New York City Opera Announces 2011-2012 Season
NEW YORK CITY OPERA ANNOUNCES 2011/12 SEASON WITH NEW YORK CITY AS ITS STAGE
The People’s Opera Returns to the People; Lays Out Bold Plan To Deliver World-Class Productions Within Reach of More New Yorkers
Season of New Productions of Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Contemporary Operas to be Performed at BAM, El Museo del Barrio and John Jay College’s Gerald W. Lynch Theater
New York City Opera and The Public Theater to Present Production of Free Shakespeare Opera in Fall 2012 at the Delacorte Theater
New York City Opera General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel announced today that the company will make New York City its stage for the 2011/12 season. With an imaginative and accessible season that encompasses productions ranging from the Baroque to Classical to Romantic and Contemporary, City Opera will create a living presence in neighborhoods across New York, including Brooklyn, the Upper West Side, Harlem and Central Park. The company will present a season of classics, undiscovered and new works that explore a repertory ranging nearly 300 years, once again illustrating City Opera’s time-honored versatility and sense of adventure.
“Today, ‘The People’s Opera’ is coming to meet the people of New York in Brooklyn, in Harlem, in Central Park, on the West Side, the East Side – wherever New Yorkers live and love their favorite opera company,” said George Steel. “New York City Opera’s new home stage will be New York City itself – a theater with eight million seats.”
Steel continued: “For our new 2011/12 season, we have been able to match each opera with a performing space that ideally suits it. This new model gives the operas a custom-fit setting, while also weaving New York City Opera directly into the cultural fabric of New York City, neighborhood by neighborhood.”
The 2011/12 season will open in Brooklyn in February with La traviata in a new staging by Jonathan Miller followed by the New York premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s opera Prima Donna, also in February, directed by Tim Albery. Both operas will be performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House. The next offering will take City Opera to the Upper West Side in March for Così fan tutte, the second installment of the company’s Mozart/Da Ponte cycle led by director Christopher Alden, in performances at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College. In May, City Opera travels to Harlem to present Telemann’s Orpheus in the theater at El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio. Beyond fully staged opera productions, New York City Opera will present additional concert events as part of the 2011/12 season. Full casting details and concert performance information will be announced at a later date.
New York City Opera and The Public Theater are thrilled to announce a new initiative to present operas based on Shakespeare plays at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in the fall of 2012. Tickets will be free. The first opera will be presented next season with hopes for a continuing relationship. The repertoire of wonderful Shakespeare operas includes dozens of 19th century, modern, and baroque masterpieces by Verdi, Britten, Purcell, and dozens more. The full announcement will be made later in the year.
Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis said: “Fiorello La Guardia called the New York City Opera ‘The People’s Opera.’ The People’s Opera and The Public Theater make sense together. Free Shakespeare in the Park is one of our great civic traditions, and to combine Shakespeare, with Opera, outdoors, in the center of the greatest city in the world, for free, will make a beautiful sound.”
Steel continued: “New York City Opera is open for business. The Company is forging ahead with a strong and invigorating new model that will redefine the experience of live opera in New York City. We are thrilled with our new partnerships, and we look forward to building new collaborations in the future.”
BAM Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo said: “New York City Opera’s adventurous artistic spirit will be embraced in Brooklyn. We look forward to having new work by Jonathan Miller and Rufus Wainwright on our opera house stage, and to welcoming George Steel and his dynamic vision to BAM.”
Chair of the Board of Trustees at El Museo del Barrio Tony Bechara said: “’The People’s Opera’ at El Museo... it's a great idea. El Teatro is intimate and beautiful, and a perfect complement to Handel or Telemann. We are so pleased to work with New York City Opera and welcome their ideas with open arms.”
ABOUT THE PRODUCTIONS
Verdi’s masterpiece La traviata returns to City Opera in a new production by acclaimed director Jonathan Miller. This co-production between Glimmerglass Festival and Vancouver Opera focuses on the psychological drama between the characters; during a recent Vancouver performance the Vancouver Sun wrote, “Miller’s vision of the over-all trajectory of the drama is unhurried; there are no tricks or flashy gimmicks. But the dramatic arc of the story—so obvious and so inevitable—is conveyed powerfully, and the final act, staged with stark realism, is completely gripping. Miller's La traviata is a rich and distinguished evening of music theatre.”
The coveted title role will be soprano Laquita Mitchell, joined by Canadian tenor David Pomeroy in the role of Alfredo, making his City Opera debut. The sets and costumes are designed by Isabella Bywater, the lighting is designed by Robert Wierzel. The production will take place in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House.
Performance Dates: February 12 (mat), 14, 16, 18
Affectionately referred by Elton John as "the greatest songwriter on the planet" and praised by The New York Times for his "genuine originality," Grammy nominee Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the today's finest male vocalists and songwriters. Prima Donna is the composer's first opera, for which he also co-wrote the French libretto with Bernadette Colomine. The opera takes place during a single day in the life of an aging opera singer, anxiously preparing for her comeback in 1970s Paris. Prima Donna was commissioned by Manchester International Festival, Sadler’s Wells, Luminato: Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity and an excerpt was performed with the Oregon Symphony for The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival. There will also be a portion of it performed next week at the Royal Opera House in London. The work premiered to great acclaim in 2009 at the Manchester International Festival and more recently received a 2011 Dora Award for Outstanding New Musical/Opera.
Rising star Melody Moore will return to City Opera to sing the tour-de-force title role in a production by acclaimed director Tim Albery. She will be joined by debut artists Rebecca Bottone and Randal Turner. The set and costumes for production are designed by debut artist Antony McDonald, the lighting designer is Thomas C. Hase, making his company debut. The production will take place in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House.
Performance Dates: February 19 (mat), 21, 23, 25
Così fan tutte
The fidelity of two sisters is put to the test in Mozart’s comedy of love, lies, and constancy. This eagerly-anticipated new production will be the second in Christopher Alden’s ongoing Mozart/Da Ponte cycle, which launched last season with the critically-acclaimed Don Giovanni. The cast for the production will once again feature a hand-picked selection of today's most promising young talents, led by the sure hand of Alden, about whom the New York Observer wrote, “[Alden] has been giving the most consistently vibrant operatic theater in the city.”
Featured performers include debut artists Amanda Majeski as Fiordiligi, Jennifer Holloway as Dorabella and Allan Clayton as Ferrando. Philip Cutlip returns to City Opera as Guglielmo and Marie Lenormand sings Despina. Rod Gilfry makes his City Opera debut as Don Alfonso and the production will be conducted by returning artist Christian Curnyn. The production will feature sets by Andrew Lieberman, costumes by Terese Wadden, and lighting by Aaron Black. The production will take place at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.
Performance Dates: March 18 (mat), 20, 22, 24
City Opera, widely renowned for fueling the resurrection of Handel’s operas, continues its leadership role by expanding its exploration of the Baroque with a new production of Georg Phillipp Telemann’s 1726 opera Orpheus, one of the few Telemann operas that has survived intact. Ranging from pastorals to historical opera seria to slapstick comedy, Telemann’s operas are rich and full of invention, often using a broader palette of instrumental color and formal variety than is typically found in operas by Handel, his junior by four years.
The tri-lingual libretto for Orpheus is in German, French, and Italian, and offers a unique twist on the Orpheus myth, focusing on the character of Orasia, Queen of Thrace, whose jealousy brings about the fall of Orpheus and Eurydice. The title role will be sung by baritone Daniel Teadt. Gary Thor Wedow will conduct, with a creative team to be announced at a later date. The production will take place at El Teatro del Museo del Barrio.
Performance dates: May 12, 15, 17, 20 (mat)
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND TICKETS
Subscriptions for New York City Opera’s 2011-2012 season will be on sale beginning July 12, 2011, and can be purchased by phone at (212) 870-5600 or online at www.nycOpera.com. Single tickets will be on sale beginning in early October.
New York City Opera stage productions begin at 7:30pm for evening performances and 1:30pm for matinees in the following venues:
Howard Gilman Opera House at Brooklyn Academy of Music
30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn
Cosi fan tutte
Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College
899 Tenth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets
El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio
1230 Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets
ABOUT THE THEATERS
Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) is recognized internationally for its innovative programming of dance, music, theater, music-theater, opera, and film. BAM presents leading national and international artists and companies in its annual Spring Season and highlights groundbreaking, contemporary work in the performing arts with its Next Wave Festival each fall. Founded in 1983, the Next Wave is one of the world's most important festivals of contemporary performing arts. BAM Rose Cinemas features new, independent film releases and BAMcinématek—a curated, daily repertory film program.
BAM also serves New York City's diverse population through a weekend concert series in BAMcafé, community events, literary series, and a wide variety of educational programs. BAM, America's oldest performing arts center, has presented performances since 1861, and attracts an audience of more than 500,000 people each year. The institution is led by President Karen Brooks Hopkins and Executive Producer Joseph V. Melillo—each of whom has been associated with BAM for more than twenty-five years.
Gerald W. Lynch Theater Since opening its doors in 1988, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater has been an invaluable cultural resource for John Jay College and the larger New York City community. The Theater is dedicated to the creation and presentation of performing arts programming of all disciplines with a special focus on how the artistic imagination can shed light on the many perceptions of justice in our society. The Theater is also a member of CUNY Stages, a consortium of 16 performing arts center located on CUNY campuses across New York City.
The Theater has hosted events in the Lincoln Center Festival since its first season in 1996, as well as, New York City Opera, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera Guild and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater/Ailey II. The Theater has also been the site of many television and film specials including A&E’s Live by Request, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Robert Klein in Concert and VH1’s Soundtrack Live.
El Teatro Considered a “hidden gem” amongst theaters in Manhattan, El Museo’s El Teatro Theater is ideal venue for special events and performances. The 599 seat theater is recognized as a Landmark Quality Venue by the Municipal Arts Society and the City of New York Arts Commission for its remarkable series of 30 foots murals and art-deco interior. Designed in 1921 by Architects Maynicke and Frank, El Teatro, formerly known as the Heckscher Theater was founded in 1924. Intended originally as a children’s theater, the interior is decorated with artwork from Scenes for Children’s Literature, created by Willy Pogany (1882-1955). Rendered in oil on canvas, these murals range in size and depict legendary children’s tales including Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, and Cinderella. Other features include an orchestra pit, luminous stained-glass ceiling fixtures, and advanced theater equipment.
The theater’s history includes prominence in the 1930’s as home to many Broadway tryouts, and the original location for the Joseph Papp New York Shakespeare Festival. The theater was leased by El Museo del Barrio in 1991 and has since been host to numerous symposiums, performing arts series as well as notable film and photo shoots.
The Public Theater (Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director; Joey Parnes, Interim Executive Director) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 and is now one of the nation’s preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals and productions of classics at its downtown home and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public Theater’s mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through extensive outreach programs. Each year, more than 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe’s Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public Theater’s productions have won 42 Tony Awards, 158 Obies, 42 Drama Desk Awards and four Pulitzer Prizes. Fifty-four Public Theater productions have moved to Broadway, including Sticks and Bones; That Championship Season; A Chorus Line; For Colored Girls…; The Pirates of Penzance; The Tempest; Bring in ’da Noise, Bring in ’da Funk; The Ride Down Mt. Morgan; Topdog/Underdog; Take Me Out; Caroline, or Change; Passing Strange; the revival of HAIR; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Merchant of Venice. http://www.publictheater.org
SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS
New York City Opera gratefully acknowledges Emilie Roy Corey, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, and Charles R. Wall for their leadership support of our 2011/12 Season.
The 2011/12 Season is also made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts.
Maggie McKeon, Director of Public Relations
212.870.7718 / mmckeon@nycOpera.com