The Church of the Transfiguration to Celebrate Benjamin Britten's 100th Birthday with CURLEW RIVER, 3/8-9


The Church of the Transfiguration ("The Little Church Around the Corner") presents Curlew River in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. This will be a fully staged and costumed production of Britten's chamber opera about a Madwoman searching for her son, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered, as performed by Medieval monks.


Christopher Preston Thompson - The Madwoman Tim Krol - The Ferryman
Nicholas Connolly - The Traveller
Peter Ludwig - The Abbot
and featuring Philip Debrito as The Spirit of the Boy

Costumes: Terri Bush
Set Design: Victoria Valencia Dramaturg: Betty Howe
Stage Director: Richard Olson Music Director: Claudia Dumschat

Selections from Britten's Songs for a Friday Afternoon featuring The Transfiguration Boys and Girls Choirs will also be performed.

This is an Arnold Schwartz Memorial Concert. Performances are set for Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 2013 7:30pm at The Church of the Transfiguration, "The Little Church Around the Corner", One East 29th Street (between Fifth and Madison Avenues) New York, NY. Tickets: $25; $15 for students and seniors Reservations & info: (212) 684-4174. Subways: 1, N, R or 6 to 28th Street; B, D, F or M to 34th Street Herald Square By bus: M1, M2, M3, M5, M6 or M7. Call 917-359-4449 for more information, or visit

The Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest such choir in the United States and the only one not affiliated with a school. It consists of 16 boys, ages 8-14, auditioned and selected from the New York metropolitan area, with diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds. The boys rehearse several times each week and not only are paid but also receive incremental scholarships through the Anthony J. Mercede Scholarship Fund, based on their years of participation. The full Choir of Men and Boys sings every Sunday morning at the 11:00 A.M. Mass. The style and sound of the choir began in the great cathedrals and collegiate choirs of England, where the uppermost musical line was written specifically for the timbre of boys' treble voices. Eight professional adult men sing the alto (countertenor), tenor and bass parts with the boys. The music they sing is from the English and European choral tradition: Bach, Byrd, Stanford, Willan, Haydn, Rorem, among others.

Tonight's concert is part of a series created by Marie Schwartz in honor of her late husband, Arnold Schwartz (1905-1979), who was born in Brooklyn and lived in New York City all of his life. Understanding that education and good health were needed in order for a young person to compete and succeed here, he gave generously to many educational and health-related institutions. Because he loved music, he extended his generosity to many musical institutions, such as the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Schwartz was also a trustee of the New York University Medical Center. Mrs. Schwartz also made it possible for Transfiguration to commission one of the finest pipe organs recently built for a New York church. Designed and built by the C.B. Fisk Company of Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Arnold Schwartz Memorial Organ (Opus 92) was finished and dedicated in 1988. A tracker, or mechanical-action organ, it was designed largely in the 18th- century North German tonal style but with an extensive 19-century French Cavaillé-Coll type swell division. This is an instrument eminently fit to perform the organ literature of all periods, as well as presenting and accompanying traditional Anglican liturgical music.

The Church of Transfiguration is known throughout the country as The Little Church Around the Corner. It got this name in 1870, when a local actor died and his friend Joseph Jefferson went to the rector of another church to see about a funeral. Upon hearing the dead man had been an actor, the rector said that he could not possibly bury him. The astonished friend asked if there was someplace else where he could arrange for his friend's funeral. The clergyman replied, "I believe there's a little church around the corner that does that sort of thing." For one hundred and sixty years, the church has been a very visible worshipping community in an urban setting that has welcomed all classes, all races, and particularly all those marginalized by society.

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Pictured: Christopher Preston Thompson, Tenor (The Madwoman)