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American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) with The Cathedral of St. John the Divine presents John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered
December 21, 2022
American Modern Opera Company (AMOC) and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine present contemporary composer John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered with libretto by Peter Sellars and concept by Julia Bullock on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 7:30pm at The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, (at 112th Street) in Manhattan. Tickets are $5-45 (choose-what-you-pay) and are available online at https://www.stjohndivine.org/calendar/42514/el-nino-nativity-reconsidered or in person at the Cathedral’s box office.
This chamber music arrangement was first performed at The Met Cloisters in 2018 in the beautiful San Martín at Fuentidueña chapel. The New York Times called it “intimate, affecting and quietly rich with activism.” The piece, which celebrates Latin American poets and the voices of women, returns for a one-night-only engagement this holiday season at a different New York City landmark. The cast of this Christmas oratorio, an AMOC* production, features company members soprano Julia Bullock, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, violinists Miranda Cuckson and Keir GoGwilt, cellist Coleman Itzkoff, bassist Doug Balliett, flutist Emi Ferguson, percussionist Jonny Allen, pianist Conor Hanick, with guest artists mezzo-soprano Rachael Wilson and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street. This special performance will be conducted by rising star Christian Reif, who created the new arrangement and premiered the initial iteration of the piece at the Cloisters in 2018. A rarely performed work, El Niño “ruminates on the notion that with the promise of new life, there is the equal threat of inexplicable violence and sacrifice,” said Bullock, “one of opera’s fastest-rising stars” (Vanity Fair), who curated the selections being performed.
“El Nino is one of my favorite pieces of music,” said Ms. Bullock. “It’s one of John and Peter’s greatest collaborations and explores the central themes of the nativity – miracles, the unique relationship between mother and child, and gift giving. The reason to develop this distilled rendering of El Niño with John’s and Peter’s blessing, was to enable more people to experience this extraordinary work.”
“During this season of giving, we believe that El Niño should be seen by anyone and everyone, without barrier of cost,” said Courtenay Casey, Executive Director, American Modern Opera Company. “We are thrilled to be partnering with St John the Divine and are humbled to be presenting this special work to their community.”
El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered
Music by John Adams
Libretto compilation by Peter Sellars
Concept and musical selections by Julia Bullock
Musical Arrangement by Christian Reif
An AMOC* production at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine
Featuring AMOC* with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Christian Reif
The mission of AMOC, founded in 2017 by Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur, is to build and share a body of collaborative work. As a group of dancers, singers, musicians, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and producers united by a core set of values, AMOC artists pool their resources to create new pathways that connect creators and audiences in surprising and visceral ways. Most recently, AMOC served as Music Director for the 2022 Ojai Music Festival–the second ensemble and first explicitly interdisciplinary company to hold the position in OMF’s 75-year history. Over the Festival’s four days, AMOC offered 18 performances, eight world premieres, and six new theatrical productions. In July 2022, AMOC premiered a new production of Harawi at Festival d’Aix, an affecting interpretation of Olivier Messiaen’s song cycle that breaks open its explorations of love and death into a newly physicalized and dramatic dimension. AMOC’s 2022-2023 season will also see the world premiere of Bobbi Jene Smith’s Broken Theater, presented in partnership with New Dialect and Carolina Performing Arts; the New York premieres of Carolyn Chen’s How to Fall Apart and Anthony Cheung’s the echoing of tenses; and the world premiere of Comet Poppea at the Spoleto Festival USA, which includes an AMOC-commissioned opera by composer George Lewis. Past projects include The No One’s Rose, a devised music-theater-dance piece; EASTMAN, a multi-dimensional performance piece contending with the life and work of Julius Eastman; and With Care and A Study on Effort, which have been produced at San Francisco’s ODC Theater, Toronto’s Luminato Festival, and elsewhere. CAGE, a production of John Cage’s music for prepared piano, was cited as the best recital of the year by The New York Times in 2018 and The Boston Globe in 2019. In its inaugural year, AMOC created the Run AMOC! Festival at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA. The company has appeared at the 92nd Street Y, Big Ears Festival, the Caramoor Festival, National Sawdust, The Clark Art Institute, and the San Diego Symphony. AMOC has been in residence at the Park Avenue Armory and Harvard University. For more information, visit runningamoc.org.
About The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is the Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cathedral has responded to changing needs in the local community and across the city and state. People from many faiths and communities worship together in daily services held online and in person; the soup kitchen serves roughly 50,000 meals annually; social service outreach has an increasingly varied roster of programs to safely provide resources and aid to the hardest-hit New Yorkers; the distinguished Cathedral School prepares young students to be future leaders; Advancing the Community of Tomorrow, the renowned preschool, afterschool and summer program, offers diverse educational and nurturing experiences; the outstanding Textile Conservation Lab preserves world treasures; concerts, exhibitions, performances and civic gatherings allow conversation, celebration, reflection and remembrance—such is the joyfully busy life of this beloved and venerated Cathedral.