Feb. 24, 2010/FOR
CHANCELLOR JOHN MAUCERI
WASHINGTON, D.C. – University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) Chancellor John Mauceri will conduct The Gershwins’® Porgy and BessSM March 20-April 3 at the Washington National Opera (WNO) at the Kennedy Center. Maestro Mauceri is a Gershwin and American music specialist.
In a related event, Chancellor Mauceri will speak at the Smithsonian Institution. The event, titled “All-American Music: Behind the Scenes with Porgy and Bess,” will be held in the Smithsonian’s American History Museum from 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25. The event, held in conjunction with the Washington National Opera, will include a panel discussion, multimedia presentation and vocal performances by cast members. Chancellor Mauceri will be featured on the panel, which will discuss the upcoming production of Porgy and Bess, including its complex artistic and historical legacy.
Chancellor John Mauceri
Maestro Mauceri will be joined on the WNO’s production of Porgy and Bess by UNCSA alumnus Paul Tazewell (School of Design & Production, Class of 1986), who is serving as costume designer, and UNCSA alumnus Mark McCullough (School of Design & Production, Classes of 1983 and 1986), who is serving as the lighting designer. Both Tazewell and McCullough designed the Washington National Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess in 2005, produced as part of the WNO’s 50th anniversary season.
Directed by Francesca Zambello, this WNO revival will feature Eric Owens and Lester Lynch as Porgy, and Morenike Fadayomi and Indira Mahajan as Bess. According to the WNO: “This quintessential American masterpiece follows the story of a crippled beggar and the headstrong woman he loves. George Gershwin miraculously melds classical music, popular song, jazz, blues, and spirituals into iconic American songs like ‘Summertime,’ ‘I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’’ and ‘Bess, You Is My Woman Now.’”
Maestro Mauceri has extensive connections with both the city and the opera. He served as Music Director of the Washington Opera, Music Director of Orchestras at the Kennedy Center, and Consultant for Music Theater at the Kennedy Center for more than a decade. Probably his most significant operatic restoration is his performing edition of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, which makes use of the original performance materials and represents the composer’s final thoughts on his opera. This version, which had not been heard in 70 years, was recorded in February 2006 with the Nashville Symphony by Decca Records, and was released to much acclaim in late 2006. In February 2008, Maestro Mauceri conducted his arrangement of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. For two solo pianos and orchestra, the piece was performed by Chinese virtuoso Lang Lang, American jazz icon Herbie Hancock, and the Grammy Awards Orchestra.
Among the special guests of Chancellor Mauceri in Washington from UNCSA will be a group of students, who will be admitted to final rehearsals, as well as members of the Board of Visitors, who are holding their spring meeting in nation’s capital. The Chancellor is also expected to meet with Washington-area alumni, many of whom were Kenan Fellows at the Kennedy Center.
In addition, a group of 35 students from Winston-Salem State University will journey to Washington to attend a performance and participate in a Q&A session with Maestro Mauceri and members of the cast.
The Washington National Opera was founded in 1956. Five decades and countless artistic leaps later, the opera has achieved the stature of a world-class company and plays to standing-room-only audiences at the Kennedy Center Opera House. The company recently received the designation “The National Opera” by the Congress of the United States of America. It is under the stewardship of General Director Plácido Domingo.
Other UNCSA alumni connections with the WNO and the Kennedy Center include Shayne Doty (School of Music, High School Class of 1979), Director of Development for the Washington National Opera; Sara Henley (School of Dance, High School Class of 2002), Assistant Manager of Development at the Kennedy Center; Christina Gould (School of Design & Production, Class of 2006), Lighting Director at the Kennedy Center; and Gregory Goldsmith (School of Drama, Class of 1976; School of D&P, Class of 1977), Master Technician at the Kennedy Center. In addition, Kenan Fellows at the Kennedy Center for 2009-10 include Ryan Gastelum (D&P 2008), Mollye Maxner (High School Dance 1993, Drama 2009), Paolo Rodriguez (D&P 2009), and Ryan Wineinger (D&P 2009).
For more information about the WNO opera production, including tickets, visit: http://www.dc-opera.org/
For more information about the Smithsonian event, visit:
Maestro Mauceri has served as music director of four opera companies: Washington (National), Scottish (Glasgow), the Teatro Regio (Turin, Italy), and Pittsburgh. He is the first American to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He was the first music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. He was Consultant for Music Theater at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for more than a decade, and, for 15 years, he served on the faculty of Yale University. For 18 years, Mauceri worked closely with Leonard Bernstein and conducted many of the composer’s premieres at Bernstein’s request.
On Broadway, he was co-producer of On Your Toes, and served as musical supervisor for Hal Prince’s production of Candide as well as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song and Dance. He also conducted the orchestra for the film version of Evita. Among his many awards and honors are a Tony, Grammy, Billboard, Olivier, and two Emmys.
Chancellor Mauceri holds the lifetime title of Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and with whom he led over 300 concerts to a total audience of over 4 million people. He has written for and appeared on radio and television and has delivered keynote speeches and papers for major artistic and educational institutions, such as Harvard University, the American Academy in Berlin, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the American Musicological Society, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Mauceri has taken the lead in the preservation and performance of many genres of music and has supervised/conducted important premieres by composers as diverse as Debussy, Stockhausen, Korngold, Hindemith, Bernstein, Ives, Elfman, and Shore. He is a leading performer of music banned by the Third Reich and especially music of Hollywood’s émigré composers, and can be seen and heard on many recent DVD releases of classic films.
Upcoming events include performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (“Resurrection”) with the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra in both Winston-Salem as well as at the reopening of the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh.
The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of the Arts”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from middle school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. Internationally renowned conductor John Mauceri has been chancellor of UNCSA since 2006. UNCSA is located at 1533 S. Main St., Winston-Salem. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu.