Overview

Cyrano is skilled in both sword and pen but his enormous nose leaves him a swashbuckling lonely heart. Despite his devotion to Roxane—or because of it—Cyrano guides a handsome rival to win her love. From the balcony scene to the battlefield to the convent, the spiritual triumphs over the corporeal and Cyrano, like Don Quixote and Don Juan, lives among the world’s enduring literary figures. This composition is the masterwork of Michigan Opera Theatre Founder and Artistic Director David DiChiera.

Music by David DiChiera
Libretto by Bernard Uzan, after Edmond Rostand’s play, Cyrano de Bergerac
Premiered in Detroit, 2007

Sung in French with projected English translations

Artists

John Viscardi

Cyrano

The young, good-looking American baritone John Viscardi is one of the few in the cast who has a genuine French style to his singing, calling to mind such elegant Gallic baritones as Robert Massard and Ernest Blanc.
-The Detroit News

Baritone John Viscardi, New York native and graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA), is a rising talent notably acknowledged for his diversity of vocal repertoire.

2015/16 season included Vaughn Williams’ Five Mystical Songs at Carnegie Hall, Carmina Burana with Opera Philadelphia, Silvio in Pagliacci with Opera San Louis Obispo, Bill Calhoun in Kiss Me Kate with the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice, Morales in Carmen with Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

John Viscardi

Cyrano

Marian Pop

Cyrano

A rich, agile voice and high notes that could nearly part your hair.
-The Oregonian

In recent seasons, Mr. Pop has joined Theater Basel for his role debut as Posa in Don Carlo as well as performing Lescaut in Manon, Taddeo L’italiana in Algeri, and Prokofiev’s Pantalone in The Love for Three Oranges. A frequent guest at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, the baritone’s numerous roles with the company have included his signature performances of Figaro in Il barbiere di Siviglia, plus Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Ulisse in Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria. With the Vienna Staatsoper and Volksoper, he has sung a variety of roles, including Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Dandini in La Cenerentola, Valentin in Faust, Ping in Turandot, Graf Homonay in Zigeunerbaron, and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus.

Marian Pop

Cyrano

Sarah Joy Miller

Roxanne

Vivacious and fearless.
-The New York Times

 

Acknowledged as one of the industry’s foremost emerging talents, Ms. Miller began turning heads at her New York City Opera and BAM débuts to great critical acclaim singing the title role of Anna Nicole Smith in the Royal Opera House commissioned opera Anna Nicole by Mark-Anthony Turnage. This season, Ms. Miller performs Juliette in Roméo et Juliette at Opera Tampa, and Mabel in Pirates of Penzance at Palm Beach Opera. Miller will also perform as a featured soloist in a “Puccini to Pop” concert with Tulsa Opera.

Sarah Joy Miller

Roxanne

Sebastien Gueze

Christian

May 13, 17, 20

A charismatic bundle of energy.
-Bachtrack

Despite his relative youth the young french tenor, Sébastien Guèze, has already had tremendous success singing at internationally renowned venues such as La Fenice di Venezia, La Monnaie de Bruxelles, Amsterdam Concertgebow, Schwetzingen Festival, Festival di Spoleto, Santa Cecilia Roma, Koeln Opera, Warsaw Wielki Theater, Opera of Athens, Les Chorégies d’Orange, Paris Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Salle Pleyel, Helsinki National Opera, Tokio Oji Hall, Valencia Palao de Les Arts, Harare International Festival of the Arts (Zimbabwe), and Miami Florida Grand Opera to name but a few.

Sebastien Gueze

Christian

May 13, 17, 20

Jason Slayden

Christian

May 21

With a supple voice and with his matinee idol good looks, Mr. Slayden was eminently believable as the good-hearted but clumsy-in-love poet. His passion was real, his heartbreak was visceral, and his vocal command of this role was beyond question.
-Communities Digital News

Winner of a 2012-13 Sullivan Career Grant, tenor Jason Slayden has been celebrated for the warmth and beauty of his voice, as well as demonstrating “considerable subtlety as an actor”. Last season included his debut with Lyric Opera of Chicago as Tybalt and the cover of Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, Virginia Opera as Rodolfo in La bohème, Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as Alfredo in La traviata, Opera Santa Barbara as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Don José in The Tragedy of Carmen with the Colorado Music Festival, and Pinkerton with the Berkshire Opera Festival. The 2016-2017 season includes Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra with Pacific Opera Victoria, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Annapolis Opera.

Jason Slayden

Christian

May 21

Kyle Albertson

De Guiche

Splendidly resonant baritone, perfect diction, and impressive acting.

Bass-baritone Kyle Albertson is renowned not only for his versatile voice, confidence, and style, but also for his ability to bring a character to life on stage.

Kyle Albertson

De Guiche

Bradley Smoak

Ligniere

Smoak dominated the stage with a performance of consummate wit, inspired clowning, resonant singing, and star power to spare.
– Opera Today

With a voice of “rich presence and power” (Opera Today), American bass-baritone Bradley Smoak has rapidly emerged as one of opera’s most exciting and sought-after young talents. Known for his compelling presence on both the operatic and concert stages, Smoak continues to delight audiences with his “easy charismatic charm” and unique versatility across a wide variety of musical styles and theatrical characterizations.

Bradley Smoak

Ligniere

Harry Greenleaf

Le Bret

Baritone Harry Greenleaf is a native of Wixom, Michigan. He is a proud alumnus of the Michigan State University College of Music, and received a Master of Music at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. In 2013 and 2014 he was a Studio Aritist with the Wolf Trap Opera Company. While there he sang the role of Baron Douphol in La traviata with the National Symphony Orchestra, and Monsieur Barbu in Les mamelles de Tirésias. In the summer of 2015 he was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, covering the role of Sonora in La fanciulla del West. In 2015 he debuted with Cincinnati Chamber Opera, singing The Pilot in The Little Prince. In the summer of 2016 he will perform with the Glimmerglass Festival as Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd. He made his debut with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2016, singing the role of Top in The Tender Land, and will appear as Moralès in Carmen, Jake Wallace in La fanciulla del West, and Le Bret in Dr. David DiChiera’s Cyrano for the 2016-2017 season.

Harry Greenleaf

Le Bret

Brent Michael Smith

Carbon

As a Studio Artist with Michigan Opera Theatre last season, Bass Brent Smith sang Colline in La Bohème, Second S.S. Officer in The Passenger, the Doctor in Macbeth and The Speaker in The Magic Flute.

Last year he was an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera, where his performance as Billy Jackrabbit in La fanciulla del West received critical acclaim by Opera News as a “standout.” Colorado Music Buzz praised him for “making the most of his brief appearances.”

He received his Master of Music degree under the tutelage of John Hines. He received his Bachelor’s in music in piano performance from Hope College (Holland, MI). Mr. Smith is a first-place winner in the Grand Rapids Opera Competition (2012).

Brent Michael Smith

Carbon

Deborah Nansteel

La Duegne

“A formidable display of vocal power and dramatic assurance,” mezzo-soprano Deborah Nansteel recently completed the Washington National Opera Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, where she performed many roles including Tisbe in La Cenerentola, Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte, Curra (cover Preziosilla) in La forza del destino, Paula (cover) in Florencia en el Amazonas, as well as The Cat in Tony Award winning composer Jeanine Tesori’s The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me.  She recently earned the highly esteemed Betty Allen Award and a grant from the Sullivan Foundation.

Deborah Nansteel

La Duegne

Randall Scotting

Capucin & Marquis De Cuigy

Randall Scotting, whose “strong masculine countertenor matches his handsome muscular physique” continues to garner praise in the opera house and on the concert stage for his versatility and depth of musical interpretation. His repertoire spans from the Renaissance to contemporary works and he has been particularly praised for his performances of Baroque operas’ leading men.

Recent and upcoming engagements include the title role in Handel’s Rinaldo at Merkin Concert Hall in New York; the role of Hera in PARIS! with Company XIV in New York; a concert of arias from the baroque pasticcio Andromeda in California; Gluck’s Ezio with Odyssey Opera in Boston; and Castrovillari’s seventeenth-century opera La Cleopatra in San Francisco.

Randall Scotting

Capucin & Marquis De Cuigy

Jeff Byrnes

Un Inconnu

Baritone Jeff Byrnes returned to Michigan Opera Theatre last season as a Studio Artist. He performed the roles of Schanuard in La Bohème, 1st SS Officer in The Passenger, Old Servant in Elektra and The Bonze in Madame Butterfly. Prior to joining MOT, he performed the role of Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking with Dayton Opera, and he covered Germont in La Traviata and Balstrode in Peter Grimes with Des Moines Metro Opera. Other operatic highlights include Leporello in Don Giovanni and the title role in The Mikado with the Natchez Opera Festival, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro, Sprecher in Die Zauberflöte, and Pilate in St. John Passion with CCM Opera. He was a regional finalist in the Rocky Mountain Region of the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in 2014.

Jeff Byrnes

Un Inconnu

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Production Team

Steven Mercurio

Conductor

Bernard Uzan

Director

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Synopsis

Act 1
Scene 1
The audience at the Hotel Bourgogne anticipate a performance by the famous actor Montfleury. Christian de Neuvilette, a handsome new recruit in the Gascon Guards, points out to his drunken friend, Lignière, a woman in one of the boxes with whom he is in love. Lignière tells Christian that she is Madeleine de Robin, known as Roxane. She is beautiful, rich, and intellectual. Christian laments that he is too stupid and coarse to win the heart of such a refined woman. The baker-poet Rageneau and the soldier Le Bret enter looking for one of the Gascon Guards, Cyrano de Bergerac, who has banned Montfleury from performing for a month. They describe Cyrano as being eloquent and brave, but as being much ridiculed because of his abnormally large nose, a subject on which he is extremely sensitive. Lignière goes out drinking, and Christian is told by a mysterious man of an attempt at Lignière’s life. That night when Lignière goes to the Porte de Nelle on his way home, he will be met by one hundred men sent by a nobleman who is upset that Lignière wrote a poem making fun of him. Christian goes to save Lignière.

The performance commences, but in the middle of it Cyrano chases Montfleury offstage and pays off the theater manager. A nobleman tries to insult Cyrano by saying simply that his nose is “very large”. Cyrano counters by coming up with many other more interesting insults the nobleman could have used. Swords are drawn and Cyrano wounds the nobleman. Le Bret tells Cyrano that he is making too many enemies, and Cyrano in turn confesses his love for Roxane. He says that he loves Roxane but she will never be able to love him in return because of his large nose. Roxane’s nurse arrives to tell Cyrano that Roxane requests a meeting with him at Rageneau’s bakery the next day, and Cyrano accepts. Cyrano then learns of the plot against Lignière, and determines to take on the mob himself.

Scene 2
Cyrano arrives at the bakery, eagerly anticipating his meeting with Roxane. Rageneau’s wife, Lise, enters with some of Rageneau’s manuscripts that she has turned into paper bags for pastries, to Rageneau’s dismay. Roxane’s nurse arrives with Roxane and Cyrano gets her out of the room by telling her to go out into the streets and eat some pastries, and then read the poetry written on the bags. Alone with Cyrano, Roxane confesses her love for a man. Cyrano thinks it is him who she loves, but it is actually Christian. Roxane makes Cyrano promise to protect Christian in battle.

The cadets arrive, praising Cyrano. Christian and Le Bret are among them. Cyrano proceeds to tell the story of how he fought the hundred men at the Porte de Nelle, and Christian interjects several references to Cyrano’s nose. Cyrano orders the room cleared and is alone with Christian. Cyrano tells Christian that he is Roxane’s cousin, and Christian confesses his love. The two become fast friends. They eventually decide that Cyrano will write letters to Roxane under Christian’s name.

Act 2
Roxane is waiting for a meeting with Christian. She and Cyrano converse about Christian’s “refinement”. Cyrano exits before Le Comte de Guiche enters. He is in love with Roxane and asks her to become his lover before he goes to war against the Spanish. She declines, but not before convincing him to allow Cyrano and Christian’s company to stay in Paris.

Christian later arrives, and tells Cyrano that he no longer needs his services, and that he can win Roxane on his own. But when he tries, he fails miserably, angering Roxane with his “loss of charm”. Cyrano tells Christian that he will feed him words to say to Roxane. Christian then woos Roxane, who is on her balcony. Eventually Cyrano takes over, speaking while Christian mouths words. Christian climbs up the balcony and kisses Roxane. A Capucin monk, delivering to Roxane a message that De Guiche still wants to meet with her, agrees to marry Christian and Roxane. The couple celebrate their love while Cyrano laments that he has lost Roxane. De Guiche arrives and, seeing that Roxane and Christian are married, orders Cyrano, Christian, and their company to report to go to war against the Spanish. Roxane makes Cyrano promise that Christian write to her every single day.

Act 3

Scene 1
At the battlefield in Arras, the soldiers are asleep. Christian, Carbon and Le Bret are among them, and Le Bret awakens to find Cyrano running to the camp from enemy lines. He has gone out every day to deliver “Christian’s” letters to Roxane. De Guiche arrives and chastises them. After Cyrano insults De Guiche, he waves a white handkerchief as a signal to a spy to tell the Spanish to attack, and ensuring certain death for Cyrano and the guards. Roxane later arrives with Rageneau, bring food. She has crossed enemy territory to see Christian. Cyrano tells Christian about the letters, and gives him a letter to sign so he can give it to Roxane if he dies. Christian notices a mark on the letter, and Cyrano replies that it is one of his tears, as dying is not so terrible as never seeing Roxane again. Roxane tells Christian that she would love him even if he were ugly, and he realizes that she loves Cyrano, not him. Christian convinces Cyrano to tell Roxane about the letters, then rushes into battle. Just as Cyrano is about to do so, Le Bret and Carbon enter carrying the mortally wounded Christian. Cyrano tells Christian that he told Roxane and that she loves him, and Christian dies.

Scene 2
Fifteen years later, Roxane lives at a convent, mourning the loss of Christian. Cyrano comes to her every day, delivering his Gazette, or news from the outside world. Cyrano comes to visit her, and tell her news, and Roxane notices blood on his head. Cyrano confesses that he has been brutally beaten by one of his enemies, and is dying. Before he dies, Cyrano requests he read Christian’s farewell letter to her one last time. Roxane noitices that Cyrano is not reading the letter, but he is reciting it. She realizes then that it was Cyrano she loved all along. Cyrano dies in Roxane’s arms.

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