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Catapult Opera’s U.S. Premiere of once lost French opera, LA VILLE MORTE by Nadia Boulanger

April 21 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

$57 – $70

A coproduction of Catapult Opera and the Greek National Opera, La ville morte (The Dead City) held its world premiere in Athens, Greece, for a five-performance run in January 2024 and next will come to the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts for its American premiere with three performances in April 2024.

Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) is widely considered one of the most important women in the history of music, having taught iconic 20th-century composers including Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Astor Piazzolla, Philip Glass, and Quincy Jones.

La ville morte, the only opera composed by Nadia Boulanger—one of the most important music educators and conductors of her time—was composed in collaboration with her mentor Raoul Pugno. The work is based on the famous Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio’s 1899 play of the same title which he himself developed into its operatic French libretto.

La ville morte is hailed as Boulanger’s most important creative achievement. Although it had been scheduled to premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1914, it was never staged in its time because of the outbreak of the First World War, and the music was lost. More than a century later, Catapult Opera commissioned David Conte, one of Boulanger’s last protégés, to oversee the composition of a full orchestral score based on Boulanger’s recently discovered piano reduction of the orchestra. This sensational new production by acclaimed opera and film director Robin Guarino is conducted by Catapult Founder and Artistic Director Neal Goren leading instrumentalists from the Greek National Opera’s orchestra in Athens and the Talea Ensemble in NYC.

The opera tells the tragic and outrageous story of decadent passion set against the backdrop of the excavation of the ancient city of Mycenae. Its music moves in line with the wider aesthetics of musical impressionism, interspersed with echoes from the influential expressive palette of Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande.

Ten years in the making, Catapult’s long-awaited production of La ville morte promises to be the highlight of the spring season, not to be missed!


April 21
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
$57 – $70
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NYU Skirball Center For The Performing Arts
566 LaGuardia Pl
New York, NY 10012 United States
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