New York City Opera Presents CARMEN in Bryant Park
The first of four extraordinary hour-long performances produced by New York City Opera in Bryant Park this summer, watch passions flare in this adaptation of Carmen, one of the world's most beloved operas. The innkeeper Lillas Pastia narrates the tempestuous story of the irresistible seductress Carmen and her hapless lover Don José in this hour-long presentation of highlights from Carmen, Bizet's beloved opera, from New York City Opera. Offered to the New York public free-of-charge, this presentation is a perfect introduction to opera for newcomers of any age.
With NYCO, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata (Carmen) received high praise as Hedda Hopper in Hopper's Wife. She toured with NYCO as Carmen in Europe, North America, and Asia. Recently, she sang Zosia in the Heggie premiere of Out of Darkness with Atlanta Opera. Career highlights: Sister Helen Prejean in Dead Man Walking, Maria in Maria de Buenos Aires, the Countess in A Little Night Music, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Hannah After in As One, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, and many more.
For more than 20 years, Jason Karn (Don Jose) has impressed critics and audiences alike with his vibrant, bright tone and dramatic characterizations. For his New York City performance as Roméo in Roméo et Juliette, New York Sun said, "He has an attractive soft-grained tenor that at its best reminded me a bit of the late Alfredo Kraus. Mr. Karn's singing was flexible, smoothly phrased, and secure on top." Noted engagements include his Avery Fisher Hall debut with the American Symphony Orchestra in the American Premiere of Vincent D'Indy's Fervaal, his Washington National Opera debut as Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos, Cassio in Otello with Opera Carolina, Pittsburgh Opera as Al Joad in The Grapes of Wrath, and more.
This season, Argentinean-American baritone Gustavo Feulien (Escamilio) made his New York City Opera debut as Silvio in Pagliacci with great acclaim from the audiences and New York press. Recently he made his role debut as Marcello in La Bohéme at Wichita Grand Opera. Hailed by The New York Times as "rich-voiced;" and, Opera News notes, "Feulien gave interesting and convincing portrayal of Scarpia, most impressive in the Act I Te Deum" in Loft Opera's production of Tosca.
Daria Somers (Mikaela) was most recently featured in acclaimed turns as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni and Mimì in La Bohème with Pacific Opera Project. Previous roles include Nedda, Violetta, Cio-Cio San, Fiordiligi, the Countess, and Tosca, among others, with companies throughout the United States.
American soprano Stacy Dove (Frasquita) is a versatile artist and powerful performer whose voice has been described as "a plush, dark soprano" and "a model of Bel Canto grace" (Parterre Box). Stacy made a "memorable" debut with Florentine Opera this fall as Valencienne in The Merry Widow, where the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote, "Her musical and theatrical expressiveness must make everyone hope she'll be back."
Mezzo-soprano Kristee Haney (Mercedes) continues to impact audiences as a versatile performer in the varying genres of opera, oratorio, musical theatre and recital repertoire. Haney recently joined the roster of the Metropolitan Opera for productions Massenet's Werther and more. Other recent engagements include Carnegie Hall appearances and a European / UAE tour of Carmen.
Jake Russo (Lilas Pastia) is immensely proud to perform with New York City Opera's global tour of Carmen in their Mainstage Season. Other New York City appearances include Julius Caesar, Henry V, Hamlet, This Prison Where I Live (Titan Theatre in residence at the Queens Theater), and many more.
New York City-based coach / accompanist Kathryn Olander works regularly as coach/rehearsal pianist with New York City Opera and has held this position with many other companies including Sarasota Opera, Kentucky Opera, Sacramento Opera, Dicapo Opera Theatre, Porgy and Bess Theatre, Chattanooga Symphony/Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Emerald City Opera, and Mobile Opera. She has held coaching positions with the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, Chautauqua Institute School of Music and served as musical director of the Indianapolis Opera Ensemble, a program devoted to developing up-and-coming talent.
New York City Opera at Bryant Park continues this summer with hour-long performances of Puccini's Madama Butterfly (June 13), Robert Ward's The Crucible (August 28), and Rossini's The Barber of Seville (September 17).
Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as "The People's Opera," New York City Opera has been a critical part of the city's cultural life. During its history, City Opera launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American Opera Company of international stature. For more than seven decades, City Opera maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who began their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Beverly Sills, Samuel Ramey, and dozens more. In 1999, New York City Opera founded VOX, Contemporary Opera Lab, an annual concert series that offered composers and librettists the opportunity to hear excerpts of their works performed by professional singers and musicians. For decades City Opera has been committed to introducing opera to the young, bringing the art form to new audiences with educational outreach performances in New York City's public schools. Now, having returned to the stage, New York City Opera continues its legacy at a new, state-of-the-art home at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center, with revitalized outreach and education programs, and programming designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of City Opera audiences.
Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a private not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park in New York City. BPC is funded by income from events, concessions and corporate sponsors, as well as an assessment on neighboring properties, and does not accept government or philanthropic monies. In addition to providing security and sanitation services and tending the park's lush lawn and seasonal garden displays, BPC provides public amenities and activities, including movable chairs and tables, cafe umbrellas, restaurants, food kiosks, world-class restrooms, and a wide range of free events throughout the year. The Midtown Manhattan park is visited by more than six million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. BPC's website, bryantpark.org, is available for more detailed information and a schedule of upcoming events.