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New York Festival Of Song Has Announced The Lineup For Its 2019-20 Season

New York Festival Of Song Has Announced The Lineup For Its 2019-20 Season

NEW YORK FESTIVAL OF SONG has announced the lineup for its 2019-20 Season.

The same cast returns this December in Songs from Gay Harlem.Steven Blier talks about the new season: "NYFOS' fall season packs a lot into a few months: the profound elegance of Shakespeare, the fire of Kurt Weill and Marc Blitzstein, and the flamboyant swing of Harlem's gay subculture. All three programs speak directly to the hot-button issues of our times, offering perspective, wisdom, and some much-needed joy. As for the singers and players, they are musical royalty. Come join us-we're planning on raising the roof."The 2019-2020 Season features four concerts
co-presented by Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center and New York Festival of Song

At Merkin Hall, 129 West 67th Street

$150-$240 Subscriptions for Entire Series
$20-$65 for Single Tickets; $10 for Student Tickets
Purchase tickets online at

Lyrics By Shakespeare

Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Naomi Louisa O'Connell, mezzo-soprano; Matt Boehler, bass
Kathleen Chalfant, actor; Steven Blier, pianoNEW YORK FESTIVAL OF SONG opens its 2019-2020 season by revisiting the very first program it ever presented, in 1988: Lyrics By Shakespeare. This program, which explores the Bard's influence on music over the centuries, returned last August in a sold-out performance presented by Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival.

NYFOS brings back two singers who are not only refined vocalists, but also superb actors: mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa O'Connell and bass Matt Boehler. Both are blessed with a theatrical imagination, and their chemistry with the great actress Kathleen Chalfant and pianist Steven Blier is magical.

This 75-minute evening illuminates Shakespeare's classic poetry with musical settings by Berlioz, Dankworth, Kabalevsky, Poulenc, Sondheim, and others.

Marc Blitzstein's No For An Answer
Kurt Weill's Der Silbersee (Silverlake)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Sari Gruber, soprano; Rebecca Jo Loeb, mezzo-soprano; Alex Mansoori, tenor
John Brancy, baritone; Michael Barrett and Steven Blier, pianistsThis new mounting of two powerful, neglected theater works by Marc Blitzstein and Kurt Weill grapple passionately with themes of social injustice. Blitzstein's No For An Answer, first staged in 1941, focuses on a feisty group of resort hotel workers struggling with unemployment and oppression during the off-season; Der Silbersee is a dystopian fantasy with a miraculous, happy ending. The Second World War cut the original runs of both shows down to a scant two performances each. Weill was forced to flee Germany after the opening of Der Silbersee, and Blitzstein was shipped off to Europe with the Armed Forces soon after his show had its brief moment off-Broadway.

Both works are about ordinary people fighting to free themselves from tyranny and discrimination. In Der Silbersee, there's a miracle; in No For An Answer, a murder. Both works are filled with first-class songs that speak directly to our times.

Soprano Sari Gruber, mezzo-soprano Rebecca Jo Loeb, tenor Alex Mansoori, and baritone John Brancy bring these gargantuan works to life. Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker will collaborate with Steven Blier on the evening's spoken continuity.

Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do:
Songs from Gay Harlem

Thursday, December 12, 2019, 8:00 p.m.
Lucia Bradford, mezzo-soprano; Joshua Blue, tenor
Justin Austin, baritone; Steven Blier and Joseph Li, pianistsNYFOS premieres a program called Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Songs from Gay Harlem, revealing the musical heart of a subculture within a subculture.

The program features rarities and well-known songs by Bessie Smith, Billy Strayhorn, and Porter Grainger, as well as songs popularized by Albreta Hunter, Ethel Waters, and 'Ma' Rainey.

NYFOS brings back the same superb cast of last season's hit production W.C. Handy and the Birth of the Blues (with the exception of Shereen Pimentel, the NYFOS and Blier protégé who was just cast as Maria in Broadway's upcoming revival of West Side Story): mezzo Lucia Bradford, British-American tenor Joshua Blue, and baritone Justin Austin. Steven Bier and Joseph Li share piano duties. Programming assistance was provided by the early blues scholar Elliott Hurwitt.

The Art of Pleasure

Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 8:00 p.m.
Caramoor's 2020 Schwab Vocal Rising StarsThe Art of Pleasure begins by exploring intimate moments of pleasure-the beauties of the seashore, romance, and dreams-before veering into a tour of guilty pleasures, "things you might not want your parents to know about." The talented young singers of Caramoor's Vocal Rising Stars program will perform works by Montsalvatge, Rachmaninoff, Jonathan Dove, Tom Lehrer, Leonard Bernstein, The Kinks, and many others.

This concert continues a long tradition of collaboration between NYFOS and Caramoor. The heart of NYFOS is its work with today's finest young singers through professional residences at Juilliard, Caramoor and the North Fork of Long Island, all led by NYFOS artistic directors Steven Blier and Michael Barrett. These song-intensives train young artists in programming, presentation, research, and style.

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