Operas EMILIE, FENG YI TING and More Set for 2012 Lincoln Center Festival, 7/5-8/5


Opera, orchestral and pop music are on the menu at Lincoln Center Festival (July 5-August 5). Highlights include the New York premieres of two operas: Kaija Saariaho and Amin Maalouf's monodrama Émilie on July 19, 21 and 22 performed by soprano Elizabeth Futral and directed by Marianne Weems and inspired by the life of French mathematician Émilie du Châtelet; and Guo Wenjing's chamber opera, Feng Yi Ting on July 26, 27 and 28, based on an ancient story of a legendary beauty who was the central figure in a dangerous rivalry, directed by Atom Egoyan. July 20, 21 and 22 the Paris Opera Ballet will perform the U.S. premiere of Pina Bausch's dance/opera Orpheus and Eurydice to music by C.W. Gluck. On July 20, the Festival features a 70th birthday tribute to the late soul music icon Curtis Mayfield with a star line-up including Sinéad O'Connor, Aloe Blacc and The Impressions. On July 11, John Adams leads the Juilliard Orchestra and London's Royal Academy of Music in concertin Avery Fisher Hall. Imogen Cooper is the piano soloist.

Complete details follow. Programs, artists and prices subject to change.


Soprano Elizabeth Futral sings the tour de force title role in Émilie, the first opera by the team of Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho and Lebanese librettist Amin Maalouf to be staged at Lincoln Center. Émilie is a 75-minute work of almost continuous vocalization based on an episode in the life of Émilie du Châtelet (1706 – 1749). Born Gabrielle Émilie de Breuteuil, she was a prominent figure in the French Enlightenment, a respected French mathematician, the translator of Newton's great work, Principia Mathematica, and a lover and collaborator of Voltaire's. The director is Marianne Weems, artistic director of the experimental theater company The Builders Association. The production uses video projections that convey a prismatic portrait of du Châtelet's state of mind.

Three performances at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 524 W. 59th Street, between 10th and 11th Ave., July 19, 21 and 22 at 7:30 PM; 75 minutes, no intermission. Sung in English and French with English supertitles.


Chinese composer Guo Wenjing returns to the Festival with the New York premiere of a new production of his 2004 chamber opera, Feng Yi Ting, based on the historic account of Diao Chan, a legendarily beautiful woman who was the central figure in a dangerous rivalry. Wenjing, chair and professor of the Composition Department at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, has created an orchestral score using four traditional Chinese instruments – pipa, dizi, erhu/gazou and sheng – and a western orchestra around the distinctive vocal tones of Chinese opera. Ken Lam, winner of the 2011 Memphis International Conducting Competition and Orchestra Director at Montclair State University, will lead Ensemble ACJW-a collective of outstanding young professional musicians from Carnegie Hall and Juilliard's The Academy.

The singers are Sichuan opera soprano Shen Tiemei and Beijing opera countertenor Jiang Qihu.

Award-winning film and opera director Atom Egoyan directed this multimedia production. The creative team also includes costumes by Chinese fashion designer Han Feng, also known as a costume designer for her spectacular designs for Anthony Minghella's production of Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera in 2006 and the opera version of Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter seen at the San Francisco Opera in 2008. Video in this production is by Hong Kong-based visual artist Tsang Kin-wah, with sets by Tony Award-winner Derek McLane.

Sung in Chinese with English supertitles.

Three performances at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 W. 59th Street, between 10th and 11th Ave.: July 26, 27, and 28 at 7:30 pm. 45 minutes, no intermission

Sponsored by Bank of China.

Feng Yi Ting is coproduced by Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA and Currents. Made possible in part by generous support from China International Culture Association.


The Paris Opera Ballet will perform the U.S. premiere of Pina Bausch's dance/opera Orpheus and Eurydice to music by C.W. Gluck. Bausch, who died in 2009, was the choreographer and exponent of the Neo-Expressionist form of German dance known as Tanztheater. She originally made Orpheus and Eurydice for her own company, Tanztheater Wuppertal, in 1975, and revived it in 1991. Paris Opera Ballet premiered it in 2005 to great acclaim. Bausch's Orpheus and Eurydice has dual roles-for dancers and singers-to unfold the tragic tale. The vocal soloists are mezzo-soprano Maria Riccarda Wesseling (Orpheus), soprano Yun Jung Choi (Eurydice), and soprano Zoe Nicolaidou (Amore). It will be sung in German with English supertitles. The orchestra will be the Balthasar-Neumann Ensemble und Chor from Freiburg, Germany. http://www.operadeparis.fr/en/L_Opera/le_Ballet