Vampires have definitely come back into style within the past few years—young and adult audiences have pored over Twilight and followed “True Blood” religiously. But this summer, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice introduces the mythological bloodsuckers to a different genre: opera.
The annual event presents a developmental workshop of “Clarimonde,” a new opera by composer Frederic Chaslin and librettist P.H. Fisher as, as part of its five-day program. “Clarimonde” is an adaptation of Theophile Gautier’s 1836 short story, titled “La Morte Amoreuse.” It tells the tale of a young priest, Romualdo, who becomes smitten with a young courtesan on the day of his ordination. The two live together, Romualdo leading a double life as priest by day and Clarimonde’s lover by night. The romance is shattered, however, when the Romualdo discovers that the beautiful woman is a vampire and has been drinking his blood to survive.
The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice offers this workshop in conjunction with On Site Opera, a young company that specializes in immersive, site-specific productions. It recently mounted Rameau’s "Pygmalion" at Madame Tussauds in New York City, using celebrity wax figures as set pieces. On Site’s founder Eric Einhorn will direct the workshop and composer Frederic Chaslin will conduct.
The festival will run from Wednesday, July 30 to Sunday, August 3, with different programs of vocal music scheduled each day. Its workshop of “Clarimonde” is offered to the public on Saturday, August 2 at 1:30pm in Phoenicia’s St. Francis de Sales Church. An open forum and talkback with the composer, librettist, and director will follow in the parish hall across the street. Tickets are available online or at (845) 586-3588.