Friday, November 25, 2022
HomeOperaQ & A with Director David Lefkowich

Q & A with Director David Lefkowich

By: Suzanne Whitney

Our fortieth Anniversary Season marks the third in a row director David Lefkowich has created one thing masterful for Opera Colorado. Through the 2019-20 Season, his stunning Pagliacci was the ultimate manufacturing staged by Opera Colorado earlier than closing our doorways to climate the COVID-19 pandemic. Then throughout the 2020-21 Season, David labored with us to create a fantastic digital program, April in Paris, to please and join us. Now, lastly, a piece directed by David returns to the stage on the Ellie Caulkins Opera Home within the type of our celebratory, one-night-only, semi-staged manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana. David’s artistic eye brings whimsy, authenticity, and wonder to every undertaking he touches. Study extra about David’s perspective on this Italian masterpiece and the way a semi-staged manufacturing holds a lot pleasure for him. 

Be a part of us September 10 at 7:00 p.m. for Cavalleria rusticana directed by David Lefkowich. Tickets begin at simply $39>>


Cavalleria rusticana was initially scheduled for February 2021. Inform us just a little bit concerning the journey it has taken to lastly convey this manufacturing to the stage on the Ellie.

Effectively, the final opera I directed earlier than the COVID-19 shutdown was really Opera Colorado’s Pagliacci. Quickly after that, Opera Colorado approached me about doing Cavalleria rusticana. I mentioned, completely! What an exquisite pairing, you recognize they’re usually offered on the identical night. However to have the ability to work on each operas individually was an exciting prospect.

A softly lit stage shows a crowd watching a troupe of actors in clown makeup perform.
Cecilia Violetta López, soprano, and Johnathan Johnson, tenor, carry out with the Opera Colorado Refrain in our 2020 manufacturing of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci below the route of David Lefkowich.
Picture: Opera Colorado Matthew Staver

Cavalleria rusticana is definitely the final of my rescheduled reveals from the COVID-19 shutdown. I’m tremendous excited to come back again to this manufacturing. Most significantly, I’m so grateful to truly get to direct this piece, particularly for Opera Colorado. I really like Opera Colorado. It’s an organization I’ve labored for for a very long time. It’s nice to know Opera Colorado was prepared to satisfy their promise and say, sure, this manufacturing was cancelled, and it acquired postponed, however we’re nonetheless going to do it—even when it doesn’t look precisely the identical because it did once we first talked about it so a few years in the past.


Inform us just a little bit about your historical past with Cavalleria rusticana.

So really my first skilled job in opera, I used to be the struggle director and assistant stage director for the Glimmerglass Opera manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci. It was a really distinctive and fascinating manufacturing, nevertheless it actually gave me my urge for food for the rating, and I’ve been ready since 2002 to direct my very own manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana!

I’m thrilled that that is my twentieth 12 months directing, and I’m lastly in a position to really direct Cavalleria rusticana myself. It feels very auspicious like it’s the actual proper piece on the proper time.


So after twenty years away from the piece, what has your preparation course of been like?

Effectively, I memorized the rating twenty years in the past, so I’m extra reviewing it and, and it with recent eyes. Each time I do a chunk, I be taught one thing new about it. So it’s been actually beautiful. I imply, I’ve had a whole lot of time to arrange for this manufacturing—extra time than I usually do (laughs)—that has given me the time to arrange one thing as beautiful because the rating is. I would like my staging to replicate the great thing about Mascagni’s music and of the facility of this story. 

I feel finally, having twenty extra years of expertise below my belt, I’m far more ready to direct one thing of this magnitude. I say that as a result of I feel when it’s not completed nicely, Cavalleria rusticana can really feel a bit overdramatic. So we wish to stroll a effective line. We wish to have a strong story, however not let it slip into cleaning soap opera territory. And I really feel like, with twenty extra years of life expertise, I’m extra geared up to inform the story of heartbreak and loss than I used to be after I was first beginning my profession in 2002. I imply, these are common tales which have been round for lots of of years. So, my job is simply to inform the story merely and elegantly and let the music and the drama reside for themselves.


Your previous productions with Opera Colorado have had such iconic costumes and surroundings. How are you approaching this semi-staged manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana?

Catherine Cook as Julia Child speaks to director David Lefkowich while the video camera frames Catherine.
Director David Lefkowich and mezzo-soprano Catherine Prepare dinner on set for Opera Colorado’s 2021 digital program, April in Paris.
Picture: Opera Colorado

Effectively, in some methods, nothing modifications. My focus is placing on an exquisite present and utilizing these nice performers to inform an awesome story. I feel the place the viewers will see a distinction is now we are able to function the orchestra on the stage, as a substitute of that includes the scenic parts. This permits the orchestra to be a visible component within the story we’re telling and never simply an aural component.

In the end Cavalleria rusticana is about emotion. It doesn’t matter what surroundings you may have or what costumes you may have. The emotion by no means modifications. It’s melodrama at its absolute most interesting. By stripping away a few of these extra design parts, the viewers actually will get to concentrate on the music and the superior dramatic performances of those singers. This live performance model actually will get to the guts of Cavalleria rusticana—which is admittedly about this lady, Santuzza, who’s in ache, and the city who has let all this unfold. So, what I really like about this manufacturing is that my job doesn’t change in any respect. I nonetheless get to inform an awesome story. I nonetheless get to placed on an exquisite opera, however I get to concentrate on the components I really like and the components that make it significant and impactful.


You’re proper, you may have the chance to focus in on the relationships that drive this opera. How are you planning to develop these for the viewers?

Due to the truth that we’re doing this semi-staged, we’re going to give a preview of the story of Santuzza, Turridu, Lola, Alfio, and Mamma Lucia to the viewers. As a substitute of the viewers simply experiencing the story in the meanwhile, they’ll see all of the opening drama performed out throughout the prelude. The viewers will likely be instantly in on what’s occurring as a substitute of making an attempt to catch up. We’re going to use some motion and a few physicality to assist inform the story of what occurred earlier than the opera begins. And a few of the backstory of why we’re on this scenario within the first place.

I wish to give the viewers kind of as a lot element as attainable. I really like how descriptive the opening of the rating is. This music helps to construct a framework for all the opposite components of the story that we wish to inform.


For the reason that orchestra, below the baton of Maestro Ari Pelto, will likely be middle stage, are you wanting ahead to a deeper collaboration with him?

Conductor Ari Pelto stands with his hands raised in an orchestra pit. The violin section is visible behind him.
Manufacturing {photograph} of Opera Colorado’s 2020 Manufacturing of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in The Ellie Caulkins Opera Home in Denver, Colorado on Monday, February 24, 2020.
Photographer: Matthew Staver
Picture ID #STA_8929r.JPG

The reveals that I’ve completed with Maestro Pelto, I rely as a few of the highlights of my profession. He’s delicate. He’s musical. And when he makes selections, they at all times profit not solely the music, however the storytelling, the drama, and the opera itself. So, to have the ability to work with him once more is a luxurious and a pleasure. 

I additionally assume he’s such a wonderful conductor that it’ll add to the viewer’s expertise—watching his interactions, each with the singers and with the orchestra. He is aware of inform a narrative with only a look, a nod, or a hand gesture. I feel the viewers is admittedly in for a deal with with Maestro Pelto entrance and middle.


On this manufacturing of Cavalleria rusticana, what would you wish to level out to our viewers?

Effectively, I feel one of many distinctive issues is having all our fantastic performers on stage—singers, orchestra, and Opera Colorado Refrain, directed by the fantastic Sahar Nouri. We’re taking all of the offstage singing that normally occurs within the wings and placing it on stage in view of the viewers. For every of the fantastic choral moments that normally occur offstage within the city church, we can have them onstage as a visible component. 

However what I would like the viewers to do is simply hearken to the rating. It’s music you’ll develop into accustomed to simply by listening to the rating. Even for those who’ve by no means heard it earlier than, you’ll really feel like you recognize it. To anybody who is perhaps afraid that they don’t know what’s occurring, I would like them to place apart all of these fears. Mascagni knew precisely what he was doing. He writes the entire story and the drama into the music, so all it’s a must to do is sit and pay attention.


Be a part of us September 10 at 7:00 p.m. for Cavalleria rusticana below the director of David Lefkowich. Tickets begin at simply $39.>>


What questions would you ask our director, David Lefkowich? Have you ever ever seen a semi-staged manufacturing earlier than? What are you most wanting ahead to seeing or listening to in Cavalleria rusticana?



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