‘The little OPERA theatre of ny’ presents highlights of four of its productions online
Check out glimpses from Owen Wingrave, Piramo e Tisbe, L'Amant Anonyme and Slow Dusk & Markheim
Founded in 2004, the little OPERA theatre of ny (LOTNY) most recent production was the 2019 New York premiere of Benjamin Britten's Owen Wingrave at the GK Arts Center in DUMBO. Previously LOTNY presented the New York premiere of Johann Adolf Hasse's Piramo e Tisbe at Baruch Performing Arts Center in collaboration with New Vintage Baroque. The production received wide critical acclaim, heralded by Opera News as "superlative [and] an excellent and irrefutable case for programming this rare work, [with] indelible performances that should count among the finest and most complete interpretations heard in New York this season." In the same season, LOTNY presented the New York premiere of Adrienne Danrich's one-woman show, This Little Light of Mine: The Stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price, as a part of the 2018 New York Opera Fest. Other recent productions include the New York premiere of Carlisle Floyd's Prince of Players (2017 at The Kaye Playhouse), praised by The New York Times as "well made and stylish" and the U.S. premiere of Chevalier de Saint-George's L'Amant Anonyme (2016 at 59E59 Theaters). Past seasons have included Floyd's Slow Dusk & Markheim, Rossini's Opportunity Makes the Thief, a double-bill of Gustav Holst's The Wandering Scholar and Sāvitri, the U.S. premiere of César Cui's A Feast in the Time of the Plague, presented with Rimsky-Korsakov's Mozart and Salieri, and the Virgil Thompson/Gertrude Stein opera The Mother of Us All. LOTNY commissioned and performed Inessa Zaretsky's Man in a Black Coat as part of Target Margin's Last Futurist Lab at The Bushwick Starr, and presented The Bohemians, a concert of Puccini's music as part of the city-wide September Concert for 9/11. www.lotny.org.
Watch the plays on https://www.youtube.com/
About Owen Wingrave
In Benjamin Britten's hauntingly intense opera based on a ghost story by Henry James, Owen Wingrave sets a young man's scruples and beliefs against the fanaticism of his family. Wingrave is a young man who comes home to confront his family and rebel against its military past. The ghosts of his ancestors and a dark secret haunt all the inhabitants of the Wingrave home. Britten's powerful score etches strong individual voices caught within a fraught atmosphere. Originally commissioned by the BBC, it premiered on television in 1971 and was subsequently performed at Covent Garden in 1973. This production will be part of the Fourth New York Opera Alliance Opera Fest.
Conducted by Richard Cordova (Falstaff with the Martina Arroyo Foundation, Prince of Players with LOTNY), the New York Premiere was directed by LOTNY Artistic Director Philip Shneidman (Piramo e Tisbe, Prince of Players) with scenic and lighting design by Josh Smith (Abrons Arts Center and Alabama Shakespeare Festival), costume design by Lara de Bruijn (My Name is Ben at Goodspeedand Party Face at City Center) and projection design by Alex Basco Koch (Be More Chill on Broadway).
Cast includes baritones Robert Balonek and Michael Weyandt as Owen, tenors Bernard Holcomb and Daniel Curran as Lechmere, mezzo-sopranos Katherine Pracht and Augusta Caso as Kate, bass-baritone Daniel Klein and bass Matthew Curran as Coyle, sopranos Janice Hall and Amelia Watkins as Mrs Coyle, sopranos Emily Pulley and Tracy Cox as Miss Wingrave, sopranos Mary Ann Stewart and Beverly O'Regan Thiele as Mrs Julian, and tenors Rufus Müller and Brian Downen as Sir Philip/Narrator.
The New York Premiere of Owen Wingrave was originally presented at GK Arts Center from May 9-12, 2019.
About Piramo e Tisbe
Based upon the story of Pyramus and Thisbe from Ovid's Metamorphoses with a libretto by Marco Coltellini, Piramo e Tisbe is by Johann Adolph Hasse, a pivotal opera composer of the 18th Century celebrated for his sweet and tender melodies. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
A wall and family feud stand between Pyramus and Thisbe. Their secret plans to unite unravel under the moonlight.
Conducted by Elliot Figg, directed by LOTNY Artistic Director Philip Shneidman, with set design by Neil Patel (Alcina at Washington Opera, The Crucible at The Glimmerglass Festival) and Cate McCrea, costume design by Lara de Bruijn (Roméo et Juliette at Castleton Festival, Alcina at Boston Conservatory), lighting design by Grant W.S. Yeager (What We're Up Against at Women's Project Theater), and projection design by Alex Basco Koch.
Featured in the cast are mezzo-sopranos Sarah Nelson Craft and Kristin Gornstein as "Piramo", sopranos Summer Hassan and Kelly Curtin as "Tisbe", and tenors Glenn Seven Allen and Brian Downen as "Padre," with actors Giovanni Da Silva and Hunter Hoffman.
The New York City premiere of Piramo e Tisbe was originally presented in collaboration with New York-based period ensemble New Vintage Baroque at Baruch Performing Arts Center from March 22-25, 2018.
About L'Amant Anonyme
L'Amant Anonyme is an original adaptation of an 18th-century opera by Chevalier de Saint-Georges that incorporates the swashbuckling biography of the composer into the performance.
One of the earliest composers of colour, Saint-Georges rose to fame in the period before the French Revolution. The narrative of the original opera tells the story of a lover who is afraid to reveal his true identity to the object of his affections. With a mixture of singing in French and dialogue in English, the production utilizes supertitles.
The little OPERA theatre of ny production of L'Amant Anonyme marked the first time that the full opera is performed in the United States. Originally presented at 59E59 Theaters, March 12-20, 2016.
L'Amant Anonyme features a live score from the period-instrument ensemble New Vintage Baroque, which features a string quartet, oboes, bassoon and harpsichord. These period instruments preserve the authenticity of Saint-Georges' score.
Director Philip Shneidman collaborates with contemporary artist Sanford Biggers to create a spectacular visual environment. Sanford Biggers's acclaimed style layers issues of identity and art history on preexisting symbols and roles. Their collaboration informs the overall narrative structure to discover contemporary connections to the life of Chevalier de Saint-Georges.
The role of Valcour will be shared by tenors Everett Suttle and Bernard Holcomb;; the role of Léontine will be shared by sopranos Jennifer Moore and Jenna Siladie;; the role of Ophémon will be shared by baritones Jesse Malgieri and Joseph Flaxman;; the role of Jeannette will be shared by sopranos Marie Masters and Lily Arbisser;; the role of Colin will be shared by tenors Anthony Webb and Vincent Festa;; the role of Dorothée will be played by mezzo-soprano Aude Cardona.
Also known as Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born in the 18th century in Guadeloupe to a French plantation owner and his African slave. After moving to Paris with his father, Saint-Georges received a formal education and his entrée into society was his renown as a fencer. However, he would go on to perform, compose, and eventually fight in the French Revolution. He wrote several operas.
About Slow Dusk & Markheim
A musical play in one act, Slow Dusk (1948-49) was Carlisle Floyd's first opera and was premiered at Augustana College in Syracuse, NY, on May 2, 1949. At 40 minutes, Slow Dusk is the simple and powerful story of an impoverished young woman on a farm in the sandhills of the Carolinas, whose dreams are destroyed by religious fanaticism and family obligations. In direct contrast to Floyd's American setting of Slow Dusk, Markheim (1966) is a 65 minute, one-act opera based on a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson and is set in London in the 1880s, during the Christmas season. It is the story of a man of privilege who has squandered his family fortune. Desperate for money, he is pursued by demons both real and imagined. The opera was written as a vehicle for the great American bass-baritoneNorman Treigle and received its world premiere with the New Orleans Opera on March 31, 1966, with Floyd serving as the production's director and Knud Andersson conducting.
The double-bill will be directed by LOTNY artistic director Philip Shneidman, conducted by Richard Cordova, with new chamber orchestrations provided by composers Inessa Zaretsky (Slow Dusk), and Raymond J. Lustig (Markheim). Set design is by award-winning designer Neil Patel, costume design by Lara de Bruijn, and lighting design by Nick Solyom. The double cast for Slow Dusk features Carolina Castells/Sarah Beckham-Turner, sopranos (Sadie); Janice Meyerson /Jennifer Roderer, mezzo-sopranos (Aunt Sue); Alexander Charles Boyd/Robert Balonek, baritones (Jess); John Kaneklides/Bray Wilkins, tenors (Micah). The cast for Markheim includes Jeremy Milner/Tyler Putnam, basses (Markheim); Angela Mannino/Marie Masters, sopranos (Tess); Scott Six/Brent Reilly Turner, tenors(Josiah Creach); and Matthew Tuell/Marc Schreiner, tenors (The Stranger).
The double bill of Slow Dusk & Markheim was originally presented at 59E59 Theatres December 5-14, 2014.
LOTNY is part of the 2020 New York Virtual Opera Fest, presented by the New York Opera Alliance, with support from OPERA America.