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New York City Opera Announces Program For 75th Anniversary Concert In Bryant Park

New York City Opera (NYCO), under the direction of Michael Capasso, General Director, has announced that it will celebrate its 75th Anniversary with a free concert in Bryant Park on Monday, September 9 at 6pm. The anniversary concert, which will be the finale to Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America, will feature soloists Michael Chioldi, Lisa Chavez, Glen Seven Allen, Mark Rucker, Brandie Sutton, Won Whi Choi, Kristin Sampson, Mark Delavan, Inna Dukach, and Megan Picerno, backed by a 30-member chorus, accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra led by a quartet of conductors: Carolyn Kuan, James Meena, Gil Rose, and James Lowe. The celebratory concert will be narrated by Mr. Capasso.

Founded 75 years ago by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia as "The People's Opera," New York City Opera has held a long tradition of producing new work and has launched the careers of dozens of major artists. While presenting engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual opera alongside commissions and regional premieres, NYCO has adhered to its unique mission: affordable tickets prices and a devotion to American works and English-language performance, establishing itself as a uniquely American opera company of international stature. Over its 75 years NYCO has commissioned more new American operas than any other company.

Part One of the evening will feature excerpts from European opera connected to the history of the company. The program will open with the overture and selections from Carmen, and will include arias from such works as The Merry Widow, La Rondine and Tosca, which was the company's opening production in 1944. Part One will also feature singers Mark Rucker and Brandie Sutton in a tribute to Todd Duncan and Camilla Williams, the first African-American artists to perform leading roles with a major American opera company when they performed in early NYCO productions. Mr. Duncan and Ms. Williams will perform arias from the works which marked these historical milestones -- Pagliacci (Mr. Duncan in 1945) and Madama Butterfly (Ms. Williams in 1946).

Part Two, which will be devoted to the company's rich history of performing American opera, will open with the chorale finale to NYCO's recent world premiere production of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell's Stonewall followed by selections from The Crucible, The Ballad of Baby Doe, Susannah, Emmeline, and will culminate in a performance of "Make Our Garden Grow" from Leonard Bernstein's Candide.

"New York City Opera was founded as The Peoples Opera," said NYCO General Director Michael Capasso. "I can see no better way to celebrate this historic anniversary than bringing it to the people of New York free of charge in a magnificent setting as a gift to the people and the City."

Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America is a series of free music, theater and dance performances in Bryant Park with no dress code, no tickets, and no lines. At each event the park lends out picnic blankets for audience members to spread out and relax while enjoying the Lawn. In addition, each event has beer, wine, and food for purchase.

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