New York City Opera Presents Summer 2022 Season part of Bryant Park’s Picnic Performances
New York City Opera will present a season of four free, live performances this summer as part of their Park Series in Bryant Park’s Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America. Each performance features City Opera’s brightest stars as well as members of the City Opera orchestra and will begin at 7pm on the Bryant Park Stage. The series of one-night-only operas accompanied by live music includes The Barber of Seville, La traviata, Lucia di Lammermoor, and a special Pride in the Park performance. Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are designed to be enjoyed casually – no tickets required – with ample seating available and free picnic blankets for audience members to borrow. For more information, visit bryantpark.org/picnics. For anyone unable to attend in person, free livestream broadcasts of the performances will be available nationwide via Bryant Park’s website and social media platforms.
New York City Opera was famously dubbed “The People’s Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. More than 75 years later, City Opera continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs. Picnic Performances continues the tradition of opera in Bryant Park.
The Barber of Seville May 27, 2022 at 7pm Gioachino Rossini’s sparkling music animates the hijinks of Figaro, opera’s most famous barber. Amy Maude Helfer, Dimitrie Lazich, and WooYoung Yoon star in this crowd-pleasing production directed by Helena Binder and featuring members of the New York City Opera Orchestra conducted by Carmine Aufiero.
Pride in the Park June 17, 2022 at 7pm New York City Opera’s annual LGBTQ Pride concert will feature a diverse program of selections from opera and musical theater sung by stars from City Opera’s Pride Series.
La traviata August 12, 2022 at 7pm An abridged adaptation of Verdi’s classic that inspired Moulin Rouge, with instantly recognizable tunes famously featured in Pretty Woman. Soprano Ekaterina Siurina and renowned tenor Charles Castronovo appear with Michael Chioldi, baritone and star of last summer’s Rigoletto (a role he recently stepped into at the Metropolitan Opera for a series of critically acclaimed performances), with City Opera Music Director Maestro Constantine Orbelian at the helm.
Lucia di Lammermoor September 2, 2022 at 7pm Think Romeo and Juliet, but set in Scotland. Donizetti’s brilliant score is the height of drama and the pinnacle of the Bel Canto style in this abridged version starring world-renowned soprano Sarah Coburn and the captivating tenor Nathan Granner, and conducted by Constantine Orbelian.
Attendees may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At most performances, attendees can purchase food from a rotating line-up of local NYC vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. At all performances, Stout NYC offers cheese and charcuterie boards as well as a selection of beer, wine, frosé, and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase. COVID-19 vaccinations and masks are not currently required but Bryant Park will continue to monitor and follow updated New York City and New York State COVID-19 guidelines throughout the summer as necessary.
About New York City Opera
Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as “The People’s Opera,” New York City Opera (NYCO) has been a critical part of the city’s cultural life. During its history, New York City Opera launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American opera company of international stature.
For more than seven decades, New York City Opera has maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, and Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists. New York City Opera has a long history of inclusion and diversity. It was the first major opera company to feature African American singers in leading roles (Todd Duncan as Tonio in Pagliacci, 1945; Camilla Williams in the title role in Madama Butterfly, 1946); the first to produce a new work by an African-American composer (William Grant Still, Troubled Island, 1949); and the first to have an African-American conductor lead its orchestra (Everett Lee, 1955).
A revitalized City Opera re-opened in January 2016 with Tosca, the opera that originally launched the company in 1944. Outstanding productions during the four years since then include: the world premieres of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s Stonewall, which NYCO commissioned and developed, legendary director Harold Prince’s new production of Bernstein’s Candide; Puccini’s beloved La Fanciulla del West; and the New York premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas — the first in its Ópera en Español series. Subsequent Ópera en Español productions include the New York premiere of the world’s first mariachi opera, José “Pepe” Martinez’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Literes’s Los Elementos, and Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires. In addition to the world premiere of Stonewall, the productions in NYCO’s Pride Initiative, which produces an LGBTQ-themed work each June during Pride Month, include the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’s Angels in America and the American premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain. New York City Opera has presented such talents as Anna Caterina Antonacci and Aprile Millo in concert, as well as its own 75th Anniversary Concert in Bryant Park, one in a series of the many concerts and staged productions that it presents each year as part of the Park’s summer performance series. City Opera’s acclaimed summer series in Bryant Park brings free performances to thousands of New Yorkers and visitors every year.
New York City Opera continues its legacy with main stage performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater and with revitalized outreach and education programs at venues throughout the city, designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of opera audiences. City Opera’s acclaimed summer series in Bryant Park brings free performances to thousands of New Yorkers and visitors every year.