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New York City Opera to Open Season with ALEKO & PAGLIACCI Double Bill

New York City Opera is at the forefront of New York's cultural season with Opening Night on Thursday, September 8, 2016 featuring two compelling ensemble casts in a new production double bill directed by Lev Pugliese with conductor James Meena leading the New York City Opera Orchestra. The double bill's sets are designed by John Farrell, costumes are by Ildikó Debrezceni and lighting design is by Susan Roth. Performances are September 8, 10, 11 and 13, 2016 in Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall.

The nineteen-year-old Rachmaninoff composed Aleko, a setting of librettist Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko's adaptation of Alexander Pushkin's narrative poem The Gypsies, while still a student at the Moscow Conservatory. City Opera's double bill juxtaposes Rachmaninoff's rarely performed first opera with Leoncavallo's iconic Pagliacci. The two operas follow a similar dramatic plot of love triangles exploring boundaries of jealousy and betrayal. These performances will mark the New York staged premiere of Aleko.

New York City Opera General Director Michael Capasso, who created the production's staging concept, explains the pairing, "These works, both premiered in May 1892, pair well as a double bill of two gritty, powerful dramas with parallel storylines involving an older man, his young wife and her young lover. In both, the end result of passionate jealousy is a double murder. Musically, these operas have lush, romantic scores that together create a beautiful, immersive musical evening. I am convinced that our audience will be taken with the novel pairing of these two operas, as part of City Opera's continuing mission to offer the New York public experiences they can find nowhere else."

The casts of the two operas are drawn from an American and international array of esteemed singers who have performed with New York City Opera and some making their company debuts.

Bass Stefan Szkafarowsky makes his City Opera debut in the title role of Aleko with soprano Inna Dukach as his wife Zemfira, bass Kevin Thompson as Zemfira's father (Old Gypsy) and tenor Jason Karn (City Opera debut), as Zemfira's lover (Young Gypsy).

Pagliacci features tenor Francesco Anile in his City Opera debut as Canio; Mr. Anile made headlines earlier this year when he made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera appearing in jeans and a T-shirt as a last minute replacement for an ill colleague in the title role of Verdi's Otello. Soprano Jessica Rose Cambio makes her City Opera debut portraying Nedda and baritone Michael Corvino takes on Tonio; Mr. Corvino has an illustrious association with City Opera dating back to the 2000 - 01 season. The cast is rounded out with baritone Gustavo Feulien (City Opera debut) as Silvio and Jason Karn who has a doubleheader evening singing Beppe following his appearance in Aleko.

James Meena, General Director and Principal Conductor of Opera Carolina, leads the New York City Opera Orchestra.

Complete cast and creative biographies can be found at


Michael Capasso on the opening of the 2016 - 17 season: "It is thrilling to embark on a first full season since re-organization which exactly embodies the artistic vision we had proposed. The season opener, a pairing of a beloved Italian favorite (Pagliacci) with a rarely performed work (Aleko) by an equally beloved composer (Rachmaninoff) will be followed in January 2017 by Candide, a classic with a connection to City Opera's history. In the spring, we present Respighi's La Campana Sommersa, not seen in New York in nearly a century, initiating a co-production relationship with Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. The season closes with the New York premiere of Angels in America by Péter Eötvös, based on the groundbreaking play by Tony Kushner. These four operas, along with our chamber opera series and concerts, will give New Yorkers the theatrical and musical experience long associated with City Opera's celebrated artistic legacy."

Parks Series Continues on THURSDAY, August 18, 2016 at Bryant Park

City Opera continues its summer Parks Series with a free performance of Pagliacci in Bryant Park on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 12:30PM. The two previous performances in Byrant Park featured excerpts from Florencia en el Amazonas on June 17, 2016 and a one-hour version of Carmen on July 29, 2016 which attracted an audience of over 2,000. Puccini in Love concludes the summer Park Series in Bryant Park on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 6:00PM. City Opera plans to continue public events in the coming months and will announce events as they are confirmed.

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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.

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