NYC Opera Continues Commitment To Black Cuture
2010 Series of Events to Celebrate City Opera’s Historic and Ongoing Commitment to Black Culture
(New York, NY, ) Following the success of Black History at New York City Opera, last season’s inaugural series of events co-presented by New York City Opera and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, City Opera returns to the Schomburg Center in 2010 for three new collaborative programs celebrating the great American operatic repertoire highlighting the African-American experience, the distinguished African-American artists who have enriched the opera world, and City Opera and Schomburg’sparallel commitment to promoting black culture. The series begins with Opera at the Schomburg on Monday, February 1, 2010, followed by A Tribute to Robert McFerrin on Saturday, March 6, 2010 and “The Life and Times of Malcolm X” on Wednesday, May 12, 2010.
“It says a lot about the spirit of New York City Opera that our very first Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly, back in 1946, was the great African-American soprano Camilla Williams, and that the first world premiere we presented, in 1949, was the opera Troubled Island, by two major African-American artists: composer William Grant Still and poet Langston Hughes,” stated George Steel, City Opera’s general manager and artistic director. “We are proud to have played an important role in the careers of African-American artists, and proud of the important place that African-American culture has played in our own history. We are therefore doubly pleased to continue this vital partnership with the Schomburg Center.”
“The Schomburg Center is pleased to collaborate again with New York City Opera and present an exciting program series celebrating the rich history of African-American artists in opera and extraordinary works by African-American composers,” said Howard Dodson, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Opera at the Schomburg – Monday, February 1, at 7:oo pm
Opera at the Schomburg will delve into the substantial role of opera in African-American culture, as documented by the Schomburg’s prized collections of rare scores, librettos, images, recordings, films, and documents. City Opera will once again partner with artists fromOpera Noire of New York in presenting live excerpts from operas by composers including John Adams, Edward Boatner, Mark Fax, Scott Joplin, Thea Musgrave, Virgil Thomson, and Clarence Cameron White, interspersed with rare visual images, audio, and video clips of such legendary singers as Jules Bledsoe, Ellabelle Davis, Gloria Davy, and Dorothy Maynor, and lively commentary by distinguished guests. This special program, presented in honor of the Schomburg Center’s 85th Anniversary and Howard Dodson’s 25th Anniversary as its Director, will underscore the intersecting histories, missions, and grassroots work of City Opera and the Schomburg Center.
A Tribute to Robert McFerrin - Saturday, March 6, at 7:oo pm
The inimitable Bobby McFerrin will join New York City Opera and the Schomburg Center to honor the legacy of his father, the great American baritone Robert McFerrin. Robert McFerrin made headlines as one of the first African-American artists to sing at New York City Opera (making his 1949 debut in the world premiere of William Grant Still and Langston Hughes's opera Troubled Island) and the first African-American man to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, in 1955. In this special tribute evening, City Opera and the Schomburg Center will honor the extraordinary man, artist, and pioneer through historical film and sound clips, as well as live musical selections and commentary by baritone Stephen Salters and the illustrious Bobby McFerrin.
“The Life and Times of Malcolm X” – Wednesday, May 12, at 7:oo pm
Marking the 45th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, New York City Opera, in collaboration with Opera Noire of New York, will present an abridged concert version of “The Life and Times of Malcolm X”, the brilliant and ground-breaking opera about the great civil rights leader which premiered at City Opera in 1986. Composer Anthony Davis and scenarist Christopher Davis will offer insights on their inspiration and creative process.
New York City Opera’s collaboration with the Schomburg Center is part of Opera Matters, the company’s series of events combining conversation, media and live music to celebrate opera’s connections to the visual arts, film, literature, the mass media and pop culture, the African-American experience and the world at large. Curated by City Opera's dramaturg Cori Ellison, Opera Matters brings together prominent artists, scholars and celebrities from diverse artistic and cultural communities to reveal opera’s vital place in today’s culture.
The Schomburg Shop at (212) 491â2206 or Telecharge.com
The Schomburg Center is located at:
515 Malcolm X Boulevard (at 135th Street)
New York, NY 10037
For more information visit nycOpera.com and schomburgcenter.org
About the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a research unit of The New York Public Library, is generally recognized as one of the leading institutions of its kind in the world. A cultural center as well as a repository, this Harlem-based modern research library also sponsors a wide array of interpretive programs, including exhibitions, scholarly and public forums, and cultural performances. For over eighty years The Schomburg Center has collected, preserved, and provided access to materials documenting black life, and promoted the study and interpretation of black history and culture.
About New York City Opera
Since its founding in 1943, New York City Opera has been recognized as one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, celebrated for its adventurous programming and innovative, risk-taking production style. The company’s wide-ranging repertory of 275 works spans five centuries of music and includes 29 world premieres and 61 American and/or New York premieres of such notable works as Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shostakovich’s Katerina Ismailova, Busoni’s Doktor Faust, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges and The Flaming Angel, Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron, and Glass’ Akhnaten. The company has been a leading showcase for young artists, helping to launch the careers of more than 3,000 singers, including José Carreras, Phyllis Curtin, David Daniels, Plácido Domingo, Lauren Flanigan, Elizabeth Futral, Jerry Hadley, Catherine Malfitano, Bejun Mehta, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Gianna Rolandi, Beverly Sills, Norman Treigle, Tatiana Troyanos, and Carol Vaness. In 1983, City Opera made operatic history when it became the first American opera company to use supertitles, an innovation that has revolutionized the way opera is produced and appreciated worldwide.
In February 2009, George Steel, former executive director of Miller Theatre at Columbia University, began his tenure as New York City Opera's new General Manager and Artistic Director. Building on the company's core mission of artistic excellence and accessibility, Mr. Steel's plans include broadening the company's adventurous approach to repertory, supporting the careers of promising artists, and continuing to develop the company's acclaimed education and outreach programs.
New York City Opera’s 2009-2010 season reaffirms the company’s historic mission to present innovative productions, to champion contemporary works, to rediscover early and lesser-known operas, and to promote American artists. Following a critically acclaimed fall season, including Hugo Weisgall’s masterpiece Esther and a new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni from director Christopher Alden, the company’s spring season of revivals will begin with City Opera’s sparkling production of Chabrier’s rarely performed L’Étoile(opening with a gala performance on March 18, 2010). This will be followed by the company’s Emmy Award-winning production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly (opening Friday, March 19, 2010) and Handel’s romantic comedy Partenope (opening Saturday, April 3).
David H. Koch Theater