On November 9, 2017, New York City Opera will celebrate the 90th birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Dominick Argento with a one-night concert at Carnegie Hall.
The concert will feature two of Argento’s one-act operas, “Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night,” with soprano Heather Buck, and “A Water Bird Talk,” with baritone Aaron Engebreth. The New York City Opera will be conducted that evening by Gil Rose.
Dominick Argento is one of America’s most prominent composers of opera, choral works, and orchestral music. Among his 13 operas include “Postcard from Morocco,” “The Aspern Papers,” and “The Dream of Valentino.” Argento began his work with New York City Opera back in 1977, when they commissioned the opera that would become “Miss Havisham’s Wedding Night.” In 1984, Argento’s opera “Casanova’s Homecoming” was the first English-language opera in New York City to have English supertitles. The libretto of his opera “A Water Bird Talk,” is loosely adapted from Anton Chekov’s “On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco,” as well as American ornithologist John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America.”
Michael Capasso, general director of New York City Opera, says, “I’m thrilled to announce the first of City Opera’s two performances this season at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall,”
Soprano Heather Buck recently performed in the role of Miss Havisham, the spurned bride from Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” with company Odyssey Opera. Described by Opera News as “the kind of performer who makes it all look easy,” Buck has also sang with English National Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, among others.
Baritone Aaron Engebreth will be making his debut with New York City Opera as the Gentleman Lecturer in “A Water Bird Talk,” having performed the same role with Odyssey Opera recently. In 2016 he produced and recorded with Florestan Recital Project and New World Records the first complete catalogue of “The Complete Songs of Virgil Thomson.” Among his discography are Grammy Award-nominated recordings of Lully’s “Thesee and Psyche” with the Boston Early Music Festival, Harbison’s “A Winter Tale,” and Thomson’s “Four Saints in Three Acts.”
Conductor Gil Rose is founder of both Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Odyssey Opera. Noted for his versatility, Rose conducted the world premieres of Zhou Long’s “Madame White Snake” with Opera Boston, and Elena Ruehr’s “Toussaint Before the Spirits.” With New York City Opera, Rose conducted the world premiere of David Hertzberg’s “Sunday Morning” in 2016.
“I am infinitely grateful for the resuscitation of the New York City Opera,” says Dominick Argento, “American opera composers and performers once again have a home and hope for the future of our art.”