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New York City Opera Presents Samuel Barber's
Antony and Cleopatra
at Carnegie Hall
Starring Lauren Flanigan & Teddy Tahu Rhodes
January 15 & 16, 2009

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(New York, NY, November 24, 2008) New York City Opera is proud to present the company premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra in concert on January 15 and 16, 2009 at 8 PM in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. Soprano Lauren Flanigan sings the role of Cleopatra opposite baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, in his New York City Opera debut, as Antony. The cast includes rising tenor Simon O’Neill as Caesar and City Opera favorites David Pittsinger as Enobarbus, Sandra Piques Eddy as Charmian and Laura Vlasak Nolen as Iras. City Opera Music Director George Manahan will conduct. The company’s celebration of Samuel Barber’s upcoming centennial will also include a Symposium on Antony and Cleopatra on Saturday, January 10, co-presented by and taking place at Miller Theatre at Columbia University, which will feature City Opera soprano Elizabeth Futral in a unique recital of musical depictions and evocations of Cleopatra.

“By presenting this masterpiece, New York City Opera is continuing its tradition of championing important 20th-century American repertoire. We hope to spark new and lasting interest in Antony and Cleopatra, as we have done for other rarely performed American works including Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning opera Vanessa, which we presented last season,” says Music Director George Manahan.

Ticket Information
CONCERT: Thursday, January 15 and Friday, January 16, 2009 at 8:00 PM
Carnegie Hall Stern Auditorium, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue
Tickets: $25 - $130 | 212-247-7800 | www.carnegiehall.org
 
SYMPOSIUM: Saturday, January 10, 2009, 12:00 – 5:00 PM
Miller Theatre at Columbia University, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street
Tickets: $20 ($15 for Students/Seniors) | 212-854-7799 | www.millertheatre.com
 
WINTER GALA: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 6:00 PM
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue
Tickets: Begin at $1,000 (limited availability) | 212-870-4291 | City Opera Special Events

Winter Gala at Carnegie Hall
On Thursday, January 15, 2009, New York City Opera will present its Winter Gala accompanying a concert performance of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra. Gala guests will join us for pre-performance cocktails and dinner, and return during intermission for champagne. Gala tickets begin at $1,000. VIP guests ($2,500+ tickets or $15,000+ tables) will be invited to the cast party following the performance. For more information or to purchase gala tickets, please call City Opera Special Events at 212-870-4291.

Antony and Cleopatra is made possiblewith the leadership support of The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.Additional support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Official Piano is provided by Steinway & Sons.

Antony and Cleopatra Symposium
“What Becomes a Legend Most?”
Saturday, January 10, 2009, 12:00 - 5:00 PM, Miller Theatre, 2960 Broadway at 116th Street
Experts in diverse disciplines will offer a wide-angle view of this American masterwork and its sources, and will explore the world’s enduring fascination with its larger-than-life heroine.

Schedule
12:00-1:00 PM
“Setting the Record Straight” - Barbara Heyman, author of Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music, the definitive biography of the composer, will open the Symposium with a talk on the creation, performance history, and musical highlights of Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, offering special insight into the composer’s view of its legendary heroine.

1:10-2:10 PM
“From Plutarch to Shakespeare to Liz Taylor: Images of Cleopatra on Canvas, Stage, and Screen” – A critical survey of Cleopatra iconography, illustrated by slides and film clips. Speaker: Prudence J. Jones, Assistant Professor of Classics and Humanities, Montclair State University, and author of the biography Cleopatra as well as Cleopatra: A Sourcebook.

2:40-3:50 PM
“Creating Cleopatra” – A panel discussion offering highly personal viewpoints on interpreting and representing the famed Queen of the Nile, her cultural significance today, and related racial and feminist issues. Panelists: three-time Tony Award-winning actress Zoe Caldwell; Francesca Royster, author of Becoming Cleopatra: The Shifting Image of an Icon, and Associate Professor of English, DePaul University; Ann Macy Roth, Associate Professor of Egyptology, New York University.
Moderator: Cori Ellison, City Opera Dramaturg

4:00-5:00 PM
“Cleopatra Sings” - Elizabeth Futral, soprano, and Susan Caldwell, pianist
City Opera’s beloved star soprano offers an offbeat piano-vocal recital of musical depictions and evocations of Cleopatra. The selections, spanning three centuries, include music by Handel, Massenet, the Rolling Stones and Pam Tillis, and the world premiere of a specially-commissioned song by VOX composer Justine Chen. Elizabeth Futral has sung the title roles in Semele, Lakmé, The Ballad of Baby Doe, and Daphne, as well as Gilda in Rigoletto, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Alexandra in Regina and Bella in The Midsummer Marriage for New York City Opera.

Background on Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra, based on Shakespeare’s historical romance of the same name, was first performed on September 16, 1966, when the Metropolitan Opera inaugurated its new home at Lincoln Center. Commissioned soon after the composition of Vanessa, Barber’s Pulitzer Prize-winning first opera, Antony and Cleopatra met a strikingly different fate, "strangled by a costly, confusing, overloaded production that did not even function," in Barber’s own words. Convinced that the opera boasted some of his finest music, Barber and his longtime companion Gian Carlo Menotti extensively revised the score. This revamped version—more intimate, more dramatically focused and musically developed, and an hour shorter—was premiered at the Juilliard School in 1975, staged by Menotti.

Though this new version of Antony and Cleopatra was more enthusiastically received, the opera continued to suffer neglect for its perceived conservatism during an era of musical radicalism. With these performances, New York City Opera becomes only the third American opera company to present the work since its world premiere over four decades ago.

Cori Ellison, City Opera Dramaturg

About the Artists
New York City Opera Music Director George Manahan made his City Opera debut conducting Die tote Stadt in 1991. In his tenure at City Opera, he has conducted 53 different operas, including two world premieres, four US stage premieres and 41 new productions, including but not limited to: Margaret Garner, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Cendrillon, Madama Butterfly, Falstaff, Candide, L'elisir d'amore, La donna del lago, Capriccio, Il viaggio a Reims, The Mines of Sulphur, Lysistrata, Il trittico, Little Women, Flavio, The Flying Dutchman, Xerxes, Intermezzo, The Cunning Little Vixen, Emmeline, Macbeth, La finta giardiniera, Mourning Becomes Electra, Ermione, Lizzie Borden, La bohème (the latter two "Live from Lincoln Center" telecasts). Elsewhere, he has conducted Rigoletto, Falstaff, and L'italiana in Algeri at Glimmerglass Opera; premieres at Santa Fe Opera including Modern Painters and A Night at the Chinese Opera; productions at Seattle Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Australia, and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; concerts with San Francisco Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, National Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, and Verona Filarmonica. Recordings include Desire Under the Elms with London Symphony Orchestra (Grammy nomination).

Lauren Flanigan, soprano. Birthplace: San Francisco, California. City Opera debut: Musetta in La bohème, 1991. Career highlights: Samuel Barber's Vanessa; Mourning Becomes Electra, Macbeth, Lilith, Central Park, The Mother of Us All, Intermezzo, Lizzie Borden, The Seven Deadly Sins, The Turn of the Screw, Mathis der Maler, Esther (world premiere), Roberto Devereux, and Die tote Stadt at City Opera. Career highlights: La Scala, Teatro San Carlo, Metropolitan Opera, Glyndebourne, San Francisco Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, London Philharmonica, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Brucknerhaus Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, and English National Opera. Recordings include: Richard Strauss' Die Liebe der Danae, Howard Hanson's Merry Mount, Deems Taylor’s Peter Ibbetson, Philip Glass’ Symphony #6, Thomas Pasatieri's Frau Margot and Monologues. Film/TV: Ice Skating Opera Diva in Death to Smoochy, Nabucco, Central Park, Richard Tucker Gala, I Lombardi. Upcoming: Irene in Rienziwith Opera Orchestra of New York and world premiere of Séance on a Wet Afternoonby Stephen Schwarz. Awards: City Opera Diva Award, Betty Allen Prize.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes, baritone. Birthplace: New Zealand. City Opera debut. Career highlights: Ned Keene in Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera in his debut and his first Billy Budd in Santa Fe. Other appearances for Opera Australia, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera and in San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Washington, Munich, Hamburg and at the Châtelet, Paris. Upcoming engagements: Count Almaviva in Cincinnati and Washington, Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire and his first Figaro for Opera Australia, Escamillo in Bilbao and Munich, and his first Scarpia in New Zealand.

Simon O'Neill, tenor. Birthplace: Timaru, New Zealand. City Opera debut: First Armored Man in Die Zauberflöte, 2003. Career highlights: Carlson in Of Mice and Men at City Opera; Siegmund in Die Walküre at the Metropolitan Opera and Covent Garden; Gran Sacerdote in Idomeneo at the Metropolitan Opera; Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire at Theater an der Wien and title role of Parsifal in Rome at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia. Upcoming engagements: title role of Lohengrin at Houston Grand Opera and Covent Garden, Florestan in Fidelio at the Salzburg Festival and Houston Grand Opera, Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger at Covent Garden, Siegmund in Die Walküre at Covent Garden, La Scala, Hamburg Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper and Berlin Staatsoper, Parsifal at Barcelona's Teatro Liceu and Palau de la Musica, Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass with Boulez and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Barenboim and Pappano and his Opera Australia debut as Sergei in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.

David Pittsinger, Bass-baritone. Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut. City Opera debut: title role of Don Giovanni, 2001. Career highlights: title role in Le nozze di Figaro and Zoroastro in Orlando at City Opera; Carlo V in Don Carlo, and Colline in La bohème at Metropolitan Opera; Count Almaviva at Los Angeles Opera; Cadmus/Somnus in Semele in Paris; title role in Don Quichotte at Vienna's Theater an der Wien; Olin Blitch in Susannah at Opera Company of Philadelphia; Mephistopheles in Faust for Geneva, L'Opéra de Montréal, Italy's Macerata Festival, Vancouver, Calgary; Nick Shadow in The Rake's Progress for Brussels, Lausanne, Hamburg, Paris, Bordeaux; Tiresias in Oedipus Rex at Teatro San Carlo, Count Rodolfo in La Sonnambula for Palermo.

Sandra Piques Eddy, mezzo-soprano. Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts. City Opera debut: Flora in La traviata, 2002. Career highlights: Dorabella in Così fan tutte. Ramiro in La finta giardiniera, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado at City Opera; Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Canadian Opera Company; Meg in Little Women at Glimmerglass Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Kentucky Opera; Isabella in L'italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera and Arizona Opera; Page in Salome and Ramiro at Florida Grand Opera; the title role in La Cenerentola at Spoleto Festival; Romeo in I Capuleti ed i Montecchi at Glimmerglass Opera and Stephano in Roméo et Juliette at Hawaii Opera Theatre. Upcoming engagements: title role in La Cenerentola at Austin Lyric Opera, the roles of Juno and Ino in Semele with Florentine Opera, and the title role in La Tragédie de Carmen at Chicago Opera Theater.

Laura Vlasak Nolen, Mezzo-soprano. Birthplace: Dallas, Texas. City Opera debut: Sélysette in Ariane et Barbe-bleue, 2005. Career highlights: Malcolm in La donna del lago at City Opera; Isaura in Tancredi, Enrichetta in I Puritani, Rossini’s Petite Messe solennelle, and Pierotto in Linda di Chamounix, all with the Caramoor Festival; Eustazio in Handel's Rinaldo with the Berkshire Opera; title role in Giulio Cesare with Glimmerglass Opera; Dorotea in Pedrotti’s Tutti in maschera at Wexford Festival Opera; Tisbe in La Cenerentola at Spoleto Festival (USA); soloist in Elgar’s The Music Makers, a work for mezzo-soprano, chorus and orchestra, with Dallas Symphony Orchestra; and Messiah with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Future engagements include the role of Waltraute in Die Walküre and Inez in Il trovatore, both with the Metropolitan Opera, and as soloist in Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the New York Choral Society at Carnegie Hall.

The complete cast for January 15 and 16 includes:
Lauren Flanigan (Cleopatra), Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Antony), Simon O’Neill (Caesar), David Pittsinger (Enobarbus), Laura Vlasak Nolen (Iras), Sandra Piques Eddy (Charmian), Matthew Burns (Agrippa), Andrew Drost (Messenger), Alexander Tall (Dolabella), Scott Guinn (Thidias), Brian Kontes (Alexas), Kirk Eichelberger (Soothsayer), Theodore Chletsos (Soldier of Caesar), Eric Jordan (Rustic), Robert Mack (Guard 1), Ryan Kinsella (Guard 2), David Salsbery Fry (Guard 3), Young-Bok Kim (Guard 4).

New York City Opera
Since its founding in 1943, New York City Opera has been recognized as one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, celebrated for its adventurous programming and innovative, risk-taking production style. The company’s wide-ranging repertory of 273 works spans five centuries of music and includes 29 world premieres and 61 American and/or New York premieres of such notable works as Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shostakovich’s Katerina Ismailova, Busoni’s Doktor Faust, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges and The Flaming Angel, Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, and Glass’s Akhnaten. The company has been a leading showcase for young artists, having helped launch the careers of more than 3,000 singers including José Carreras, Phyllis Curtin, David Daniels, Plácido Domingo, Lauren Flanigan, Renée Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Jerry Hadley, Catherine Malfitano, Bejun Mehta, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Gianna Rolandi, Beverly Sills, Norman Treigle, Tatiana Troyanos, and Carol Vaness. In 1983, City Opera made operatic history when it became the first American opera company to use super­titles, an innovation that has revolutionized the way opera is produced and appreciated worldwide.

New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have undertaken a $200 million capital campaign—the first such joint venture in the companies' histories—to enhance audience amenities and provide a state-of-the-art environment for productions at their shared home, the New York State Theater. In July 2008 the Ballet and Opera announced their intention to rename the New York State Theater in honor of Mr. David H. Koch's $100 million lead gift to the joint capital campaign. The name change will take effect in winter 2009.

During the renovations, City Opera has taken to the road, bringing live music and provocative cultural conversation to more than fourteen different venues in all five boroughs of New York City. In addition to the concert presentations of Samuel Barber's Antony and Cleopatra at Carnegie Hall, highlights of the year include a concert of 20th-century vocal and orchestral music led by Music Director George Manahan, which will be performed citywide. City Opera will also celebrate opera's enduring power as the ultimate multi-media art form with a new program of cultural connection entitled Opera Matters curated by dramaturg Cori Ellison, featuring partnerships with leading New York cultural institutions including the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Paley Center for Media, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. The year will also feature the continuation of the company's acclaimed education programs, which will introduce opera to more than 4,000 students with special performances of an abridged, English-language version of Mozart's The Magic Flute, and in May, the company will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of VOX: Showcasing American Opera.
 
 
Contact: Pascal Nadon / Shara Seigel
New York City Opera, 20 Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023
phone: (212) 870-5632 · fax: (212) 724-1120 · email: operapress@nycopera.com

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