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Chelsea Opera Announces 10th Anniversary Season

February 1, 2013 | By Lynne Hayden-Findlay
The 10th Anniversary season October 11 and 12 with the NY premiere of Ballymore – Part 1: Winners by Richard Wargo paired with Seymour Barab’s La Pizza con Funghi. Maestro Steven M. Crawford conducts. The season continues with two concerts featuring contemporary works: More Songs for My Brother (December) and Living Composer Friends (March) with songs by Tom Cipullo, Matthew Harris, Ben Moore, and Richard Wargo among others. The first act of 13-year old Benjamin Wenzelberg’s The Sleeping Beauty will be workshopped in July and performed in part with orchestra in January 2014 in collaboration with the Bloomingdale School of Music. The season concludes June 13 and 14, 2014 with Aaron Copland's The Tender Land in a reduced chamber orchestra edition by Murry Sidlin, conducted by Samuel McCoy. Lynne Hayden-Findlay will direct both mainstage productions.

Based on Brian Friel’s play Lovers, Wargo's one-act opera is narrated by two ballad singers and tells of two teenaged lovers marking their last day of school, yet fated to die that very day with their love intact and their youthful aspirations unscathed. Barab’s one-act La Pizza con Funghi is a parody on 19th century Italian opera: the soprano in love with the tenor plots to poison her baritone husband but her mezzo maid spills the beans and no one is alive at the final curtain! The cast of four will sing the four roles in both operas. Copland's The Tender Land, an American classic, has long been on the company’s wish list and using Murry Sidlin’s reduced orchestration makes it viable for a company of Chelsea Opera’s size.

Formed in 2004 by professional singers, Lynne Hayden-Findlay and Leonarda Priore, the company was launched with an all-volunteer production of Suor Angelica. Initially, Ms. Priore and Ms. Hayden-Findlay had only intended to produce this one opera. However, artist and audience response was so compelling that they agreed to move forward, incorporating Chelsea Opera and obtaining their IRS non-profit designation in a record eight days. They have since produced Cavalleria Rusticana, Amahl and the Night Visitors (three times), Pagliacci, Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, The Ballad of Baby Doe, The Scarf, The Bear, a 5th Anniversary production of Suor Angelica, Le Nozze di Figaro, and This is the rill speaking/Bermudas and The Medium. Their November 2010 production of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied garnered rave reviews from both The New York Times and Opera News. Madama Butterfly last June featured the return of “America’s Tenor”, Daniel Rodriguez. The company’s first world premiere, The Mark of Cain by Matthew Harris and Terry Quinn, opened on schedule in November, just one week after the city was devastated by Hurricane Sandy! Chelsea Opera, was a WNYC-FM *STAR* Incentive recipient. Support has been received from The Banfi Vintners Foundation, The Bettina Baruch Foundation, The Barbara Bell Cumming Foundation, the NYU Community Fund, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). In-kind support is provided by JetBlue Airways, the official airline of Chelsea Opera.

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