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ENTERTAINMENT
January 26, 2016 | David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
After a bankruptcy beyond Wagnerian lengths, the New York City Opera is having a rocky resurrection, but not without hope. Having gone down in 2013, City Opera seemed to pop up only days after a reorganization plan was approved by bankruptcy court, with a six-performance run of Tosca at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater (now concluded) that was dogged by mixed reviews and weather-related cancellations. But having attended the Friday performance that ended just as the first flakes were falling, I see a niche in the making.
NEWS
September 30, 1986 | By Michael Kimmelman, Inquirer Music Critic
An important new American opera was premiered Sunday by the New York City Opera. X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X is a powerful work - a stirring, urgent piece of music by composer Anthony Davis and a forceful, dramatic example of music theater by his brother, story-writer Christopher Davis, and cousin, librettist Thulani Davis. The opera is familiar to many Philadelphians because its development was largely sponsored and fostered by the American Music Theater Festival. In 1984, the work's first act had its debut during the festival's inaugural season.
NEWS
July 3, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Beverly Sills, 78, one of the greatest and most distinctive opera singers to emerge in the United States in the 20th century, died yesterday of cancer, her manager said. Ms. Sills' inoperable lung cancer was made public just last month. She died about 9 o'clock last night, said her manager, Edgar Vincent. Although Ms. Sills retired from performing 27 years ago, she never ceased to be a crucial figure: Shortly before retirement, she became the administrative head of the New York City Opera, the company that had nurtured her, and saved it from financial ruin.
NEWS
September 21, 1986 | By Lois Brady, Special to The Inquirer
From the sidewalk, Lincoln Center's complex of white granite and tinted- glass buildings always makes me think of bureaucratic fortresses - the kind of places you might go to pay a telephone bill, or fill out a job application. But here, between 60th and 66th Streets on Broadway, are the Metropolitan Opera House, the New York State Theater, the Juilliard School of Music, the Beaumont Theater and Avery Fisher Hall. If you walk by the outdoor fountains or through the groves of trees, you will pass cliques of lunching ballerinas; you will see scruffy musicians carrying instruments on their backs like pieces of furniture, and you may hear arias being practiced somewhere in the shrubbery.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 11, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Sometimes, you shoot something out of a cannon and it actually hits the bull's-eye. Even more remarkable is when that something is an airy-fairy opera. Daphne, one of Richard Strauss' most infrequently seen or heard stage works, opened the New York City Opera season Wednesday in a brand-new production, playing with more immediacy than you could ever expect from a stage full of nymphs, shepherds and gods. And it sounded better than anything in the opera's ragtag discography. Though the vocal demands have defeated so many sopranos that Wolfgang Sawallisch refused to conduct a concert version of the opera during his Philadelphia Orchestra tenure, Elizabeth Futral's vocal tour de force in Daphne should put her on the opera map in ways she deserved to be years ago. In this, its first New York production, the opera emerged as a significant compositional effort applied to an obliquely motivated foray into Greek myth: A tree-hugging maiden spurns suitors (Apollo among them)
ENTERTAINMENT
September 9, 1995 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The New York City Opera has finally brought Hindemith's Mathis der Maler (Mathis the Painter) to the American operatic stage. Orchestral music from the 1938 opera is standard repertoire here, but the opera had been performed only once - and that time, by Boston University students in 1956. Like many of Verdi's pieces, Mathis is not only a musical monument, but it is a potent social statement. The central figure, the painter of the 16th- century Isenheim altarpiece, tries to define the role of the artist in times of political and social upheaval.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Seasoned composers have written far worse operas than Rufus Wainwright's maiden effort, Prima Donna . Much of the music is simply beautiful. Never does it sound like a cheap pop opera or a series of strung-together songs. It is a true opera. Yet Prima Donna's U.S. premiere this week by the New York City Opera is generating an operatic tempest with no critical consensus in sight. Popular, charismatic, and breezily audacious, singer/songwriter Wainwright, 38, is either a hero or an interloper, depending on who's listening.
NEWS
February 6, 2012
Patricia Neway, 92, an opera singer who won a Tony in 1960 for her role as the Mother Abbess in the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music , died Jan. 24 at her home in East Corinth, Vt. A dramatic soprano, Ms. Neway was known as an interpreter of new work by 20th-century composers. She moved seamlessly between the opera house and the Broadway stage. She had a long association with Gian Carlo Menotti. As Magda Sorel, the oppressed heroine of his opera The Consul , in its original production, she drew glowing notices from critics and ovations from audiences.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 1996 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
An American audience had its first look Tuesday at The Dreyfus Affair, a theater piece announced in the New York City Opera program as "an opera by George Whyte; music by Jost Meier. " Listing the librettist first and the composer second goes against the usual practice, but the unusual story behind the creation of this opera may be more interesting than the work itself. Whyte, a Hungarian-born businessman obsessed with the Dreyfus affair, first wrote the libretto. He engaged Meier to write the music and in the years of their collaboration, charges of chicanery and contract fraud rose above the sound of the opera.
NEWS
October 26, 1988 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
Until this week, Robert Ward's opera The Crucible had not had a professional production here. That, alone, could define the city as part of opera's third world, for The Crucible has lodged near the heart of American operatic repertoire. With the Pennsylvania Opera Theater's production opening Saturday at the Shubert Theater, the event seemed significant enough to bring the 71-year-old composer here from his home in North Carolina. If The Crucible, based on the Arthur Miller play paralleling the McCarthy era, is sui generis in American opera, it is almost as unique in Ward's long compositional life.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 26, 2016 | David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
After a bankruptcy beyond Wagnerian lengths, the New York City Opera is having a rocky resurrection, but not without hope. Having gone down in 2013, City Opera seemed to pop up only days after a reorganization plan was approved by bankruptcy court, with a six-performance run of Tosca at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater (now concluded) that was dogged by mixed reviews and weather-related cancellations. But having attended the Friday performance that ended just as the first flakes were falling, I see a niche in the making.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 11, 2013 | BY VINNY VELLA, Daily News Staff Writer vvella@philly.com, 215-854-2513
TEEN HEARTTHROB Louis Tomlinson spilled his guts yesterday. Tomlinson, one-fifth of pop powerhouse One Direction, was playing in a charity soccer game in Glasgow, Scotland, when he took a rough tackle from Gabriel Agbonlahor , a pro soccer player for England's Aston Villa. The impact was so rough on the boy-band star that he was escorted to the sidelines, where he promptly vomited. Little Louis is all fine and dandy now, but Agbonlahor drew massive criticism from One Direction's army of screaming fans.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 23, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
BROOKLYN, N.Y. - Seasoned composers have written far worse operas than Rufus Wainwright's maiden effort, Prima Donna . Much of the music is simply beautiful. Never does it sound like a cheap pop opera or a series of strung-together songs. It is a true opera. Yet Prima Donna's U.S. premiere this week by the New York City Opera is generating an operatic tempest with no critical consensus in sight. Popular, charismatic, and breezily audacious, singer/songwriter Wainwright, 38, is either a hero or an interloper, depending on who's listening.
NEWS
February 6, 2012
Patricia Neway, 92, an opera singer who won a Tony in 1960 for her role as the Mother Abbess in the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music , died Jan. 24 at her home in East Corinth, Vt. A dramatic soprano, Ms. Neway was known as an interpreter of new work by 20th-century composers. She moved seamlessly between the opera house and the Broadway stage. She had a long association with Gian Carlo Menotti. As Magda Sorel, the oppressed heroine of his opera The Consul , in its original production, she drew glowing notices from critics and ovations from audiences.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 19, 2012 | By Verena Dobnik, Associated Press
NEW YORK - In a last-ditch effort to save one of America's cultural institutions, unions representing the New York City Opera have reached tentative agreements that could pump new life into a company teetering on the financial brink. "New York City Opera is open for business," general manager George Steel announced Wednesday. "We are thrilled to be able to present innovative opera with the best artists in the world. " In a statement, he said the proposed new contracts will "ensure our financial solvency.
NEWS
February 10, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Late in life, Leonard Bernstein was lamenting at some social gathering that, despite all the music he'd written, he seemed to be known only for West Side Story . To which one wag supposedly replied, "Better that than A Quiet Place . " The punch line refers to his much-anticipated 1983 opera, which left audiences and critics acutely uncomfortable: After he'd announced opera projects from Lolita to the story of St. Francis of Assisi (both...
NEWS
July 3, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Beverly Sills, 78, one of the greatest and most distinctive opera singers to emerge in the United States in the 20th century, died yesterday of cancer, her manager said. Ms. Sills' inoperable lung cancer was made public just last month. She died about 9 o'clock last night, said her manager, Edgar Vincent. Although Ms. Sills retired from performing 27 years ago, she never ceased to be a crucial figure: Shortly before retirement, she became the administrative head of the New York City Opera, the company that had nurtured her, and saved it from financial ruin.
NEWS
November 2, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
So much genius, so little opera. Good or bad, Haroun and the Sea of Stories was bound to be at least chewy when unveiled at its world premiere Sunday at the New York City Opera. And it was. But did the creative troika consisting of the long-revered talents - novelist Salman Rushdie, composer Charles Wuorinen, and poet James Fenton - know much about writing for the theater? Typically, such a question wouldn't have arisen as early in the opera as it did; given what these creative figures have done before, any of their work is likely to demand your indulgence by the weight of its expression.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 11, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Sometimes, you shoot something out of a cannon and it actually hits the bull's-eye. Even more remarkable is when that something is an airy-fairy opera. Daphne, one of Richard Strauss' most infrequently seen or heard stage works, opened the New York City Opera season Wednesday in a brand-new production, playing with more immediacy than you could ever expect from a stage full of nymphs, shepherds and gods. And it sounded better than anything in the opera's ragtag discography. Though the vocal demands have defeated so many sopranos that Wolfgang Sawallisch refused to conduct a concert version of the opera during his Philadelphia Orchestra tenure, Elizabeth Futral's vocal tour de force in Daphne should put her on the opera map in ways she deserved to be years ago. In this, its first New York production, the opera emerged as a significant compositional effort applied to an obliquely motivated foray into Greek myth: A tree-hugging maiden spurns suitors (Apollo among them)
NEWS
September 11, 2003 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
You're born naked; the rest is drag. That truism, widely attributed to drag icon RuPaul, applied to opera long before the Philadelphia Fringe Festival presented the cross-dressing chanteuse Shequida, whose one-person show, Opera for Dummies, opened Monday. Almost on cue, the New York City Opera began its season Tuesday with more institutionalized drag in Handel's 1735 opera, Alcina, whose primary love interest is between a woman playing a man and a woman trying to pass for a man. So you have two women dressed like men, deeply in love and pretending to be heterosexual.
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