French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and Opera Lafayette present Modern World Premiere Opera Lafayette L’Épreuve Villageoise; By André Grétry; Libretto by Pierre Desforges, Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30pm & Thursday, May 28 at 7pm

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French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and Opera Lafayette

present  Modern World Premiere  Opera Lafayette  L’Épreuve Villageoise

By André Grétry; Libretto by Pierre Desforges

Celebrating Opera Lafayette’s 20th Anniversary Season

Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30pm & Thursday, May 28 at 7pm

FIAF Florence Gould Hall; 55 East 59th Street, NYC



New York, NY, May 12, 2015The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, and Opera Lafayette are delighted to announce the modern world premiere of L’Épreuve Villageoise (The Village Trial), presented in celebration of Opera Lafayette’s 20th anniversary season. Set during the Courir de Mardi Gras, pastoral Louisiana’s extravagantly costumed Fat Tuesday celebration, this opéra-comique will feature on-stage musicians, period costumes, and folk-inspired dances. The performance will take place on Wednesday, May 27 and Thursday, May 28 at FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall.


L’Épreuve Villageoise enchanted early 19th-century audiences in the young American city of New Orleans. With a cast hailing from France, Spain, and the United States, whose cultures also animated New Orleans, Opera Lafayette re-imagines Grétry’s 1784 L’Épreuve Villageoise as a touring production from the city’s earliest opera house, the Saint Peter Street Theatre.


L’Épreuve Villageoise tells the tale of a country belle (Denise) and her mother (Madame Hubert) who set out to settle scores with two amorous suitors.  Denise’s beau is an honest farmer (André) with a jealous disposition, while the vain overseer from the nearby plantation (LaFrance) must be punished for switching his attentions from the mother to the daughter. In song and dance, the women thoroughly frustrate and confuse the men until each has learned his lesson. Along the way, Denise discovers the sincerity of her feelings for André.


Following the May 27 performance Ryan Brown, Conductor and Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette joins Laura Auricchio, author of the recently published The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered, and Julia Doe, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of music at Columbia University for a post-concert talk.


A benefit gala celebrating the company’s 20th anniversary will be held at the Colony Club directly following the May 28 production. Opera Lafayette will produce the world premiere recording of this work for the NAXOS label. The production will also be presented at the Terrace Theatre at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on May 30 at 2pm and 7:30pm.



Sophie Junker*–Denise                                The Opera Lafayette Orchestra and Chorus

(5/28 – 7:00 p.m., 5/30 – 7:30 p.m.)               Ryan Brown, Conductor

Pascale Beaudin – Denise                            Nick Olcott, Director

(5/27 – 7:30 p.m., 5/30 – 2:00 p.m.)               Kendra Rai, costumes

TaliseTrevigne* – Madame Hubert                Luciana Stecconi, scenic design

Thomas Dolié – La France                            AJ Guban, lighting     

Francisco Fernández-Rueda*André         Aaron R. White, choreography         


* Opera Lafayette debut


Duration of the show is one hour and 30 minutes without intermission.


The performance will be presented in French with English supertitles.


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About Sophie Junker

Belgian Soprano Sophie Junker studied at the IMEP (Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie) in Namur, and at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is a Samling Scholar and winner of the first prize in the 2010 London Handel Competition and the 2012 International Cesti Competition. She studies with Yvonne Kenny. Sophie’s operatic repertoire includes Susanna Le (Nozze di Figaro), Marzelline (Fidelio), Serpetta (La Finta Giardiniera), Despina (Cosi fan tutte), Atalanta (Xerxes), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), Zdenka (Arabella), and Sophie (Werther). In scenes, she has also sung the role of Maria in Bernstein’s West Side Story under the conductor David Miller. In her final year at the Guildhall she sang the role of Constance in Dialogues des Carmélites and the title role in Donizetti’s Rita. She also covered the role of Almirena in Rinaldo for Glyndebourne opera. Last season she made her debut at ENO (Italian woman, Spirit) in Charpentier’s Medea, as well as the Nantes Angers Opera as Amour in Glück’s Orphée.


This summer she sung Belinda in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas for the Innsbruck Festwochen die Alten Muziek as well as Lucy in Menotti’s Telephone for the festival Consonances in St Nazaire. Fast establishing a career in the baroque world, Sophie has appeared with prestigious ensembles such as The King’s Consort, The Academy of Ancient Music, The Wiener Akademie and The Bach Collegium of Japan, The English Concert. Recent performances include a part in Graham Johnson’s Vaughan Williams project, The Creation of The Fairy Dream by Harvey Brough, at the Barbican and the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Coryphée from Gluck’s Alceste at the Cadogan Hall, a solo recital at the prestigious Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, a celebration of Schubert’s songs at the Barbican Centre, a recital of Schumann’s lieder for the Oxford Lieder Festival, and Bach’s Cantata BWV 201 at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge. Sophie has also appeared with The King’s Consort in performances of Couperin’s Trois Leçons in Valencia, Madrid and Santiago de Compostella, with the Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki in Bach’s Hunting Cantata, which was recorded for Bis, with the Wiener Akademie in performances of St. Matthew Passion in Vienna and Pamplona, and at the Göttingen Festival in Handel’s Esther with Laurence Cummings.


More recent projects include a recording for Harmonia Mundi of Charpentier and Carissimi with La Nuova Musica ensemble, performances with the Academy of Ancient Music at the Wigmore Hall and in Cambridge, The King Arthur with La Fenice, and the title role in Caldara’s Magdalena with the Belgian ensemble Les Mufatti. Future plans include Constance (Dialogues des Carmélites) with Nantes/Angers Opera, Wanda (La Grande Duchesse de Gérolstein), Papagena (Die Zauberflöte) at l’Opéra de Wallonie, Liège, and she will be reprising the role of Amour in Moscow.


About Pascale Beaudin

Canadian soprano Pascale Beaudin began her career at the Opéra de Montréal, in the roles of Zerlina (Don Giovanni, Mozart) and Oscar (Un ballo in maschera, Verdi). She has also sung Papagena (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart) with Opera Lyra Ottawa. Making her debut as Nannetta (Falstaff, Verdi) at the Opéra de Québec, she returned as Gabrielle (La Vie parisienne, Offenbach) to critical acclaim. In Europe, she sang Adèle (Le comte Ory, Rossini) at the Angers-Nantes Opéra, where she was immediately invited back as Flaminia (Il mondo della luna). With the Opéra Municipal de Marseille, she was Carmela (The Saint of Bleecker Street, Menotti) and sang Frasquita (Carmen, Bizet) at the Opéra de Metz and the Opéra National de Lorraine.


At ease with repertoire which ranges from baroque to contemporary, Ms. Beaudin has been a soloist with l’Orchestre Métropolitain, l’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, les Violons du Roy, l’Orchestre de la Francophonie, among others. Ms. Beaudin has been invited to take part in prestigious events including the Lanaudière Festival, the Orford Festival, the International Domaine Forget Festival, le Festival de Musiques Sacrées de Marseille, the Montreal Bach Festival, Montréal Baroque, les Concerts aux Îles du Bic, and la Société Musicale André-Turp. True to her Acadian roots, Ms. Beaudin regularly performs in Eastern Canada, at the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, the Indian River Chamber Music Festival, the Baie des Chaleurs International Chamber Music Festival, Symphony New Brunswick, and Opera New Brunswick.


Ms. Beaudin has received grants from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation, the Canada Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, and the Jeunesses Musicales du Canada. She was granted the Excellence Prize by her colleagues and mentors at the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal, won the New Discoveries Auditions and 2nd place at the Montreal Symphony Orchestra Competition. Her discography includes a 5-disc release of the complete works for voice and piano by Francis Poulenc for the Atma label released in October 2013.


About Talise Trevigne

A passionate supporter and interpreter of contemporary music, Talise Trevigne sang the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s song cycle Pieces of 9/11 – Memories from Houston at Houston Grand Opera, and her solo CD, At the Statue of Venus (GPR Records), written by Mr Heggie and Glen Roven—award-winning composers both—quickly climbed to the top of the US record charts.  She is featured on Jake Heggie’s latest CD release, here/after, songs of lost voices alongside Stephen Costello, Joyce DiDonato, and Nathan Gunn. Recent successes include her appearance with Albany Symphony Orchestra to perform Christopher Rouse’s masterpiece Kabir Padavali and a further house and role debut as Julie in Francesca Zambello’s production of Showboat at Washington National Opera.


Miss Trevigne studied at the Manhattan School of Music and graduated with her Master’s in Music.  While still a student, she made her operatic début under the direction of Julius Rudel as Violetta in La Traviata and Zerlina in Don Giovanni at the Aspen Music Festival. Other notable appearances include Michaela in Carmen at San Diego Opera, Jemmy in Guillaume Tell, and Euridice in Orfeo ed Euridice at the Caramoor Festival, Gilda in Rigoletto at Tulsa Opera and Mimi in La Boheme at Opera Omaha.  At Knoxville Opera, Miss Trevigne has appeared as Gilda and in the title role Manon.  In Britain, the artist originated the title role in the world premiere of Judith Weir’s Armida for the BBC. She made her UK stage debut as June Gibbons in the world premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s The Silent Twins with Almeida Opera, and later won the coveted Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award (2007) for her mesmerizing portrayal of Violetta in Graham Vick’s La Traviata with Birmingham Opera. Later, she sang Gilda at the Dublin International Opera Festival in 2008.


In her Australian début, Miss Trevigne appeared as The Beloved in the world premiere of Liza Lim’s The Navigator, directed by Barrie Kosky for the Melbourne International Festival, and she revived the role at the Chekhov International Arts Festival in Moscow and at the Bastille in Paris (December 2009). Originally trained as a dancer, Miss Trevigne appeared as vocal soloist in the world premiere of Dance Theater of Harlem’s St. Louis Woman—A Blues Ballet at the Lincoln Center Festival, at Los Angeles’ Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, and The Kennedy Center.


Busy on the concert and recital stage, the artist’s appearances include Cantaloube’s Chants D’Auvergne, Satie’s Socrate, Mahler’s Second Symphony and Fourth Symphony, Barber’s Knoxville, Summer of 1915, and Prayers of Kierkegaard. She also performed the rare works of Maurice Delage, Purcell, and Nin-Culmell in New York. She sang Richard Strauss’ Vier Letzte Lieder with Chicago’s Ars Viva Symphony Orchestra and the Sacramento Philharmonic, and appeared with Dallas Symphony in Orff’s Carmina Burana.


Other roles the artist sings are Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Juliette in Roméo et Juliette, and the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor.


About Thomas Dolié

Named Révélation des Victoires de la Musique 2008, French baritone Thomas Dolié is quickly rising to prominence as a sought-after interpreter of baroque and classical music. He received high praise for his Papageno in Peter Brook’s adaptation of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, with The New York Times noting, “a star was born.” Mr. Dolié’s 2011–2012 season includes performances of Les Indes Galantes at Toulouse’s Théâtre du Capitole, as well as his debut with Opera Lafayette in Monsigny’s Le Roi et le fermier in Washington, New York, and Versailles. Born in Bordeaux, Thomas Dolié earned a degree in geography before entering the Conservatoire National de Musique of Bordeaux where he studied with Irène Jarsky. He made his professional debut in Montpellier as Papageno in a concert version of Die Zauberflöte, conducted by Marc Minkowski. He then sang his first Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Opéra National de Bordeaux, and his first Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Opéra de Toulon. Mr. Dolié has appeared with Opéra d’Avignon, Angers-Nantes Opéra, Opéra National de Nancy-Lorraine, Opéra Comique (Paris), and Opéra de Toulon. He sang Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas at the Opéra de Bordeaux and at the Concertgebouw, and has performed in Rameau’s Les Boréades and Berlioz’s Nuits d’Été with Marc Minkowski.


About Francisco Fernández-Rueda

Francisco Fernández-Rueda, tenor, born in Seville, began his musical training as a clarinetist. He holds a degree in French Studies from the University of Seville. Later he moved to Barcelona where he studied Singing with Lambert Climent and Art Song with Lynne Dawson, Assumpta Mateu, and Francisco Poyato at the Escola Superior de Musica de Catalunya (ESMUC). Currently he is being coached by Raúl Giménez in Barcelona. He won the 1st Prize at Concurs Mirabent i Magrans (Barcelona) and was a semifinalist at Concorso Toti dal Monte (Treviso).


As a soloist, Francisco Fernández-Rueda works with ensembles such as Les Arts Florissants, Concerto Köln, La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Europa Galante, Concertgebouw Kamerorkest, Ensemble Pygmalion, Ensemble Cristofori, Al Ayre Español, or Forma Antiqva. He has performed, among other countries, in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, USA, Norway, and Switzerland, in major festivals such as Händel-Festspiele (Halle), SWR Schwetzinger Festspiele, Festival International d’Opéra Baroque de Beaune, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, or Lucerne Festival zu Ostern. He has taken part in the 5th edition of Jardin des Voix (2011), William Christie’s international project for young talents of baroque opera.


Among other works, he has sung Monteverdi’s Vespro della Beata Vergine, Mozart’s Requiem and Krönungsmesse, Haendel’s Messiah, and Bach’s Johannespassion, Matthäuspassion, and H-moll Messe. He has worked under the direction of Jordi Savall, William Christie, Fabio Biondi, Konrad Junghänel, Raphaël Pichon, Eduardo López Banzo, Josep Vila, Paul Agnew, Aarón Zapico, or Lluís Vilamajó in several important venues such as Opéra Comique in Paris, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Opéra de Bordeaux, Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Cité de la Musique in Paris, Baden-Baden’s Festspielhaus, Rokokotheater Schwetzingen,Luzern Grober Saal, Auditorio Nacional de Música in Madrid, or Palau de la Música Catalana.


In the operatic field, Francisco Fernández-Rueda has performed Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Narete in Hasse’s Leucippo, Aeneas in Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, Philemon in Haydn’s Philemon & Baucis, Sir Hervey in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, Leonato in Handel’s Alessandro, Coridon in Haendel’s Acis & Galatea, Mercure and Première Parque in Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie, and Zephyr and Suite de Sangar in his recent debut on the occasion of the legendary recreation of Lully’s opera Atys, with William Christie and Les Arts Florissants.


He has recorded for ACCENT Mozart’s Concert Arias for tenor with Ensemble Cristofori, Tonos Humanos of Manuscrito Guerra (Naxos), and Lully’s Atys with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie (Fra Musica).


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About Ryan Brown

Ryan Brown is the founder, conductor, and artistic director of Opera Lafayette. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, Mr. Brown has gained an international reputation for his interpretations of French opera and for his role in the revival of significant works from 18th and 19th centuries. Mr. Brown’s frequent performances of Italian works by Haydn, Mozart, Paisiello, and Cimarosa have also met with great acclaim. In summer 2015 he will conduct Vivaldi’s Catone in Utica at the Glimmerglass Festival. Mr. Brown is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Renaissance Française.


About Nick Olcott

Nick Olcott has been active in opera and theatre as an actor, writer, and director for more than twenty years. For the Maryland Opera Studio at the UMD School of Music, he has directed L’elisir d’amore, Serse, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Turn of the Screw, Il matrimonio segreto, Le nozze di Figaro, La finta giardiniera, and Die Zauberflöte. His opera credits elsewhere include Roméo et Juliette and The Turn of the Screw (Opera Cleveland), The Daughter of the Regiment (Boston Lyric Opera), Cosi fan tutte (Capital City Opera and the In Series), I Capuleti e i Montecchi (Bel Cantanti Opera) and The Impresario/ Viva la Mamma (Wolf Trap Opera).


Mr. Olcott’s theatre credits include The Miracle Worker at the Arena Stage, Sylvia at the Philadelphia Theatre Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at People’s Light and Theatre Company, and numerous productions at the Round House Theatre, where he is a member of the Artists’ Roundtable. He directs frequently for the Kennedy Center Family Theatre, including the world premiere and national tours of Judith Viorst’s musical Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and its sequel, Alexander Who is Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Going to Move. For radio he has directed All My Sons (starring Julie Harris and James Farentino), The Heiress (starring Amy Irving and Chris Noth), and Seven Days in May (starring Ed Asner). He was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction for his production of All in Timing at the Round House Theatre.


As a writer, Nick Olcott has received two Helen Hayes nominations for his adaptations of Henry James produced by the Washington Stage Guild (The Aspern Papers and The Turn of the Screw), and his musical play Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Purloined Patience received the 1998 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. Other writing projects include an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, which premiered at the Kennedy Center and toured nationally, and a radio adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ American Appetites, which received performances in front of live studio audiences in Los Angeles and Washington (both starring Keith Carradine).


Mr. Olcott is a faculty member of the Maryland Opera Studio at the UMD School of Music and a board member of the Playwrights’ Forum. A native of Red Lodge, Montana, he graduated from Yale University in 1978. He is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors’ Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the American Guild of Musical Artists.


  • •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••About Laura Auricchio

Laura Auricchio is a specialist in eighteenth-century French history and art who received her undergraduate degree from Harvard and her PhD from Columbia University. She received her doctorate with distinction at Columbia in 2000, sponsored by Simon Schama. Auricchio has been the recipient of major fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and Columbia University.


Ms. Auricchio’s books include Adelaide Labille-Guiard: Artist in the Age of Revolution (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2009), Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from The Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections (co-authored with Melissa Lee Hyde, Mary D. Sheriff, edited by Jordana Pomeroy, Scala Art Publishers, 2012), and most recently, The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered (Knopf, October 2014), which the Wall Street Journal praised as “Absorbing . . . well-written, well-furnished . . . An excellent account.”


Ms. Auricchio has taught at Princeton University and Connecticut College, and lectured across the United States. She is currently the Dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at The New School. She lives in New York City with her husband.


About Julia Doe

Julia Doe is a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of music at Columbia University. (In July 2015, she will join this same department as assistant professor of historical musicology.) She is a specialist in the music, literature, and politics of the French Enlightenment, with a particular focus on lyric theater and the history of theatrical institutions. Her current book project examines the impact of Bourbon court patronage on the development of opéra-comique in the final decades of the Old Regime. Portions of this research have appeared or are forthcoming in the Journal of the American Musicological Society and The Opera Journal; and have been supported by grants and prizes from the American Musicological Society, the Fulbright Program, the National Opera Association, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.


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About Opera Lafayette

Opera Lafayette is an American period-instrument ensemble specializing in French repertoire, rediscovers masterpieces, and creates a recorded legacy of its work. Founded in 1995 in Washington, DC by Conductor and Artistic Director Ryan Brown, Opera Lafayette has earned critical acclaim and a loyal following for its performances and recordings with international singers renowned for their interpretations of Baroque and classical operas.


Opera Lafayette recently returned from Versailles for five sold-out performances in January and February 2014. The company’s discography on the NAXOS label has expanded to ten releases, with Philidor’s Les Femmes Vengées to be released in 2015.


About FIAF

The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is New York’s premiere French cultural and language center. FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.



FIAF Spring 2015 Season Sponsors:


Air France and Delta Air Lines, the official airlines of FIAF; Nespresso; Cultural Services of the French Embassy; Delouvrier Family Foundation; Florence Gould Foundation; Institut français; The Natasha Comfort Community Gifts Fund; National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works; New York State Council on the Arts; NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; and Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater.


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What: Opera Lafayette: L’Épreuve Villageoise
When: Wednesday, May 27 at 7:30 p.m & Thursday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m
Where: FIAF–Florence Gould Hall, 55 East 59th Street

(between Park and Madison Avenue)

Admission: FIAF Member Tickets: Rows A-K $135, Rows L-R $90

Non-Member Tickets: Rows A-K $150, Rows L-R $100

Student Discount: Rows A-K $75, Rows L-R $50

Tickets: 800 982 2787 |
Information: 212 355 6160 |
Transportation: 4, 5, 6, N, R and Q to 59th Street & Lexington Avenue
  F to 63rd Street & Lexington Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Avenue
  Bus – M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street



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