AMOC* Will Perform EL NINO: NATIVITY RECONSIDERED at Yale Schwarzman Center

The performance is on December 15 at 7:30 pm in Commons.

By: Dec. 01, 2023
AMOC* Will Perform EL NINO: NATIVITY RECONSIDERED at Yale Schwarzman Center

American Modern Opera Company (AMOC*) is heading to Yale Schwarzman Center to perform John Adams's oratorio El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered. Celebrating Latin American poets and the voices of women, this work, will make a one-night-only appearance on December 15 at 7:30 pm in Commons. Registration is free and open to the public:

First performed at The Met Cloisters in 2018, this chamber music arrangement of El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered-written specially for AMOC*-is created and conducted by Christian Reif, composed by John Adams with libretto by Peter Sellars and concept by soprano Julia Bullock, whom Variety called "one of opera's fastest-rising stars."

"American Modern Opera Company combines resonant and prescient voices to perform a deeply moving oratorio that asks us to pause and contemplate the traditional nativity story in new and contemporary ways," said Rachel Fine, the Schwarzman Center's executive director. "Since assuming my position in October 2022, I've wanted to feature AMOC* in Commons, a space that will allow these luminaries to do their very best work and beautifully showcase their remarkable versatility. I am heartened that this moment is coming to fruition in New Haven."

"The interdisciplinary, artist-led ensemble that is the American Modern Opera Company brings a full-bodied approach to their site-responsive performances. Audiences are transported through sound and setting, allowing for exploration and reflection. With El Niño, AMOC* takes us on a journey that allows for reflection on major events of the Christian faith in the context of the modern moment," said Jennifer Harrison Newman, the Schwarzman Center's associate artistic director.

El Niño

A, the unabridged Nativity oratorio, is considered one of Adams and Sellars's greatest collaborations, although it is a mammoth work that is not often performed in full. Feeling the importance of El Niño's non-European interpretation of the Nativity story, Bullock partnered with Adams and Sellars to restructure the oratorio and rescale the setting, creating El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered.

In her reflections on the work, Bullock writes "El Niño, alternatively, not only explores the central themes of the nativity-the immaculate conception, the unique relationship between birthparent and child, and gift giving-but the work ruminates on the notion that with the promise of new life, there is the equal threat of inexplicable violence and sacrifice." She adds, "when devising this distilled rendering of El Niño, it was always with the hopeful intention to bring this music and poetry to as many people as possible. What a gorgeous opportunity to share the magnificence and magic of El Niño with more communities and individuals."

Audiences can see Bullock featured in El Niño at the Schwarzman Center as a precursor to her performance of the fully-staged work at the Metropolitan Opera in April 2024. A prominent voice of social consciousness and activism, Vanity Fair calls Bullock "young, highly successful, [and] politically engaged," with the "ability to inject each note she sings with a sense of grace and urgency, lending her performances the feel of being both of the moment and incredibly timeless."

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered features AMOC* members soprano Bullock, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, violinists Keir GoGwilt and Miranda Cuckson, cellist Coleman Itzkoff, bassist Doug Balliett, pianist Conor Hanick, and percussionist Jonny Allen, with special guest artists: contralto Jasmin White, violinists Miran Kim and Qianwan Shen, violists Zoë Martin-Doike and Carrie Frey, cellist SethParker Woods, double bass, Christopher Johnson, flutist Tod Brody, oboist Roni Gal-ed, clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich, bassoonist Alex Davis, horn player Priscilla Rinehart, keyboardist John Arida, and guitarist Jordan Dodson.

AMOC*, founded in 2017 by Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur, builds and shares a body of collaborative work. As a group of dancers, singers, musicians, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and producers, AMOC* is united by a core set of values. The artists pool their resources to create new pathways that connect creators and audiences in surprising and visceral ways. In 2022, AMOC* served as Music Director for the Ojai Music Festival-the second ensemble and first explicitly interdisciplinary company to hold the position in the Festival's 75-year history.

Yale Schwarzman Center is transformational for Yale in providing, for the first time, a center for university life and the arts at the historic heart of the Yale University campus. The Center produces programs and collaborative arts experiences geared toward audiences within and beyond the Yale campus. Learn more at