Published by: Carol King, Saturday, July 27, 2013
Mozart Camp 2013
This five-day program is put on by the Opera Theater of Pittsburg. This is an interesting company, founded 35 years ago by Mildred Miller, a Metropolitan Opera star in the 50’s and 60’s. She wanted a company that would focus on education and outreach, support young artists and presenting new works. This year, their SummerFest offered Tales of Hoffman Retold, A Little Night Music, Shining Brow - an opera about Frank Lloyd Wright, and The Secret Gardner, an adaptation of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, which was the subject of our Camp.
We had daily lectures on topics such as Mozart’s early operas, Mozart’s Women, the Staging of Secret Gardener, and Mozart’s Death. The last was given by Dr. Eugene Myers, MD, President of the Opera Theater Board, and professor of otolaryngology at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I am told that he specializes in treatment of singers. I never knew how sickly Mozart was. Dr. Myers believes he died of influenza, made worse by long time exposure to lead poison.
In the afternoons, there were performances of music by the three Mozarts (and a bit of Haydn) by members of the Company’s Young Artists. Also in residence was the Freya String Quartet. Two programs were held at the Frick Museum and the Phipps Botanical Conservatory. The other performances were held at the Company’s summer venue, the Twentieth Century Club, close by the University of Pittsburgh campus. This is a lovely building, a women’s club built in classical style in the early 1920’s.
In the evenings, there were more performances, also A Little Nightmare Music (PDQ Bach), and Night Caps, a premier cycle of “Late Night Miniature Comic Operas”. This company is doing interesting things. In keeping with their mission of audience development, they celebrate first time opera goers.
Mozart Camp was an ambitious program for this small company, and I greatly enjoyed it.