On the Margins of the Opéra Comique

Fri. Oct 28, 2016 at 8:00pm EDT
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On the Margins of the Opéra Comique

On the Margins of the Opéra Comique

Jewish Composers, Covert Spaces, and the Legacy of the Wagnerian Suppression

Rebecca Ringle, mezzo-soprano

Kenneth Merrill, fortepiano

with William Ferguson, tenor

The sumptuous salons of mid-19th century Paris played host to several Jewish composers of varying degrees of assimilation. Operatic composers who enjoyed dizzying success at the nearby Opéra Comique before falling into disfavor as targets of Richard Wagner's antisemitic screeds – Fromental Halévy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, and Jacques Offenbach, among others – penned songs that were enjoyed by friends and patrons alike in convivial and luxurious private gatherings.

Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle joins fortepianist Kenneth Merrill in our season opener concert, distilling the public splendor of the opera house for the private intimacy of the recital.


Praised by Opera News for her “richly focused voice”, young mezzo-soprano Rebecca Ringle’s performances have brought her acclaim on operatic and concert stages. The 2012-2013 season brought her Metropolitan Opera mainstage debut, singing Rosswisse in Die Walküre, which she also sang for the Tanglewood Festival, her role debut as Rosina in Barbiere di Siviglia with Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Stravinsky’s Requiem Canticles with the Bard Music Festival, and her return to the Marlboro Music Festival for the third time. In the 2013-2014 season, she returns to the Met for Shostakovich’s The Nose, will appear in concert with the National Chorale for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the Oratorio Society of New York for Handel’s Messiah, the New West Symphony Orchestra for Verdi’s Requiem, Ars Antiqua as a soloist in The Borrowers, and will join New Orleans Opera as Dorothée in Cendrillon. Her New York City Opera debut as Lola in Cavalleria Rusticana was hailed as “sultry” and “sweetly sung” by The Wall Street Journal and London’s Financial Times. She returned to NYCO as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly, Dorothée in Cendrillon and to cover Rosmira in Partenope. The 2010-2011 season saw Ms. Ringle joining the roster of the Metropolitan Opera in their productions of Nixon in China and Die Walküre, her international debut as Dido in Dido and Aeneas with the Macau International Music Festival, Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo with Opera Vivente, and Leda in Die Liebe der Danae with the Bard SummerScape. Engagements for 2011-2012 included Handel’s Messiah with Jacksonville Symphony and Augustana College and her return to the Metropolitan Opera.

Recent operatic highlights include the title role in Handel’s Ariodante and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Princeton Festival, Hansel in Hansel and Gretel with Piedmont Opera, and Suzuki with Cedar Rapids Opera. In 2007, she performed as Rossweise in Die Walküre with Washington National Opera directed by Francesca Zambello and covered the role of the Composer in Ariadne auf Naxos with Utah Opera. Ms. Ringle made her professional debut as Tebaldo in Don Carlo with the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst. She has performed with the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi as a soloist in Piazzolla’s Songe d’une Nuit d’été and as Pâtre/La chatte in L’enfant et les sortilèges. A consummate concert artist and recitalist Rebecca has performed Handel’s Messiah with Branford Camerata, Richmond Symphony, Jacksonville Symphony, and Utah Symphony. She has been seen as the Alto soloist in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Richmond Symphony, in Mozart’s Requiem with the National Chorale, and Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen. with Orchestra New England. She has appeared in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall performing de Falla’s Siete Cancones Populares Españolas, and has collaborated with Ars Antiqua Baroque Orchestra on arias from Handel’s Hercules and Rinaldo and Vivaldi’s Juditha triumphans. During the summer of 2008 she joined the acclaimed Marlboro Music Festival, performing chamber music and songs by Ravel, Mahler, Janacek and Britten.

A frequent performer of new music, Rebecca appeared with concert harpist Grace Cloutier and soprano Jennifer Black in May 2006 at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall with Stanzas in Meditation, a work written for this trio by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. She has performed Schoenberg’s Das buch der hängenden Gärten, Frazelle’s Appalachian Folksongs (I), Argento’s Casa Guidi, and Bolcom’s I will breathe a Mountain in recital. Rebecca performed the role of SHE in the new opera Decoration by Mikael Karlsson with the American Opera Projects and has been a frequent artist in the VOX Composers Showcase at New York City Opera. Rebecca is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory and The Yale School of Music and has received awards from the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the Spazio Musica Orvieto Concorso per Cantanti Lirici and the Heida Hermanns International Opera Competition. She competed in Vienna at the international level of the 2007 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.

Rebecca Ringle holds a B.A. with Highest Honors in Comparative Literature from Oberlin College. She lives in New York City.


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The Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium 417 East 61st St.
New York City, NY 10065