Dicapo Opera Theatre
Dicapo Opera Theatre celebrated its 30th year during the 2011-12 season with five main-stage productions: Puccini’s Tosca, Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, Menotti’s The Consul, Frank Loesser’s The Most Happy Fella, and Verdi’s La Traviata. Launching a return of opera to the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, located at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, the Tilles Center invited Dicapo Opera to present both productions of Tosca and La Traviata. Critical commentary on the 30th anniversary season was extremely positive with particular praise for Dicapo’s season opener production of Puccini’s Tosca:
“In this new production by Dicapo general director Michael Capasso, Cavaradossi (played by tenor Peter Furlong) actually mixed paint and blackened the eyes of the Mary Magdalene, succumbing to Tosca’s demands. It was just one of many small details that made this modest version of Puccini’s opera a success. Kristin Sampson is an experienced singer in this house. She struck the right balance between fiery passion and loopy rage as Floria Tosca. She was tender in the first act, growling and determined in the second…and positively loopy in the third. Although the sound of Puccini-sized voices in a small theater can result in balance problems, this Tosca was blessed with a good supporting cast. This extended to the smallest roles…The choral work was solid.”
Super.Conductor.com (October 16, 2011)
Dicapo’s subsequent production of Tchaikovsky’ final opera, Iolanta was lauded by Opera News:
“Dicapo Opera Theatre deserves acclaim, both for tackling this neglected gem (seen opening night, Dec. 8) and for pulling it off so successfully. In the title role, soprano Corinne Winters displayed a pliable and heartfelt tone that projected naturally without losing sweetness…Bass-baritone Seth Mease Carico, possessed of a natural authority and commanding vocal strength, was terrific…Dicapo’s general director Michael Capasso staged the production with taste and economy.”
Opera News (Dec 8, 2011).
Dicapo’s production of Iolanta received additional praise from Concertonet.com (December 8, 2011)
“The Dicapo Opera, now in its thirtieth anniversary season, has long described itself as New York’s third opera company. Now, with the almost certain demise of the New York City Opera, this small and feisty company has come up one notch to second…Throughout the performance, there was stunning and often deeply moving mirroring of the voices by the orchestra…,the singers were splendid. Corinne Winters, a graduate of the Academy of Vocal Arts, sang Iolanta with a lovely and vulnerable stage-presence. The radically simple set was imaginatively designed and beautifully lit. (December 8, 2011).
Called “the closest thing New York has to a mini-Met” by Justin Davidson of New York Magazine, Dicapo has also been praised by Martin Bernheimer in the March 1, 2011 edition of The Financial Times: The Dicapo Opera Theatre, brainchild of the dauntless Michael Capasso, occupies a beautifully appointed 200-seat hall in the basement of the St. Jean Baptiste Church, on the corner of 76th Street and Lexington Avenue. The company currently musters a five-piece season devoted to old favorites as well as relative novelties and it employs luxurious forces both on stage and in the pit. Dicapo dares to think big in a small way.
Dicapo Opera Theatre is the only opera company in New York, after the Metropolitan Opera and the City Opera, to present an entire season of opera productions, musical theatre, concerts, family fare, and other events. Co-founded in 1981 by General Director Michael Capasso and Diane Martindale, Dicapo Opera Theatre has annually offered repertoire ranging from the operatic classics by such masters as Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky to the 20th century works of Menotti, Barber, Britten, and many others. It has also had the distinction of performing all of Puccini’s operas and instrumental music. Radically transformed into an elegant, effective, and modern theatre by a renovation in 1995, Dicapo Opera Theatre features 204 burgundy velvet seats, luxurious carpeting, ebonized oak walls, brass railings, ample wing space, a stage with sprung wood floor, and 38-foot adjustable proscenium, private dressing rooms, box office, bar, commodious lobby areas, quiet air conditioning, computerized lighting, and a state-of-the-art supertitle system. It offers a degree of intimacy not possible in larger venues.