More Opera at Lincoln Center

Today a new partnership was announced between the New York Philharmonic and its host campus, Lincoln Center, to pool resources and produce fully staged operas, starting with George Benjamin‘s 2012 Written on Skin in August of this year, weirdly coinciding with the Mostly Mozart Festival

Written on Skin was incredibly well-received after its premier at the 2012 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, with a subsequent production at the Royal Opera House, which resulted in a new commission for the 2018 season for the team of Benjamin and Martin Crimp

This new initiative builds on Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert’s success with innovatively semi-staged operas at the Philharmonic in collaboration with production team Giants Are Small, starting with György Ligeti‘s Grand Macabre in 2010:

This clip Barbara Hanngian features at the NY Phil production of Le Grand Macabre, and of course Hannigan created the role of Agnes in Benjamin’s Written on Skin too, so nice coincidence there…

 

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Three’s Company

Sondheim's Company 1970 Playbill

Premiere 1970 Company Playbill

The PBS Arts Fall Festival‘s next musical theater offering is tomorrow at 9 pm, and its Stephen Sondheim‘s 1970 musical on bachelorhood Company as performed by the New York Philharmonic in 2011.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_u6L7ZRDG8&w=350&h=300]

The latest news about Company is that Sondheim’s working on a revised version (possibly for the Roundabout Theater Company) that would make the central bachelor, Bobby, a gay man juggling three boyfriends instead of three girlfriends.  Much as I like the man-on-man action, it strikes me as a case of too-much-playing-to-your-audience, and besides, they’d be taking 4 great roles away from women to men…  But I guess it’ll be an interesting experiment if nothing else…

The NY Phil will be presenting another Sondheim musical this season, Sweeney Todd in March 2014, with the curious opera/movie star pairing of Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson.  Get your tickets here.

Cunning Little Opera

In my own end-of-semester flurry, I overlooked the end-of-semester operatic offerings from the music schools here in New York!  For example, the Juilliard School’s Opera program is ending the semester with an all-out production of Leoš Janáček‘s 1924 Czech opera The Cunning Little Vixen.  

The Juilliard School's Cunning Little Vixen

The Juilliard School’s Cunning Little Vixen

There are performances tomorrow and Thursday at 8pm, with $30 tickets, half-off for students in-person at the Juilliard box office.  This is bound to be a popular event, so if it sells out before you can get in, check out the Juilliard calendar for other end-of-semester performances (including lots of ticketless, free ones!).

The Cunning Little Vixen seems like a fun challenge for directors and designers; you don’t get too many chances in opera to direct singing animals.  It’s been performed before in New York at NYC Opera in a 1980s Maurice Sendak-designed production and more recently at the NY Philharmonic.  Somehow a video of the complete 1983 NYCO performance is up on YouTube, and since NYCO‘s Sendak production was lost in a fire, it’s an especially valuable resource.

June is Bustin’ Out Early this Year

Carousel souvenir program, 1945

Carousel program, 1945, from the NYPL Digital Gallery

PBS will be airing the New York Philharmonic‘s performance of Rodgers and Hammerstein‘s 1945 musical Carousel this Friday at 9pm.  (Check your local listings.)

I think I’ve said before that I’m not necessarily a huge musical fan, but Time did call Carousel the best musical of the 20th century, so might have to give it a shot…  Besides, NYPhil + a cast drawing from the opera and musical worlds sounds like as good a way to see it as any.

If you want to read up on it before Friday, NYPL’s Digital Gallery has the full 1945 program available online (just click through the pages at the top right, where it says “View Image Set”), so you can hear all about it from the horse’s mouth.  As you can imagine, NYPL’s Library for the Performing Arts is an outstanding resource for Broadway history…