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Casting Announced for World Premiere of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS



Casting Announced for World Premiere of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS

Michael Capasso, General Director of the New York City Opera has announced that Rachel Blaustein, Brian James Myer, Mary Phillips, Stephen Powell, and Victor Starsky will be featured in the cast of its upcoming world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, a co-production with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director, Dominick Balletta, Executive Director). THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, with a libretto by Michael Korie, will be conducted by James Lowe, directed and choreographed by Richard Stafford, and will open on Wednesday, January 19 at Edmond J. Safra Hall in the Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

Based on Giorgio Bassani's 1962 novel, THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS is set on the eve of World War II and tells the story of an aristocratic Italian-Jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, who believe they will be immune to the changes happening around them. As they make a gracious haven for themselves in their garden, walling out the unpleasantness of the world outside, Italy forms its alliance with Germany and begins to enforce anti-Semitic racial laws. But the Finzi-Continis discover too late that no one is immune, no one is untouchable.

"THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS not only continues New York City Opera's mission to produce new and important works by American composers, it will also continue NYCO's tradition of showcasing outstanding talent," said Mr. Capasso, adding "I am very excited about our cast which includes many young and emerging artists in leading roles alongside established NYCO stalwarts."

"We are proud to announce the stellar cast of the world premiere of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS," said Mr. Mlotek. "This important new work illuminates an important part of Italian Jewish history, and sadly, its themes of discrimination and antisemitism still resonate in our world today."

Soprano RACHEL BLAUSTEIN (who will perform the role of Micòl Finzi-Contini) will make her NYCO debut after performing this fall for the first time with Tulsa Opera as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi. Her Chicago Opera Theater credits include roles in Taking Up Serpents, La Hija de Rappaccini, and their upcoming production of Carmen.

Baritone Brian James MYER (Alberto Finzi-Contini) created leading roles in two NYCO 2019 premieres: as young Erich in Ted Rosenthal's jazz opera Dear Erich and as the schoolteacher Carlos in Iain Bell and Mark Campbell's Stonewall. He has created other roles in new works for Florida Grand Opera, American Lyric Theatre, Opera San Jose, and Opera Las Vegas.

Mezzo-soprano Mary Phillips (Mamma) is closely associated with the music of Wagner having won acclaim singing many mezzo roles in the Ring cycle with Seattle Opera, Canadian Opera, and at the MET, where she has also performed in works by Giuseppe Verdi, Richard Strauss, Anton Dvorak and Philip Glass.

Baritone Stephen Powell (Papà) is familiar to New York opera audience from his numerous appearances at both NYCO (in countless productions including The Magic Flute, Madama Butterfly, Der Rosenkavalier, La Traviata) and the MET (Carmen, Turandot, Boris Godunov), as well as nationally with San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Diego Opera and Glimmerglass Opera.

Tenor VICTOR STARSKY (Giorgio) has appeared in the NYCO productions of La fanciulla del West and La Bohème and was a participant in the 2019 Merola Opera Program and a 2020 San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow. His other credits include performances with Opera Modesto, Opera Tampa, Long Island Opera, and made his Carnegie Hall debut as the tenor soloist in Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass.

THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS will feature production design by John Farrell, costume design by Ildiko Debreczeni, and lighting design by Susan Roth.

Tickets for this limited engagement, which will play eight performances only through Sunday, January 30, are available at or by calling the box office at 855-449-4658. For additional information call 212-655-7653.

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