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ASTON MAGNA AT BARD SERIES WILL CONCLUDE WITH A SEMISTAGED VERSION OF MONTEVERDI’S ORFEO A story of the power of music and the frailty of the human soul

Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Friday, August 6, the Aston Magna at Bard 2004 series concludes with a semistaged version of Monteverdi’s pioneering 1607 opera, Orfeo, which will be performed in Italian with English supertitles. The program, presented by The Bard Center, will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall, with a preconcert talk at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $20. “Orfeo is the first bona fide operatic masterpiece, a work that has proved itself in dozens of productions over the course of the 20th century,” writes Stephen Ledbetter for Aston Magna. “It is a work whose great emotional moments—such as the account of Eurydice’s unexpected death and Orpheus’s reaction, or his pleading for her return before Pluto and Proserpina—will never lose their power.” The cast includes tenor Frank Kelley as Orfeo; sopranos Roberta Anderson as Euridice, Jane Bryden as Proserpina, and Laurie Monahan as Messenger; altos Jeffrey Gall as Second Shepherd and Deborah Rentz-Moore as Speranza (Hope); tenors William Hite as First Shepherd, Echo, and Apollo, and Aaron Sheehan as Third Shepherd and Underworld Spirit; and basses David Ripley as Fourth Shepherd and Caronte, and Robert Honeysucker as Plutone. A chamber orchestra will be led by Daniel Stepner, artistic director of Aston Magna. Musicians include Peter Sykes, organ and harpsichord; Richard Stone, theorbo; Alison Attar, baroque harp; Stepner and Julie Leven, violins; Jane Starkman, viola, and Laura Jeppesen, viola and viola da gamba; Loretta O’Sullivan, cello; Anne Trout, bass; Stephen Hammer and Christopher Krueger, recorders; Michael Collver and Allan Dean, cornetti and natural trumpets; Mark Ramsey, Greg Ingles, Richard van Hessel, Erik Schmalz, and Brian Kay, sackbuts. Aston Magna’s concert series has been described by the New York Times as "America's preeminent summer early-music event." Under Daniel Stepner’s direction, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer envisioned it. For three decades, the series has been internationally recognized for its contributions to the popularization of early music, using historically accurate instruments and techniques. Aston Magna at Bard is made possible, in part, by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts and the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Endowment at Bard College. For further information or to purchase tickets, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425. # # # (7/20/04)

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This event was last updated on 08-12-2004