Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

New York City Opera presents DOLORES CLAIBORNE This Month

New York City Opera opened New York's cultural season with a new production of Puccini's beloved La fanciulla del West, which WQXR called "one of the resurrected City Opera's strongest productions yet." This October City Opera follows the success of La fanciulla del West with the world premiere of a new chamber adaptation of Tobias Picker's 2013 opera Dolores Claiborne, based on the novel by Stephen King. The adaptation has been prepared for City Opera by Picker, who is also City Opera's Composer-in-Residence.

The new production features an all-American cast led by Lisa Chavez in the title role. New York City Opera General Director Michael Capasso directs the new production, and City Opera Principal Conductor Pacien Mazzagatti conducts the New York City Opera Orchestra. Dolores Claiborne will be presented as part of City Opera's Chamber Opera Series at 59E59 Theaters for five performances on October 22 and 29 at 3:00PM, October 24 and 26 at 7:00PM, and October 28 at 2:00PM.

"It's a pleasure to be working once again with my friend and colleague Tobias Picker," says Michael Capasso. "He is one of our finest composers for the Lyric Stage, and City Opera is fortunate to have him as Composer-in-Residence. With his guidance, we have assembled a remarkable cast of singing actors to inhabit the five roles of this powerful work, and I am personally honored to direct the first production of his tenure."

Based on Stephen King's 1992 psychological thriller, Dolores Claiborne had its world premiere at San Francisco Opera on September 18, 2013. With a libretto by the celebrated American poet and librettist J.D. McClatchy, Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne is a gripping psychodrama. Dolores Claiborne has been accused of murdering her long-time employer, the wealthy and tyrannical Vera Donovan. During her interrogation, we learn of Dolores's complicated relationship with Vera, the mysterious circumstances surrounding her husband's death, and the dire measures Dolores took to protect her daughter, Selena.

City Opera's new production of Picker's Dolores Claiborne marks the work's New York premiere, as well as the world premiere of Picker's new chamber adaptation.

"Dolores Claiborne is unique in Stephen King's oeuvre because it's a true psychological drama-the kind that I'm especially attracted to," says Tobias Picker. "It has murder and suicide, and the mandatory love triangle, though it's between the three women. It is a great story masterfully told by King. I have great hopes that this new, intimate version of my opera will serve to heighten the impact of this chilling, human drama."

Born in New York City, Tobias Picker is one of America's most sought-after composers of opera, orchestral music, chamber music, piano, and vocal works. In 1996, Santa Fe Opera commissioned him to write his first opera, Emmeline, which was then brought to New York City Opera for its New York premiere in 1998. His other operas include Fantastic Mr. Fox, Thérèse Raquin, and An American Tragedy, which was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and had its world premiere with the company in 2005. Dolores Claiborne is Picker's fifth and most recent opera. In May 2017, City Opera announced that Picker had been named the company's composer-in-residence.

Directing Dolores Claiborne is City Opera General Director Michael Capasso. Capasso has produced, directed, and toured opera and musical theater productions in the U.S. and abroad for over 30 years. In 1981, he cofounded New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre. During his leadership, Dicapo Opera Theatre presented a diverse programming to the New York public, including three productions of contemporary American operas in Europe. In addition to his work with the Dicapo Opera Theatre, Mr. Capasso has directed operas at l'Opéra de Montréal; Mallorca Opera, Spain; Toledo Opera; Connecticut Opera; New Jersey State Opera; Opera Carolina; and Orlando Opera, among others.

In the 2016/2017 season, New York City Opera's Principal Conductor Pacien Mazzagatti led the company's critically acclaimed American premiere of Literes's Los elementos, which The New York Times praised as "a musical delight and a charming entertainment," and the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös's Angels in America. Mazzagatti will lead the New York City Opera Orchestra in this world premiere of Picker's new chamber adaptation of Dolores Claiborne.

Leading the all-American cast is mezzo-soprano Lisa Chavez as Dolores Claiborne. Ms. Chavez last appeared with City Opera as Paola in Florencia en el Amazonas, giving what Opera Today called "one of the evening's most compelling performances." Recently Ms. Chavez made her debut with Sarasota Opera as Madame de Croissy in Dialogues of the Carmelites and her Carnegie Hall debut as Alto Soloist in Dan Forrest's Jubilate Deo. In 2018, she returns to Sarasota Opera in the title role of Bizet's Carmen. Singing the role of Vera Donovan, Dolores's employer, adversary, and friend, is Jessica Tyler Wright. In January 2017 Ms. Wright sang Paquette in City Opera's critically acclaimed, sold-out production of Bernstein's Candide, directed by the legendary Hal Prince. Wright has appeared on Broadway in the original production of War Horse and the 2005 revival of Sweeney Todd and Off-Broadway in Classical Stage Company's production of Allegro.

Emerging soprano Lianne Gennaco makes her major role debut at City Opera as Selena, Dolores's estranged daughter, having previously performed in the company's productions of Candide, La campana sommersa, and Los elementos. Ms. Gennaco's burgeoning career spans both opera and musical theater. Last year she originated the role of Ann in the New York premiere of The Astronaut's Tale with Encompass New Opera Theatre. She has performed at the Davenport Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, and the National Yiddish Theatre. With Dicapo Opera, she sang in La Cenerentola, The Saint of Bleecker Street, and in the European premiere of Picker's Emmeline in Szeged, Hungary.

In the role of Dolores's abusive husband, Joe St. George, is American dramatic baritone Thomas Hall. Mr. Hall's vast repertoire includes the title roles of Wagner's Der fliegende Holländer and Verdi's Rigoletto, Wotan and the Wanderer in Wagner's Ring Cycle, Scarpia, Orest, and Telramund, as well as Brahms's Ein Deutsches Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and Orff's Carmina Burana. He has appeared internationally with the Savonlinna Festival, Teatro Regio Torino, Theater Kiel, Opera Australia, and Opera Hong Kong, among others, and in the United States with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Symphony, and Ann Arbor Symphony. Tenor Spencer Hamlin makes his City Opera debut as Detective Thibodeau. In New York, Hamlin has sung Tonio in La fille du régiment and Alfred in Die Fledermaus, both with Martina Arroyo's Prelude to Performance. Most recently, he performed Beppe in Pagliacci at Hartford Opera Theater.

City Opera's production of Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy's Dolores Claiborne runs for five performances, beginning on October 22 at 3:00PM at 59E59 Theaters. City Opera's Chamber Series continues in March with a rare double-bill of Rameau's Pigmalion and the New York stage premiere of Donizetti's first opera, Il Pigmalione.

59E59 Theaters Box Office
59 East 59th Street
New York, NY 10022
Hours: Opens 12PM daily, Closes at 6PM or at the beginning of the final performance.

Ticket Central: 212-279-4200***
Hours: 12 - 8PM daily

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, New York 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, New York 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 launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists.

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 New York 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 Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater with revitalized outreach and education programs, and programming designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of City Opera audiences. The 2016 - 2017 season included the critically acclaimed, innovative double-bill of Leoncavallo's Pagliacci and Rachmaninoff's Aleko, the New York premiere of Tobin Stokes' Fallujah, the first opera written about PTSD and the Iraq War, 10 sold-out performances of Harold Prince's critically claimed production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide, the U.S. premiere of Literes's baroque opera, Los Elementos, at Harlem Stage, and the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös's Angels in America, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tony Kushner. The 2017 - 2018 season began with a new production of Puccini's La fanciulla del West and continues with the world premiere of the chamber adaptation of Tobias Picker's Dolores Claiborne.

For more information please visit:

Featured at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More
Branded Broadway Merch

Related Articles View More Opera Stories

More Hot Stories For You