Gotham Chamber Opera
Archived content from 2007 -2010
From 2001-2015 the Gotham Chamber Opera was the nation’s leading opera company dedicated to vibrant, fully staged productions of works intended for intimate venues. Its high quality presentations of small-scale rarities from the Baroque era to the present earned Gotham an international reputation and unanimous critical praise. Moreover, Gotham Chamber Opera is credited with legitimizing and popularizing the hitherto deprecated genre of chamber opera throughout the world.
For a number of years this was the official website for the Gotham Chamber Opera.
Content is from the site's 2007 - 2010 archived pages, as well as from other outside sources.
Enjoy a nostalgic look back.
Praised by The New York Times as “the pre-eminent small opera company in New York,” Gotham Chamber Opera presents vibrant productions of intimately scaled works, from the Baroque era to the present, that are generally overlooked in traditional opera houses but offer audiences immediate, involving, and powerful music theater.
Before 2000, New York City lacked a first-class company dedicated to such works. In its first years, Gotham Chamber Opera quickly altered the landscape, presenting six U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart’s 1771 Il Sogno di Scipione; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu’s 1928 Dada opera Les Larmes du couteau (The Tears of the Knife) and his 1935 radio opera Hlas lesa (Voice of the Forest); Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister’s 1935 masterpiece Die schwarze Spinne (The Black Widow); and Handel’s Arianna in Creta.
THEN & NOW
I was still living in NYC when a friend called to relay the sad news that the Gotham Chamber Opera was closing. I had grown up going to the Gotham Chamber Opera with my parents and later with some classmates from LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. After college I ended up in Melbourne, Australia doing set designs for the Victorian Opera which is the state opera company of Victoria. As the world went into lockdown due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we got to work by sharing our passion far and wide with a range of web series and online performances. Believe me it has been challenging for every one in Melbourne. We have gone through lock down after lockdown. The longest was for more that 3 months. I did a lot of facetime with my friends in the US. Sometimes while I was chilling and playing pokies (what the Aussies call slots) online, my buddy, Zac, in lockdown in NYC tried to play one time at an online casino that offered slots for US players. Zac learned, much to his frustration that people who live in New York state can't play for real money at online casinos. He ended up that night playing demo versions of the actual pokie games I could play here in Melbourne. He went a bit nuts with all his "free" bankroll that players receive when playing a demo / free slots games. He would made wild bets and actually won quite a bit of money. Unlike me, he couldn't cash any of it in. Crazy, right. But during these lockdowns, one does crazy things for entertainment.
Now that vaccines are available the Victorian Opera is returning home to the stage. We are embracing a new normal and the company will continue to perform in Victoria's finest theatres and concert halls to give our audiences the best possible and safest experience. It's been hectic and exhilarating. I feel that the Gotham Chamber Opera inspired me to pursue a career in music and theater. I may not be on the stage, but the behind scenes work we do creates magical settings for all the preforming artists. The 2021 season is going to be very exciting with Echo and Narcissus / Cassandra, Parrwang Lifts the Sky, and The Butterfly Lovers.
More recently, Gotham Chamber Opera has expanded both its horizons and its audience. Puppeteer Basil Twist’s 2005 production of the U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi’s fantastical puppet opera La bella dormente nel bosco (Sleeping Beauty in the Woods) sold out its run at the Lincoln Center Festival.
In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten’s only comedy, Albert Herring, received its first professional New York staging in more than 30 years, and in the winter of 2007, Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in over a half century. In the 2007/2008 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with productions of Astor Piazzolla’s tango opera María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance.
Even more firsts are on the way. Montsalvatge’s El gato con botas (Puss in Boots) features a collaboration between two of our favorite artists: Moisés Kaufman and Basil Twist. And then there’s Haydn at the Hayden: an operatic trip to the moon, via the American Museum of Natural History. Prepare for takeoff!
The Gotham Chamber Opera is the nation's foremost opera company dedicated to producing rarely-performed chamber operas from the Baroque era to the present. Our mission is to present innovative, fully-staged productions of the highest quality in intimate venues.
GOTHAM CHAMBER OPERA,
in partnership with
the American Museum of Natural History,
and in association with American Repertory Theater,
IL MONDO DELLA LUNA
(The World on the Moon)
An opera by Joseph Haydn
At The Hayden Planetarium
Rose Center for Earth and Space
American Museum of Natural History
West 81st Street
(between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue)
January 19 - 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 19 at 7:30pm (Opening Night)
Wednesday, January 20 at 8pm
Monday, January 25 at 8pm
Tuesday, January 26 at 8pm
Wednesday, January 27 at 8pm
Thursday, January 28 at 8pm
Conductor: Neal Goren
Director: Diane Paulus
Video and Production Design: Philip Bussmann
Costume Design: Anka Lupes
Hair and Makeup Design: Hagen Linss
Associate Director: Andrew Eggert
Clarice: Hanan Alattar
Flaminia: Albina Shagimuratova
Lisetta: Rachel Calloway
Ecclitico: Nicholas Coppolo
Cecco: Matthew Tuell
Ernesto: Timothy Kuhn
Buonafede: Marco Nisticò
For the first time ever, the Hayden Planetarium will be transformed into an intimate opera house using a 180-degree dome and projections courtesy of NASA. Taking advantage of breakthroughs in laser and light technology, Il mondo della luna will fuse live opera and stargazing, immersing the audience in a completely new kind of theatrical event - an out-of-this-world experience for opera lovers, science buffs, and theatergoers alike. The production will be directed by Diane Paulus, director of Hair, which received the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, and whom Opera News calls one of the top 25 names in U.S. opera.
Gotham Chamber Opera will literally take audiences to the moon in this production, Haydn's personal favorite of all his operas. Written in 1777, it's the story of a nobleman who refuses to let his daughters marry their true loves. With the help of a fake astronomer and a sleeping potion, the daughters trick their father into believing he's been sent to the moon, where he discovers they do things differently, especially when it comes to courtship. On the moon, women are allowed to choose their own husbands.
Tickets are $30-$125 and are available at www.ticketcentral.com or by phone at 212-279-4200.
Opening Night and after-party tickets are $2,500 ($2,000 tax-deductible), $1,000 ($800 tax-deductible), and $500 ($325 tax-deductible) and are available by calling (212) 868-4460
Opening Night Gala
Performances of Il mondo della luna are made possible in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Gotham Chamber Opera Premieres 'L'ISOLA DISABITATA' 2/18
by BWW News Desk Dec. 18, 2008
In February of 2009, in honor of the bicentennial of Joseph Haydn's death, Gotham Chamber Opera will present the New York City stage premiere of L'isola disabitata (Desert Island) in a new production staged by Mark Morris at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College.
L'isola disabitata is Mark Morris's first collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera. The work, with a libretto by Metastasio, calls for four singers and a typical early classical orchestra, but neither chorus nor dancers. L'isola disabitata features sopranos Takesha Meshé Kizart and Valerie Ogbonnaya, tenor Vale Rideout, and bass-baritone Tom Corbeil, and is conducted by Neal Goren, artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera. Set design is by Allen Moyer, costume design is by Liz Kurtzman and lighting design is by Michael Chybowski.
"This is the quintessential Haydn score: sunny, invigorating, with virtuosic vocal and instrumental writing, and its brevity makes it all the more appealing. Add Mark Morris and four spectacular, gorgeous singers and I don't think opera gets any better," said Neal Goren.
Thirteen years before the action begins, Costanza and her infant sister Silvia were shipwrecked on a deserted island. Costanza has raised Silvia to hate and fear men. Now a man arrives...
L'isola disabitata had its premiere at the Esterhazy palace in 1779 and was Haydn's favorite of his own operas.
Gotham Chamber Opera is New York City's leading company dedicated to the highest quality productions of chamber operas rarely performed in opera houses today. The company's mission is to present vibrant, fully-staged productions of works from the Baroque era to the present that are intended for intimate venues.
Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren in 2000, in its short history, the Gotham Chamber Opera has presented six U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione; Darius Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's Dada opera, Les Larmes du Couteau; and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne. In February 2005, Gotham presented the U.S. stage premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta. Also in 2005, Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA presented Gotham Chamber Opera's U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi's fantastical puppet opera, La bella dormente nel bosco featuring the puppetry of Basil Twist. In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring received its first professional staging in New York in more than 30 years, and in winter 2007, Rossini's Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in over a half century. Last season, the Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with productions of Astor Piazzolla's tango opera María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance.
In the future, Gotham Chamber Opera will present Haydn at the Hayden: Il mondo della luna, an operatic trip to the moon in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History, followed by Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), a collaboration with Basil Twist and Moisés Kaufman.
Performances of L'isola disabitata are made possible in part with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the National Endowment for the Arts; and through generous gifts in honor of Donald Gellert from his family.
The Gerald W. Lynch Theater is a premier performing arts venue which celebrates its first performing arts presenting season in 2008-2009 with a partnership with Gotham Opera. The Theater has hosted events in the Lincoln Center Festival since its first season in 1996, as well as New York City Opera, Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera Guild, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ailey II. The Gerald W. Lynch Theater has also been the home for the A&E-produced Live By Request and Comedy Central's Premium Blend.
L'isola disabitata will run from February 18-28, 2009 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College, with performances Wednesday, February 18 at 7:30pm (Opening Night); Saturday, February 21 at 8pm; Wednesday, February 25 at 8pm; Friday, February 27 at 8pm; and Saturday, February 28 at 8pm. The Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College is located at 899 Tenth Avenue, NYC. Tickets are $75-$30 and are available through Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or www.ticketcentral.com. Opening Night and after-party tickets are $300 ($200 tax-deductible) and are available by calling (212) 868-4460.
Arts in Education Program
The intimacy that characterizes Gotham Chamber Opera's performances also characterizes our arts-in-education program. The program began in 2002 with free preview performances for hundreds of students and teachers, followed by discussion sessions with performers and musicians. In 2005, the program was expanded to include in-class residencies, developed with teachers at Gotham Chamber Opera's partner school, the High School of Economics and Finance. In 2007, the residency program's scope was expanded to include the Allen-Stevenson School, our first partnership with an elementary school.
The goal of Gotham’s education program is to enhance students’ understanding and enjoyment of opera and classical music through direct interaction with our productions. To accomplish this, we provide teachers with education packets that include the opera's libretto in translation, a CD of selections, and a host of classroom materials, including background information on the work and composer, suggested discussion topics, classroom activities, related web sites, and glossaries.
Gotham Chamber Opera's preview performances have been attended by students from Seward Park High School, the High School of Economics and Finance, University Neighborhood High School, the High School of Art and Design, Martin Luther King, Jr. High School, Norman Thomas High School, and the Allen-Stevenson School, City College, Hunter College, The Juilliard School, the Manhattan School of Music, Mannes College of Music, NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Columbia University, Vassar College, Barnard College, and Rowan University. Discussion sessions following the performances provide intimate access to the artistic process, as students share their reactions with our singers, stage director, and artistic director.
The in-class residency program entered its fourth year with our recent productions of Scenes of Gypsy Life and Ariadne Unhinged. In these residencies, Gotham Chamber Opera's teaching artists collaborate with classroom teachers to develop specific curricula that complement student coursework. Past topics have included character and story development in opera, careers in opera, and opera and non-profit finance. In each residency, teaching artists provide opportunities for students to articulate their impressions of and critical responses to the opera's music while preparing them to attend a full preview performance. To support these in-class sessions, teachers and teaching artists attend professional development workshops that aid in planning appropriate themes and activities.
The purpose of the in-class residency program is to help students establish a context for the appreciation of opera, both in their course of studies and in their lives beyond school. The students, teachers, and singers have found this in-depth collaboration extremely rewarding. We look forward to continuing our arts-in-education programs with Joseph Haydn’s L’isola disabitata in February 2009.