Revived New York City Opera Announces Major Premieres

News   Revived New York City Opera Announces Major Premieres
The company has announced its first spring season since it relit in January.
Michael Korie,  Kelli Barrett and Paul Alexander Nolan
Michael Korie, Kelli Barrett and Paul Alexander Nolan

New York City Opera announced that it will present “three major premieres,” including the world premiere of Sunday Morning by David Hertzberg on March 16, the New York City professional premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas June 22-26, and the East Coast premiere of Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s Hopper’s Wife April 28-May 1.

Each will be presented at a different venue. Casting will be announced in the coming weeks.

NYCO will inaugurate its new series of New York City Opera Concerts March 16, with the world premiere of David Hertzberg’s Sunday Morning, set to the poem of the same name by Wallace Stevens, which will be performed at the Appel Room in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

A cantata for soprano, strings, and harp, Sunday Morning receives its first performance on a program that opens with Last Round, for string nonet, by Osvaldo Golijov, an homage to the Argentinian composer and performer Astor Piazzolla. According to production notes, Erich Korngold’s Nine Shakespeare Songs, Op. 29, and 31, for soprano and piano; and Alexander von Zemlinsky’s Maiblumen blüten ü berall (“May-buds Blossomed All Around”), for mezzo-soprano and string sextet, "reveal distinct dimensions in the creative work of two European figures, known for their operas. The sacred cantata Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BVW 54 (“Stand Firm Against Sin”) by J. S. Bach, for solo voice and strings, an eloquent landmark of Baroque dramatic art, completes the program. Soprano Sarah Shafer and mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chávez share the program." They are joined by conductor Gil Rose and the New York City Opera Orchestra.

Hopper’s Wife will be presented at Harlem Stage, 150 Convent Avenue (at West 135th Street) in New York. According to production notes, "the three-character, 90-minute chamber opera, is based on an idea inspired by both fact and fiction. Stewart Wallace and Michael Korie’s challenging, erotically-charged opera audaciously charts new territory in music drama. The work explores the dichotomies between art and obscenity, high culture and indecency through the allegory of an imagined marriage between painter Edward Hopper and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, juxtaposing familiar icons of Hollywood’s golden age with stark depictions of desperation and depravity."

The Harlem Stage performances of Hoppers Wife mark its second production, after its premiere by the Long Beach Opera in California. According to composer Stewart Wallace, “Each of the three characters is inspired by a different kind of indigenous American music. Hopper’s pastoral sound conceals a barely restrained violence. Mrs. Hopper cracks and pops with the urban sound of the New York she yearns to return to. And Ava, the artist’s model, has a sound that evolves from bluegrass in Act One to torch blues as Hollywood reshapes her in its own image.”

Hopper’s Wife is one of four operas on which Wallace has collaborated with librettist Michael Korie, including Harvey Milk, Kabbalah and Where’s Dick?

NYCO will conclude its 2016 season with the first professional New York City production of Florencia en el Amazonas by composer Daniel Catán. Performances are June 22, 23, 25 and 26 in Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall. John Hoomes will stage the opera about strangers sharing an Amazon voyage—based on an original production of Nashville Opera, conceived by Hoomes, with Barry Steele, video and lighting designer, and Cara Schneider, scenic designer. Dean Williamson conducts the New York City Opera Orchestra in these performances.

The work, set to a libretto by Marcela Fuentes-Berain, was the first Spanish-language opera to be commissioned by a major American opera company, the Houston Grand Opera. Since its premiere in 1996 at Houston, Florencia en el Amazonas has become one of the most popular as well as frequently performed contemporary operas, produced by the Los Angeles Opera, Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center; companies in Utah, Colorado, Arizona; and Germany, Mexico and Brazil.

Tickets are now on sale for the concerts and Hopper's Wife. Tickets to Florencia en el Amazonas go on sale April 4. To order, call CenterCharge: (212) 721-6500, visit the website or, or go to the Jazz at Lincoln Center Box Office, Broadway at 60th Street, in Manhattan.

Three years after it collapsed under a pile of debt, NYCO returned to life Jan. 20-24 with a modest staging of Puccini’s Tosca at the Rose Theatre at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Frederick P. Rose Hall at the Time Warner Center in Manhattan.

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