5th Annual New York Opera Fest Announces Line-up
Hailed as "a remarkably strong and diverse exploration of everything opera can be in the city (The New York Times)," the New York Opera Fest celebrates its fifth season with performances by 20+ local opera companies in all five boroughs of New York City.
Presented by the New York Opera Alliance, with support from OPERA America, this annual festival runs for two months May-June 2020 starting with a special kick-off event April 27th. This year's festival includes 60+ performances including eight world premieres: No Dominion Theatre Company's HindSight by librettist Bea Goodwin and composer Felix Jarrar; KAMMEROPER 1804, Beethoven's other opera, performed by Capital Opera Albany; a translation of Mozart's Il re pastore (The Shepherd King) by the little OPERA Theatre of ny, a new four-piece Richard Burke Opera by Hunter Opera Theater, Midnight in the Garden by Vertical Player Repertory showcasing soprano Francesca Mondanaro, American Opera Project's biannual concert of world premiere songs; sci-fi work Red Giant performed by Rhymes with Opera; and Performance of Self, a new work commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects that explores gender and sexuality identification (Please scroll down for preliminary festival schedule.)
"What a great time to be enjoying opera in the city!" says Peter Szep, founding director of the New York Opera Fest and co-founder of New York Opera Alliance. "The number of opera companies in our metropolis is astounding and continues to grow each year. We are honored to provide these artists with a platform to develop new works, and engage with communities of all ages and backgrounds. We strive to provide an event that is accessible and affordable for all audiences. This is truly your neighborhood festival."
Marc A. Scorca, president and CEO of OPERA America, the national membership organization for opera that supports NYOA and the Opera Fest, notes, "The vibrancy and ingenuity of the companies that make up the New York Opera Alliance and perform in the NY Opera Fest are inspiring innovation across the entire country. Similar companies are popping up in cities across North America, and many of them are inspiring innovation at larger established companies. They all should aspire to collaborate as effectively as the NYOA in producing such a reputable annual festival."
The festival has grown tremendously over the past five years. Since its inception in 2016, the festival has premiered 40+ works, presented over 360+ performances by 100+ companies. In addition, NYOA is thrilled to report that the number of works by women has doubled the past five years. For the first time, the festival will take place in all five boroughs in diverse venues such as theaters, bars, school playgrounds, and museums. Opera on Tap will perform thrice in Brooklyn bars and even in a Harlem school playground. According to WQXR Radio, "the festival is a reminder that opera doesn't need a 3,000-seat theater to be grand, and some of the more innovative, impassioned, exciting, and vital - as well as affordable - productions are coming out of these smaller, more nimble companies."
"What I love about this festival is that it is not curated," exclaims Szep. "No one's voices are being filtered out. Every company has the autonomy to perform anything, anywhere." This year's festival showcases New York's vibrant and varied opera scene, with repertoire ranging from the traditional operatic canon such as Puccini's Turandot (Regina Opera Company), Mozart's The Magic Flute (Brooklyn College Opera Theatre), and Smetana's masterpiece The Bartered Bride (Bronx Opera), to contemporary works such as: Performance of Self, a new piece commissioned by the revered Beth Morrison Projects, little OPERA theatre of ny's The Shepherd King, a new singing translation of Mozart's Il re Pastore; Heartbeat Opera's Lady M, a 90-minute, multi-media concert version of Verdi's Macbeth; Encompass New Opera Theatre's exploration of the Brazilian rain forest's protection efforts in Angel of the Amazon, and Libby Larsen's cabaret opera Barnum's Bird (2002) performed by New Camerata Opera that dramatizes the artistic and commercial partnership between famed Swedish soprano Jenny Lind and American promoter and showman P.T. Barnum.
New York Opera Fest Kick-Off Event and NYOA Service Awards
Monday, April 27 @ 7:00 p.m.
OPERA America's National Opera Center, Marc A. Scorca Hall, 330 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan
The festival kicks off with this one-night only event featuring five-minute previews of a select festival performances and the presentation of the NYOA Service Award honoring the winner's (name TBA) enrichment of the opera community of New York. A great way to sage your appetite for opera! $5.00 tickets. Limited seating. Reservations strongly recommended.
Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Angel of the Amazon; Paradigm Shifts
May Dates TBA
Alliance of Resident Theatres, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn
Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Angel of the Amazon; Paradigm Shifts, a fully-staged work written and composed by Evan Mack. Based on the compelling true story of Sister Dorothy Stang who courageously protected the rain forest of Brazil and devoted her life to gaining land rights for indigenous people, her passion for the Earth and the families she loved so much live on through her powerful story. In 2005, at the age of 73, she was murdered for speaking out.
*Rhymes with Opera presents Red Giant
Friday-Saturday, May 1-2 @ 8:00 p.m. + Sunday, May 3 @ 2:00 p.m.
The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas Street, Manhattan
Rhymes with Opera presents the world premiere of the fully-staged sci-fi work Red Giant with music by Adam Matlock and libretto by Brian Slattery. Also on the program are new works by RWO founders Ruby Fulton and George Lam.
Bronx Opera presents The Bartered Bride
Saturday, May 2 + 9 @ 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, May 3 + 10 @ 2:30 p.m.
Lovinger Theatre, Lehman College, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx
The Bronx Opera presents a fully-staged production of Smetana's masterpiece The Bartered Bride (Prodana Nevesta), updated to the USA post World War II.
Victor Herbert Renaissance Project presents Mlle Modiste
Tuesday-Wednesday, May 5-6 @ 8:00 p.m.
Christ & St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 120 West 69th Street, Manhattan
The Victor Herbert Renaissance Project LIVE!, Inc., presents the fully-staged Victor Herbert's 1905 operetta Mlle Modiste. Ah, Fifi! Everyone loves Fifi! Customers, soldiers, and especially Etienne. But she's a hat shop girl with larger dreams. As in all operetta, Madame Cecile, Etienne's uncle and an American Business man - all have other plans for Fifi! Enjoy "Mascot of the Troop," "If I Were On The Stage," "The Time, The Place and The Girl," "I Want What I Want When I Want It," and "Hats Make The Woman." That's just a hint of this wonderful score - hidden in one of those songs is the most famous of all, "Kiss Me Again."
New Camerata Opera presents Barnum's Bird
Thursday-Friday, May 7-8 and May 14-15 @ 7:00 p.m.
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, Manhattan
New Camerata Opera is proud to present the fully-staged Barnum's Bird (2002) in New York, the city that was transformed by P.T. Barnum, and showcase the music of Grammy Award-winning composer Libby Larsen, with libretto by Libby Larsen and Bridget Carpenter. Featuring local operatic artists, chamber orchestra and authentic circus performers, this show brings opera under the "big top". Barnum's Bird tells the incredible true story of Jenny Lind and P.T. Barnum, recently made famous by the 2017 film, "The Greatest Showman". This opera depicts the story of fearless businesswoman and artist, Jenny Lind, and equally fierce businessman and world-class showman, P.T. Barnum. Their devotion to artistic endeavors provides audiences an insight into our own experiences as lovers of art and consumers of entertainment and the way that shapes our cultural lives.
*Hunter Opera Theater presents Richard Burke Pocket Opera
Friday-Saturday, May 8-9 @ 7:30 p.m.
The Flea Theater, 20 Thomas Street, Manhattan
Hunter Opera Theater (HOT) presents the world premiere of the fully-staged work, Richard Burke Pocket Opera. This year, four pieces will be presented: "The Taxi Driver," libretto and music by Joe Young, "The Blue Bird Opera: The Pursuit of Happiness," libretto and music by Alyssa Regent, "Panic Room," libretto and music by Deshawn Withers, and "Prince Danila Govorila," music by Matthew Sandahl, with a libretto by Alkiviades Meimaris.
Brooklyn College Opera Theatre presents The Magic Flute
Friday, May 8 @ 7:30 p.m. + Sunday, May 10 @ 3:00 p.m.
Leonard & Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College, Brooklyn
Brooklyn College Opera Theatre with the Conservatory Orchestra present a fully-staged production of Mozart's whimsical opera, The Magic Flute.
New Amsterdam Opera presents I Vespri Siciliani
Saturday, May 9 @ 7:00 p.m.
The Center at West Park, 165 W. 86th Street, Manhattan
New Amsterdam Opera presents a semi-staged production of Verdi's I Vespri Siciliani, a monumental political and personal drama that pits duty against desire during the historic rebellion of the Sicilians against their oppressive French occupiers.
Regina Opera Company presents Turandot
Saturday-Sunday, May 9-10 + May 16-17, Time TBA
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, 5902 6th Avenue, Brooklyn
For the first time in Regina Opera Company's 50-year history, the company will present a fully-staged production of Turandot by Alfano and Puccini. The performances will be sung in Italian with a 35-piece orchestra and English supertitles projected above the stage of Regina Opera's 500-seat theater.
Heartbeat Opera presents Lady M
Monday, May 11 @ 7:00 p.m. + Wednesday, Friday-Saturday, May 13, 15-16
@ 8:00 p.m.
Irondale, 85 S. Oxford Street, Brooklyn
Heartbeat Opera tackles its first work by Verdi, creating a reordered, 90-minute version of Macbeth entitled Lady M. It centers Lady Macbeth's experience, looking at the story through a contemporary American lens. What does it mean to be an ambitious, driven woman today? How do power and wealth corrupt? And how do we strip away clichés that have accumulated around this story -- and the character of Lady Macbeth in particular -- in order to encounter this thrilling material in a fresh way? For six singers and seven players, Heartbeat's adaptation features electronics, cutting-edge sound design, and three female soloists as the Witches, honoring Shakespeare's original text and bringing Verdi's thrilling music to life in surprising and otherworldly new ways including surround sound, vocal distortion, pitch manipulation, texture, and exaggerated dynamic contrast.
Opera Lafayette presents Le Maréchal ferrant
Thursday, May 14 @ 7:00 + 9:00 p.m.
El Museo del Barrio, 230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street, Manhattan
Opera Lafayette presents the modern premiere of Philidor's Le Maréchal ferrant (The Blacksmith) (1761), bridging city and country and celebrating rural themes and audience participation. For the first time Opera Lafayette translates an 18th-century French opéra-comique to be sung and spoken in English, recapturing the humor and immediacy of the original by adapting the story to the late 19th-century American West and integrating American folk songs into the plot where French folk songs were originally sung. The folk songs include familiar tunes like "Buffalo Gals" which invite audience participation as well as ones with insightful social commentary like "When I was Single" and "Darlin' Corey".
Straight from the Tap, Freddy's Bar and the Divas of Opera on Tap present Home Brewed Opera Series
Thursday, May 14 @ 9:00 p.m.
Freddy's Bar and Backroom, 627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn
Straight from the tap, Freddy's Bar and the Divas of Opera on Tap bring you the Home Brewed Opera series: funny, engaging, immersive operatic concerts in a casual setting. This is FREE!
City Lyric Opera presents Hansel & Gretel
Thursday-Sunday, May 14-17 @ 7:30 p.m., + May 16-17 @ 3:00 p.m.
Robert Moss Theater, 440 Lafayette Street #4, Manhattan
Join City Lyric Opera's fourth season in this classic, timeless story of Humperdinck's Hansel & Gretel as it explores it in a deeper, authentic, exciting way. This fully-staged show will bring this story to life and shine light on the parallels between these brave children and those in our own community.
Queens College Opera presents Young Artists Concert
Friday, May 15 @ 7:00 p.m.
Aaron Copland School of Music Room 270, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Queens
Queens College Opera presents Young Artists in Concert featuring excerpts from past, present and future productions.
The Collectio Musicorum presents Henry Purcell's Music for the Opera
Friday, May 15 @ 8:00 p.m.
Christ and St. Stephen's Church, 120 West 69th Street, Manhattan
The Collectio Musicorum, Inc., presents Henry Purcell's Music for the Opera and the Theatre. Henry Purcell (1659-1695) was one of the greatest English composers who ever lived and the creator of the first great English opera, "Dido and Aeneas." This concert presents highlights from "Dido" and other of his operatic and theatrical works, including "The Fairy Queen," "Dioclesian," "Timon of Athens," and "King Arthur," as well as a complete performance of his miniature dramatic work "In Guilty Night." This performance is FREE!
*Vertical Player Repertory presents Midnight in the Garden
Friday, May 22 @ 8:00 p.m. + Date TBA
May 22: The Blue Building, 222 East 46th Street, Manhattan
Date TBA: Behind the Door, 219 Court Street, Brooklyn
The Vertical Player Repertory presents the world premiere of Midnight in the Garden, a fully-staged program of song repertoire showcasing soprano Francesca Mondanaro, recognized for her "electric...high impact singing" (Opera News), "riveting performances" (Washington Post), and ability to create "thrilling and shattering music-drama" (Parterre Box). Midnight in the Garden features cycles by Respighi (Deità Silvane), Alban Berg (Seven Early Songs), and songs by Rachmaninoff, Tosti and others, evoking a dark night of the soul on an unknown and winding path from dusk to dawn.
*Beth Morrison Projects presents Performance of Self
Wednesday, May 27 @ 8:00 p.m.
National Sawdust, 80 North 6th Street, Brooklyn
Beth Morrison Projects presents the world premiere of Performance of Self, a fully-staged production with music and libretto by Jodie Landau. This immersive piece by Jodie Landau uses chamber music and dance to weave its way through songs and stories about queerness, gender, sexuality, [online] dating, choice, consent, attraction, desire, expectations, conforming to someone's needs vs. self-preservation, language and communication, dance, drag, costume, and the performance of self.
*American Opera Project presents Songs from the Great Room
Friday-Saturday May 29-30 @ 8:00 p.m.
South Oxford Space, The Great Room, 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn
The American Opera Project's biannual concert of world premiere songs returns to the Great Room in Spring 2020. Songs from the Great Room features six professional opera singers performing music written for them over the past year by the 10th cycle of composers and librettists selected for AOP's opera-writing training program Composers & the Voice led by conductor Steven Osgood. Performances by Justine Aronson, Augusta Caso, Brandon Coleman, Mario Diaz-Moresco, Jasmine Muhammad, and Timothy Stoddard. Music Direction by Mila Henry and Kelly Horsted.
*No Dominion Theatre Company presents HindSight
Friday-Saturday, May 29-30 @ 8:00 p.m. + Sunday, May 31 @ 3:00 p.m.
The Blue Building, 222 East 46th Street, Manhattan
The No Dominion Theatre Company presents the world premiere of the fully-staged HindSight. A new, true-crime opera by composer Felix Jarrar and librettist Bea Goodwin about famed 1920's killers Leopold and Loeb premieres 96 years, to the day, of their interrogation. These men, notorious for their familial wealth and intelligence, set out to commit the perfect crime, just for the thrill of it. This opera depicts the events leading up to their trial and examines abuse of power and privilege - a seemingly timeless echo reverberating within our nation.
Opera on Tap presents New Brew Series
Friday, June 5 @ 8:00 p.m.
Barbes, 376 9th Street, Brooklyn
Opera on Tap's New Brew series brings you classical music written by some of today's most exciting composers, presented in entertaining and irreverent programs by young singers and instrumentalists who relish the direct contact with audiences not inhibited in their reactions by the looming menace of giant chandeliers. This is a FREE event!
Experiments in Opera presents Rainbird
Thursday, June 11 @ 8:00 p.m.
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn
Experiments in Opera co-founder Aaron Siegel and director Mallory Catlett (Restless NYC) bring their new opera Rainbird to the Roulette for the first concert reading of the full opera. Rainbird has been developed closely with the performing artists Gelsey Bell, Justin Hicks, Anais Maviel, Dave Ruder, Andie Springer, Matt Evans, and Paul Kerekes. Rainbird is an adaptation of the novel Yellow Flowers in the Antipodean Room by the celebrated New Zealand author Janet Frame. Rainbird tells the story of a middle-aged family man in New Zealand named Godfrey Rainbird who gets hit by a car and is pronounced dead. After the funeral arrangements have been made and his belongings have been cleared from the house, he wakes up in the morgue. What ensues is the emotional struggle of the Rainbird family, not in accepting Godfrey's death, but, rather, his resurrection. Now a symbol of death, he is ostracized by his community and his family destroyed.
Opera on Tap presents Playground Opera - La Cenerentola
Thursday-Friday, June 11-12 @ 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
PS129, 425 West 130th Street, Manhattan
Opera on Tap Presents: Playground Opera - La Cenerentola 2.0, a new take on Rossini's operatic drama featuring Opera on Tap rostered singers and students of Harlem's PS 129 school. The Playground Operas program is a school day program that immerses students in the creation, production and performance of an opera. With the guidance of professionals working in the field today, students explore the operatic experience from the first moment of an opera's creation to the exciting culmination of its performance. The stage? Their own schoolyard playground. These performances are FREE and open to the public!
*Capital Opera Albany presents KAMMEROPER 1804
Thursday-Saturday, June 25-27 @ 8:00 p.m. + Sunday, June 28 @ 2:00 p.m.
West End Theater, 263 West 86th Street, Manhattan
In celebration of Beethoven's 250th birth year, Capital Opera Albany presents the world premiere of KAMMEROPER 1804, Beethoven's other opera. KAMMEROPER 1804 is a light-hearted fully-staged music drama centered on the ill-fated final rehearsal of Vestal Flame; a potboiler of an opera set in ancient Rome. An emerging Ludwig van Beethoven is embroiled in an artistic dispute with the celebrated librettist/and impressario Emanuel Schikaneder who is hoping to regain some of his former glory when he worked with Mozart on The Magic Flute. Directed by Bill Kaufman, KAMMEROPER 1804 uses a number of Beethoven songs transcribed for rock instruments as well as the lesser known proto-opera Vestal Flame (Vestas Feuer) to tell the story of a fantasy "who-done-it" 12 years after the death of Mozart.
*the little OPERA theatre of ny presents The Shepherd King
Date + Location TBA
In collaboration with New Vintage Baroque, the little OPERA theatre of ny presents The Shepherd King, the premiere of a new singing translation of Mozart's Il re Pastore (The Shepherd King) composed by Mark Hermand and Ronnie Apter with Elliot Figg conducting.