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.

 

CRITICAL PRAISE

"Gotham always delivers visual style"
- David Shengold, Opera News, April 2007

"Thank god for the Gotham Chamber Opera."
- David Hurst, Next Magazine, February 1, 2007

"A mini-Met for the masses downtown... A spunky little company"
- Justin Davidson, Newsday, February 13, 2006

"Gotham Chamber Opera has added variety and a hip glamour to New York's opera scene."
- David Shengold, Time Out New York, February 9, 2006

"The pre-eminent small opera company in New York."
- Anne Midgette, The New York Times, February 12, 2005

"The most stylish of the city's small-scale companies."
- Goings On About Town, The New Yorker, February 9, 2004

"A downtown opera house is giving New Yorkers something to sing about."
- Elizabeth Franck, Vogue, November 2002

"An intimate experience rather than an impersonally distant spectacle."
- Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, January 19, 2002

"Passion for the kind of unusual repertory that the big groups ignore."
- Goings On About Town, The New Yorker, February 9, 2004

"Whoops, stomps and whistles of approval from a captivated audience."
Opera News, August 2001

"Gotham specializes in excellent production values."
- Heidi Waleson, Opera Now, May/June 2004

"Conductor Neal Goren understands exactly what's needed to bring out the best in the score, and the cast are vocally impeccable."
- Peter G. Davis, New York Magazine, August 1, 2005

"The young company has created an international buzz."
- Marion Lignana Rosenberg, Time Out New York, November 14-21, 2002

"A startling combination of sensitivity and panache."
- Paul Griffiths, The New York Times, November 23, 2002

"Goren has a knack for assembling top-notch teams."
- Marion Lignana Rosenberg, Newsday, February 6, 2004

"The full house, which included quite a few regulars from the big-league uptown venues, cheered the intrepid young singers and musicians as though we were all at the dawn of a bright new era, and - who knows? - maybe we were."
- Charles Michener, The New York Observer, March 18, 2002

 

Gotham Chamber Opera

Where opera gets intimate.

Gotham Chamber Opera is closed. We wanted to express our profound sadness and to thank you for all you have done to support our work.

Thank you to all our donors, audience members, artists and creative partners for fifteen glorious years of intimate opera. We hipe you eill shre the memories with us by visiting the archives of our website and feel proud of what we were able to acomplish together.

 

Gotham Chamber Opera Announces That It Will Close

By Michael Cooper
Oct. 1, 2015 | www.nytimes.com/



The Gotham Chamber Opera performed in unusual venues, like galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Credit...Damon Winter/The New York Times

Now New York City’s other other opera company is closing. Gotham Chamber Opera, a small, imaginative troupe that had seemed poised to fill some of the void after New York City Opera closed in 2013, announced on Thursday that it would shut down because its new executive director had uncovered a large, previously undisclosed deficit.

The rapid demise of Gotham was stunning — the operatic equivalent of the sudden death of an outwardly healthy person. The troupe had seemed to offer a new model for opera in the 21st century: It gave critically acclaimed performances of small-scale works, often sharing the costs with other presenters, in locales as varied as the Hayden Planetarium, a louche downtown nightclub and the Arms and Armor Court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Things began to unravel in June, after Edward Barnes took over as the company’s executive director and discovered what he described in an interview as unrecorded invoices and contracted fees that had never been put on the books. The opera’s board of directors worked through the summer to try to resolve the problem but decided it was insurmountable and voted on Thursday to close.

“I’m crushed,” said Neal Goren, who founded the company 15 years ago and served as its artistic director and conductor, leading it in repertoire from Monteverdi to Kaija Saariaho.

 

 

A New Company Rises From the Ashes of Gotham Chamber Opera

By Michael Cooper Jan. 9, 2019 | www.nytimes.com/



A sketch by Robert Wilson for his production of Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which will be presented as part of a new collaboration between Catapult Opera and Peak Performances at Montclair State University.Credit...Peak Performances

The 2015 closing of Gotham Chamber Opera, which performed operatic rarities from all eras in locations as varied as the Hayden Planetarium and a Lower East Side burlesque house, dealt a blow to New York music lovers. The company boasted creativity, musicality and frugality, but it still failed to survive — shutting its doors amid a sea of red ink.

Now its founder, Neal Goren, is back in business — thanks to an unusual collaboration between his new company, Catapult Opera, and Peak Performances at Montclair State University, which will present four of Catapult’s productions, beginning with the premiere of a new Robert Wilson staging of Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” in the fall of 2020.

The collaboration promises to bring an important artistic voice back to the region, and to offer hope of a financially viable model for Mr. Goren to continue putting on chamber opera. Jedediah Wheeler, the executive director of Peak Performances, said he had long admired Mr. Goren’s “tremendous imagination and gumption,” and added that the new partnership dovetails with his vision of universities as incubators of new work.

“For lack of a better term, the Medicis of our time are at the universities,” he said.

Mr. Goren, who was also Gotham’s conductor and artistic director, said he had pored over the company’s old financial statements to see where he could find savings. “The biggest expense after payroll was real estate, basically: performance space, rehearsal space and office space,” he said. “I thought, how can we reduce that?”

With the new partnership, Peak Performances will underwrite four productions over two seasons, covering the cost of the productions, providing spaces for rehearsal and performance, and taking care of marketing. Mr. Goren, who will conduct the works, said that the shows would be designed to be tour-ready.

Peak Performances had already been making plans to stage the new Wilson “Amahl” before the Catapult deal took shape. But Mr. Goren said that he had long been an admirer of the opera, and of Mr. Wilson, and looked forward to it. The remaining three productions were chosen in part to reflect the partnership’s dedication to racial, gender and cultural diversity.

In the spring of 2021, Catapult will give the United States premiere of “La Ville Morte,” by the influential French composer, conductor and teacher Nadia Boulanger, written with Raoul Pugno to a libretto by Gabriele d’Annunzio. The opera, directed by Robin Guarino, will feature a new chamber orchestration by Stefan Cwik and Joseph Stillwell.

The following fall, the company will perform David Hertzberg’s “The Wake World,” which had its premiere at Opera Philadelphia in 2017, in a new production by Mary Birnbaum. (Before Gotham closed, it had awarded Mr. Hertzberg, whose music Mr. Goren described as “wildly ecstatic and erotic,” a prize and commission that it could not see through.) And in 2022, Catapult will give the United States premiere of Errollyn Wallen’s 2007 opera “The Silent Twins,” staged by Charlotte Braithwaite.

Mr. Wheeler, who has made Peak Performances one of the most vital performance series in the region, said he was pleased that the collaboration would give Mr. Goren a home, and that he hoped it would attract new audiences to opera, beginning with the students at Montclair State. He recalled the shock of his own first experience with opera: “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which was commissioned by NBC for television.

“I think about it to this day,” he said. “I remember plunking down in front of a black-and-white television set, and seeing something I had no reference for, and being completely drawn into it. I would bet that I didn’t even know that it was called opera.”

 

 

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.

 

Upcoming Productions

GOTHAM CHAMBER OPERA,
in partnership with
the American Museum of Natural History,
and in association with American Repertory Theater,
presents

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

Credits
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

Cast
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.

 

UPCOMING PRODUCTIONS

Il mondo della luna (The World on the Moon)

PAST PRODUCTIONS

 

February 2009
Joseph Haydn
L'isola disabitata (Desert Island)
(1779)
N.Y. Stage Premiere

In honor of the bicentennial of Joseph Haydn's death, Gotham Chamber Opera presents the New York City stage premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata, in a new production directed by Mark Morris. 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.

Thirteen years before the action begins, Costanza and the infant 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.

credits

Conductor Neal Goren
Production Mark Morris
Scenic Design Allen Moyer
Costume Design Elizabeth Kurtzman
Lighting Design Michael Chybowski

CAST
Costanza Takesha Meshé Kizart
Silvia Valerie Ogbonnaya
Gernando Vale Rideout
Enrico Tom Corbeil

February 18 - 28, 2009
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

Gerald W. Lynch Theater, John Jay College, 899 Tenth Avenue, NYC

  May 2008
Ariadne Unhinged
Music of Monteverdi, Haydn, and Schoenberg
(1608, 1789 and 1912)
World Premiere
  January 2008
Antonín Dvořák and Leos Janáček
Scenes of Gypsy Life {a cautionary tale featuring music of Janáček and Dvořák}
(1880 and 1919)
  September 2007
Astor Piazzolla
María de Buenos Aires
(1968)
January-February 2007
Gioachino Rossini
Il signor Bruschino
(1813)
February 2006
Benjamin Britten
Albert Herring
(1947)
July 2005
Ottorino Respighi
La bella dormente nel bosco
(1922)
U.S. Stage Premiere
February 2005
George Frideric Handel
Arianna in Creta
(1733)
U.S. Stage Premiere
February 2004
Heinrich Sutermeister
Die schwarze Spinne
(1935)
U.S. Premiere
 
November 2002
Bohuslav Martinu
Les Larmes du couteau
(1928)
U.S. Premiere
January 2002
Darius Milhaud
Les Malheurs d'Orphée
(1924)
January 2002
Henry Purcell
Dido and Aeneas
(1689)
April 2001
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Il Sogno di Scipione
(1771)
U.S. Stage Premiere

 



2008

 

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.

 


 

GothamChamberOpera.com