New York City Opera

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The New York City Opera (NYCO) is based in Philip Johnson's New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.

The company was founded in 1944 with the aim of an opera company that would be financially accessible to a wide audience, innovative in its choice of repertory, and a home for American singers and composers.


[edit] The early years

In its early years, the NYCO's home base was the City Center on West 55th Street. In 1945, the company became the first major opera company to have an African American performer. This was the production Leoncavallo's Pagliacci with Todd Duncan's performance as Tonio. Lawrence Winters was another notable African American opera pioneer to sing with the company during this period. The first African American woman to sing with the company was Camilla Williams, soprano as Madama Butterfly in 1946. (Southern, 417)

[edit] The present day theatre

On February 22, 1966, it inaugurated its new home at Lincoln Center with a production of Alberto Ginastera's Don Rodrigo with tenor Plácido Domingo. In 1966, the American soprano Beverly Sills made her major breakthrough as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare (opposite Norman Treigle in the title role). While Sills went on to sing at opera houses throughout the world, she remained affiliated with the NYCO. Upon her retirement from the stage in 1979, she joined the company as its General Director, replacing conductor Julius Rudel, who had led the company since 1957. Sills retired as General Director in 1989 and was replaced by conductor Christopher Keene. Keene was succeeded in 1996 by Glimmerglass Opera's artistic director, Paul Kellogg.

[edit] Ongoing missions

Beverly Sills' success at NYCO is emblematic of NYCO's tradition of championing American singers. NYCO launched the careers of, among others, Sherrill Milnes, Carol Vaness, and Samuel Ramey. Internationally acclaimed American singers who still call NYCO home include David Daniels, Mark Delavan, Lauren Flanigan, Elizabeth Futral, and Amy Burton.

NYCO similarly champions the work of American composers; approximately one-third of its repertoire has traditionally been American Opera. NYCO's American repertoire ranges from established works (e.g., Douglas Moore's The Ballad of Baby Doe, Carlisle Floyd's Susannah and Leonard Bernstein's Candide) to new works (e.g., Rachel Portman's The Little Prince, Charles Wuorinen's Haroun and the Sea of Stories, and Mark Adamo's Little Women). NYCO's commitment to the future of American opera is demonstrated in its annual series, "Showcasing American Composer," in which operas-in-progress are showcased, giving composers a chance to hear their work performed by professional singers and orchestra. NYCO also produces non-traditional operatic repertoire such as works by Stephen Sondheim and Gilbert & Sullivan.

In 1983, the NYCO became the first American company to use supertitles. In recent years, the works of baroque masters such as Handel, Gluck, and Rameau have gained special prominence in its repertoire, sparking a renewal of interest in these long-neglected works.

The NYCO has extensive education and outreach programs, offering arts-in-education programs to 12,000 students in over seventy-five schools.

[edit] References

The Music of Black Americans: A History. Eileen Southern. W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd edition. ISBN 0-393-97141-4

[edit] Bibliography

  • The New York City Opera, by Martin L Sokol, Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc, 1981. ISBN 0-02-612280-4
  • New York City Opera Sings, by New York City Opera Guild, Richard Rosen Press, Inc, 1981. ISBN 0-8239-0544-6

[edit] External links

sv:New York City Opera

New York City Opera

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