British Stage Director Claudia Solti
Norwegian Conductor Rune Bergmann
Lead Yale Opera’s Fully Staged, New Production of
Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream
At the Historic Shubert Theater in New Haven, Connecticut
February 19, 20 and 21, 2016
Magic, mischief, music, and a “true collaborative spirit”
behind international artists’ Yale Opera debuts
Acclaimed British stage director Claudia Solti and rising star Norwegian conductor Rune Bergmann’s collaboration on Yale’s fully-staged new production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is not only a company debut for both, but has also proven to be an exciting artistic meeting of the minds.
Ms. Solti has directed the work before. Her 2011 company premiere production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (based on Shakespeare’s comedic play) at Russia’s renowned Mariinsky Theater with conductor Valery Gergiev was nominated for several of Theatre Union of Russian Federation’s prestigious Golden Mask awards, including Best Director and Best Production. Of her work at Yale with conductor Rune Bergmann, she has said, “There is a true collaboration between music and picture, where we are working so closely together, in harmony with each other, neither taking precedence over the other but both really working together to create something beautiful. It is rare and exciting to meet someone where immediately you begin to think – ‘how can we play together again’?”
Mr. Bergman, whose growing international career has included guest engagements with such acclaimed organizations as the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Norwegian National Opera, has said, “I love the approach Claudia has for making opera in a modern but very sophisticated way. It is exciting to work with someone who is on the same page! She has an approach that doesn’t sacrifice the grace and class of the art form. For me as a conductor, this production makes sense for the pit, the stage, and the audience. The visual storytelling enhances our ability to hear the music.”
Credit for bringing Solti and Bergmann together belongs to Yale Opera program director Doris Yarick-Cross. “This year, when we decided that A Midsummer Night’s Dream would suit our program, I knew that I had a complicated task before me. I spent the entire summer trying to find just the right team to create a new production of this enchanting opera. I needed a director, who was both musician and classicist who could meet the level of expectation of the play. I needed support for the director with a conductor who possessed the charisma, imagination and musical inspiration to lead our singers and our wonderful graduate orchestra to the highest possible level to meet the expectation of the music and of Shakespeare. It came to my attention that classically trained director/actress Claudia Solti had done the work at the Mariinsky Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia, to great acclaim. After watching that enchanting production, I dared to ask her and she accepted and is here in New Haven now creating our production. After much searching, Rune Bergmann was suggested to me as the conductor, and after watching him conduct, I was convinced that his joyous, convincing and skillful handling of the orchestra was exactly what was needed for our production. I am more convinced now than ever that this team is simply great together and we are headed for a big success with this production.”
February 19, 20, 21, 2016
Britten, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
(new production in English with English subtitles)
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Children’s Choir
Claudia Solti, stage director
Rune Bergmann, conductor
247 College Street New Haven, CT 06510
February 19 and 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm; February 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm
For Tickets ($19 – 50; $13 with student ID) visit
Or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000.
Featuring a cast of young singers from the Yale Opera program directed by Doris Yarick-Cross, and the Yale Philharmonic, joined by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Children’s Choir (Fairfield, CT) directed by John Abdenour. Scenic and Projection Designer, Shawn Boyle; Lighting Designer, Doug Harry; Costume Designer, John Carver Sullivan.
“A twilight atmosphere, with random shades enveloping the stage, tinted mirrors and elves fluttering about all abounded at the Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall when the venue played host to the company’s new premiere, Claudia Solti’s mysterious take on Benjamin Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Solti, … followed not only the music but the libretto to the letter, and made sure that the slightest orchestral tingling was paired with a visual touch. … created a most delicate and tender production.” – The Moscow Times
“I’m fascinated by the idea of opera being able to compete with other forms of entertainment which appeal to a younger and broader audience, by making them very visual and at the same time dynamically true to the stories they tell. My goal is to be true to the original stories and most of all true to the music to create something which is uplifting and beautiful.”
– Claudia Solti
Claudia Solti, stage director/film maker
(pronounced Claud-ee-a Shoal-tee)
British opera/stage director and film maker Claudia Solti is known not only for her work on theatrical and operatic stages but for her work behind the camera as well.
Ms. Solti made her opera directing debut with a company premiere production of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Russia’s renowned Mariinsky Theater in 2011 with conductor Valery Gergiev. The production was nominated for several of Theatre Union of Russian Federation’s prestigious Golden Mask awards, including Best Director and Best Production. In 2012 the production won the Zolotoy Golden Sofit award for best production of the year. For the Mariinsky, she has also directed La traviata.
Ms. Solti’s stage directing credits include The Duchess of Malfi and Uncle Vanya. Her first play, The Love of the Nightingale, starring David Oyelowo in the leading role, and produced at the Edinburgh Festival, received critical acclaim. She has also directed Jacqueline Haigh’s The Mad Woman in the Attic at London’s Riverside Studios.
As a filmmaker, Claudia Solti directed her first short film, Shotgun Wedding, by Rowan Joffe and Amit Gupta, in 2001. Highly commended at the Regus London Short Film Festival, it was nominated at both the New York Shorts International Film Festival and the Melbourne Film Festival. Claudia’s second film, Chasing Heaven, was shown at numerous international film festivals, including the Venice International Film Festival, festivals in Brisbane, Toronto, Manchester, Vermont, Palm Springs, the Los Angeles Shorts Film Festival, the Cleveland Film Festival and the British Independent Film Festival. The film received a jury award at the New York Short Film Festival and was highly commended at the Turner Classic Movies/Regus London Film Festival. Both Shotgun Wedding and Chasing Heaven were selected by the British Council to represent Great Britain on the international film festival circuit.
Ms. Solti’s first foray in writing and directing her own feature-length film, a comedy entitled That’s For Me, co-written with Debra Tamme, further solidified her reputation in the field. The film was officially selected to play at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival, Southampton Film Festival and the London Jewish Film Festival.
Ms. Solti’s latest projects include the feature film Dream On (also co-written with Tamme), loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and developing a comedy TV show for the UK called Dirty Laundry. She has been signed to direct the movie Champion, a biopic based on the life of British rugby player Ben Cohen. This summer, she directs an indie film, Isabela, the story of a Syrian refugee relocating to urban London.
Claudia Solti graduated from Oxford University with an MA in English literature and trained to be an actress at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art). She is the daughter of the late conductor Sir Georg Solti.
“Bergmann led the orchestra masterfully, drawing forth all both the music and the orchestra have to offer. While firmly in control, he allowed the players to sing with their instruments.”
– Albuquerque Journal
“This Norwegian conductor stimulates not only the orchestra, but also the audience. His concerts are characterized by professionalism and joy!” – Blekinge Läns Tidning
“It is safe to buy a ticket when Rune Bergmann is the conductor, because with him the orchestra plays brilliantly and with great enthusiasm.” – Sydöstran
Rune Bergmann, conductor
(pronounced Rue-na Bairg-mahn)
An energetic and compelling figure on the podium, Norwegian conductor Rune Bergman is a dynamic, versatile conductor with an extensive classical, romantic, operatic and contemporary repertoire. Considered among today’s most talented young Scandinavian conductors, his elegant interpretations and reputation as an inspiring and profound musician continue to attract the attention of orchestras throughout the world.
Principal guest conductor of Lithuania’s Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra since 2013, and artistic director of Norway’s innovative Fjord Cadenza Festival since its inception in 2010, among the distinguished orchestras and opera houses abroad with which Maestro Bergmann has developed relationships are the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera, Mainfranken Theater Wurzburg, and Philharmonie Sudwestfalen, as well as the symphony orchestras of Malmo, Helsingborg, Bergen, Kristiansand, Stavanger, Trondheim, Karlskrona, and Odense. In North America, he has guested with such orchestras as the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (where he led the world premiere of Grawemeyer Award-winning Serbian composer Djuro Zivkovic’s Psalm XIII), Grand Rapids Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic, and the Brevard Music Festival. Upcoming engagements of note this spring 2016 include debuts with the Calgary Philharmonic and Detroit and Pacific Symphonies in North America, with a return engagement to the Orquestra Sinfonica Portugesa and a debut with the Poland’s Szczecin Philharmonic.
A multi-talented musician who also plays trumpet, piano, and violin/viola, Rune Bergmann studied choir and orchestral conducting under Anders Eby, Jin Wang and Jorma Panula at Sweden’s Royal College of Music. He graduated with high honors from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland, where he studied conducting under Chief Conductor Emeritus of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra/former principal conductor of the Vienna Radio, Finnish Radio, and Danish National symphony orchestras, Leif Segerstam. Honors include the 2010 Kjell Holm Foundation Culture Prize, the 2009 SMP Press culture award, and second prize in Helsingborg’s 2002 Nordic Conducting Competition. Maestro Bergmann’s former posts include deputy – General Musik Direktor with the Augsburger Philharmoniker and Theater Augsburg in Germany.
About Yale Opera
Doris Yarick Cross, artistic director
A highly selective program, Yale Opera offers rigorous career training in opera performance to sixteen singers enrolled in the program. It is one of the most successful graduate programs in the country for launching operatic careers for its alumni. Graduates of the program can regularly be heard singing in the world’s greatest opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, La Scala, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others.
Each season Yale Opera presents a variety of public performances. A highlight is the fully staged production at New Haven’s Shubert Theater, complete with costumes, sets, and orchestra.