With a conducting career spanning more than 50 years, Lorin Maazel's name is synonymous with musical excellence the world over. He was looking to the future when he created the Castleton Festival in 1997. Here, Maazel works intimately with a hand-picked group of singers, conductors, and directors. Among them are the best young singers he has heard in his travels throughout the international opera world. The artists live together on a beautiful 550-acre farm in Castleton, Virginia, collaborating on musical performances of nuance and depth.
In the past, anyone interested in experiencing these productions had no option other than to travel to Virginia. But now, Maazel and his colleagues are heading west, giving Bay Area music lovers—as well as those who appreciate unique artistic collaborations—a chance to enjoy this extraordinary group of artists at work.
With Maazel himself at the podium, Castleton comes to Berkeley with fully staged productions of two of Benjamin Britten's enduring—but rarely performed—masterworks. In addition to the wonderful emerging artists, the cast features internationally acclaimed vocalists, including Nancy Gustafson.
The Rape of Lucretia
Thu & Fri, March 24 & 25, 8 pm, Zellerbach Hall
The Rape of Lucretia (1946), written a year after Peter Grimes, was Britten's first chamber opera and includes some of his most ravishingly beautiful music. In this moving tragedy, corruption threatens virtue as Ancient Rome has descended into depravity and the only honorable woman remaining is Lucretia. The opera conveys with intense passion the struggle between evil and redemption, as the King's son seethes with jealousy, determined to test Lucretia's chastity.
Vocal cast to feature: Vale Rideout, Ekaterina Metlova, Arianna Zukerman, Michael Rice, Michael Weyandt, Matthew Worth, Alison Tupay, and Marnie Breckenridge
Sat, March 26, 8 pm; and Sun, March 27, 3 pm
Albert Herring was written just one year after Lucretia, but the contrast could not be greater. Here is a true comic opera with a lightness of touch rarely found in Britten's work. The score sparkles with some of the composer's wittiest music and his gifts for parody and caricature are on full display. Castleton's charming production features a Bay Area favorite, soprano Nancy Gustafson, as Lady Billows.
Vocal cast to feature: Nancy Gustafson, Kristin Patterson, Ashleigh Semkiw, Alexander Tall, Tyler Nelson, Benjamin Bloomfield, Adrian Kramer, Brian Z. Porter, Tammy Coll, and Rachel Calloway
Britten-Pears Foundation website
Cast & Credits
Castleton Festival Opera
Lorin Maazel, Artistic Director & Conductor
William Kerley, Stage Director
Nicholas Vaughan, Sets & Costumes
Rie Ono, Lighting
The Rape of Lucretia
Thu, Mar 24, 7-7:30 pm "The Rape of Lucretia"
Fri, Mar 25, 7-7:30 pm "The Rape of Lucretia"
Sat, Mar 26, 7-7:30 pm "Albert Herring"
This Sightlines event is free to all event ticket holders.
William Kerley, director of Castleton Opera's productions of "The Rape of Lucretia" and "Albert Herring," will talk with Matías Tarnopolsky about these two operas by Benjamin Britten.
Donor Intermission Reception
Sat, Mar 26
(Donors of $1200+)
Producer's Circle members are invited to join us for complimentary refreshments in our donor lounge, the Zellerbach Room, located on the north side of the Zellerbach Hall lobby. For especially popular events, find us on the Mezzanine at Zellerbach Hall. Donor Intermissions are the perfect place to enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the company of other Producer's Circle members.
Not a Producer's Circle donor? To find out how you can join and take advantage of membership benefits like this while helping Cal Performances with much needed contributions, please call 510.642.8653 or see our Support section.
Program notes are available online. [PDF]
Director William Kerley talks about The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring
Lorin Maazel's Castleton Festival Opera company brings its Britten Project to Cal Performances March 24-27, 2011, featuring fully staged performances of Benjamin Brittens chamber operas The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring. Watch clips and learn about the productions.
Growing Castleton a documentary
San Francisco Classical Voice article: Maazel to Youth: Building Castleton
Read the article