LONG ISLAND CITY.- On Thursday, September 11, 2008, at 6:30pm, the little OPERA THEATRE of NY (LOTNY) will present a concert entitled The Bohemians as part of its annual concert for 9/11, hosted by Socrates Sculpture Park.
The Bohemians will feature the complete first act of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème performed in the beloved Ruth & Thomas Martin English translation. Act I of the opera will be followed by songs by the composer, both from his early days writing for the church and from some of his later popular songs. These often neglected songs were written for both public and private occasions throughout his career, from the 1870‘s through the First World War, with one of his final songs written to aid the Italian Red Cross. The Bohemians is, in part, LOTNY’S contribution to the international celebrations of Puccini’s 150th Anniversary Year.
La Bohème is in many ways a love song to 19th century Paris, the creative life and the atmosphere found in the French capital. The opera begins with Rodolfo gazing out over the rooftops of Paris. In this concert of The Bohemians, Rodolfo will seek inspiration from the Manhattan skyline rising above the East River, while singing from a stage set amidst contemporary sculpture on view at Socrates Sculpture Park.
The Bohemians is part of The September Concert, which was established on the first anniversary of 9/11 in an effort to spread peace through music. The September Concert was originally inspired by words of Aldous Huxley, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music." This will be the third year that Socrates Sculpture Park and LOTNY are collaborating to participate in this important citywide music festival.
Robert Arthur Hughes (Faniculla, Cenerentola – DiCapo Opera) will sing the role of poet “Rodolfo” and Kate Oberjat (Nashville Opera, Don Pasquale – Garden State Opera, a recent premiere: Carlos Franzetti’s Gauchito and the Pony – Queens Symphony) will sing the role of “Mimi,” the seamstress. The role of the poet’s friend, “Marcello” the painter, will be performed by Dennis Blackwell (Kismet – City Center Encores, Don Chiscotte – Caramoor Festival).
His two other cohorts will be: Michael Chadwick (“Daniel Webster” – The Mother of Us All; Rossini’s Otello – Opera North) singing “Colline” the philosopher, and Christopher Schaljo (“Nardo” – La Finta Giardiniera) singing “Schaunard” the composer. Special guest of the company, André Solomon Glover (Bway, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Opera de Lyon, Savolinna Festival) will sing the role of “Benoit,” the landlord. Mezzo-soprano Sonia Gariaeff (Four Saints – Mark Morris, Hoffman – Virginia Opera) will join the group for the second portion of the concert.
The concert will be directed by Philip Shneidman (The Mother of Us All – LOTNY at The Box; Asstant Director: The Heiress – Bway). Catherine Miller (The Mother of Us All at The Box; appearances at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall, Mannes College of Music) is the music director and pianist. The singers will be accompanied by piano trio, which will include cellist Daryl Nuccio.
The Bohemians is being presented at Socrates Sculpture Park amidst EAF08: 2008 Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition. This annual show features new works by the residency. Representing a broad range of materials, working methods and subject matter, the diverse sculptural works in this exhibition are presented against the Park’s spectacular waterfront view of the Manhattan skyline. The EAF08 fellows are: Martin Basher, Chelsea Beck, Kim Beck & Osman Khan, Michael Berens, Sari Carel, Adriana Farmiga, Kimberly Hart, Rajkamal Kahlon, Jason Bailer Losh, Matthew Lusk, Jong Il Ma, Ted McCann, Juniper Perlis, and Harriet Salmon.
The little OPERA THEATRE of NY is a chamber opera company that was launched in September of 2004 with a concert at The Kosciuszko Foundation. LOTNY has subsequently performed concerts and staged productions in diverse venues such as Socrates Sculpture Park, The Hudson Guild Theatre, The Dahesh Museum, and most recently at the Lower East Side performance club, The Box. The little OPERA's repertory began with Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, and has expanded to include the work of Bernstein, Gershwin, Handel, Haydn, Vivaldi, & Weill. With its April 2008 performance at The Box, the little OPERA THEATRE of NY added Virgil Thomson & Gertrude Stein's landmark opera, The Mother of Us All, to its repertory.
Upcoming season for the little OPERA THEATRE of NY includes 2 Little Tragedies of Pushkin presented at The Connelly Theatre in February 2009, and the continued development of The Mother of Us All, in collaboration with the artist Sherrie Levine. In the Spring, LOTNY will present a concert entitled New Voices, which will feature excerpts from 4 opera/ music theatre pieces in progress. The operas include Ada by Kim D. Sherman (composer), Margaret Vandenburgh (libretto) & Lisa Rothe (book/conception); and The Danil Kharms Project by Inessa Zaretsky (composer). The Danil Kharms Project is LOTNY’s first commission. Other composers to be announced.