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Music Academy of the West in August: Magic Flute, Nicholas McGegan, James Gaffigan

Highlights of the culminating month in Music Academy of the West’s 66th annual Summer School and Festival in Santa Barbara, CA include a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute on Aug 2 and 4 directed by David Paul and conducted by Warren Jones. Members of the Academy Festival Orchestra perform a concert of Rameau, Vivaldi and Haydn conducted by Nicholas McGegan (Aug 3), and conductor James Gaffigan leads the orchestra in Berlioz, Wagner and Mahler for the festival finale (Aug 10). The ongoing masterclasses that are integral to the Academy’s mission – with its philosophy of “learning through performance” – continue with masterclasses led by New York Philharmonic concertmaster Glenn Dicterow (Aug 5) and vocal icon Marilyn Horne (Aug 7). The Academy’s signature gala – Cabaret – takes place Aug 8, with the young performers coached by Horne and the Academy’s Cabaret Creative Contributor, the great comedienne Carol Burnett.
The Magic Flute
This summer’s Music Academy of the West operatic production is a fresh staging of The Magic Flute, Mozart’s beguiling final opera – a musical fairytale that is simultaneously profound and whimsical. The performances on Aug 2 and 4 at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre will be sung in German with English dialogue and supertitles. The 23 Academy Fellows who will perform in the production – chosen from among nearly 600 applicants as part of the Academy’s Voice Program audition process – represent some of today’s finest young singing talent. Overseeing the production is Marilyn Horne, who has led the Academy’s renowned Voice Program since 1997.
The Magic Flute’s director is David Paul, who also directed last season’s production of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress. Paul’s other credits include work for the Juilliard School, Washington National Opera and North Carolina Opera. On the podium will be Warren Jones, a member of the Music Academy’s vocal faculty who also led 2011’s Music Academy staging of The Barber of Seville. The scenic design is by Charlie Corcoran, whose credits include a recent Juilliard/Metropolitan Opera production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
About the production, David Paul says: “We are focusing on the magic in The Magic Flute. By celebrating the opera’s magic and fairy-tale elements, we are bucking the trend of overly intellectualized interpretations – but embracing what has made it a timeless classic. The core of this work is the quest of a young man to save the woman he loves. Unlike the singular focus on visual spectacle in many other productions, we will dig deeper so that our performers will give three-dimensional, psychologically riveting performances.
“That said, by focusing on the magic and creative storytelling, we’re making sure that this production will be a hit with young audiences,” Paul adds. “There are flying performers and giant puppets, as well as three boy sopranos. The tunes are beautiful and catchy, of course, and the young cast will make it as energetic and exciting as can be – which is apt, since Mozart wrote his opera for some of the most talented singing actors of his time. Several of our leads are members or former members of leading national and international opera companies, so we are presenting some of tomorrow’s stars today.” 
Orchestral Concerts
The Academy Festival Orchestra will present its final two concerts of the season in August. At the First Presbyterian Church on Aug 3, the irrepressible Nicholas McGegan – music director of San Francisco’s Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra – will lead members of the Academy Orchestra in a program of Baroque and Classical works beginning with a suite from Platée, the comic opera that Rameau presented at Versailles for the wedding festivities of Louis XV’s son. Two concertos by Vivaldi – one for Violin and “Echo,” the other for Violin, Two Flutes, Two Oboes and Two Bassoons – will precede Haydn’s Symphony No. 100 “Military,” marked by its trumpet fanfares and percussion. On Aug 10 at Santa Barbara’s Granada Theatre, James Gaffigan – chief conductor of the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra – will lead the Academy Festival Orchestra in a program of prime Romantic repertoire. The Overture to Wagner’s early opera Rienzi precedes the folk-inspired orchestral songs of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and the ever-popular Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz.
Los Angeles Times critic Mark Swed, in his review of Matthias Pintscher’s “bereshit” at the Music Academy earlier this summer, noted that the Academy Festival Orchestra’s playing was “impressively polished, but the real satisfaction came from the sensation that these young musicians were alive to the moment and playing for the sake not of perfection but discovery.”
The masterclass is one of the hallmarks of the Music Academy experience. All Fellows participate in the Music Academy’s extensive masterclass program, which is designed to complement individual private instruction. Faculty and guest artists are presenting more than 100 public masterclasses over the eight weeks, including Vocal Masterclasses with Marilyn Horne, whose final masterclass of the summer will take place on August 7. Members of the string, woodwind, brass, percussion, voice and piano faculty also present weekly masterclasses. An upcoming highlight is the Violin Masterclass by Glenn Dicterow on August 5. A regular guest artist, he officially joins the Music Academy faculty next summer after his retirement as the longest serving Concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. The public is invited to attend these classes, which provide unique insight into the music teaching process at its most dynamic and intimate.
Cabaret Gala
Famed comedienne Carol Burnett, a resident of nearby Montecito, is teaming with legendary mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne for coaching sessions with the young vocalists who will headline this year’s Cabaret gala on Aug 8, which benefits the Music Academy’s full-scholarship program. Burnett will instruct Music Academy Voice Fellows in the art of musical comedy, both in studio classes and individually. The comedienne – who was recently announced as the 2013 recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Prize for American Humor – joined the Cabaret artistic team for the first time last summer; it was the American icon’s first foray into the classroom. “Working with the Academy’s exceptionally talented Fellows last year was a wonderful experience,” Burnett said. “I have long cherished musical comedy and am pleased to have the opportunity to share what I know about this true American art form.” Horne added, “Cabaret will be better than ever!” 
At the Aug 8 gala, the Academy’s

gifted Voice Fellows will perform classical, Broadway and pop favorites while patrons enjoy cocktails and fine dining under the stars. The director, Gerald Sternbach, will once again oversee the revue-style production, which will take place at the DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara. All proceeds from Cabaret directly benefit the Academy’s full-scholarship training program and help to provide transformative educational experiences for the next generation of great classical musicians.
About Music Academy of the West
Founded in 1947 by a group of Southern California arts patrons and musicians that included Lotte Lehmann and Otto Klemperer, the Music Academy of the West is among the nation’s preeminent summer schools and festivals for gifted young classical musicians. The Academy provides these promising musicians with the opportunity for advanced study and frequent performance under the guidance of internationally renowned faculty artists, guest conductors and soloists. Admission to the Academy is strictly merit based, and Fellows receive full scholarships (tuition, room and board). Academy alumni are members of major symphony orchestras, chamber orchestras, ensembles, opera companies and university and conservatory faculties throughout the world. Many enjoy careers as prominent solo artists. Based in Santa Barbara, the Music Academy of the West presents more than 200 public events annually, including performances by faculty, visiting artists, and Fellows; masterclasses; orchestra and chamber music concerts; and fully staged opera.
Music Academy of the West alumni number more than 6,000 and represent a veritable “who’s who” of the classical music world, with such luminaries as Metropolitan Opera stars Marilyn Horne (’53), Grace Bumbry (’56), Thomas Hampson (’78), Juan Diego Flórez (’95), Isabel Leonard (’05), and Alek Shrader (’08); pianist Orion Weiss (’00); Lotfi Mansouri (’57), General Director Emeritus of the San Francisco Opera; Cynthia Phelps (’79 & ’83), Principal Violist with the New York Philharmonic; David Shifrin (’68), clarinetist and former Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; and Laurence Lesser (’53), former President of the New England Conservatory.
For more information, visit
Music Academy of the West Events: August 2013
August 1
Piano Chamber Masterclass with Jerome Lowenthal
Bassoon Masterclass with Benjamin Kamins
Collaborative Piano Masterclass with Jonathan Feldman
Downtown Community Concert
Picnic Concert 5
August 2
Clarinet Masterclass with Richie Hawley
Trumpet Masterclass with Charles Geyer
Horn Masterclass with Eli Epstein
Mozart: The Magic Flute with David Paul, director and Warren Jones, conductor (new production)
August 3
Members of the Academy Festival Orchestra with Nicholas McGegan, conductor
                  Rameau: Suite from Platée
                  Vivaldi: Concerto for Violin and Echo
                  Vivaldi: Concerto for Violin, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons
                  Haydn: Symphony No. 100 “Military”
August 4
Mozart: The Magic Flute with David Paul, director and Warren Jones, conductor (new production)
August 5
Solo Piano Masterclass 8 with Jerome Lowenthal
Flute Masterclass with Jeanne Baxtresser
Brass Ensemble Masterclass with Ralph Sauer
Violin Masterclass with Glenn Dicterow

August 6
Trombone & Tuba Masterclass with Ralph Sauer
Viola Masterclass with Roger Myers
Tuesdays @ 8 Concert 7
                  Bartók: Out of Doors
                  Bach: Contrapunctus and Chorale for Brass Quintet
                  Klein: String Trio
                  Dohnányi: Piano Quintet No. 1
August 7
Cello Masterclass with David Geber
Oboe Masterclass with David Weiss
Double Bass Masterclass with Nico Abondolo
Vocal Masterclass with Marilyn Horne
August 8
Bassoon Masterclass with Dennis Michel
Percussion Masterclass with Michael Werner
Harp Masterclass with JoAnn Turovsky
Collaborative Piano Masterclass with Jonathan Feldman
Downtown Community Concert
Cabaret, the Music Academy’s Signature Gala
Marilyn Horne, Voice Program Director
Carol Burnett, Cabaret Creative Contributor     
August 9
Clarinet Masterclass with Richie Hawley
Trumpet Masterclass with Josef Burgstaller
Horn Masterclass with Eli Epstein
Solo Piano Studio Presentation with Jerome Lowenthal
Picnic Concert 6
August 10
Festival Finale
Academy Festival Orchestra with James Gaffigan, conductor
                  Wagner: Overture to Rienzi
                  Mahler: Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
                  Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique
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For further information, contact
Glenn Petry, 21C Media Group: [email protected]; 212-625-2038
Tim Dougherty, Music Academy of the West Communications Manager: [email protected]; 805-695-7908
© 21C Media Group, July 2013



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