HAIR's Diane Paulus To Direct 'IL MONDO DELLA LUNA' At The Hayden Planetarium

Gotham Chamber Opera, in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History and in association with American Repertory Theater, presents Il mondo della luna (The World on the Moon) by Joseph Haydn, in a new production staged by Diane Paulus, director of Hair, which received the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Il mondo della luna will run from January 19 - 28, 2010 at the Hayden Planetarium in the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History. Tickets are $30-$125 and are available at or by phone at 212-279-4200.

For the first time ever, the Hayden Planetarium will be transformed into an intimate opera house using a 180-degree dome and projections courtesy of NASA. Taking advantage of breakthroughs in laser and light technology, Il mondo della luna will fuse live opera and stargazing, immersing the audience in a completely new kind of theatrical event - an out-of-this-world experience for opera lovers, science buffs, and theatergoers alike.

"This is Gotham's grandest and most audacious production in our eight-year history. The combination of Haydn, the Hayden, Diane Paulus, and our incomparable lineup of singers and designers adds up to a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Neal Goren, Artistic Director and founder of Gotham Chamber Opera.

The production will be directed by Diane Paulus, whom Opera News calls one of the top 25 names in U.S. opera. Leading the 27-piece orchestra is conductor Neal Goren. Video and production design is by Philip Bussmann, costume design is by Anka Lupes, with Andrew Eggert as associate director. Il mondo della luna features Hanan Alattar, Albina Shagimuratova, Rachel Calloway, Nicholas Coppolo, Matthew Tuell, Timothy Kuhn, and Marco Nisticò.

Gotham Chamber Opera will literally take audiences to the moon in this production, Haydn's personal favorite of all his operas. Written in 1777, it's the story of a nobleman who refuses to let his daughters marry their true loves. With the help of a fake astronomer and a sleeping potion, the daughters trick their father into believing he's been sent to the moon, where he discovers they do things differently, especially when it comes to courtship. On the moon, women are allowed to choose their own husbands.

Gotham Chamber Opera is the nation's foremost opera company dedicated to producing rarely-performed chamber operas from the Baroque era to the present. The company's mission is to present innovative, fully-staged productions of the highest quality in intimate venues.

Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren in 2000, in its short history, Gotham Chamber Opera has presented seven U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione; Darius Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's Dada opera, Les Larmes du Couteau; and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne. In February 2005, Gotham presented the U.S. stage premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta. Also in 2005, Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA presented Gotham Chamber Opera's U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi's fantastical puppet opera, La bella dormente nel bosco featuring the puppetry of Basil Twist. In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring received its first professional staging in New York in more than 30 years, and in winter 2007, Rossini's Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in over a half century. In the 2007/2008 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with productions of Astor Piazzolla's tango opera María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance. And in 2009, Mark Morris directed the U.S. stage premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata. In the future, Gotham Chamber Opera will present Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), staged by Tony Award-nominated director Moisés Kaufman.

A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus is a director of opera and theater. Her recent theater work includes The Public Theater's revival of Hair at the Delacorte in Central Park, now transferred to Broadway (2009 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Musical, nominated for 8 Tony Awards including Best Director, as well as winner of a Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama League Award for Best Revival of a Musical). She is the creator and director of The Donkey Show, a disco adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which ran for six years Off-Broadway, and toured internationally to London, Edinburgh, Madrid, and Evian, France. Other recent work includes Kiss Me Kate at Glimmerglass Opera; Lost Highway, based on the David Lynch film, an ENO co-production with the Young Vic in London, which received The South Bank Show Award for outstanding achievement during 2008; Another Country by James Baldwin at Riverside Church; Turandot: Rumble for the Ring at the Bay Street Theatre; The Golden Mickeys for Disney Creative Entertainment; Best of Both Worlds, a gospel/R&B adaptation of A Winter's Tale produced by Music-Theatre Group and The Women's Project; and The Karaoke Show, an adaptation of Comedy of Errors set in a karaoke bar. She directed the Obie Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist Running Man by jazz composer Diedre Murray and poet Cornelius Eady for Music-Theatre Group, and Swimming with Watermelons, created in association with Project 400, the theater company she co-founded with her husband Randy Weiner. Other work Off-Broadway: Brutal Imagination, and the Obie Award-winning Eli's Comin, featuring the music and lyrics of Laura Nyro. As an opera director, her productions include Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Turn of the Screw, Cosi fan tutte, and all three Monteverdi operas, Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, L'incoronazione di Poppea, and Orfeo at Chicago Opera Theater. She is a frequent collaborator with British conductor Jane Glover. In 2002, their critically acclaimed production of Orfeo was presented as part of The Monteverdi Cycle at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music in New York City. Ms. Paulus has taught at Barnard College/Columbia University, and the Yale School of Drama, and was recently appointed Professor of the Practice in Harvard University's English Department. She is a 2009 recipient of the Harvard College Women's Professional Achievement Award and Columbia University's I.A.L Diamond Award, presented each year to a Columbia University alumnus/a who has demonstrated continued commitment to and has found success in the arts. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University with a B.A. in Social Studies, and has a M.F.A. in Directing from Columbia University's School of the Arts.

The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) seeks to expand the boundaries of theater, exploring the best texts from across cultures and ages. A resident company of professional artists, teachers, technicians, and administrators, the A.R.T. provides a home for outstanding directors, a training ground for young artists, and a vital cultural resource for the community.

The American Museum of Natural History is one of the world's preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. Since its founding in 1869, the Museum has advanced its global mission to explore and interpret human cultures and the natural world through a wide-reaching program of scientific research, education, and exhibitions. The Museum accomplishes this ambitious goal through its extensive facilities and resources. The institution houses 45 permanent exhibition halls, state-of-the-art research laboratories, one of the largest natural history libraries in the Western Hemisphere, and a Permanent Collection of more than 30 million specimens and cultural artifacts. With a scientific staff of more than 200, the Museum supports research divisions in Anthropology, Paleontology, Invertebrate and Vertebrate Zoology, and the Physical Sciences. The Museum shares its treasures and discoveries with approximately four million on-site visitors from around the world each year. AMNH-produced exhibitions and Space Shows can currently be seen in venues on five continents reaching an audience of millions. In addition, the Museum's Web site,, extends its collections, exhibitions, and educational programs to millions more beyond the Museum's walls.

Performances of Il mondo della luna are made possible in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Il mondo della luna will run from January 19 - 28, 2010 at the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History, with performances on Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30pm (Opening Night); Wednesday, January 20 at 8pm; Monday, January 25 at 8pm; Tuesday, January 26 at 8pm; and Thursday, January 28 at 8pm. The Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History is located in the Rose Center for Earth and Space on West 81st Street (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue). Tickets are $30-$125 and are available through Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or Opening Night and after-party tickets are $500 ($325 tax-deductible) and are available by calling (212) 868-4460.

For more information, visit

Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You