespri Siciliani with Monserrat Caballe’ (RAI Television production recorded live in Busseto by Dynamic Records) and three operas for the Sky International Channel. Future engagements include Wagner’s RIENZI with the Opera Orchestra of New York and Escamillo in Carmen with the Fresno Grand Opera. His work with director Donald Westwood includes the Belleayre Festival Opera productions of La Traviata (Giorgio Germont), The Barber of Seville (Dr. Bartolo), and Die Fledermaus (Falke) and La Cenerentola (Don Magnifico) for the Jacksonville Lyric Opera.
At New World School of the Arts music students receive one-on-one instruction from accomplished musicians and grow through disciplined guidance and training as they develop their personal style and repertoire. Through its educational partnerships, NWSA’s audition-based programs, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance, Music, Theater and Art and Design, offer the high school diploma as well as the BFA and BM college degrees. Areas of concentration in music include: composition, performance, instrumental, piano, strings and voice.
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts. It is an educational partnership of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida.
For tickets and information, visit nwsa.mdc.edu or contact the Music Hotline at 305-237-7855.