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The Boston Conservatory Opera Program Presents Ravel's Operas

(BOSTON) The Boston Conservatory Opera Program presents Maurice Ravel's L'Heure espagnole and L'Enfant et les sortilèges on Feb. 2—4, at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. at The Boston Conservatory Theater, 31 Hemenway St., in Boston's Fenway neighborhood. Press night is Feb. 2. Conducted by The Boston Conservatory's new Director of Opera Studies, Andrew Altenbach. Nathan Troup directs. Sung in French with English surtitles. Tickets, which go on sale Jan. 18, are $25 general admission, $15 for seniors and $10 for all students with valid ID, and are available by phone at 617-912-9222 or at http://bostonconservatory.ticketforce.com/. 

Maurice Ravel wrote only two operas, but each is a gem of orchestral color, inventive storytelling and his unique compositional voice. Lust, time management and an obliging work ethic drive the racy libretto of the delightfully frisky one-act L'Heure espagnole (The Spanish Hour). The fast-moving comedy involves a woman juggling suitors as her clockmaker husband is off tending to the clocks around town.

A story by Colette that is part fairy tale and part nightmare comes to life in L'Enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Spells). Inanimate objects come to life when a child, fed up with doing his homework, throws a temper tantrum. All the things he has damaged start to voice their objections: a broken cup and teapot, a shepherd and shepherdess from the wallpaper he ripped, a battered armchair and the princess from the torn pages of a story book.

Andrew Altenbach is one of the rising conductors and musical leaders of his generation. Recent guest conducting engagements have included the Memphis and Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras, as well as a continued cover conductor relationship with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO). After two very successful seasons with the St.Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Altenbach assumed his new appointment as Music Director of Opera Studies at The Boston Conservatory in the fall of 2011. Last summer, Altenbach was the associate conductor of the world-renowned Grand Teton Music Festival under Maestro Donald Runnicles. He has conducted the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minneapolis Musical Offering Series and Brevard Music Center Orchestra. Altenbach has held previous posts as music director for the North Shore Chamber Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra, assistant conductor to the Evanston Symphony and conducting fellow of the prestigious Chautauqua Institution.

Equally comfortable in the opera pit, Altenbach recently guest conducted at Opera Birmingham, Indiana University Opera Theatre and the Temple University Opera Theatre. After making his international debut conducting La bohème at Opera Africa in Johannesburg, he returned there in the summer of 2011 to conduct Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro. He has been the associate conductor of Central City Opera for the past two seasons, conducting numerous performances and serving as the company's chorus master. For two seasons, he was associate conductor of the Minnesota Opera, giving numerous performances and serving as the company chorus master. He also music directed Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera to rave reviews. Recently, Altenbach served on the conducting/coaching staffs of the Santa Fe Opera, Music Academy of the West, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Opera Merola Program, in addition to guest conducting for the Milwaukee Opera Theatre and Opera on the James. At Indiana University, Altenbach became the first student in the school's history to music direct for the opera department, and his conducting of Cosi fan tutte earned him recognition in Opera Now magazine under "Who's Hot."

Nathan Troup joined the opera faculty of The Boston Conservatory in fall 2011, and currently serves on the faculty of the Boston University Opera Institute. A proponent of new works, he recently served as program assistant for New York City's American Lyric Theatre and served as dramatic coach for the series of premiere pieces Opera in Eden performed at Symphony Space in June 2011. Troup's work achieved national attention with his original staging of Curtis K. Hughes' Say It Ain't So, Joe (a new work based on the Sarah Palin/Joe Biden 2008 Vice Presidential debates) commissioned by Guerilla Opera. He recently staged Carmen for Boston Opera Collaborative. Troup's staging of Peter Maxwell Davies' Eight Songs for a Mad King for Collage New Music received "Best of Boston 2009" recognition from the Boston Phoenix. Troup has directed Dido and Aeneas and Gianni Schicchi and has assisted main stage productions of Così fan tutte, The Magic Flute, La Bohème, Il Barbieri di Siviglia, Lucia di Lammermoor and Susannah at Boston University's Opera Institute.  He has also assistant directed for Opera Boston and served on the opera faculty of the New England Conservatory and as guest director at Webster University in St. Louis. Troup is dedicated to fostering arts and artists within the local and global communities and serves as an outreach educator in youth juvenile detention facilities.   

About The Boston Conservatory

The Boston Conservatory trains exceptional young performing artists for careers that enrich and transform the human experience. Known for its intimate and supportive multi-disciplinary environment, The Boston Conservatory offers fully accredited graduate and undergraduate programs in music, dance and musical theater, and presents more than 200 performances each year by students, faculty and guest artists. Since its founding in 1867, The Boston Conservatory has shared its talent and creativity with the city of Boston, the region and the nation, and continues to grow today as a vibrant community of artists and educators. For more information, visit www.bostonconservatory.edu.

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