ANTHONY BARRESE TO CONDUCT AMERICAN PREMIERE OF FRANCO FACCIO’S LOST
OPERA AMLETO (HAMLET)— NEVER PERFORMED ANYWHERE SINCE 1871—WITH TEXT BY
VERDI’S LIBRETTIST ARRIGO BOITO
AT OPERA SOUTHWEST, ALBUQUERQUE, OCT. 26, 31, & NOV. 2, 2014
Maestro Barrese Leads Concert Version of Amleto with Baltimore Concert Opera in Baltimore
Oct. 2 & 5, 2014
The enterprising and imaginative conductor Anthony Barrese will lead the American premiere of Amleto (Hamlet) with music
by Franco Faccio and libretto by Arrigo Boito, based on Shakespeare’s play, at Opera Southwest on Sunday afternoon,
October 26th , 2 p.m. at the Journal Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th Street SW, Albuquerque, New
Mexico. The opera will be repeated Friday evening, October 31st, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday afternoon, November 2nd at 2 p.m.
The production, directed by David Bartholomew with scenic design by Carey Wong, will feature tenor Alex Richardson as
Amleto; soprano Abla Hamza will sing Ofelia; mezzo-soprano Caroline Worra, formerly of the New York City Opera, appears as
Queen Geltrude; baritone Shannon DeVine will sing Claudio; bass Michael Gallup will sing Polonio and bass Jeffrey Beruan will
sing Lo Spettro, the ghost. The opera will be sung in Italian with English super-titles.
Tickets from $12 to $82 can be obtained until August 1, 2014 by calling Opera Southwest Box Office at 505-243-0591;
thereafter at the same number, online at: www.operasouthwest.org, or from the National Hispanic Cultural Center
Box Office at: (505) 724-4771.
Preceding the premiere in Albuquerque, Maestro Barrese will conduct Amleto in a concert version at the Baltimore Concert
Opera at the Engineers Club, Garrett-Jacobs Mansion, 11 West Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, on Thursday evening,
October 2nd, at 8 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon, October 5th, 2014 at 3 p.m. The four principals who will be singing at Opera
Southwest— Alex Richardson, Abla Hamza, Caroline Worra, and Shannon Devine—will perform in Baltimore as well. Tickets
from $25 to $65 to the concert version can be obtained starting May 24, 2014 by calling (443) 445-0226 or online:
Premiered at Genoa’s Teatro Carlo Felice in 1865 with a libretto by Arrigo Boito, who was to make his name as the librettist for
Verdi’s Falstaff and Otello, Amleto (Hamlet) was composed by Franco Faccio, best known as conductor of the premiere of
Verdi’s Otello and the Italian premiere of Verdi’s Aida. It was conceived as an anti-Verdi/pro-Wagner manifesto for the “music
of the future.” Amleto was a critical and audience success at its premiere after which Faccio and Boito joined Garibaldi’s forces.
During their military travels, Faccio became more intimately acquainted with the music of Wagner, and made extensive revisions
on his score in preparation for an 1871 La Scala revival.
That performance proved disastrous owing to the illness of the leading tenor. Faccio, discouraged by this failure, withdrew
Amleto, which was never to be performed again until now. Contrary to standard practice, a piano vocal score of the work was
never made, and the original manuscript languished in obscurity for over a century.
Maestro Barrese first became aware of an Italian Hamlet opera during his first season on the music staff of the Sarasota Opera in
the winter/spring of 2002. In 2003 he contacted Gabriel Dotto, a musicologist living in Milan who had formerly worked with the
Italian publishing house Ricordi. He had heard that many of their archives had been destroyed during World War II, and he was
uncertain as to whether Ricordi would still have the autograph from Amleto. Mr. Dotto replied: “As luck (and some rather heroic
effort on the part of Ricordi management sixty years ago) would have it, no autographs of the historical archive were destroyed in
the war, as the collection was secretly taken to a safe location.” (The production copies of scores, hire libraries, and so forth were,
however, lost during the bombings.) Since Ricordi was at that time moving into a new home at the Biblioteca Brera in the heart
of Milan, he sent his letter off to Maria Pia Ferraris, the head archivist of the newly opened Ricordi Archives. It turned out that
Ricordi did have a microfilm of the autograph, and Barrese then began the painstaking task of transcribing the manuscript. At the
same time Maestro Barrese’s wife found a copy of Boito’s libretto—also on microfilm—at the Library of Performing Arts in
New York. The libretto was especially valuable since Faccio’s handwriting was difficult to decipher and the quality of the
autograph manuscript poor. The noted American musicologist and Verdi expert Phillip Gossett assisted Barrese in figuring out
the handwriting idiosyncracies in the score.
During the summer of 2005, while in Milan teaching a class on the Italian Futurist movement in music, Barrese met with
Ricordi’s head archivist Maria Pia Ferraris who allowed Barrese to peruse the original manuscript as well as the only piano vocal
score in existence: an autograph manuscript of Faccio’s own arrangement. This enabled him to incorporate all the elements into a
full score and piano score. In 2006 Barrese organized a read-through of the score in New York for Plácido Domingo who wrote:
“I had the pleasure to attend a presentation of this work by the talented young conductor Anthony Barrese, and I remember well
the strong impression made by both the quality of the music and the performance.”In 2007 he led the American premiere of
Ofelia’s Marcia Funebre with the Dallas Opera Orchestra. Now, with the complete production of Amleto at Opera Southwest, this
important lost operatic treasure will finally be revived.
In a few short years, the spirited young American conductor Anthony Barrese has gone from assisting Maestros David Zinman,
Fabio Luisi, and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to an early appointment as Artistic Director and
Principal Conductor of Opera Southwest.
Maestro Barrese’s guest-conducting has taken him to some of America’s leading companies; last June he received accolades for
leading a brilliant production at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis of Smetana’s The Kiss. The New York Times sent music critic
Vivien Schweitzer out to St. Louis where she covered his debut. “Anthony Barrese conducted a lively reading of the score, with
its tuneful Czech-inflected melodies and stirring orchestral accompaniment.” (June 23, 2013) The veteran reviewer Sarah Bryan
Miller, of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also found much to praise: “In his [OTSL] conducting debut, Anthony Barrese brought out
all the Slavic beauty of Smetana’s score and supported his singers admirably.” (June 16, 2013)
Other recent highlights have included performances of several productions at the Sarasota Opera, including Lakmé, Le nozze di
Figaro, and Hansel and Gretel. He has also led Lucia di Lammermoor with Opera North, Don Giovanni at the Boston Lyric
Opera, Il tabarro at the Mercury Opera Company, Edmonton, and Ned Rorem’s Our Town at the DePaul Opera Theater. In
Europe he has conducted a new production of Turandot in Ascoli Piceno’s historic Teatro Ventidio Basso, with a cast that
included Nicola Martinucci as Calaf. He also made his French debut conducting Turandot at the Opéra de Massy, France.
Having served as Assistant Conductor of the Dallas Opera during the 2006-2007 season, Maestro Barrese was quickly engaged to
lead a production of Tosca a year later. In 2013 at Opera Southwest he conducted Don Giovanni and in previous years he
distinguished himself with his productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, and La cenerentola. In 2013-14, he returned to
the Dallas Opera and to the Opera Theatre at the University of Northern Colorado. With a Master’s of Music cum laude from
New England Conservatory of Music, Maestro Barrese was granted the 2007 Georg Solti Foundation U.S. Award for Young
Conductors. As an undergraduate he majored in composition at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Mr. Barrese is the recipient of numerous composition awards including a N.E.C. Contemporary Ensemble Composition
Competition Award for his Madrigale a 3 voci femminili, and two B.M.I. Student Composers Awards. He made his operatic
conducting debut in Milan with La bohème and recorded Roberto Andreoni’s quattro luci sul lago with “I Solisti della Scala” (a
chamber group made up of the first chair musicians of the La Scala Philharmonic) for broadcast on Italian National Radio/ RAI 3.
Maestro Barrese divides his time between Albuquerque (Opera Southwest) and his home base in Chicago.
# # # # # #