Gotham Chamber Opera announces Edward Barnes as the company’s new Executive Director, effective June 1, 2015. Mr. Barnes will succeed Gotham’s previous executive director, David Bennett, who will become general director of the San Diego Opera. In addition, David Rubeo has been promoted to Associate Director.
Edward Barnes has been the Producing Director of The Collegiate Chorale, where he has overseen such critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall presentations as Ricky Ian Gordon’s opera The Grapes of Wrath, Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the recent Kurt Weill epic, The Road of Promise. Also for The Chorale, he produced the NY Premiere of David Lang’s battle hymns at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, and the live concert recordings of Kurt Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday (Ghostlight/Sh-K-Boom) and The Road of Promise (Parma/Naxos). The former Managing Director of American Lyric Theater, his wide range of producing credits include Tracy Letts’ play Superior Donuts on Broadway, You Are Here for NyLon Fusion, Collective off-Broadway A Christmas Carol for SiriusXM Radio and Night Kitchen Radio Theater, and productions at Teatro Paseo La Plaza and Teatro Lola Membrives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he was the founding director of The Metro Ensemble, an opera-fusion performing troupe based in Los Angeles, and his own original operas and musicals have been presented nationally and internationally by L.A. Opera, Mark Taper Forum, American Repertory Theater, Opera Company of the Philippines, Scottish National Opera, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, George Street Playhouse, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis, and many more. The winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Stephen Sondheim Award for “the creation of innovative musical theater,” he also leads classes on a variety of musical subjects at RoundTable Cultural Seminars in NYC.
“We are delighted to announce the selection of Edward Barnes as Gotham Chamber Opera’s Executive Director,” said Beatrice Broadwater, president of Gotham Chamber Opera’s Board of Directors. “His accomplishments in so many areas, as a producer, composer and music director, make him the ideal partner for our visionary founding Artistic Director, Neal Goren. Gotham Chamber Opera has flourished in recent years and the Board eagerly anticipates the next set of plans and dreams to be developed by this pair.”
“I am thrilled to have been selected as the new executive director of Gotham and look forward to working with Neal Goren, David Rubeo, the board and entire team to build on the outstanding work done by David Bennett,” said Mr. Barnes. “This position brings me back full circle to the world I love – first class opera produced in the most adventurous, innovative and exciting way.”
Gotham Chamber Opera’s 15th Anniversary Season, will begin in the fall of 2015 with a 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert (date and venue tba). The season continues in February 2016 with Alessandro Stradella’s 1675 San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist) in a co-production with the Netherlands Nationale ReisOpera, and a concert at (le) poisson rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, NYC, featuring a new work by David Hertzberg, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Music. The season concludes with the New York premiere of Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, a co-production of the Apollo Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia, at the world famous Apollo Theater in May/June 2016.
15th Anniversary Celebration Concert
Over the course of its history, Gotham Chamber Opera has served as a launching pad for the careers of many singers who have gone on to international careers. The company’s 2015-2016 season will begin with a 15th Anniversary Celebration Concert featuring artists from Gotham Chamber Opera’s past productions, performing selections from the company’s history, and featuring a chamber orchestra, all under the direction of Founding Artistic Director Neal Goren.
San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist)
Music by Alessandro Stradella, Libretto by Ansaldo Ansaldi
Neal Goren, Conductor; Timothy Nelson, Stage Director
With sopranos Maeve Höglund and Harolyn Blackwell, countertenor Timothy Mead, tenor Peter Tantsits, and bass Joseph Beutel
A co-production with the Netherlands Nationale ReisOpera
For its second production, the company presents a rare staging of Alessandro Stradella’s 1675 San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist), in a co-production with the Netherlands Nationale ReisOpera. This dramatic retelling of the famous biblical story of Princess Salome’s jealousy and depraved love for the Jewish prophet is the composer’s best-known work. Stradella is the missing operatic link between Monteverdi and Handel, who owned a copy of the manuscript. The role of Salome was a vehicle of the young Maria Callas. The piece will be directed by the young stage director Timothy Nelson, whom critics have lauded as “the future of opera.” It will be conducted by Gotham’s founding Artistic Director Neal Goren leading a baroque orchestra. Vivaldi’s famous cantata Nisi Dominus will be interpolated for English countertenor Timothy Mead, who will be singing the title role. San Giovanni Battista was last heard in New York in 1986 in a concert presentation. Gotham Chamber Opera’s production will be its U.S. stage premiere.
Catherine Doctorow Prize Concert: Music of David Hertzberg
(le) poisson rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, NYC
A concert of music for voice and chamber ensemble, featuring the world premiere of a new work by rising-star composer David Hertzberg, the inaugural winner of the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Music.
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird
Music by Daniel Schnyder; Libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly
Neal Goren, Conductor; Ron Daniels, Director
A co-production of the Apollo Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia
A co-commission by Gotham Chamber Opera and Opera Philadelphia
May 31 and June 3, 2016 at 7:30pm; June 5, 2016 at 3pm, Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, NYC
Tickets $30-125 ($175 premium seats available), on sale Friday, May 15, 2015 at 10am
Charlie Parker’s Yardbird, starring tenor Lawrence Brownlee and soprano Angela Brown, a co-production of the Apollo Theater, Gotham Chamber Opera, and Opera Philadelphia, will have its New York premiere at the world famous Apollo Theater in May, 2016 as part of the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL, the New York Philharmonic’s comprehensive exploration and celebration of the music of our time. Set in the famed NYC jazz club Birdland, this new opera, by composer Daniel Schnyder and librettist Bridgette A. Wimberly, follows the inspirations, demons, and women who fueled the legendary jazz saxophonist and father of bebop, Charlie Parker.
Gotham Chamber Opera will also present Charlie Parker in New York, a series of public events for adults and children that will provide New Yorkers with deeper engagement with the life and work of jazz legend Charlie Parker. Activities will include a symposium at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; a lecture at the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation; a walking tour of sites associated with Parker’s life, including his historic home; and a concert at a New York City jazz venue that will include excerpts from the opera and compositions by Parker.
Gotham Chamber Opera is 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 have earned Gotham an international reputation and unanimous critical praise.
Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren, Gotham debuted in 2001 with the American premiere of W.A. Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione. In subsequent seasons, the company has produced many more local and world premieres, including Bohuslav Martinů’s Les Larmes du Couteau and Hlas Lesa (U.S. premiere 2002); Heinrich Sutermeister’s Die schwarze Spinne (U.S. premiere 2004); G.F. Handel’s Arianna in Creta (U.S. stage premiere 2005); Ottorino Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco (U.S. premiere 2005); Ariadne Unhinged, with music by Claudio Monteverdi, Joseph Haydn, and Arnold Schoenberg (World premiere 2008); Hadyn’s L’isola disabitata (New York stage premiere 2009); Xavier Montsalvatge’s El Gato con Botas (U.S. stage premiere 2010); Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters (World premiere 2011); Lembit Beecher’s I Have No Stories To Tell You (World premiere 2014); and Toshio Hosokawa’s The Raven (U.S. premiere 2014), as part of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL.
Gotham has partnered with notable New York and national institutions, including Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto USA (La bella dormente nel bosco) in 2005; the Morgan Library and Museum for Scenes of Gypsy Life (an evening of song cycles by Janáček and Dvořák) in 2008; the American Museum of Natural History and the American Repertory Theater for Hadyn’s Il mondo della luna (2010); Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Broad Stage, Los Angeles for Daniel Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini (Rappaccini’s Daughter, 2013); Trinity Church Wall Street for Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s La descente d’Orpheé aux enfers (2013); The Metropolitan Museum of Art for Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and Beecher’s I Have No Stories To Tell You (2014); and the New York Philharmonic for Hosokawa’s The Raven (2014).
Gotham has earned a reputation for showcasing outstanding young singers alongside established directors and choreographers such as Mark Morris (the 2009 production of Hadyn’s L’isola disabitata), David Parsons (the New York stage premiere of Astor Piazzola’s tango opera, María di Buenos Aires), Karole Armitage (the world premiere of Ariadne Unhinged), Basil Twist (La bella dormente nel bosco), Robin Guarino (Gioachino Rossini’s Il signor Bruschino and Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda/I Have No Stories to Tell You), Christopher Alden (Il sogno di Scipione and Arianna in Creta), Diane Paulus (Il mondo della luna), Moisés Kaufmann (El gato con botas), and Rebecca Taichman (Dark Sisters and La hija de Rappaccini.)
In recent years, Gotham Chamber Opera has been recognized as a pioneer in creating opera productions in alternative venues, beginning in 2010 with its production of Haydn’s Il mondo della luna at the Hayden Planetarium, followed in 2013 with the U.S. professional stage premiere of Francesco Cavalli’s Eliogabalo at New York’s notorious late night club The Box, Catán’s La hija de Rappaccini on the Cherry Esplanade of Brooklyn Botanic Garden and at the Greystone Manor in Beverly Hills, and the double-bill of Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Bloomberg Arms and Armor Gallery and Beecher’s I Have No Stories to Tell You in the Medieval Court. The company’s 2014/2015 season included Alexandre bis & Comedy on the Bridge, both by Bohuslav Martinů, a revival of the acclaimed El gato con botas at El Museo del Barrio, and the U.S. and World Stage Premieres of The Tempest Songbook, co-produced with the Martha Graham Dance Company.
For more information, visit www.gothamchamberopera.org.