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New York City Opera Presents Weill & Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins & Mahagonny Songspiel

April 20, 2022 - April 24, 2022

New York City Opera presents Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s thrilling double bill, The Seven Deadly Sins & Mahagonny Songspiel, for the first time ever told as one story, a tragic fable for today. In this first collaboration between Teatro alla Scala and New York City Opera, director Irina Brook brings her groundbreaking concept from Milan to New York, with music director/conductor Kamal Kahn. Performances will take place on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30PM and Sunday at 4PM at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 524 W. 59th Street, NYC. Tickets start at $25 are available online at https://newyorkcityopera.yapsody.com/event/index/722517/weill-brechts.

The Seven Deadly Sins & Mahagonny Songspiel are performed here in a single setting: a theatrical wasteland, where a rough performance platform represents a crumbling bar, floating on a sea of plastic bottles. In this two-piano production, the stories are linked into one, enabling the audience to follow the heart-breaking thread of the two central female characters, played by Lauren Hoffmeier and Rebecca L. Hargrove. 

In The Seven Deadly Sins, two sisters, both named Anna, tell in flashback the story of their seven-year journey through Brecht’s fantasy version of seven different American cities. Each place symbolizes a twisted form of one of the Sins. In the second piece, we arrive in the present, in a strange, apocalyptic bar, where all the last survivors on earth are gathered and dream of reaching a decadent fantasyland: Mahagonny. With a series of six songs, Mahagonny Songspielis a commentary on the decline of contemporary social classes. The work premiered in Baden-Baden in 1927 and, at the time, the piece was “both a scandal and a success,” (NPR) helping to launch Weill’s fruitful collaboration with writer Bertolt Brecht that culminated with Seven Deadly Sins in 1933.

“I am struck by how actual the works are and what a frighteningly accurate reflection they present of our world, at this precise moment,” said Irina Brook. “I like to imagine that only a writer who secretly loves mankind could be so cynically despairing about the collapse of our humanity. The existential darkness of the writing expresses deep anger at how men bring self-destruction upon themselves, through capitalism, greed, and war. This production presents an unusual opportunity to show what is happening around us today, between the ecological disasters of the planet, the insane atrocities taking place in the Ukraine and the threat of a third world war.”

“We are thrilled to bring this groundbreaking production to New York after its triumphant Teatro alla Scala broadcast and hosting director Irina Brook is a special pleasure,” said Michael Capasso, general director of New York City Opera. “We are proud to continue New York City Opera’s long history of presenting the works of Kurt Weill.”

Kurt Weill
Ballet with Singing
Text by Bertolt Brecht
by Kurt Weill
Text by Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann

Presented under license from European American Music Corporation, on behalf of The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., and the Brecht Heirs.

This production was originally conceived and created for the Teatro alla Scala, Milano.

Cast: Michael Boley, Dani Goldstein, Aaron-Casey Gould, Rebecca L. Hargrove, Lauren Hoffmeier, Dimitrie Lazich, Melanie Long, Tim Roller

Production Team: Production conceived and directed by Irina Brook; Kamal Kahn, Music Director and Conductor; Derek Lockwood, Costume Designer; John Farrell, Set Designer; Susan Roth Hayes, Lighting Designer; Loryn Pretorius, Hair and Makeup Designer.

About the Artists

Irina Brook, daughter of the director Peter Brook and the actress Natasha Parry, was born in Paris, in 1962 and grew up between England and France. At age 18, she went to the Stella Adler school in New York and performed in “off -off Broadway”productions. At 20, back in Paris, she performed in Peter Brook’s La Cerisaie and M. Benichou’s Don Juan at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord. She then moved to London, where she played many roles on screen, television, and in theatre. In 1996, Irina directed her first play Beast on the Moon, by American writer Richard Kalinoski, which opened in London and then in France, where it won five Molières awards. She then devoted her time to a successful directing career mainly in Paris and Lausanne. She created her own theatre company (Compagnie Irina Brook), which toured extensively in France, reinventing the classics. Her shows were performed in Japan, the UK, the Salzburg Festival, and the USA. Irina has directed operas at the Royal Swedish Opera, le Theatre des Champs-Elysees, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Vienna Staatsoper, and recently at La Scala di Milano. From 2014-2019, Brook was appointed Artistic Director of the Théâtre National de Nice (TNN). Here, alongside her own theatre productions, she also created the first international Shakespeare festival in France (le “Shake Nice!”) and an eco-festival (“Réveillons-nous!”). In September 2021, she presented the first rooms of her multimedia House of Us project in co-production with the Teatro Biondo in Palermo at the Sant’ Elia museum. She will continue to develop this work with the Teatro la Pergola in Florence and the Teatro Goldoni in Venice. In 2023, it will play at the SPAC theatre in Japan.

Lauren Hoffmeier was raised in the heart of New York City with a performance background in opera and musical theater, being hailed as “a throwback to brass-lunged divas like Ethel Merman, with an alto belt that can stun at 20 paces,” (New York Post). Lauren left the industry in 2019, during which time she wrote the New York Times-featured children’s series Mula and the Fly, which she continues to develop with her publishers in the United Kingdom. She is delighted to return to the stage in Irina Brook’s adaptation of Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel with the New York City Opera. Lauren is a graduate of Boston University. Select television appearances: Criminal Minds, Speechless, Good Game. Select NY Theater: The Most Happy Fella, Marrying Mozart, Somewhere with You.

Rebecca L. Hargrove is pleased to return to City Opera after recently appearing in The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. Previously this season she joined the Metropolitan Opera Chorus in Fire Shut up in My Bones (Blanchard), Die Meistersinger, and returned to Porgy and Bess, for which she is a 2020 ‘Best Opera Album’ Grammy Award Winner. She has also been featured in the companies of Evita and Cabin in the Sky at New York City Center. Along with co-creator Kedren Spencer, she is one half of KSRH Productions LLC and star of their upcoming short film, ‘Last Call.’ In the 2019-2020 season Rebecca starred in The New York Times Critic’s Pick performances of Acquanetta as Acquanetta at Bard Summerscape, The Grey Land mono-opera as The Mother at Roulette Intermedium (album available on all streaming platforms), and as Yum-Yum in The Mikado with New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. Previous engagements include Two Wings: The Music of Black America in Migration with Jason Moran and Alicia Hall-Moran at Carnegie Hall, In the Parlouras Nellie Quander at The National Black Theater, and a series of new plays at The Lucille Lortel Foundation. Follow her updates at www.RebeccaLHargrove.com and on Instagram @Rhargrov.

Indian American conductor and pianist Kamal Khan has performed in venues such as The Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, The Kennedy Center, Dallas Opera, and Palm Beach Opera; Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colón, Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil; Palacio de Bellas Artes and Festival Cervantino in Mexico; Gran Teatro del Liceu and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona; Palacio de las Artes in Valencia; Paris Opera (Palais Garnier); Bonn Opera; Suntory Hall, Casals Hall, Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, and Osaka Festival Hall in Japan; Seoul Arts Center and Asian Cultural Center, Korea; Beijing Hall, Jiangsu Center for the Performing Arts, Nanjing and Suzhou Culture & Arts Center, China; Cape Town Opera and Opera South Africa; and orchestras including the Jerusalem Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Beijing Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, São Paulo Philharmonic, RTVE Symphony, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, Kwazulu-Natal Philharmonic and The Orchestra of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. He has shared stages with artists Michael Fabiano, Nadine Sierra, Sir Bryn Terfel, Levy Sekgapane, Nadine Benjamin, Pretty Yende, Veronica Villarroel, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Teresa Stratas, Placido Domingo, Sherrill Milnes, and Joshua Bell. The EMMY winning PBS documentary “I Live to Sing” is based on his work at the University of Cape Town. www.kamalkhan.com

Derek Nye Lockwood is originally from Ojai, CA and is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts. He currently resides in New York City. He is a member of local 764 and works as a Tailor/Costumer on theater, film, and television. He is the in-house Costume Designer for White Horse Theater and Wardrobe Supervisor for New York City Opera. Derek also does tailoring for private clients.
John Farrell is currently the Director of Production for New York City Opera. Since starting this position in 2015, he has been responsible for all the aspects of the physical production of the company as well as the resident Scenic Designer. During that time, he has designed dozens of productions for the company. In New York, he was the resident designer for Dicapo Opera where he created over ninety productions from 1992-2013. At Radio City Music Hall, he was the scenic supervisor for the Spring Spectacular Easter Show for two years and the Christmas Show for one. Radio City productions outside New York were the Christmas shows in Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles as an associate designer. Mr. Farrell was the exclusive Set and Illusion designer for the magician Criss Angel from 1993-2015. During that time, he has done three television specials: MindFreak for ABC Family, SuperNatural for The Sci-Fi Channel, and Mr. Marick vs. Criss Angelfor Tokyo Broadcasting, followed by six seasons of Mindfreak for A&E totaling nearly 100 episodes. The production Criss Angel BeLIEve produced by Cirque du Soleil at the Luxor Hotel and Casino in which John was the Director of Illusions ran from 2005 for seven and a half years then became Mindfreak Live for three years before moving to Planet Hollywood. For Criss, John was also the Production Manager for four years which included two live touring productions in addition to a TV series and the Vegas show, all running concurrently.

Other television credits include Supervising Art director for America’s Got Talent seasons 7 -10, the final season of Gossip Girl, For What it’s Worth for VH1 Classics, Toys ‘R: Us (commercial), The Dream Team 1996 Olympic Special for NBC, 1994 & 1995 Tony Awards, HBO’s Earthly Possessions and for MTV: Get Late with Kennedy and Squirt TV. 

Internationally John designed the scenery for Turandot in Hong Kong and Emmeline and The Crucible for the Szeged National Theatre with Mezzo Television. For Mexico City, he has designed three productions for Morris Gilbert: Fiddler on the Roof, Sweet Charity, and Besame Mucho. He has worked regionally in the US for such theatres as The Walnut Street Theatre (16 years) and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, PA; Theatre Under the Stars, The Fifth Avenue Theatre, WA; Tampa Bay performing Arts Center, Sarasota Opera, FL; Chautauqua Opera, NY; and Maine State Music Theatre, ME.

Susan Roth Hayes has designed lighting for theater, opera and dance. International opera credits include Emmeline and The Crucible, which were televised throughout Europe on the Mezzo network. For New York City Opera, Ms. Roth designed Tosca, Aleko/Pagliacci, La campana sommersa, Brokeback Mountain, and the New York premiers of Hopper’s Wife and Dolores Claiborne. US regional opera credits include Tampa Opera, Augusta Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Orlando Opera, Toledo Opera and Dicapo Opera in New York. Ms. Roth served as the lighting designer for the 75th Anniversary tour of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess. US national theater tour credits include Dreamgirls, Cabaret, Purlie, Little Shop of Horrors and One Mo Time. International tours included Ain’t Misbehavin’, West Side Story and Crazy for You. Ms. Roth was resident designer for the Westport Playhouse for ten years. Other credits include the U.S. premier of Public Enemy by Kenneth Branagh, the New York premier of Three Mo Tenors, the world premiere of Feau Follet for the Elisa Monte Dance Company and the Peking Circus US tour.

Originally from Tampa Bay, Florida, Loryn Pretorius got her start in opera as a performer in Carmen with Opera Tampa, and her first taste of running wigs and makeup with St. Peter Opera 10 years ago. She holds an MFA in Wig and Makeup design from UNC School of the Arts and was professionally mentored by Paul Huntley. Design credits include Tootsie the Musical (First National Tour), Cullad Wattah (The Public Theatre), Bette Davis Ain’t for Sissies (Broadway HD), Gilbert VS Sullivan (Opera Tampa) and Sweeney Todd (Manhattan School of Music). She is also a visiting professor of Adornment History, lecturing for the Academy of Makeup Arts in Nashville. 

Tenor Michael Boley is an exponent of the romantic Italian and French repertoire whose recent performance highlights include, Calaf in Turandot, Cavaradossi ​in Tosca, Rodolfo in ​La bohème​, Pinkerton in ​Madama Butterfly, a​nd Hoffmann in ​Les Contes d’Hoffmann​. Popular with audiences and critics alike, Michael has been praised for his “meaty tenor” and “vibrant, dramatically alert performances” (Mercury News), “firm-voiced” characterizations (Opera Today), and his “fine contributions” (Opera News). Mr. Boley has performed principal assignments for New York City Opera, Opera San Jose, Mississippi Opera, Little Opera Company of New York, Opera Charleston, and Opera Columbus, among others.

Dani Goldstein is excited to be back at NYCO where she made her New York City Debut in Candide. She was recently seen on the Broadway National Tour of Cats (Jennyanydots) and spent the holiday season performing across the Midwest with Lightwire Theatre Co (Americas Got Talent). Regionally, she spent a year with RCCL in Mamma Mia(Ali/Sophie Cover) and has worked with PCLO (Legally Blonde and Singin’ in the Rain), Goodspeed (The Theory of Relativity-Staged Reading/Jenny), New Bedford Festival Theatre (Singin’ in the Rain/Kathy Selden), Reagle Music Theatre, and Surflight. Dani was thrilled to sing and dance in a tribute to Gershwin with The Boston Symphony Orchestra (Symphony Hall). She is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre with a concentration in Dance. In addition to performing, Dani is an educator, choreographer, and competition adjudicator. Follow her @danigstein 

Aaron-Casey Gould is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. He has been featured on concert, theatre, and operatic stages globally sharing his talents at venues such as the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus (Germany), Jazz at Lincoln Center (NYC), Walter Hall (Toronto), and Warner Bros. Studios (LA), to name a few. Whilst making NYC home Aaron-Casey has created roles in world premieres, national tours, and developmental workshops alike. Before the pandemic Aaron-Casey made his NYCO debut featured in their world premiere of Stonewall. Soon after this production he performed in the triumphant story of Brent Nicholson Earle’s AIDS awareness run in an off-Broadway show called For the Love of Friends. These engagements then led to American Opera Project casting him as the title character in their freshly developed queer operatic romance, Legendary. In addition to his many stage appearances, he has portrayed himself in television episodes on HBO with Grammy-winners Reneé Fleming and Jazz legend Bobby McFerrin. You can also find him in an exclusive performance and interview on PBS with host Ernie Manouse. Most recently Aaron-Casey was featured in the coming-of-age short film, Pure, which was also released by HBO and can currently be viewed on all of their networks and streaming services.

The work of Dimitrie Lazich in opera and music theatre is consistently met with critical and popular acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Most recently he performed with Opera Theater of Pittsburgh as the Barber in the Strauss comedy Die Schweigsamme Frau and as the 2nd gangster in Kiss Me Kate. He was seen with the Pittsburgh Opera as El Dancaire in Carmen, Schaunard in La bohème, and as the Corporal in The Daughter of the Regiment. Among other leading roles throughout the US and abroad he has sung Danillo in The Merry Widow, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Edwin Cheney in Daren Hagen’s Shining Brow, Dandini and Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola,  and as the Villains in The Tales of Hoffman. In Europe he debuted with the Staatsoper Stuttgart in Doctor Faustus and sang with De Nederlandse Reisopera in La traviata. In the UK, he sang Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de Perles and Escamillo in Carmen. He also has performed with the Opera Company of Philadelphia as Marullo in Rigoletto and with the Sarasota Opera as Thomas Putnam in The Crucible and Morales in Carmen. On the concert stage he was a soloist in Elijah, Carmina Burana, Messiah, St. Matthew’s Passion, and both the Fauré and Duruflé Requiems. Most recently he sang with The Masterworks Chorus in Haydn’s Die Shöpfung (The Creation), and he made his Carnegie Hall debut performing the solos in Messiah with the same group. With the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Netherlands, Dimitrie sang Escamillo in Carmen, was a featured soloist in pops concerts, performing works of Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein, and also appeared in a televised concert as Escamillo in Carmen the Musical. He is represented by Kathy Olsen at Encompass Arts as both a singer and an actor.

Melanie Long’s unique vocal prowess has been described as “easily switch-hitting from high coloratura to Broadway belt” (New York Post). In high demand as a soloist and for her and powerfully interpretive stagecraft, Ms. Long has been featured in several premieres including the East Coast premiere of Stewart Wallace’s Hopper’s Wife with New York City Opera. Ms. Long recently starred as Anna in Encompass New Opera Theatre’s world premiere of Anna Christie by Edward Thomas and was featured on the cast album which was nominated for a Grammy in 2020. She recently made her Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre debut, creating several complex characters in the company’s commission of The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius, by Michael Ching and Jean-Francois Charles. Ms. Long performed in the ensemble cast of New York City Opera’s Stonewall by Iain Bell and is frequently featured in New York City’s annual PROTOTYPE Festival with Beth Morrison Projects. She will make her Arizona Opera debut this season as Petra in Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. www.americandiva.com | @themelanielong

Tim Roller is proud to be returning to New York City Opera! This is his debut as a dancer with NYCO, having recently appeared in the world premiere of NYCO’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. He has performed across the country on the national tours of Hello, Dolly! and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Favorite regional credits include Music City Christmas in 2019 (Cowboy Tim), A Chorus Line (Mike), West Side Story (Riff), Broadway Holiday Spectacular (Transcendence Theatre Company), and Cabaret (Bobby). 

John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York, an international leader in educating for justice, offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.
Since opening its doors in 1988, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater has been an invaluable cultural resource. The Theater is a member of CUNY Stages, a consortium of 16 performing arts centers located on CUNY campuses across New York City and the CUNY Dance Initiative. The Theater is home to the Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival & White Light Festival, as well as the New Yorker Festival, Mannes Opera, the World Science Festival, and the revival of Mummunschanz. The Theater has hosted live and recorded events including David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Inside the Actor’s Studio, Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, Comedy Central Presents one-hour specials, the American Justice Summit, the NYC Mayoral Democratic Debates, and the launch of Jay-Z’s REFORM initiative. The Theater welcomes premiere galas, conferences, international competitions, and graduations. For more information, and a schedule of events, please visit www.GeraldWLynchTheater.com.

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’s Candide; 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. 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: 
Instagram: @nycopera 
Twitter: @nycityopera


April 20, 2022
April 24, 2022