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Press Released: 11 Aug 2015

Details Announced for OPERA America’s Onstage at the Opera Center 2015–2016 Season

Featured guests include Joyce DiDonato, Carlisle Floyd, Jake Heggie, Jennifer Higdon and Sondra Radvanovsky

Events will also be live streamed at operaamerica.org/Live

OPERA America announces its 2015–2016 Onstage at the Opera Center season, which begins Sunday, September 13, 2015, and continues through May 2016.

Onstage at the Opera Center will delight opera lovers and newcomers alike at the National Opera Center in Midtown Manhattan, and around the world via free live online streaming. The unique 72-seat Marc A. Scorca Hall provides a rare opportunity to experience performances and engaging discussions with today’s most important opera artists.

The 2015‒2016 Onstage at the Opera Center season is made up of five distinct programs:

  • Creators in Concert: Performances of excerpts from the operas of leading American composers followed by lively discussions with the creators.
  • Conversations: Luminaries of the opera world share stories from their careers and provide insight into the intricacies of the opera field.
  • Emerging Artist Recitals: Concerts of competition winners and leading young artists from opera companies across the United States.
  • Masters at Work: Crafting an Opera with Carlisle Floyd: Composer Carlisle Floyd, “the dean of American opera,” delves into the process of creating his newest opera, premiering in the spring, through a series of informal interviews.
  • New Opera Showcase: Orchestral readings of four operas in development, with NOVUS NY orchestra at the historic Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan,
Onstage at the Opera Center: 2015–2016 Season Details

All events (except where noted) take place at OPERA America’s National Opera Center, located at 330 Seventh Avenue at 29th Street in New York City. Situated just blocks from New York Penn Station, the Opera Center is easily accessible by subway, PATH, bus and train.

Tickets for all events are $25 each ($10 each for OPERA America members). All are welcome to attend a reception following each event. Tickets are available at operaamerica.org/Onstage.

Onstage at the Opera Center events will also be live streamed around the world for free at operaamerica.org/Live.

2015–2016 Event Listings

Creators in Concert
Hear live performance excerpts from operas by leading American composers and gain insight into their creative process through lively conversations.

Jennifer Higdon, Composer | Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon is one of America's most frequently performed living composers. She has been recognized by several prestigious institutions, including the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and National Endowment for the Arts, and her commissioners include The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic. Three albums of her work — Higdon: City Scape / Concerto for Orchestra, Strange Imaginary Animals and Transmigration — have won Grammy awards. Higdon's first opera, Cold Mountain, based on the novel by Charles Frazier, premiered at The Santa Fe Opera in summer 2015 and will be followed by performances at Opera Philadelphia (co-commissioner), North Carolina Opera and Minnesota Opera.

Jake Heggie, Composer | Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
"From prelude to curtain, he draws you to the edge of your seat with a theater artist's deft hand," Opera News wrote of Jake Heggie, one of today's most prolific composers of operas, songs, and chamber, choral and orchestral works. A Guggenheim Fellow, Heggie has served as a mentor for Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative and is a frequent guest artist at schools and festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada. His first opera, Dead Man Walking, has received more than 40 international productions, and Moby-Dick was telecast throughout the United States as a part of Lincoln Center's Great Performances. Recent commissions include Great Scott for The Dallas Opera, starring Joyce DiDonato, an a cappella work for The King's Singers, and a new work based on It's a Wonderful Life for Houston Grand Opera.

Take a guided backstage tour of the opera world as opera luminaries share stories from their careers and discuss the field in intimate conversations with OPERA America President/CEO Marc A. Scorca.

Stephen Lord, Conductor | Tuesday, November 10, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Conductor Stephen Lord was chosen by Opera News as one of the "25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera." He was recently named the artistic director of opera studies at New England Conservatory, overseeing all aspects of the opera training program and conducting one mainstage production a year. Lord also serves as music director for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. In 2015–2016, he returns to English National Opera to conduct Bellini's epic Norma.

Joyce DiDonato, Mezzo-Soprano | Monday, December 7, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Named "the most potent female singer of her generation" by The New Yorker, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato has soared to the top of the industry as both a performer and a fierce arts advocate. She has gained international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart, as well as through her diverse discography. This season, the Grammy Award winner will be in residence at Carnegie Hall in New York and the Barbican Centre in London, and will perform as Elena in La donna del lago at the Metropolitan Opera, as Charlotte in Werther with Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and in recital in Amsterdam and Vienna.

Sondra Radvanovsky, Soprano | Thursday, March 3, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Praised by the The Washington Post for singing that is "outright gorgeous, poignant and silvery," American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky is regarded as one of the premier Verdi sopranos of her generation. Her signature role is Leonora in Il trovatore, and other roles include Aida, Elvira in Ernani and Elisabeth de Valois in Don Carlo. During the Metropolitan Opera's 2015–2016 season, Radvanovsky takes on the special feat of performing all three queen roles in Donizetti's Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux.

Isabel Leonard, Mezzo-Soprano | Thursday, April 7, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, known equally for her "wide range, coloratura agility and striking physical beauty" (Chicago Tribune), has performed internationally in both opera and concert with companies such as Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, Wiener Staatsoper and Opéra national de Paris. In addition to several recitals, she will be heard this season in Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer's Cold Mountain at Opera Philadelphia, reprising the role she created for the work’s world premiere at The Santa Fe Opera. Leonard recently won a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording for Thomas Adès' The Tempest.

Emerging Artist Recitals
Hear the future of opera in recital at the National Opera Center as companies from around the United States present competition winners and leading singers from their young artist programs.

Opera Columbus: Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition Winner
Antonina Chehovska, Soprano
Sunday, September 13, 2015, 4:00 p.m.
Soprano Antonina Chehovska, winner of Opera Columbus' 2015 Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition, is a master's degree candidate at the University of Michigan studying voice and conducting. She made her professional debut in 2013, singing Mozart's Requiem with the Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra and Dvořák's Stabat Mater with the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra. Last season, she appeared as a soloist in Handel's Messiah and Vivaldi's Gloria with Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra and sang in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Kent Philharmonic Orchestra.

Founded in 1983, Opera Columbus' Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition seeks to discover, recognize and encourage young operatic talent.

Opera Philadelphia Emerging Artists
Rachel Sterrenberg, Soprano, and Jarrett Ott, Baritone
Thursday, December 3, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
Baritone Jarrett Ott has recently appeared with Gotham Chamber Opera, the American Symphony Orchestra and Annapolis Opera, and in summer 2015, he participated in the Apprentice Program for Singers at The Santa Fe Opera, singing the role of Marullo in Rigoletto. He will be heard this season as Marchese d'Obigny in La traviata at Opera Philadelphia.

Soprano Rachel Sterrenberg, a recent master’s degree graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, made her professional debut this season as Chan Parker in Opera Philadelphia’s world premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD by Daniel Schnyder and Bridgette A. Wimberly. Her past roles include Adina in L’elisir d’amore, Blanche de la Force in Dialogues des Carmélites and Pamina in Die Zauberflöte.

Founded in 2014, Opera Philadelphia's Emerging Artist program seeks to support Opera Philadelphia's ongoing commitment to emerging talent. Participants in the program appear onstage in at least one program, while also singing in community recitals and special events throughout the season.

The Glimmerglass Festival Young Artists
Thursday, February 25, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Since its founding in 1988, the Young Artist Program at The Glimmerglass Festival has been an important component of the company's mission to promote an artistically challenging environment for young performers. Young Artists receive opportunities to perform and cover appropriate roles in all four mainstage productions in addition to participating in master classes and performing in concerts.

Jensen Foundation Competition Winner
John Brancy, Baritone
Thursday, May 5, 2016, 7:00 p.m.
Baritone John Brancy, winner of the 2015 Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, was recently seen onstage at the National Opera Center as a winner of the 2013 Music Academy of the West Marilyn Horne Song Competition. He has performed with Oper Frankfurt, Gotham Chamber Opera, OPERA San Antonio and Opera Saratoga. In the 2015–2016 season, Brancy will sing Malatesta in Don Pasquale with the Glyndebourne Festival Opera Tour, Harlekin in Ariadne auf Naxos at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Demetrius in A Midsummer Night's Dream at Pacific Opera Victoria.

The Jensen Foundation Vocal Competition, founded in 2000, supports young artists pursuing careers in opera while following the philanthropic vision of the foundation to support the musical arts. Since its inception, the competition has awarded more than $500,000 to 99 singers.

New Program
Masters at Work: Crafting an Opera with Carlisle Floyd
Composer Carlisle Floyd, often called "the dean of American opera," will discuss the genesis of his opera-in-progress, Prince of Players, in this five-part seminar series leading up to and following the work’s premiere at Houston Grand Opera. Each segment will focus on a different aspect of the opera writing process, including the creation of the libretto, piano/vocal scores, developmental workshops, orchestration, interacting with the design creators, and rehearsals and performances of the work. Attend one session or all.

  • Libretto and Piano/Vocal Scores | Friday, September 25, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
  • Piano/Vocal Workshops | Friday, November 13, 2015, 1:00 p.m.
  • Orchestrating | Friday, January 15, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
  • Design and Creative Team | Friday, March 18, 2016, 1:00 p.m.
  • Rehearsal and Performance | Friday, April 15, 2016, 1:00 p.m.

New Program
New Opera Showcase
OPERA America and NOVUS NY orchestra will present concert orchestral readings of four operas in development at historic Trinity Church, a landmark of Lower Manhattan. Hear portions of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the Opera by Sheila Silver and Stephen Kitsakos, Beowulf by Hannah Lash, Dream of the Red Chamber by Bright Sheng and David Henry Hwang, and Invention of Morel by Stewart Copeland and Jonathan Moore.

Monday, January 18, 2016
8:00 p.m.

Note special location:
Trinity Church
75 Broadway (at Wall Street)
New York, NY 10005

Onstage at the Opera Center events are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Opera Showcase, part of OPERA America’s New Works Forum, has been made possible by a generous and deeply appreciated grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Emerging Artist Recital Series is made possible, in part, by the Howard Gilman Foundation.


For more information on OPERA America, visit About Us.

For press inquiries, contact Press@operaamerica.org or 212.796.8628.