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ALL ARTS Announces the 'Never in New York Festival'

ALL ARTS Announces the 'Never in New York Festival'

ALL ARTS, the broadcast and digital platform created by New York Public Media company WNET, is excited to announce the Never in New York Festival, a broadcast and streaming celebration of international film, opera and theatrical works rarely presented to the New York audience.

The festival is the brainchild of ALL ARTS Artistic Director Jörn Weisbrodt, who notes, "Never in New York is a festival of some of the greatest artists working in theater and opera from around the world, most of whom have never presented their work in New York. The ten artists we are able to present in this program have all had major impacts on their genre and culture. They are not secondary artists but major players, inventors of new theatrical languages, and leaders in the cultural scene of their home countries and far beyond. During these times where performing arts organizations have been forced to shut down, we hope this festival offers our ever-curious viewers a glimpse into the work of directors they have not been able to witness live but hopefully will very soon in the future."

The nightly premieres of opera, theater and film are organized by director, starting with director Frank Castorf's performance presentation of Leos Janáček's last opera From the House of the Dead and a documentary about Castorf's work at the Volksbühne Theater in Berlin called Partisan.

Australian director Barrie Kosky follows with Orpheus in the Underworld, Jacques Offenbach's first full-length operetta, and the Monteverdi cycles of Orpheus, Odysseus and The Coronation of Poppea, originally staged during one long day at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2012, also the controversial opera Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg and Georges Bizet's classic Carmen.

The next set of premieres highlight Indian theater director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry with productions of Bitter Fruit and Naked Voices, then the documentary Final de obra follows, exploring the work of Argentinean theater director Ricardo Bartis.

The festival continues with The Makropulos Affair from Swiss director Cristoph Marthaler and FIM, Brazilian director Felipe Hirsch's 2019 play.

The next five days highlight opera director Stefan Herheim with a staging of Tchaikovsky's classic opera Eugene Onegin, a gender-bending Les Contes d'Hoffmann, The Queen of Spades, Mozart's Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail, and Rusalka.

Next follows Greek director Theodoros Terzopoulos's Journey of Dionysus, Alarme and Trojan Woman.

The nightly marathons continue with theater director Heiner Müller's first opera Tristan und Isolde, and the festival concludes on May 29 with Kirill Serebrennikov's Russian film The Student.

While the ALL ARTS broadcast channel is only available to New York-area viewers, all programs in the festival will also be available to watch for free nationwide on the free ALL ARTS streaming app and website at

Full Programming Schedule and Descriptions:

Friday, May 1 at 10 p.m.

  • From the House of the Dead

Leos Janáček's last opera "From the House of the Dead" is based on Fyodor Dostoevsky's semi-autobiographical novel about his time in a Siberian prison camp. This 2018 production for the Munich Opera Festival was directed by Frank Castorf, whose innovative aesthetic involves live video recordings on stage and darkly whimsical elements to comment on authoritarian power. Part of Never in New York.

Saturday, May 2 at 10 p.m.

  • Partisan

This documentary tells stories from the Volksbühne, a theater in Berlin that translates as "The People's Theater." Under the direction of Frank Castorf from 1992-2017, it became known for its experimental productions. People who worked at the theater in various capacities describe the thrill of live performance and the role of art in Soviet East Germany. Part of the Never in New York Festival.

Sunday, May 3 at 10 p.m.

  • Orpheus in the Underworld

"Orpheus in the Underworld" is Jacques Offenbach's first full-length operetta, which satirizes the Greek myth Orpheus to comment on the follies of marriage and critique Napoleon III. In this 2019 Salzburg Festival production, director Barrie Kosky is at his campiest, especially during the "Galop infernal" whose music has become synonymous with the can-can. Part of Never in New York.

Monday, May 4 at 10 p.m.

  • Orpheus

Australian opera director Barrie Kosky staged the Monteverdi cycle of "Orpheus," "Odysseus," and "The Coronation of Poppea" for one day at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2012, making him the first director to do so. The 1609 premiere of "Orpheus" is considered the first fully developed opera, and Kosky's stylized production uses instrumentation of oud and electric guitar. Part of Never in New York.

Tuesday, May 5 at 10 p.m.

  • Odysseus

Australian opera director Barrie Kosky staged the Monteverdi cycle of "Orpheus," "Odysseus," and "The Coronation of Poppea" to be seen in one long day at the Komische Oper Berlin in 2012. Monteverdi wrote "Odysseus" in 1639 for the first opera company in the world, the Teatro San Cassiano, but the score was lost until the 19th century and wasn't published until 1922. Part of Never in New York.

Wednesday, May 6 at 10 p.m.

  • Coronation of Poppea

Australian opera director Barrie Kosky staged the cycle of "Orpheus," "Odysseus," and "The Coronation of Poppea" for one day at the Komische Oper Berlin. Doubts remain about how much of "The Coronation of Poppea" was written by Monteverdi, but it's generally accepted as his last and perhaps best work. Based on history, the opera shows the greed of the Roman elite. Part of Never in New York.

Thursday, May 7 at 10 p.m.

  • Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg

Richard Wagner's 1868 opera is controversial - it was Hitler's favorite opera, and its anti-antisemitism makes it difficult for modern audiences. Barrie Kosky deals with its racism head-on in this 2017 production at The Bayreuth Festival. Kosky draws parallels between opera characters and historical figures, and places Wagner on the stand in the 1945 Nuremberg trials. Part of Never in New York.

Friday, May 8 at 10 p.m.

  • Carmen

Director Barrie Kosky creates a campy interpretation of Georges Bizet's classic opera "Carmen" for the Royal Opera House. He calls the piece a milestone in the history of French operetta, and refuses to place it in Spain. Kosky says he wants to allow the audience to dream their own dreams when they see one of his shows, instead of limiting themselves to his directorial vision.

Monday, May 11 at 10 p.m.

  • Bitter Fruit

For "Bitter Fruit," theater director Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry asked her students to use short stories about the Indo-Pakistan Partition by classic Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Especially relevant with the rise of anti-Muslim violence in India today, this play explores religious and gender-based violence through the lens of everyday interactions. Part of the Never in New York Festival.

Tuesday, May 12 at 10 p.m.

  • Naked Voices

"Naked Voices" directed by Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry is based on stories by Saadat Hasan Manto, a Pakinstani writer known for his stories of marginalized people's struggles during the 1947 Indo-Pakistan Partition. It features folk instrumentalists and moments of levity as these stories are re-interpreted for the 21st century. Presented as part of the Never in New York Festival.

Wednesday, May 13 at 10 p.m.

  • Final de obra

In this documentary, Argentinean theater director Ricardo Bartis allows a camera to follow him as he prepares new work. With unparalleled access to theater as it is being created, the film shines a light on the rehearsal process and Bartis's philosophy on theater. Presented as part of Never in New York.

Thursday, May 14 at 10 p.m.

  • The Makropulos Affair

Czech composer Leoš Janáček's 1926 opera "The Makropulos Affair" seems at first like a stuffy judicial drama, but then gets a surprising supernatural twist. In this rendition for the 2011 Salzburg Festival, Swiss director Cristoph Marthaler uses his absurdist approach to highlight the strange déjà vu moments that run throughout the opera.

Friday, May 15 at 10 p.m.

  • FIM

Felipe Hirsch's 2019 play FIM, or "end" in Portuguese, is a play in four parts: the end of borders, the end of art, the end of nobility and the end of history. Staged in São Paulo, it describes the relationship between art, money and politics in contemporary Latin America. At times whimsical, at times tragic, the play asks what the role of art can be in the 21st century. Part of Never in New York.

Monday, May 18 at 10 p.m.

  • Eugene Onegin

Opera director Stefan Herheim staged Tchaikovsky's classic opera "Eugene Onegin" for Nederlandse Opera in 2012. It's based on a novel by Russian writer Alexander Pushkin, and tells the story of a young man who scorns a woman's love, which leads to a deadly duel with his friend. Herheim's stylistic choices turn the opera into an allegory about Russian politics.

Tuesday, May 19 at 10 p.m.

  • Les Contes d'Hoffmann

Stefan Herheim's gender-bending staging of "Les Contes d'Hoffmann" is part of his Regietheater technique, in which the director takes artistic liberties in order to make a point about the present day. This new interpretation of Jacques Offenbach's 1881 opera might have the composer turning over in his grave, but it's a fascinating commentary about modern day love. Part of Never in New York.

Wednesday, May 20 at 10 p.m.

  • The Queen of Spades

Stefan Herheim makes composer Tachikovsky a character in his own opera, "The Queen of Spades." In this 2016 production we see Tchaikovsky on stage, writing the opera as it unfolds - and Herheim acknowledges Tchaikovsky's rumored homosexuality and alleged suicide. In this version, Tchaikovsky writes the three main characters as projections of his own inner turmoil. Part of Never in New York.

Thursday, May 21 at 10 p.m.

  • Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail

Director Stefan Herheim staged Mozart's 1782 opera "Die Entführung aus dem Serail" for the Bregenz festival. It was originally commissioned by the Austrian emperor, but it's told that when the emperor first heard it he said it had too many notes. Mozart responded by saying it had the right number of notes - and its huge success seems to confirm his stance.

Friday, May 22 at 10 p.m.

  • Rusalka

Stefan Herheim's version of Rusalka continues his practice of using opera to comment on opera itself. The New York Times reviewer saw the production as asking why opera audiences want to see women pushed to their limits then die. This staging is also ornate, providing a captivating aesthetic to display the darkness of the fairy tale that inspired "The Little Mermaid."

Monday, May 25 at 10 p.m.

  • Journey of Dionysus

This documentary shows Theodoros Terzopoulos's 1986 production of "Bacchae" and the audience's reaction. The piece defined the Greek director's singular style and vaulted him to international acclaim. He uses repetitive movements and sounds to represent collective trauma, authoritarianism, and loss - whether he's working with the Greek classics or contemporary stories. Part of Never in New York.

Tuesday, May 26 at 10 p.m.

  • Alarme

The script of this play is based on fragments of letters between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Greek director Theodoros Terzopoulos emphasizes the conflict of power between the two queens, and how closely their hate resembled love. Their body language and the stark, sculptural set convey the tension between these two women, who struggle to communicate. Part of Never in New York.

Wednesday, May 27 at 10 p.m.

  • Trojan Women

This film of Euripedes' "Trojan Women" at the Ancient Theatre of Delphi by Theodoros Terzopoulos is performed by artists from Syria, Israel, Cyprus, Bosnia and Greece. The story centers around women in the aftermath of the Trojan War, and this multicultural production highlights the histories of conflict throughout the region and the need for peace and reconciliation. Part of Never in New York.

Thursday, May 28 at 10 p.m.

  • Tristan und Isolde

This 1993 Bayreuth production was theater director Heiner Müller's first opera. His minimalist approach downplays acting, which allows Wagner's score to propel the drama. Though the story is Romantic, the music is considered a precursor to modern music, and it's fitting that Müller directed it when questions about German unification signaled modernism's decline. Part of Never in New York.

Friday, May 29 at 10 p.m.

  • The Student

In an allegory about church and state in Putin's Russia, Kirill Serebrennikov's film follows a young Russian student's zealous exploration of Christianity and its impact on his school. The film won the Francois Chalais Prize at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. Presented as part of the Never in New York Festival.

Breakdown by Genre and Director:


  • Director: Frank Castorf
  • From the House of the Dead (Friday, May 1 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Barrie Kosky
  • Orpheus in the Underworld (Sunday, May 3 at 10 p.m.)
  • Orpheus (Monday, May 4 at 10 p.m.)
  • Odysseus (Tuesday, May 5 at 10 p.m.)
  • Coronation of Poppea (Wednesday, May 6 at 10 p.m.)
  • Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg (Thursday, May 7 at 10 p.m.)
  • Carmen (Friday, May 8 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Christoph Marthaler
  • The Makropulos Affair (Thursday, May 14 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Stefan Herheim
  • Eugene Onegin (Monday, May 18 at 10 p.m.)
  • Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Tuesday, May 19 at 10 p.m.)
  • The Queen of Spades (Wednesday, May 20 at 10 p.m.)
  • Die Entführung Aus Dem Serail (Thursday, May 21 at 10 p.m.)
  • Rusalka (Friday, May 22 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Heiner Muller
  • Tristan und Isolde (Thursday, May 28 at 10 p.m.)


  • Documentary featuring director Frank Castorf
  • Partisan (Saturday, May 2 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Neelam Chowdhry
  • Bitter Fruit (Monday, May 11 at 10 p.m.)
  • Naked Voices (Tuesday, May 12 at 10 p.m.)
  • Documentary featuring director Ricardo Bartis
  • Final de obra (Wednesday, May 13 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Felipe Hirsch
  • FIM (Friday, May 15 at 10 p.m.)
  • Director: Theodoros Terzopoulos
  • Journey of Dionysus (Monday, May 25 at 10 p.m.)
  • Alarme (Tuesday, May 26 at 10 p.m.)
  • Trojan Women (Wednesday, May 27 at 10 p.m.)


  • Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
  • The Student (Friday, May 29 at 10 p.m.)

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