Podcast with Candid Concert Opera Founder CODRUT BIRSAN
Codrut Birsan, Founder of Candid Concert Opera, discusses this new Chicago company which brings the world’s greatest operas out of the opera house and into intimate spaces. For more information visit candidconcertopera.org
Candid Concert Opera Chicago presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte. An ingenious mix of poignant drama and hilarious farce, Così fan tutte follows two young soldiers who disguise their identities to test their lover’s fidelity. The opera will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Two performances only, May 9 at the Stan Mansion, 2408 N. Kedzie Avenue and May 10 at Edgebrook Lutheran Church, 5252 W. Devon Avenue. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m. The production is suitable for all audiences of all ages and is free to the public; $20 suggested donation. For more information visit www.candidconcertopera.org.
Mozart’s famous opera, Così fan tutte, or “Women are like that” tells the story of two men and the faithfulness or “supposed faithfulness” of their fiancées. After making a bet with a bitter old man, the two men craft a plan to dupe their fiancées into quickly exchanging their steadfast love for other men when the two officers claim to have been sent off to war. Since its creation in 1790, Così fan tutte is one of Mozart’s most beloved operas.
Candid Concert Opera Chicago, Musical Director and Founder Codrut Birsan said “Candid Concert Opera Chicago, Musical Director and founder CodrutBirsan said, “Così fan tutte is considered a comic opera, or operabuffa. Mozart turned a very serious issue into an entertaining comedy. I am very proud of all our young singers and instrumentalists, many of whom are students from Chicago universities. Chicago should be humbled and proud to have such talent.”
Tickets and Information:
Così fan tutte by Mozart
Stan Mansion located 2408 Kedzie Avenue May 9, 2014 at 7.30pm
Edgebrook Lutheran Church 5252 W. Devon Avenue May 10 at 7.30pm
The production is suitable for all audiences of all ages and is free to the public; $20 suggested donation. For more information visit www.candidconcertopera.org.
The ensemble cast is led by Leila Bowie as Fiordiligi and Lauren Auge as Dorabella opposite Greg Gallahger as Ferrando and Michael Orlinsky as Guglielmo. Completing the cast is Chelsea Morris as Despina and Alex Soareas Don Alfonso. Musical & Artist Director Birsan Codrut conducts the Candid Concert Chicago Orchestra Nova. Tom Kastle narrates this whimsical production.
Codrut Birsan (Musical Director and Founder) born in Brasov, Romania, Codrut Birsan began piano lessons at age 6 and at 17 accompanied for Opera Brasov. A former singer, Birsan studied at the Bucharest Conservatory and as a young musician he received instruction from Prof. Georgeta Stoleriu. In 2005, Mr. Birsan moved to the United States and obtained his Master of Music after receiving a scholarship from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Here Mr. Birsan began collaborations as an accompanist to singers and instrumentalists. Later, as an accompanist at the University of Wisconsin, Mr. Birsan began conducting larger instrumental ensembles and coached a wider range of singers, primarily focusing on opera, style, and performance practice. These collaborations would later become the catalyst and framework from which he would build Candid Concert Opera.
Leila Bowie (Fiordiligi) soprano, was the recipient of the Lynne Harvey Music Scholarship from the Musicians Club of Women. Recently she made her Orchestra Hall debut as a soloist in “Beyond the Score: Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and appeared as First Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute with Chicago Opera Theater. Ms. Bowie was a finalist at the Neue Stimmen International Singing Competition in Germany. She has performed as a young artist with Chicago Opera Theater for two seasons.
Lauren Auge (Dorabella) mezzo-soprano, makes her debut with Candid Concert Opera. Making her mark on the competition scene, Ms. Auge was a 2014 finalist in both the Harold Haugh Light Opera Competition and Sinfonietta Bel Canto Voice Competition while taking first place in the 2013 Pantazelos Performing Artists Foundation Vocal Competition. Recently Ms. Auge was also a Danis Wilson Apprentice Artist at the Sugar Creek Symphony and Song Festival. Previous operatic roles have included Marcellina in Le nozze di Figaro, Zita in Gianni Schicchi, The Duchess in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Gondoliers and The Wife in Darius Milhaud’s dark opera Le pauvre matel.
Chelsea Morris (Despina) Operatic repertoire includes star turns as Lisa/The Land of Smiles, Pamina/Die Zauberflöte, Susanna/Le nozze di Figaro and Emily Webb/Our Town. Ms. Morris has appeared as soloist with The Madison Bach Musicians, Chicago Bach Ensemble, and Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. A winner of numerous competition prizes, the Michigan native has been championed by The Schubert Club of Minneapolis, MN, National Opera Association, and The Bel Canto Foundation of Chicago. Highlights from the 2013/2014 season include Bach’s Mass in B Minor and debuts with Haymarket Opera and the Green Mountain Opera Festival.
Greg Gallagher (Ferrando) tenor, Mr. Gallagher has appeared on the operatic stage as the Podesta/La finta giardiniera, Rinuccio/Gianni Schicchi, Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni, Lysander/A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Fenton/Falstaff. Mr. Gallagher made his LSU Opera debut last spring in the role of Peter Quint from Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, which he reprised this summer. His performance in the ghostly role has merited such praise as, “a revelation” and “his voice soared as he savagely embodied [Quint].” His most recent engagements include Così fan tutte and The Merry Widow for the 2013-14 LSU Opera season.
Michael Orlinsky (Guglielmo) baritone, since moving to Chicago he has sung numerous roles, among them Papageno in The Magic Flute, Ko-ko-ri-ko in Ba-ta-Clan, and Henrik in the Chicago premiere of Carl Nielsen’s Maskarade. While performing Bob in The Old Maid and the Thief and Ben in The Telephone he served in the additional capacities of producer and director, and currently works as a teaching artist with Chicago Opera Theater’s Opera For All. Most recently Michael portrayed Sir Joseph Porter K.C.B. in H.M.S. Pinafore with the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and won first place in the North Park University Chamber Music Ensemble Competition with the Dover Ensemble.
Alex Soare (Don Alfonso) Alex Soare began his opera studies in Brasov, Romania and continued on at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. In 2014 Alex will be performing the roles of Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Opera Iowa, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Candid Concert Opera, Gremin in Eugene Onegin with The Aspen Music Festival, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte and Elisha Fitzgibbon in Rosco, a world premiere opera presented by Opera Saratoga. Recently, Alex has performed with Des Moines Metro Opera, Aspen Opera Theater and title role inGianni Schicchi with The Opera on the Avalon Festival. Alex is an award recipient of The Bel Canto Foundation, The Pantazelos Foundation and The Metropolitan Opera National Council. Alex has also been a finalist at The Marcello Giordani Vocal Competition and Sherrill Milnes’ Opera Idol Competition.
Tom Kastle (Narrator) has one foot in the singer/songwriter world and the other in the maritime realm as a tall ship sailor and interpreter of traditional maritime music. He has toured throughout the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand. Mr. Kastle has guest hosted WFMT’s “Sweet Folk Chicago”, appeared on “The Midnight Special” and provided a soundtrack for WTTW-TV. He is on the faculty of the Old Town School of Folk Music and is the co-director of the Chicago Maritime Festival and recently hosted a documentary for PBS in Toledo. Serving as Candid Concert Opera’s Narrator, he has narrated Die Fledermaus as Frosch, The Abduction from the Seraglio as the Pasha Selim, and has sung parts of the Notaio in Don Pasquale, and the Officer in The Barber of Seville.
# # #
Candid Concert Opera is dedicated to the development of emerging operatic and instrumental talent. The company is focused on increasing the understanding, appreciation, accessibility and availability of classical opera to our entire community. For that reason, all of our performances are affordable and open to the public. Our intimate concert productions allow the audience to share in the action and story in a relaxed, approachable style.