L’amico Fritz


SAN FRANCISCO OPERA MEROLA PROGRAM | 2009

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L’AMICO FRITZ by Ruggiero Leoncavallo, based on the novel L’ami Fritz by Émile Erckmann
Conductor: Warren Jones
Cast: Nathan Peake, Sara Gartland, Alexey Bogdanov, Maya Lahyana, Susanna Biller
Production: E. Flatmo (scenery), U. Alcala (clothes), M. Gilmore (lighting), M. Donari (hair/make-up)
photos courtesy of Kristen Loken

“The summer activities of the Merola Opera Program provide a perfect opportunity for discovery – and as long as we’re being introduced to gifted young singers, why not some unfamiliar repertoire as well? That seemed to be the thinking behind last weekend’s superb production of Mascagni’s opera. Conductor Warren Jones, a longtime advocate of the piece, considers that neglect unwarranted, and Sunday afternoon’s engaging performance, beautifully sung by this year’s Merolini and staged with understated efficiency by director Nic Muni, bore him out.”
- Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Examiner (August, 2009)

“The Merola Opera Program ‘Fritz’ is well worth revisiting. Odds are that a sizable percentage of Friday’s opening night audience had never seen the work onstage. Even for aficionados, though, this production, imaginatively staged by Nic Muni, fervently conducted by Warren Jones, and handsomely cast with young singers from the current crop of Merola artists, was an unmitigated treat. Muni’s production highlighted the class disparities at the heart of the story about a wealthy Alsace landowner who bets against love and loses, winning a bride in the process. The director’s diagonally bisected unit set, with the well-appointed dining room of Fritz’s house on one side, and the plot of land (with its all-important cherry tree) worked by Suzel and her father on the other, effectively suggested this small French-Jewish community in the wake of World War I. The indoor–outdoor design also allowed the characters to move quickly between scenes, while deftly delineating the differences between rich and poor, artifice and nature, idleness and industry.”
- Georgia Rowe, San Francisco Classical Voice (August, 2009)

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