Chicago Tribune, December 23, 2015
by Community Contributor Ann Fink
New Philharmonic, under the direction of Kirk Muspratt, presents “Cosi fan tutte (Women Are Like That)” composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and featuring a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, at the McAninch Arts Center, located on the campus of College of DuPage (425 Fawell Blvd.), Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. Internationally-acclaimed director Jonathan Field stage directs this popular comedic opera using a reality TV spin, and giving audiences the chance to pick from one of three endings for their performance. “Cosi fan tutte” wlll be performed in Italian with English supertitles. Free MAC chats provided by Maestro Muspratt will precede each performance.
In “Cosi fan tutte,” two young men wager that their fiancées will remain faithful, even when tempted. To prove it, they decide to do the tempting themselves. The questions of desire and fidelity enter into what is ultimately an exploration of love conducted with an entertaining mix of drama and biting comedy.
Field, who directed New Philharmonic’s crowd-pleasing productions of “Gianni Schicchi” (2011) and “Madama Butterfly” (2012), has become one of America’s more versatile and popular stage directors. A trailblazer in the world of opera, he has developed and used video-projected scenery for more than 25 years in productions that have been called “brilliant,” “dazzling” and “riveting.” His numerous credits include the American premiere of “Lost Highway,” an opera based on the David Lynch film that played to sold-out performances at the Miller Theater in New York; the world premiere of the jazz opera “Leave Me Alone” in a partnership between Oberlin Conservatory and Real Time Opera, which was one of the first operas to broadcast live on the internet; and productions for Lyric Opera of Chicago of “Trouble in Tahiti,” “Gianni Schicchi,” “The Old Maid and the Thief” and “The Spanish Hour.”
The cast for “Cosi fan Tutte” features Jessica Faselt (Fiordiligi); Kathryn Leemhuis (Dorabella), Paul Scholten (Guglielmo), Aaron Short (Ferrando), Leo Radosavlijevic (Don Alfonso) and Angela De Venuto (Despina).
Just last year, Jessica Faselt (soprano) performed the lead role of Fiordiligi in “Cosi fan Tutte” at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and served as an apprentice artist with the Des Moines Metro Opera. Awards and honors include recipient of one of three Encouragement Awards from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul and being one of two winners of the 2014 Ohio District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.
Kathryn Leemhuis (mezzo-soprano) was featured in both New Philharmonic’s “Gianni Schicci” and “Madama Butterfly.” While in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center, she sang the roles of Giovanna in “Ernani,” Glasa in “Kát’a Kabanová,” Javotte in “Manon” and Kunstgewerblerin in “Lulu.” Her numerous credits also include the Mother in “Amahl and the Night Visitors” with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Paquette in “Candide” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Dorabella in “Cosi fan tutte” with Fort Worth Opera. Her many honors include 1st Place winner of the 2013 New York Lyric Opera Vocal Competition, the 2013 Opera at Florham Vocal Competition, the 2012 Bel Canto Competition and the 2012 Heida Hermanns Competition.
Paul Scholten (baritone), seen most recently at the MAC in “Madama Butterfly,” was a young artist in the Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2010, 2011, and 2012. His roles there included Normanno in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Zweiter Priester in “Die Zauberflöte,” Der Perückenmacher in “Ariadne auf Naxos” and Dancaïro in “Carmen.” Scholten made his company debut with the Cincinnati Opera this year in “Don Pasquale.” His many awards include 1st Place Winner in the University of Michigan Friends of Opera Scholarship Competition in 2006, 1st Place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Illinois District in 2011, and National Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2012.
Aaron Short (tenor) has served as an apprentice artist with The Santa Fe Opera where he performed the roles of First Prisoner in “Fidelio” and the Fourth Jew in “Salome.” He has also been a Young Artist with Chautauqua Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and Opera in the Ozarks. Honors include Singer of the Year award at the NATS Regional Competition (2010), a two-time finalist at the Naftzger Young Artist Competition sponsored by the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and a winner at the Milwaukee District Met Competition.
Last summer, Wilmette’s Leo Radosavlijevic (baritone) participated in Ravinia Festival’s Steans Young Artist Program, where he performed Schubert, Liszt, Beethoven, Ives. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Juilliard where he performed the roles of Tobias Mill in “La Cambiale di Matrimonio,” Carlino in “Don Pasquale,” Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Simone in “Gianni Schicchi.” Honors include recipient of the 2 nd place prize from The Bel Canto Foundation Vocal competition in Chicago, as well as several Encouragement Awards from the Gerda Lissner, Licia Albanese and Giulio Gari competitions in New York.
Some of soprano Angela De Venuto’s operatic highlights include Adele in “Die Fledermaus,” Emily Webb in “Our Town,” Fiametta in “The Gondoliers” and Peep-Bo in “The Mikado,” all with DePaul Opera Theatre; Lady Saphir in “Patience” with The Savoyaires as well as performances with Northwest Chicago Symphony and Northwestern University. De Venuto, a Chicagoan, also occasionally performs throughout the country with composer and pianist Eric Genuis as part of The Eric Genuis Quartet.
New Philharmonic, under the direction of Maestro Kirk Muspratt, presents “Cosi fan tutte (Women Are Like That)” at the McAninch Arts Center, located on the campus of College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Saturday, Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $55; $53 senior/youth. A limited number of $10 student tickets will also be available, with valid student ID. To order tickets, call 630.942.4000, or visit AtTheMAC.org.