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Bard College Conservatory of Music Graduate Vocal Arts Program Presents an Opera Triple Bill

Program Celebrates Modernism and Romance

Eleanor Davis

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—The Graduate Vocal Arts Program of the Bard College Conservatory of Music presents a luminous triple bill of operatic rarities exploring the rites and rituals of marriage. The program features three fully staged operas: Pulcinella, by Igor Stravinsky, and Full Moon in March, by John Harbison, James Bagwell, conductor; and Svadba, by Ana Sokolovic, Jackson McKinnon ’16, conductor. The triple bill will be performed by singers from the Graduate Vocal Arts Program accompanied by The Bard College Conservatory Orchestra on Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 at 3 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are from $15–40. All proceeds benefit the Graduate Vocal Arts Program Scholarship Fund. To purchase tickets, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or go to

Director Alison Moritz writes, “Each act of this triptych highlights a different traditional style or trope used by Diaghilev and the Ballet Russes: Pulcinella (a neoclassical commedia dell’arte); Full Moon in March (inspired by popular ballets based on exotic themes and characters such as Cléopâtre, Schéhérazade, and Thamar); and Svadba (a twist combining the country girls of Les Sylphides with the shocking paganism of The Rite of Spring.) More than just an exercise in style, these three operas all ask the same central question: Why do we make art?”

The program will be sung by Eric Finbarr Carey, tenor; Mark Chan, baritone; Jonathon Comfort, baritone; Elaine Daiber, soprano; Rachel Doehring, soprano; SarahAnn Duffy, mezzo-soprano; Addie Rose Forstman, soprano; Angela Hendryx, soprano; Zoe Johnson ’16, soprano; Luke MacMillan, baritone; Sun-Ly Pierce, mezzo-soprano; Chloë Schaaf, mezzo-soprano; Paulina Swierczek, soprano; Natalie Trumm, soprano; and Seol Ah Yoo, soprano.

To purchase tickets, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or go to

About the Artists

Stage Director Alison Moritz’s productions have been lauded as “about as gorgeous and accessible as any opera anywhere” (Commercial Appeal), and her work has been praised for its “incredible economy of resources, lean production design, and eye for jest and banter” (Orlando Examiner). Her 2017–18 season includes several new productions, including Candide (Tanglewood), Orpheus in the Underworld (New Orleans Opera), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Madison Opera), and the world premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up for WNO’s American Opera Initiative, as well as new music collaborations with IlluminArts in Miami and the Resonant Bodies Festival in New York City. A “rising young star on the contemporary American opera scene” (89.5 Tulsa), Moritz’s production of The Manchurian Candidate was named the No.1 Classical Music/Dance Treasure event of 2016 by the Austin Chronicle, and received four Austin Critics’ Table awards, including Best Opera Production. In 2015, Moritz received the SDCF Kurt Weill Fellowship and was named one of the winners of OPERA America’s Director-Designer Showcase. Her professional credits include engagements with Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Wolf Trap Opera, and Chautauqua Opera. Previously, Moritz served as the resident assistant director at both the Minnesota Opera and The Atlanta Opera.

James Bagwell maintains an active international schedule as a conductor of choral, operatic, and orchestral music. He was recently named associate conductor of The Orchestra Now, and in 2009 was appointed principal guest conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2015 he served as music director of The Collegiate Chorale. Some highlights of his tenure with them include conducting a number of operas-in-concert at Carnegie Hall, such as Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, Rossini’s Moïse et Pharaon, and Boito’s Mefistofele. He conducted the New York premiere of Philip Glass’s Toltec Symphony and Golijov’s Oceana, both at Carnegie Hall. Since 2011, he has collaborated with singer and composer Natalie Merchant, conducting a number of major orchestras across the country, including the San Francisco and Seattle symphonies. He has trained choruses for a numerous American and international orchestras, including the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, and the American Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with noted conductors such as Charles Dutoit, Andris Nelsons, Gustavo Dudamel, Alan Gilbert, Gianandrea Noseda, Valery Gergiev, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Michael Tilson Thomas, Louis Langrée, Leon Botstein, Ivan Fischer, Jesús López-Cobos, and Robert Shaw.

Bagwell prepared The Collegiate Chorale for concerts at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland; in 2012, the Chorale traveled to Israel and the Salzburg Festival for four programs with the Israel Philharmonic. Since 2003, he has been director of choruses for the Bard Music Festival, conducting and preparing choral works during the summer festival at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. He frequently appears as guest conductor for orchestras around the country and abroad, including the Cincinnati Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, and the Interlochen Music Festival. He is professor of music at Bard College, and director of performance studies and the Graduate Conducting Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music.

Jackson McKinnon ’16, pianist, organist, and conductor, is currently a second-year graduate student in the Choral Conducting Program, and will receive his master of music in spring, 2018. In 2016, he was a soloist with The Orchestra Now, conducted by Leon Botstein, performing Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, and also conducted the American debut of Pauline Oliveros’s Sound Geometries with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). McKinnon joined the creative team of the Bard SummerScape and Bard Music Festival (BMF) in 2016 as assistant chorus master, and has served as an assistant conductor to the BMF’s opera productions. Originally from a small town in Northwest Arkansas, McKinnon found a love for the piano and classical music at 16, and since then has been an adamant performer of all kinds of music, debuting new works ranging from solo piano to chamber music, fully orchestrated pieces, and operas. McKinnon’s final degree recital in 2016 consisted of two debuts of orchestral works by student composers, along with Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Shostakovich’s Second Piano Concerto, in which he was both pianist and conductor.

Recognized as one of the finest conservatories in the United States, The Bard College
Conservatory of Music, founded in 2005, is guided by the principle that young
musicians should be broadly educated in the liberal arts and sciences to achieve their
greatest potential. All undergraduates complete two degrees over a five-year period: a
bachelor of music and a bachelor of arts in a field other than music. The Conservatory
Orchestra has performed twice at Lincoln Center, and has completed three international
concert tours: in June 2012 to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; in June 2014 to Russia
and six cities in Central and Eastern Europe; and in June 2016, to three cities in Cuba.

The Graduate Vocal Arts Program is a two-year master of music degree conceived by
soprano Dawn Upshaw. The course work is designed to support a broad-based approach
to a singing career that extends from standard repertory to new music. Alongside weekly
voice lessons, diction, and repertory courses is training in acting, as well as core seminars
that introduce and tie together the historical/cultural perspective, analytical tools, and
performance skills that distinguish vocal and operatic performance at the highest level.

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This event was last updated on 02-26-2018