Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Very Operatic NYC Summer

The Met 13/14 season just ended, but that does not mean that we will have to be opera-deprived for three months. Here's our overview of what looks enticing in New York this summer:

Image Credit: Gotham Chamber Opera
Gotham Chamber Opera will close its own 13/14 season with The Raven, a monodrama by Toshio Hosokawa, based on Poe’s classic narrative poem of love forever lost. We're intrigued by the combination of opera and ballet, as mezzo-soprano Fredrika Brillembourg will perform together with La Scala’s prima ballerina assoluta Alessandra Ferri. May 28 - 31, 2014 at Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.

One can never get enough Donizetti, particularly if bel canto queen Mariella Devia plays her majesty Elizabeth I in Roberto Devereux, with Stephen Costello in the lead tenor role. Brought to us in concert by The Opera Orchestra of New York. June 5 at Carnegie Hall.

Mariella Devia as Elisabetta I in Roberto Devereux
Image credit: Michele Balistreri
We love site-specific operas, even more so if baroque and ripe with Ovid literary references. On Site Opera’s performance of Rameau’s Pygmalion about a sculptor falling in love with his creation promises to deliver all of that with a gala performance set in Madame Tussauds’ wax museum and two additional shows at the Lifestyle-Trimco Showroom. June 17, 20 and 21.

Image Credit: On Site Opera
The feisty Opera Feroce will perform their exhilarating baroque pasticcio Arminio in Armenia we were lucky to catch last January and cannot recommend enough. June 22 at the St. Stephens and St. Martins Church in Brooklyn; June 25, 27, 28 at the Blue Building in Manhattan.

Image Credit: Park Avenue Armory
Park Avenue Armory is such an amazingly unique performance space that it’s hard to resist to pretty much anything they show. Their co-presentation with Lincoln Center Festival of Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s holocaust opera The Passenger will take audiences on a voyage from the stylish deck of a luxury liner to the squalor of a Nazi death camp. The opera was banned by Soviet authorities upon its completion in 1968, resurfacing for its first full staging some 40 years later and only now making its New York premiere. July 10-13 at Park Avenue Armory.

The Lincoln Center Festival will also showcase Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tsar's Bride, performed by the Bolshoi Opera, no less! Not to be missed if, like us, one got under Russian opera spell cast by the Met earlier this year (with the new productions of Eugene Onegin and Prince Igor). July 12-13 at Avery Fisher Hall. 

Lovely Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts
Photo Credit: Caramoor
Who does not want to drive one hour through the Hudson River Valley to catch some top notch singing performed in a gorgeous Venetian garden theater?!? Caramoor’s rich summer opera program includes semi-staged productions of Lucrezia Borgia and Rigoletto, an “Intimate Donizetti” concert of chamber music and vocal ensembles, a “Bel Canto Showcase” and a myriad of panel discussions, concerts and other operatic goodies. If you need further incentive: Angela Meade (who bewitched everybody with her Norma at the Met last fall) will play Lucrezia Borgia. The Intimate Donizetti: Chamber Music and Vocal Ensembles - June 26; Lucrezia Borgia - July 12 and 18; Bel Canto Showcase: Daniel Mobbs - July 17; Rigoletto - July 19 -- at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. 

Angela Meade in the Venetian Theater
Photo credit: Caramoor
We discovered Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble last summer and were overwhelmed by the extraordinary results of their mission of coaching young opera singers into fresh and energetic (but also seriously solid) performances. This summer they propose an ambitious Shakespeare Repertoire Project, comprised of staged productions of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen, Salieri’s Falstaff and Verdi’s Macbeth, as well as a concert of arias and duets based on Shakespeare sonnets and plays. August 7-24 at the East 13 Street Theater.

Mostly Mozart festival will be offering two Handel baroque gems by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra: Teseo (in concert setting – August 17) and Acis and Galatea (an exciting combination of opera and dance, showcasing the collaboration between choreographer Mark Morris and early-music specialist Nicholas McGegan – August 7-9).

The Mark Morris Dance Group
Photo credit: Mostly Mozart
Finally, for some al fresco operatic pleasure, we’ll look forward the Met Opera Summer Recital Series and its six performances in the parks of all five boroughs (June 23-July 10*). Few things are more blissful than listening to great opera arias while sipping chilled rosé wine on a picnic blanket at dusk - with NYC lights gradually turning on around you…

Lei & Lui

Opera and Manhattan Skyline
Photo credit: The Metropolitan Opera

Superstar mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton will perform on June 23 and 25

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