Opening Night: New York City Opera Looks Forward with Oct. 4 Staten Island Concert

Opera Features   Opening Night: New York City Opera Looks Forward with Oct. 4 Staten Island Concert
 
On Oct. 4 New York City Opera presents the first performance of Looking Forward - a celebration of twentieth-century music - at Staten Island's historic St. George Theatre.

While its home venue, the New York State Theater, undergoes a yearlong renovation, the company has launched a new initiative to perform in venues throughout the city in the future, in addition to giving performances at its home at Lincoln Center.

Developed by City Opera's Music Director George Manahan, Looking Forward will survey the musical language of the twentieth century, focusing on many of the composers who will be featured in General Manager Gerard Mortier's inaugural season. Maestro Manahan observed, "It will be a terrific opportunity for audiences to rediscover the beauty and richness of the unique styles and harmonies of this important era in music history."

Scheduled highlights of the 90-minute concert include excerpts from Benjamin Britten's Les Illuminations with tenor soloist Brian Anderson (November 2, 16, March 7, April 11) and soprano Lielle Berman (October 4); Olivier Messiaen's Trois petites liturgies de la Pr_sence Divine with pianist Aleck Karis, ondes Martenot soloist Jean Laurendeau and the New York City Opera Women's Chorus; Lukas Foss's Time Cycle sung by sopranos Jennifer Zetlan (October 4, November 2, March 7, April 11) and Lielle Berman (November 16); and Claude Debussy's Danse sacr_e et danse profane featuring harpist Jessica Zhou. The program, performed by the New York City Opera Orchestra, will also include Igor Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite, Edgard Varse's Int_grales, and Steve Reich's Clapping Music. The program is subject to change.

Looking Forward will enjoy subsequent performances in Brooklyn (11/2), the Bronx (11/16), Queens (3/7) and Manhattan (4/11).

The St. George Theatre is located at 35 Hyatt Street on Staten Island. Tickets for the first performance of Looking Forward, priced at $25 and $45, may be purchased here.

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Since its founding in 1943, New York City Opera has been recognized as one of America's preeminent cultural institutions, celebrated for its adventurous programming and innovative, risk-taking production style. The company's wide-ranging repertory of 269 works spans five centuries of music and includes 29 world premieres and 61 American and/or New York premieres of such notable works as B_la Bart‹k's Bluebeard's Castle, Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shostakovich's Katerina Ismailova, Ferruccio Busoni's Doktor Faust, Prokofiev's The Love for Three Oranges and The Flaming Angel, Zimmermann's Die Soldaten, Arnold Schoenberg's Moses und Aron, and Philip Glass's Akhnaten. The company has been a leading showcase for young artists, having helped launch the careers of more than 3,000 singers including Jos_ Carreras, Phyllis Curtin, David Daniels, Plšcido Domingo, Lauren Flanigan, Ren_e Fleming, Elizabeth Futral, Jerry Hadley, Catherine Malfitano, Bejun Mehta, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Gianna Rolandi, Beverly Sills, Norman Treigle, Tatiana Troyanos, and Carol Vaness.

Gerard Mortier, currently Director of the Op_ra National de Paris, will become City Opera's eighth General Manager and Artistic Director in 2009-2010. Renowned for his ground-breaking tenures at the Th_ê¢tre de la Monnaie in Brussels, the Ruhr Triennial Festival, and the Salzburg Festival, Gerard Mortier will lead City Opera boldly into a new era of artistic achieveÔ_ment and distinction. Building on the company's core mission of artistic excellence and accessibility, his plans include broadening the company's geographic reach through performances in venues across New York City, and a launch of major new education and outreach programs designed to ensure that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to attend live performances of opera.

New York City Opera and New York City Ballet have undertaken a $200 million capital campaign-the first such joint venture in the companies' histories-to enhance audience amenities and provide a state-of-the-art environment for productions at their shared home, the New York State Theater. In July 2008 the Ballet and Opera announced their intention to rename the New York State Theater in honor of Mr. David H. Koch's $100 million lead gift to the joint capital campaign. The name change will take effect this fall 2008.

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