Wolf Trap Opera Continues Free Online Streaming with 2017 Production of Rossini’s The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone)

Production to stream for six months on wolftrap.org and classicalweta.org

Vienna, Virginia (September 27, 2017) Wolf Trap Opera continues its free, online streaming project with the 2017 production of Rossini’s rarely performed The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone). The acclaimed production is available for six months, October 1, 2017 through March 2018, at www.wolftrap.org/streaming and public broadcasting station Classical WETA 90.9 FM at classicalweta.org. Link to production photos and background and casting info are below.

The streaming project is part of a multi-year plan to offer WTO performances to a broader audience, extending the reach and visibility of one of the nation’s most highly regarded residency programs for emerging opera professionals.

“Wolf Trap Opera’s mission is to prepare emerging singers for professional success, and one way to do that is by creating opportunities. By recording and streaming performances, we are guaranteeing that our artists’ work will be more visible within the opera community, which includes fans, other artists and industry leaders,” stated Kim Witman, Senior Director, Opera & Classical Programming at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts. “We are incredibly proud of this captivating production of The Touchstone, and proud of all our artists. It’s thrilling to give their work a life beyond the original four staged performances.”

The company premiere of The Touchstone was performed at The Barns at Wolf Trap in June and July 2017. The production ran for four performances, earning high praise from audiences and critics alike, with The Washington Post declaring it “a cream puff of an opera…[with] some delightful music. Richard Ollarsaba…evoking a young Ruggero Raimondi in looks and manner, with meltingly smooth bass-baritone and Zoie Reams, with a thick, warm mezzo-soprano and clean coloratura were clearly the people with the most substance on stage. And the whole thing was given added buoyancy by the conducting of Antony Walker…you could practically feel him bouncing on his feet.” Opera News wrote, “That La Pietra deserves the occasional dusting off was heartily confirmed by Wolf Trap Opera in a colorful production at the Barns at Wolf Trap…in a performance that merrily romped all over an Erhard Rom’s designed stage.”

In the opera, Rossini and his librettist Luigi Romanelli demonstrate that money is indeed a way to find out who your true friends are. An opera buffa, The Touchstone includes acrobatic high-wire vocal feats, comic mistaken identities, a Rossinian storm, love triangles, and larger-than-life characters. Written when the composer was only 20 years of age, The Touchstone was Rossini’s first full-length opera commission, and its success launched his career. This production marks the east coast premiere of the comic gem.

The Touchstone
was conducted by Antony Walker and directed by E. Loren Meeker, with scenic design by Erhard Rom, costume design by Erik Teague, wig and make up design by Anne Nesmith, and lighting design by Robert H. Grimes. In order of vocal appearance, the principal cast is made up of Filene Young Artists, includes baritone Shea Owens (Pacuvio, a poet), bass Anthony Robin Schneider (Fabrizio, a servant), soprano Megan Mikailovna Samarin (Baroness Aspasia), soprano Summer Hassan (Donna Fulvia), baritone Kihun Yoon (Macrobio, a journalist), tenor Alasdair Kent (Giocondo, Asdrubale’s friend),  mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams (Marchesa Clarice), and bass-baritone Richard Ollarsaba (Count Asdrubale). Wolf Trap Opera’s elite group of young singers is chosen through a highly selective annual nationwide audition tour.

Video production for The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone) was provided by Blue Land Media with audio recording by WETA Classical 90.9 FM.

Since the first streamed production of John Corigliano and William M. Hoffman’s The Ghosts of Versailles in 2015, three fully staged Wolf Trap Opera productions have been made available to tens of thousands of opera fans nationwide and internationally. The next production in the series, the 2017 double bill of Philip Glass and Robert Moran’s The Juniper Tree and John Musto’s Bastianello, will be available for streaming in Spring 2018.


Special thanks to
Dan and Gayle D’Aniello, Wolf Trap 2017 Season Underwriters
Ed and Andy Smith, Performance Sponsors

Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts
, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, produces and presents a full range of performance and education programs in the Greater Washington area, as well as nationally and internationally. Wolf Trap features three performance venues: the outdoor Filene Center and Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, both located at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and The Barns at Wolf Trap, located down the road from the national park and adjacent to the Center for Education at Wolf Trap. The 7,028-seat Filene Center is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and annually showcases an extensive array of diverse artists, ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to classical music, dance, and theatre, as well as multimedia presentations, from May through September. The Barns at Wolf Trap is operated by the Wolf Trap Foundation year round, and during the summer months is home to the Grammy-nominated Wolf Trap Opera, one of America’s outstanding resident ensemble programs for young opera singers. Wolf Trap’s education programs include the nationally acclaimed Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, a diverse array of arts education classes, grants, and a nationally recognized internship program.

Classical WETA 90.9 FM is the exclusive home of classical music in Greater Washington. Each week, the station attracts nearly 500,000 broadcast listeners as well as tens of thousands of online listeners from around the globe who stream the station at classicalweta.org and listen via iTunes. The station provides opera broadcasts of world-class companies on Saturday afternoons, including live performances of The Metropolitan Opera and performances by the Washington Concert Opera. Among the station’s programs is Front Row Washington, which presents classical performances by renowned soloists musicians and ensembles, recorded at venues throughout the nation’s capital. In addition, VivaLaVoce features classical vocal music available by live stream at vivalavoce.org and via the HD2 signal of Classical WETA 90.9 FM. 


The Touchstone (La pietra del paragone)
New production, Company Premiere
Music by Gioachino Rossini | Libretto by Luigi Romanelli
Friday, June 23, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 3 p.m.
Wednesday, June 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
The Barns at Wolf Trap is located 1635 Trap Road, Vienna, VA 22182
Three hours with one intermission | In Italian with projected translations

In order of vocal appearance

Pacuvio, a poet                                                                 Shea Owens
Fabrizio, a servant                                           Anthony Robin Schneider
Baroness Aspasia                                             Megan Mikailovna Samarin
Donna Fulvia                                                      Summer Hassan
Macrobio, a journalist                                   Kihun Yoon
Gioconodo, Asdrubale’s friend                  Alasdair Kent
Clarice                                                                   Zoie Reams
Count Asdrubale                                              Richard Ollarsaba
Guests & Servants of the Count*             Ricardo Garcia, Sam Grosby, Cory Gross, Senhica Klee,
                                                                                Jonathan Bryan, Geoffrey Hahn, Michael Hawk,
                                                                                Matthew Adam Fleisher, Andrew Gilstrap

*Studio Artists


Conductor                                                           Antony Walker
Director                                                                E. Loren Meeker
Scenic Designer                                                                Erhard Rom
Costume Designer                                           Erik Teague
Lighting Designer                                             Robert H. Grimes
Wig & Makeup Designer                               Anne Nesmith
Chorusmaster                                                   David Hanlon

Media Information:

Interviews and b-roll are available upon request. High-resolution images from this production maybe found HERE.

Jo LaBrecque, Senior Director, Communications and Marketing
joannl@wolftrap.org, 703.255.1997