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Teatro Grattacielo Presents the World Premiere of Beyond the Horizon

September 15 @ 4:00 PM - 7:00 PM


Teatro Grattacielo announces the world premiere of Beyond the Horizon, based on Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The premiere will take place on September 15, 2024 at 4pm at LA MAMA Shares, 66 E. 4th Street, New York NY, 10003. Tickets are $55 are on sale now and available for purchase at https://grattacielo.org/season/beyond-the-horizon-world-premiere.

For the first time in its history, Teatro Grattacielo will present an American neo-romantic masterpiece written by composer Nicolas Flagello, with libretto by Nicolas Flagello and Walter Simmons: the World Premiere of Beyond The Horizon. Exploring the themes of hope, disillusionment, missed life opportunities and the pursuit of dreams through the story of two brothers in conflict over love and destiny, this production promises an experimental and immersive experience. The cast showcases John Robert Green, John Bellemer, Sara Kennedy, Daniel Klein, Melina Jaharis, Seven Kirby, Carla Lopez Speziale, Henry Hyunsoon Kim, Kathleen Echols, Rick Agster, Hana Yiu, and the Teatro Grattacielo orchestra, conducted by Christian Capocaccia. The production is Directed by Ian Silverman with set design by Taylor Friel, lighting design by Dimitris Koutas, and costume design by Stefanos Koroneos. The opera will be sung in English.

Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill’s (1888-1953) seminal, Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Beyond the Horizon, was written in 1918 but not produced or published until 1920, when it made its debut in New York. It was his first published play. Beyond the Horizon was O’Neill’s first successful full-length play, and it signaled a change in American drama. Critics and audiences responded favorably to O’Neill’s dark, tragic vision, which contrasted sharply with the unrealistic, melodramatic plays of the day. The play drew heavily on O’Neill’s own experiences, including his tuberculosis and his sea voyages.

Nicolas Flagello’s last opera was Beyond the Horizon. O’Neill’s play was brought to the composer’s attention by Walter Simmons, a musicologist who had written extensively on American composers. Flagello worked on the opera for several years, finishing it in short score in 1983. Unfortunately, before he was able to complete the orchestration, he developed a degenerative neurological condition that ended his creative life prematurely. After Flagello’s death at age 66, the composer Anthony Sbordoni undertook the orchestration of the work, leaving the work ready to perform.

Nicolas Flagello was born in New York City, into a family deeply immersed in music. His brother Ezio became one of the leading bassos of the Metropolitan Opera. Both his parents were avocational musicians, while his maternal grandfather was said to have studied with Verdi. For Nicolas music was a personal medium for emotional and spiritual expression, and this conviction underlay all his works. He began studying with the eminent composer of operas and songs, Vittorio Giannini (also the sibling of an operatic star, Dusolina Giannini), and the two remained close friends until the older man’s death. In recent years Flagello’s music has garnered enthusiastic advocacy, as many of his works have been performed and recorded.

Flagello’s previous operas have been well-received. When The Sisters (1958) was presented in New York City, the Herald-Tribune commented, “Flagello has the gift of writing gratefully for the voice, and his music has melodic sumptuousness. His orchestral texture is crystal-clear, and he knows how to underline dramatic events…first rate.” The following year he completed The Judgment of St. Francis, which was presented at the Cathedral of St. Francis, in Assisi. Musical America commented that the work’s “robust emotionalism is unflinching in its conviction, and its intensity is sustained by a sure sense of pacing, a natural flow of expressive melody integrated throughout the musical texture, and an ability to use voices, chorus, and orchestra to their maximum effect.” The critic for the New Yorker described it as “the most vigorous new opera I have come across in a long time…. [It displays] an unmistakable and totally unconfused talent for the operatic theatre.”

​Walter Gustave Simmons (b. New York, NY, 19 November 1946) is a musicologist, critic, and record producer. He is best known as a champion of 20th-century composers—mostly American—who hewed to traditional musical values, rather than joining the avant-garde movements then in fashion. His writings appear in reference books, including the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, program notes for concerts and recordings, and in a variety of periodicals, most notably Fanfare, where he was a regular contributor for 35 years. He has been supervising editor of the Twentieth-Century Traditionalists series for Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, of which he wrote the first two volumes. He has produced first recordings of dozens of works by such composers as Vincent Persichetti, Peter Mennin, Vittorio Giannini, Paul Creston, Nicolas Flagello, and Arnold Rosner.

For all artist and creative bios, please visit https://grattacielo.org/season/beyond-the-horizon-world-premiere.

Ian Silverman is thrilled to be making his NYC directorial debut with Teatro Grattacielo at LaMaMa. Ian has served on the directing staffs of The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Glimmerglass Festival, Utah Opera, Palm Beach Opera, Opera Colorado, and OnSite Opera, among others. He has also directed productions at Arizona Opera, Lakes Area Music Festival, William Jewel College, Amarillo Opera, Youngstown State University, The Rochester Fringe Festival, Miami Children’s Chorus, and Eastman Opera Theater. Later this season, Ian will serve as the Associate Director for Tomer Zvulun’s Productions of The Magic Flute and Semele at The Atlanta Opera. In the spring, he returns to the Houston Grand Opera to assist Francesca Zambello’s on West Side Story and a New Production of Tannhäuser.

Ian has worked in all forms of music theater, from rare operettas to golden age musicals to large scale grand opera. In addition to standard repertoire, Ian has extensive experience with new work and has worked on twelve world premiere productions. He also has experience working for film as both a director and video editor. Ian is a recipient of the Robin L. Tobin Director-Designer Prize from Opera America for his production concept of Fellow Travelers. Ian graduated from the Eastman School of Music with Master of Music Degree in Stage Directing and a Certificate in Arts Leadership in May 2020.

Hailed as an “exciting singer with a killer voice” (Operawire), Sara Kennedy is an American soprano from Austin, TX, known for her powerful interpretations of Mozart heroines. In the 2024-2025 season, she debuts as Ruth Atkins in the world premiere of Beyond the Horizon with Teatro Grattacielo and as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte with Florida Grand Opera. In 2023-2024, she performed with Florida Grand Opera, covering Violetta and Nedda, and performing Musetta. Sara has also sung with Opera Arlington and Painted Sky Opera. She holds a Graduate Artist Certificate in Opera and degrees from the University of North Texas, studying under Jennifer Rowley.

Taylor Friel is a Brooklyn-based designer for theatre, dance, opera, music videos, and more. Recent credits include Chameckilerner’s Aging Prelude, Double Feature Play’s site-reactive immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the world premiere of Tina Howe’s final play Where Women Go, and the music video for Dakota Jones’ Break It Down. Taylor is a proud graduate of NYU Tisch’s Department of Design for Stage & Film. See more work at taylorfrieldesign.com or @tay.friel on Instagram.

Teatro Grattacielo’s 30th Anniversary Season marks three decades of memorable performances in New York City, international and national collaborations, cultural enrichment revitalizing lesser-known operatic pieces, and the presentation of world premieres and promotion of young artists to international stages. The 2024 season sets the tone for the decade ahead, aligning with the company’s missions. Successful productions of rare and forgotten operatic gems such as Mascagni’s Guglielmo Ratcliff, Montemezzi’s L’Amore dei Tre Re, Giordano’s La Cena Delle Beffe, and Spontini’s historic Italian version of La Vestale are some highlights of Teatro Grattacielo’s past years, to name a few. The company’s dedication to excellence and musical authenticity has earned recognition from audiences, critics, and artists alike. Under new leadership since 2020, Teatro Grattacielo has expanded both its repertoire and boundaries gaining international acclaim and creating collaborations with prominent arts organizations, implemented the robust educational programs Creative Tableaux, and experimented with innovative performance techniques. For more information and ticket purchases, please visit www.grattacielo.org.

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September 15
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM


La Mama Experimental Theater Club
66 East 4th Street
New York, 10003 United States
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