Elmer Gantry to be recorded on Naxos label
Second-ever fully staged production of the opera will be presented March 19 & 21, 2010
MILWAUKEE, Wis.—February 25, 2010—The Florentine Opera Company presents the second-ever fully staged production of Elmer Gantry, a new American opera, on March 19 and 21, 2010 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Based on the novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, Elmer Gantry is written by Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein. The riveting score mixes traditional operatic forms with vibrant gospel hymns and American folk-inspired ensembles in a work that explores the complex and conflicted role of religion in American life. Elmer Gantry debuted at Nashville Opera in 2007.
Both performances will also be used as an opportunity to create an audio recording of Elmer Gantry that will be released by the Naxos label. Generous funding for the recording is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfien, and contributions of members of the Florentine Opera Board of Directors.
“This recording of Elmer Gantry is groundbreaking because the work is an important new American opera, which ultimately will become a part of the standard repertoire,” noted General Director William Florescu. “In addition, I am proud that the Florentine will produce this first recording, which will have national and international distribution and introduce countless new fans to the opera. In turn, recording Elmer Gantry is another step in the Florentine's evolution as an initiator of innovative productions, and new work for the opera stage,” Florescu further stated.
Returning director John Hoomes will direct an ensemble cast that includes baritone Keith Phares in the title role and soprano Patricia Risley as Sharon Falconer, both of whom make their Florentine Opera debut. Returning Florentine favorite artists include soprano Heather Buck (Lulu Baines), tenor Frank Kelley (Eddie Fislinger) and bass-baritones Jamie Offenbach (T.J. Rigg), and Matthew Lau (Reverend Baines), while tenor Vale Rideout will make his Florentine Opera debut as Frank Shallard. Celebrated conductor William Boggs will lead the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.