NEW YORK CITY OPERA’s
RICKY IAN GORDON’S
“THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS”
Libretto by MICHAEL KORIE
Based on the novel by GIORGIO BASSANI
Production Concept by RICHARD STAFFORD
Directed by MICHAEL CAPASSO and RICHARD STAFFORD
A co-production with NATIONAL YIDDISH THEATRE FOLKSBIENE
On January 27, 2022 New York City Opera (under the direction of Michael Capasso, General Director) produced its latest world premiere of a new American opera, Ricky Ian Gordon’s THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, a co-production with the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (Zalmen Mlotek, Artistic Director, Dominick Balletta, Executive Director). With a libretto by Michael Korie, based on Giorgio Bassani’s 1962 novel, THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS was be conducted by James Lowe and opened on Thursday, January 27 at Edmond J. Safra Hall in the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Sung in English.
THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS is set on the eve of World War II and tells the story of an aristocratic Italian-Jewish family, the Finzi-Continis, who believe they will be immune to the changes happening around them. As they make a gracious haven for themselves in their garden, walling out the unpleasantness of the world outside, Italy forms its alliance with Germany and begins to enforce anti-Semitic racial laws. But the Finzi- Continis discover too late that no one is immune, no one is untouchable. “THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS not only continues New York City Opera’s mission to produce new and important works by American composers, it will also continue NYCO’s tradition of showcasing outstanding talent,” said Mr. Capasso, adding “I am very excited about our cast which includes many young and emerging artists in leading roles alongside established NYCO stalwarts.”
“We are proud to co-produce the world premiere of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS,” by said Mr. Mlotek. “This important new work illuminates an important part of Italian Jewish history, and sadly, its themes of discrimination and antisemitism still resonate in our world today.” Rachel Blaustein (Micól Finzi-Contini), Brian James Myer (Alberto Finzi-Contini), Mary Phillips (Mama), Franco Pomponi (Papà), Anthony Ciaramitaro (Giorgio), and Matt Ciuffitelli (Malnate) will head the cast of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, which will feature production design by John Farrell, costume design by Ildikó Debreczeni, lighting design by Susan Roth, and production stage management by Diana Vassall DuMelle. The cast also includes D’Marreon Alexander, Robert Balonek, Adam Cioffari, Peter Kendall Clark, Dani Goldstein, Spencer Hamlin, Kristee Haney, Rebecca Hargrove, Sarah Heltzel, Adam Klein, Meredith Krinke, Melanie Long, Violet Paris, GabePonichter, Sami Sallaway, Drew Seigla, Markos Simopoulos, Rosy Anoush Svazlian, Tim Roller, and Rachel Zatcoff.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL YIDDISH THEATRE FOLKSBIENE
Now celebrating its 107 th season, Tony Award-nominated and Drama Desk Award-winning National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene (NYTF) is the longest consecutively producing theatre in the U.S. and the world’s oldest continuously operating Yiddish theatre company. NYTF, which presented the award-winning Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, directed by Joel Grey, to sold out audiences before it moved to Off-Broadway uptown, is in residence at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Zalmen Mlotek and Executive Director Dominick Balletta, NYTF is dedicated to creating a living legacy through the arts, connecting generations and bridging communities. NYTF aims to bring history to life by reviving and restoring lost and forgotten work, commissioning new work, and adapting pre-existing work for the 21st Century. Serving a diverse audience comprised of performing arts patrons, cultural enthusiasts, Yiddish – language aficionados, and the general public, the company presents plays, musicals, concerts, lectures, interactive educational workshops, and community-building activities in English and Yiddish, with English and Russian supertitles accompanying performances. NYTF provides access to a century-old cultural legacy and inspires the imaginations of the next generation to contribute to this valuable body of work. Learn more at www.nytf.org.
ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF JEWISH HERITAGE – A LIVING MEMORIAL TO THE HOLOCAUST
The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust is New York’s contribution to the global responsibility to never forget. The Museum is committed to the crucial mission of educating diverse visitors about Jewish life before, during, and after the Holocaust. The third largest Holocaust museum in the world and the second largest in North America, the Museum of Jewish Heritage anchors the southernmost tip of Manhattan, completing the cultural and educational landscape it shares with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Museum of Jewish Heritage maintains a collection of more than 40,000 artifacts, photographs, documentary films, and survivor testimonies and contains classrooms, a 375-seat theater (Edmond J. Safra Hall), special exhibition galleries, a resource center for educators, and a memorial art installation, Garden of Stones, designed by internationally acclaimed sculptor Andy Goldsworthy. The Museum is the home of National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. The Museum receives general operating support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.