Joyce Castle, mezzo-soprano, returns to Boston after twenty-five years at Lincoln Center as a principal artist at both the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, and countless engagements in opera houses worldwide, for Madame Sosostris in Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage. She previously performed Widow Begbick in Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny in performances also conducted by Gil Rose. Massachusetts audiences have enjoyed her appearances as Mrs. Grose in Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, as the Mother in Menotti’s The Consul recorded for Newport Classics during a Berkshire Opera engagement, and her many concert performances at Tanglewood, including Bernstein’s Songfest.

Miss Castle’s portrayal of leading roles in contemporary opera has brought her singular success. She has been honored to participate in the world premieres of Michael Torke and A.R. Gurney’s Central Park at Glimmerglass Opera (televised nationwide on WNET and recorded for release by Ecstatic Records), and Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino at the Washington National Opera. American premieres include: A Night at the Chinese Opera by Weir, The Black Mask by Penderecki, and The King Goes Forth to France by Sallinen (all at the Santa Fe Opera), The Handmaid’s Tale, by Ruder (Minnesota Opera), Comedy On The Bridge by Martinů (Chicago Opera Theater) and the American stage premiere of Britten’s Gloriana in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth I (Central City Opera). The first New York production of Von Einem’s The Visit of the Old Lady was mounted for her at the New York City Opera and she also gave the New York premiere of Hugo Weisgall's Esther with the company.

Joyce Castle has participated in the development of many music-theater projects including Martha Clarke’s Belle Epoque for Lincoln Center Theater. She is featured as the Old Lady on the Grammy Award-winning disc of the New York City Opera production of Candide and performed Mrs. Lovett in Hal Prince's critically acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd in both Houston and New York. She returns to Houston Grand Opera as Madame Armfeldt in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music next season.

Miss Castle is a champion of the music of Jake Heggie. In addition to the leading role in his Three Decembers which she performed in Central City, she performed the role of Mrs. Bertram in his opera The End of the Affair at Seattle Opera and at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City (recorded for commercial release). Heggie’s vocal chamber work, Statuesque, was written for Joyce Castle and is available on the Americus label. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer William Bolcom wrote The Hawthorne Tree for Miss Castle. The vocal chamber work, which was premiered in New York and Washington DC in 2010, will be recorded this season.

In addition to the recordings mentioned previously, her portrayal of Madame Flora in The Medium is available on Cedille Records.

While continuing to pursue her professional career, Joyce Castle is Professor of Voice at the University of Kansas.


Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory | November 10, 2012

News and Press

[Concert Review] Michael Tippett's Midsummer madness

The first American production of any of Michael Tippett's five operas was Sarah Caldwell's The Ice Break for the Opera Company of Boston in 1979. In 1991, BU students did The Knot Garden. This year, Opera Boston scheduled the first Boston production of The Midsummer Marriage, Tippett's first opera (completed in 1952, after six years of work). But Opera Boston folded.

The Boston Phoenix Full review
[Concert Review] Midsummer Marriage: Strange & Wonderful

Saturday night Jordan Hall was, perhaps, half full for three hours of memorable music as Gil Rose conducted Boston Modern Orchestra Project in a concert performance of Michael Tippett’s 1955 opera, The Midsummer Marriage.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP proceeds with Tippett's 'Midsummer Marriage'

Before a note was played, Saturday night’s Boston Modern Orchestra Project performance of Michael Tippett’s first mature opera, “The Midsummer Marriage,” generated more good will and broader public curiosity than the average season-opener. That’s because the now-defunct Opera Boston had this rarely spotted Tippett opera on its agenda long before the company abruptly folded last December.

The Boston Globe Full review
[Concert Review] A Phoenix Rises from the Ashes of Opera Boston

Boston opera buffs were dealt a hard blow last December when Opera Boston, a company known for innovative productions of less familiar repertory, announced it was shutting down amid a financial and managerial crisis. But the company’s ambitious plans were not entirely sent to the scrap heap of operatic history: Sir Michael Tippett’s opera, The Midsummer Marriage – planned as the centerpiece of the company’s 2012 season – was reconceived as a concert production Saturday at Jordan Hall by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP).

WQXR Full review
[Concert Review] BMOP gives worthy advocacy to Tippett's unwieldy "Midsummer Marriage'

One door closes, another opens. With the demise of the ambitious company Opera Boston last year, director Gil Rose lost a chance to explore some of the gems in the outermost reaches of the stage repertory.

Fear not. Rose simply brought one such rarity, Michael Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage—slated last season for Opera Boston but left unperformed—to his other adventurous ensemble, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. BMOP performed a semi-staged version of the mid-20th century opera Saturday evening at Jordan Hall.

Boston Classical Review Full review