This year the Foundation has augmented its successful partnership with the Glimmerglass Festival, and the payoff is already apparent. In 2014, we established the Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Young Artist at Glimmerglass: each year, the Foundation sponsors a member of the Young Artist Program who has previously reached the Finals of the Lotte Lenya Competition. This program has been so successful that in 2016 the Foundation collaborated with Glimmerglass to establish the Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Artist, a principal guest artist who has earned a Prize in the Lenya Competition. Both Artist and Young Artist are selected jointly by Glimmerglass and the Foundation.
The line-up at Glimmerglass this summer includes not two but three past prizewinners. Baritone Brian Mulligan (photo at right), fresh off his triumph in The Shining at Minnesota Opera, sings John Proctor in Robert Ward's The Crucible as this year's Kurt Weill/Lotte Lenya Artist. Brian won a prize in the very first Lenya Competition (1998), and his star is definitely ascendant these days, as a recent Opera News feature attests. Meanwhile, the Young Artists from 2015, Maren Weinberger, and 2016, Brian Vu, have both been making names for themselves this summer as Mary Warren in The Crucible and as Schaunard in La bohème, respectively.
The critics are taking note. Mulligan's Proctor, a protagonist of the opera, has drawn raves across the board, with Zachary Woolfe of the New York Times describing "Brian Mulligan's passionate, desperate Proctor" as a "highlight." Critic B.A. Nilsson lauds Maren Weinberger: "downright terrifying as the servant, Mary Warren." Susan Galbraith of D.C. Theatre Scene has fallen for Brian Vu in La bohème: "Every time he enters, he grabs center stage, a true exhibitionist. . . . His is not just physical presence but vocal size and an irresistible ability to draw audiences into his character. His intelligent choices are seen throughout the production." Maren and Brian are proving that they are both on their way at one of America's leading opera festivals.
Brian Vu as Schaunard in La bohème
Maren Weinberger as Mary Warren in The Crucible, David Pittsinger as Rev. Hale and Jay Hunter Morris as Judge Danforth. All photos by Karli Cadel.
Originally posted: 10 August 2016