Opera Theater Ensemble brings to life Haydn's opera Lo Speziale (The Apothecary)

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NewWorld School of the Arts Opera Theatre Ensemble production of Lo Speziale (The Apothecary) by Joseph Haydn will be presented this weekend at the Miami Dade College NorthCampus. Returning as director this year is Jeffrey Buchman, well known in Miami for his work with Florida Grand Opera. Forthis production, director Buchman has updated the setting to the boardwalk of Venice Beach, California, where all manner of interesting things can happen. The fully staged opera includes magnificent costumes, scenery and props, accompanied by the NWSA Symphony Orchestra under the baton of maestro Alfred Gershfeld.

Lo Speziale takes place at the William and Joan Lehman Theatre (Pawley Creative Arts Center), Miami-Dade College North Campus on March 7  @ 7:30 PM and on March 8 @ 2:00 PM - 11380 NW 27th Avenue, Miami FL 33167. General admission is $10 / Students and seniors $5. Tickets can be purchased at http://nwsa.mdc.edu.

“We have some of the best artists in the industry working with our students to help them bring to life Haydn’s incredible Opera for Miami’s public to enjoy. The students get individual attention to help bring their characters to life in the most encouraging and innovative ways possible.  This is just one of the many wonderful attributes of the Music Division that helps our students start off their careers ahead of the game.”  

A love triangle between the rich old man(Sempronio), the witty and suave (Volpino) and the poor and honest young apprentice (Mengone), with the beautiful young ward (Grilletta) at the heart of their discord, Lo Speziale is a warm comedy that explores how suitors push the envelope in order to win their beloved. Lies, deception, jealousy and courage seamlessly intertwine as the three suitors claim their love for Grilletta; however as the plot unravels, it is apparent that only one man stands a chance for true happiness. In Act One, the apothecary Sempronio is determined to marry Grilletta, however he has two rivals: his apprentice, Mengone and Volpino, a true ladies’ man.  Sempronio spends his time engulfed in his newspapers instead of attending to the young Grilletta and to his business – giving way for the two suitors to run rampant with their plans to win over Grilletta. The conquest plans unfold in Act Two when Volpino and Mengone both disguise as the notary that will marry Sempronio and Grielletta only to be discovered before they are able to falsely become the husbands of the youngward. Volpino again tries to win her love by posing as a Pasha willing to buy all the medicine in Sempronio’s business and offering him great riches. The plot thickens as Volpino, with a gang of Turks, threatens to kill Sempronio if he doesn’t surrender Grilletta, but Mengone comes to the rescue offering to protect Sempronio if he will promise Grilletta to him. The Turks are chasedaway, Sempronio is saved and the young couple are finally left alone to pursue their love.

Jeffrey Buchman studied German at the Goethe-Institut in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany and Spanish at the Instituto Cervantes in New York. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Opera from the Boston Conservatory of Music and a Master of Music degree in Voicefrom the Peabody Conservatory of Music in his native city of Baltimore, Maryland. He trained in the Young Artist Program of the Florida Grand Opera, where he later was honored with the company’s Evelyn P. Gilbert Award. He also trained in the Studio and Apprentice Artist Program of Central City Opera, where he was awarded their Studio Artist of the Year award. Buchman is a winner of the prestigious Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, and as a performer garnered equal acclaim for both his singing and his acting. Otherprizes include First Prize in the National Voice Competition of the National Society of Arts and Letters and a Richard F. Gold career grant from the Shoshana Foundation.

Alfred Gershfeld holds advanced degrees in conducting and violin performance from the Kishnev and Moscow Conservatories in the former Soviet Union. Prior to immigrating to the United States, Maestro Gershfeld was conductor of the Moldavian Chamber and Symphony Orchestras and the Moscow Bolshoi Theater. In 1977 he was elected Honored Artist of the Moldavian Republic. He has returned frequently to Moscow to conduct. Currently Alfred Gershfeld serves as Associate Professor of Conducting and Director of Orchestras at the New World School of the Arts in Miami. He has appeared as guest conductor in many cities and universities throughout the United States and Europe. He has conducted several performances of Russian opera for the Sarasota Opera Association. He is the composer of the children’s opera “Karlson on the Roof” which received its U.S. premiere performance at the Sarasota Opera House. Gershfeld is also the Director of the Anna Maria Island Community Orchestra and Chorus, has been the Principal Conductor of the Alhambra Community Orchestra since 2009, and has served asArtistic Director of the Lake Placid Sinfoniettarr. He has appeared as guest conductor at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, the New York Music Festival, the Quad Cities Symphony, the Eastman School of Music, the Miami City Ballet, and the Naples Philharmonic.

Rodney Miller holds a Bachelor of Music from Birmingham- Southern College and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Illinois, where he was a Creative and Performing Arts Fellow. Additionally, he was a member of the American Opera Center at Juilliard School of Music. Performing internationally in venues that include: the Munich Philharmonic, Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam, and Belles Artes in Mexico City. Mr. Miller’s repertoire ranged from baroque to contemporary. In the U.S., notable performances included: The National Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Seattle Orchestra, Denver Symphony, New York Chamber Orchestra, Wolf Trap, Tanglewood, Boston Opera, and Hawaii Opera. He has performed 45 leading operatic roles and more than 50 concert and oratorio works. His recordings include Shostakovich Songs From Jewish Poetry with I usici de Montreal on Chandos Records, Con Flor y Canto by Rodriquez, and Lohengrin. Mr. Miller has forty years of teaching experience and his students have performed with numerous prestigious organizations worldwide.

At New World School of the Arts, music students receive one-on-one instruction from accomplished musicians and grow throughdisciplined 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 http://nwsa.mdc.edu or contact the Music Hotline at 305-237-7855.