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New York City Opera presents La traviata at Bryant Park Picnic Performances
New York City Opera will present an abridged version of Verdi’s classic La traviata on Friday, August 12, 2022 at 7pm as part of Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America. The one-night-only performance is accompanied by live music, with instantly recognizable tunes famously featured in the movie Pretty Woman. Soprano Ekaterina Siurina and tenor Charles Castronovo appear with Michael Chioldi, world-renowned baritone and star of last summer’s Rigoletto (a role he recently stepped into at The Metropolitan Opera for a series of critically acclaimed performances), with City Opera Music Director Maestro Constantine Orbelian at the helm.
Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are designed to be enjoyed casually – no tickets required – with ample seating available and free picnic blankets for audience members to borrow. For more information, visit bryantpark.org/picnics.
“‘The People’s Opera’ is thrilled to return to our summer home at Bryant Park, where we can continue our mission of free performances for New York audiences,” said Michael Capasso, General Director of New York City Opera
The cast also features Melanie Long as Flora, Tatev Baroyan as Annina, Adam Cioffari as Barone Douphol, Walter Du Melle as Dottore Grenvil, Christopher Nazarian as Marchese d’Obigny, and Drew Seigla as Gastone de Letorières
The performance is approximately two hours with one intermission.
The series of free, live performances will conclude in September with Lucia di Lammermoor. Each performance features City Opera’s brightest stars as well as members of the New York City Opera orchestra and will begin at 7pm on the Bryant Park Stage.
Attendees may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At most performances, attendees can purchase food from a rotating line-up of local NYC vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. COVID-19 vaccinations and masks are not currently required but Bryant Park will continue to monitor and follow updated New York City and New York State COVID-19 guidelines throughout the summer as necessary.
For anyone unable to attend in person, free livestream broadcasts of the performances will be available nationwide via Bryant Park’s website and social media platforms.
New York City Opera was famously dubbed “The People’s Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. More than 75 years later, City Opera continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs. Picnic Performances continues the tradition of opera in Bryant Park.
The 2022 Picnic Performances season is possible due to the generous support of Bank of America. “Bank of America is a long-standing supporter of the arts because we believe that a thriving arts and cultural community benefits both society and the economy,” said José Tavarez, President, Bank of America New York City. “So we are thrilled to once again sponsor Picnic Performances and combine our commitment to the arts with our partnership with Bryant Park. Together we’re helping New York City’s iconic cultural scene to thrive, while promoting green spaces and providing free access to live New York City music, dance and theater.”
Upcoming Performance Details:
Lucia di Lammermoor
September 2, 2022 at 7pm
Think Romeo and Juliet, but set in Scotland. Donizetti’s brilliant score is the height of drama and the pinnacle of the Bel Canto style in this abridged version starring world-renowned soprano Sarah Coburn and the captivating tenor Nathan Granner, and conducted by Constantine Orbelian.
About the Artists
Ekaterina Siurina, Violetta
In 1999, while still a student, Ms. Siurina made her professional role debut as Gilda in Rigoletto singing opposite renowned baritone, Dimitri Hvorostovsky. Since completing her studies, she has performed the title roles of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda and Rimski-Korsakov’s Snowmaiden, and again appeared as Gilda in Rigoletto in a co-production at the Savonlinna Festival, Finland. Prominent solo debuts include appearances as Giulietta in I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Opera de Montpellier, Royal Opera de Wallonie, and Brussels; I Puritani at the Opera de Monte-Carlo; and also Adina in L’elisir d’amore at the Staatsoper Berlin and Staatsoper Hamburg. Significant debuts have included Gilda at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Bordaux Opera; and Servilia in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Paris Opera Garnier, also available on DVD. Ms. Siurina’s Italian debut was as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro at Teatro alla Scala. Ms. Siurina made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 singing the role of Gilda with Juan Pons. She returned to the MET in 2007 to sing the role of Susanna, performing with Bryn Terfel, who sang his final Figaro during these performances. In recent seasons, Ms. Siurina has added role debuts as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Mimì in La bohème and a much-anticipated house debut as Gilda at the Arena di Verona.
Charles Castronovo, Alfredo Germont
Acclaimed internationally as one of the finest lyric tenors of his generation, Castronovo has also sung at most of the world’s leading opera houses such as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Paris Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, and many others including at the Salzburg and Aix en Provence Festivals. His repertoire spans from the great Mozart tenor roles in Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, and Die Zauberflöte, to Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Nemorino in L’elisir d’amore, and Alfredo in La traviata. In recent seasons Castronovo has also won wide acclaim for his performances as the title role in Faust, Romeo in Romeo et Juliette, the Duke in Rigoletto, Rodolfo in La bohème, and Tom Rakewell in The Rakes Progress. He starred in the title role of Daniel Catan’s Il Postino opposite Placido Domingo in the work’s world premiere in Los Angeles, as well as Paris and Santiago. Other roles in Castronovo’s repertoire include Massenet’s Werther, Offenbach’s Hoffmann, the title role in Donzietti’s Roberto Devereux, and Oronte in Verdi’s I Lombardi.
Michael Chioldi, Giorgio Germont
Emmy Award-winning, international opera star Michael Chioldi is one of the world’s most sought-after dramatic baritones. His interpretations of the Verdi, Puccini, and Strauss repertoire have been praised by critics and audiences across the world. Recently, Michael made his Teatro Liceu (Spain) debut as Carlo Gérard in Andrea Chénier alongside Sondra Radvanovsky and Jonas Kaufmann. The following season he returned as Miller in Verdi’s Louisa Miller with Piotr Beczała. His portrayal of the title role in Henry VIII by Saint-Saëns with Odyssey Opera in Boston was heralded by Ed Tapper with Edge Media as “…world class baritone singing…Moments such as Henry’s Act IV monologue and the final passages of the opera were nothing short of thrilling.” During the pandemic he was fortunate to be able to perform Tonio in Pagliacci with Palm Beach Opera where “Michael dominated the stage. His flawless diction, commanding acting skills and multi-colored instrument were a real showstopper.” (Palm Beach Daily News) He also made his Seattle Opera debut as Scarpia in Tosca, a role that he was honored to relaunch NYCO with in 2016. Future engagements at the Metropolitan Opera will see Michael return to cover the title role in Rigoletto, Scarpia in Tosca, and Enrico in Lucia di Lamermoor.
Constantine Orbelian, Conductor and Music Director
Born in San Francisco to Russian and Armenian émigrés parents, Constantine Oberlian made his debut as a piano prodigy with the San Francisco Symphony at the age of 11. After graduating from The Juilliard School, he embarked on a career as a piano virtuoso that included appearances with major symphony orchestras throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Russia.
Mr. Oberlian has been a central figure in Russian and Eastern European musical life – as Music Director of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra and the Philharmonia of Russia, as well as founder of the annual Palaces of St. Petersburg International Music Festival, as Chief Conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra in Lithuania, and as Artistic Director of the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Yerevan, Armenia. He is the first American to become music director of an ensemble in Russia and, in recognition of his efforts championing Russian-American cultural exchange, was awarded the coveted title “Honored Artist of Russia” in 2004. In 2012 the Russian Consulate in San Francisco awarded the maestro the Russian Order of Friendship Medal, honoring his efforts to the betterment of international relations between the U.S and the Russian Federation, joining the likes of Van Cliburn and Riccardo Muti in being so honored.
The California-based conductor tours and records with American stars such as Sondra Radvanovsky and Lawrence Brownlee. Among his concert and televised appearances are collaborations with Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko and Mr. Cliburn, including the legendary pianist’s farewell performance in a sentimental return to Moscow. Mr. Oberlian’s recordings include a series of celebrated releases on the Delos label with Mr. Hvorostovsky, before the great singer’s untimely death.
In 2001, Constantine Oberlian was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an award given to immigrants, or children of immigrants, who have made an outstanding contribution to the United States.
Michael Capasso, Director
Michael Capasso is the General Director of the New York City Opera. He has pro- duced, directed, and toured opera and musical theater productions in the U.S. and abroad for over 30 years. In June of 2014, he led the successful effort to bring the New York City Opera out of bankruptcy. The revitalized New York City Opera re- turned to the stage in January 2016 with a celebratory production of Tosca. In 1981, he, along with Diane Martindale, founded New York”s Dicapo Opera Theatre. Over the 30 years of his leadership, Dicapo Opera Theater presented a diverse program- ming to the New York public. In addition to his work with the Dicapo Opera Theatre, Mr. Capasso has directed operas at l’Opéra de Montréal; Mallorca Opera; Toledo Opera; Connecticut Opera; New Jersey State Opera; Opera Carolina; and Orlando Opera among others. Mr. Capasso founded the National Lyric Opera in 1991, a tour- ing company that has brought fully staged operas to communities in the American Northeast.
About New York City Opera
Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as “The People’s Opera,” New York City Opera (NYCO) has been a critical part of the city’s cultural life. During its history, New York City Opera launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American opera company of international stature.
For more than seven decades, New York City Opera has maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, and Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists. New York City Opera has a long history of inclusion and diversity. It was the first major opera company to feature African American singers in leading roles (Todd Duncan as Tonio in Pagliacci, 1945; Camilla Williams in the title role in Madama Butterfly, 1946); the first to produce a new work by an African-American composer (William Grant Still, Troubled Island, 1949); and the first to have an African-American conductor lead its orchestra (Everett Lee, 1955).
A revitalized City Opera re-opened in January 2016 with Tosca, the opera that originally launched the company in 1944. Outstanding productions during the four years since then include: the world premieres of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s Stonewall, which NYCO commissioned and developed, legendary director Harold Prince’s new production of Bernstein’sCandide; Puccini’s beloved La Fanciulla del West; and the New York premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas — the first in its Ópera en Español series. Subsequent Ópera en Español productions include the New York premiere of the world’s first mariachi opera, José “Pepe” Martinez’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Literes’s Los Elementos, and Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires. In addition to the world premiere of Stonewall, the productions in NYCO’s Pride Initiative, which produces an LGBTQ-themed work each June during Pride Month, include the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’s Angels in America and the American premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain. New York City Opera has presented such talents as Anna Caterina Antonacci and Aprile Millo in concert, as well as its own 75th Anniversary Concert in Bryant Park, one in a series of the many concerts and staged productions that it presents each year as part of the Park’s summer performance series. City Opera’s acclaimed summer series in Bryant Park brings free performances to thousands of New Yorkers and visitors every year. New York City Opera continues its legacy with main stage performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater and with revitalized outreach and education programs at venues throughout the city, designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of opera audiences.
New York City Opera:
About Bryant Park
Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a private not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park in New York City. BPC is funded by income from events, concessions, and corporate sponsors, as well as an assessment on neighboring properties, and does not accept government or philanthropic monies. In addition to providing security, sanitation, and horticultural services, BPC offers restaurants, food kiosks, world-class restrooms, and a wide range of free events throughout the year. The Midtown Manhattan park is visited by more than 12 million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. BPC’s website, bryantpark.org, offers more detailed information and a schedule of upcoming events.