Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In Praise of NY City Opera; Randal Turner Among Debuts

Rufus Wainwright & Randal Turner
We don't review singers or performances on this site and we try to stay positive, leaving the usual "opera queen" bitchiness to other sites. Our goal is to promote opera and opera singers. However, it was difficult for us over the last year to watch the criticism of New York City Opera and see the blogosphere, Facebook and Twitter full of venomous comments about the company that former Mayor Fiorella La Guardia called the "People's Opera."

We want to use the formal announcement of their new season as an opportunity to say a few words of long-overdue praise about New York City Opera. Like many opera companies, City Opera has faced some difficult financial challenges over the last year. Unlike many companies who cut performances by dropping anything that didn't sell like Butterfly, Boheme or Carmen, City Opera continued to take chances with repertory, singers and productions. They even took chances with the standard repertory and delivered a sexy "Don Giovanni" that was an artistic success in every way imaginable.

A lot of people were upset that City Opera decided to leave their home at Lincoln Center. The move out of Lincoln Center and into the Lynch Theater at John Jay College, El Teatro at El Museo del Barrio and the Brooklyn Academy of Music will save the company $4.5 million and bring opera back to the people, as La Guardia first imagined. It's not Lincoln Center that makes opera great, it's a company's creativity and dedication to great art that makes opera great.

The new City Opera season will feature more than twenty artist debuts, including the New York debut of Randal Turner, one of the most compelling and gifted performers in opera. As they have done throughout history with other notable debuts, they have trumped the more prestigious and better funded Metropolitan Opera in securing the Zurich-based American singer, who will be performing Philippe in Rufus Wainwright's U.S. debut of "Prima Donna."

Rod Gilfry, Daniel Teadt and Kelly Markgraf
There are a number of barihunk debuts other than Randal Turner that we're also excited about, including Rod Gilfry performing Don Alfonso in "Cosi fan tutte" and Daniel Teadt in the title role of Telemann’s "Orpheus." Cosi also includes the return of barihunk Philip Cutlip, who will be singing Guglielmo and "Orpheus" which will feature Kelly Markgraf at Pluto. Other debuts we're particularly excited about are soprano Amanda Majeski and tenor Taylor Stayton.

The 2011/12 spring season will open on Sunday, February 12 with La Traviata at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. "Prima Donna" will open on Sunday, February 19 also at BAM. For additional cast and performance information visit the NYCO website.

We're urging all of our readers to help City Opera survive and flourish by making an extra effort to attend their performances this year.

Contact us at Barihunks@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. As someone who's not affiliated in any way (except as patron) with City Opera, I'm glad to read your sensible words. "Stay at Lincoln Center" is not a plan. It's too expensive--and it's ludicrous to blame Steel. Sure, last season probably could have done without the triple bill (although I thought it was really interesting, it belonged at a festival.) But the endless sniping by people with zero responsibility and, I would guess, often not much more accomplishment is destructive.