Everything You Need to Know About the New York Opera Fest 2017

By David Salazar

In less than one month, opera audiences in New York will be greeted with the New York Opera Fest, a massive celebration of the art form across the city.

The festival kicks off on May 1 and runs all the way through the end of June thanks to the New York Opera Alliances (NYOA), a consortium of New York opera companies and producers. The showcase will feature 28 events with productions taking place in theaters, gardens, garages, bars and even playgrounds among others.

The festival is a reminder that opera doesn’t need a 3,000-seat theater to be grand, and some of the more innovative, impassioned, exciting and vital – as well as affordable – productions are coming out of these smaller, more nimble companies,” raved WQXR about the event.

The first company to showcase its talents is the New Camerata Opera. Following their lead are Experiments in Opera, Bronx Opera Company, Regina Opera Company, Opera on Tap, On Site Opera, Hunter Opera Theater, Regina Opera Company, Encompass New Opera Theatre, New Opera NYC, Rhymes with Opera, Ardea Arts, Heartbeat Opera, Sign & Sing, Opera Upper West, Opera Lafayette, Vertical Player Repertory, American Opera Projects, Martina Arroyo Foundation, OperaRox Productions, Indie Opera Podcasts, and Victor Herbert Renaissance Project LIVE!

The repertoire ranges from classics such as “L’Elisir d’Amore” to premieres of brand new works.

Check out the full list of performances and participants below:


MAY 1: New Camerata Opera presents Peter Rabbit
Venue TBA
A rollicking, action-packed introduction to the world of classical music, featuring the timeless melodies of Gaetano Donizetti. About thirty minutes long, with a brief question and answer session, children learn and laugh at the same time!

MAY 5: Experiments in Opera presents Flash Operas
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway
Experiments in Opera partners with Symphony Space to commission six new short operas based on inventive ‘Flash Fiction’ stories by Jack Handey, A.M. Homes, Patricia Marx, Andrew McCuaig, Peter Mehlman, and Keith Scribner.  

MAY 6 & 7:  Bronx Opera Company presents Verdi’s Falstaff
Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College, 695 Park Ave
An English-language version of Verdi’s Falstaff closes out BxO’s 50th season celebration. Additional performances April 29 & 30 at Lehman College’s Lovinger Theatre.

MAY 10: Regina Opera Company presents a preview of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore
Our Lady of Perpetual Help school auditorium, 5902 6th Ave, Brooklyn NY
Regina Opera Company offers a free “sneak-peek” of their upcoming performance of Donizetti’s sparkling comedy, L’Elisir d’Amore.

MAY 11: Opera on Tap presents Home Brewed Opera
Freddy’s Bar and Backroom, 627 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Have a Stella with your Strauss! The Divas of Opera on Tap bring you funny, irreverent, immersive operatic concerts in a casual setting.

MAY 11-13: On Site Opera presents Mozart’s The Secret Gardener (La finta giardiniera) 
The Westside Community Garden, 123 West 89th Street
On Site Opera and The Atlanta Opera join together to bring Mozart’s The Secret Gardener (La finta giardiniera) to life in a new site-specific production at the Westside Community Garden.

MAY 11 & 12: Hunter Opera Theater presents Fireworks and Lady Bird
Danny Kaye Playhouse, Hunter College, 695 Park Avenue
The NYC premieres of Fireworks by Kitty Brazelton and Lady Bird by Henry Mollicone.

MAY 13, 14, 20 & 21: Regina Opera Company presents Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’amore
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School Auditorium, 5902 6th Ave, Brooklyn NY
A shy bumpkin – a rich girl – a swaggering soldier – a quack doctor – a love potion. All these add up to sparkling comedy in Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love).

MAY 18: Encompass New Opera Theatre presents Paradigm Shifts: Music & Film Festival
Baruch Performing Arts Center, Engelman Recital Hall, 55 Lexington Avenue
A music, opera and film festival, celebrating true stories of courageous change-makers preserving our planet, oceans and wildlife.

MAY 18-20: New Opera NYC presents Rimsky-Korsakov’s Golden Cockerel
Sheen Center for the Arts, 18 Bleecker St
A cornerstone of the Russian opera heritage, based on faux fairytale by a great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and set to a libretto by Vladimir Belsky.

MAY 19 & 20: Rhymes With Opera presents Bonnie Lander’s Coping Mechanisms 
124 Bank Street Theater, 124 Bank St
An improvisatory opera, in which an ensemble of singers create their own narrative, textures, characters and vocalizations, focusing on our need for both privacy and communication in modern society.

MAY 20 & 21: Ardea Arts presents George Plimpton’s Animal Tales
Location TBA
A rambunctious masterpiece bursting with fun, optimism, and insight into the human journey for audiences of all ages. Seven animals and their veterinarian, assisted by a children’s chorus, will raise the curtain on a new family favorite that speaks to the child in all of us.

MAY 20-28: Heartbeat Opera presents annual Spring Festival
Baruch Performing Arts Center, 55 Lexington Avenue
In a new four-character adaptation of Bizet’s Carmen with a brand-new instrumental arrangement, love is a fire that burns everything in its path and leaves no prisoners. A newly orchestrated Puccini’s Madama Butterfly investigates the stereotypes, racism, and misogyny embedded within the foundations of this masterpiece.

MAY 21: SIGN & SING presents Explorations
Symphony Space, Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway
EXPLORATIONS examines three stories of love and travel – Heggie’s At the Statue of Venus, Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel and Elgar’s Sea Pictures  reimagining great works of classical music in sung English and American Sign Language. Open captions and assisted listening devices will be provided.

JUNE 2, 3, 9 & 10: Opera Upper West presents Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied
Baylander IX-514, West Harlem Piers, New York, NY 10027
Board a Vietnam war aircraft carrier and be immersed in the story of Colonel Floyd James Thompson, America’s longest serving Prisoner of War. Experience the culture shock of the 60’s and 70’s, and observe how media and memory forge American identity.

JUNE 2: Opera Lafayette presents Rameau’s Les Indes Galates – Part IV
The Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue
The cast, Opera Lafayette Orchestra, and Gallery Voices, an acclaimed chamber vocal ensemble, highlight the incomparably rich music of this most famously gifted of French composers in this multinational love story set in North America.

JUNE 2: Opera on Tap presents New Brew: Pint-Sized Opera Edition
Barbes, 376 9th St., Brooklyn, NY
An irreverent and entertaining concert filled to the brim with very short operas that pack a punch (shots of opera, if you will), written by some of today’s most exciting composers.

JUNE 5: Vertical Player Repertory presents Britten’s Phaedra
LEIMAY CAVE, 58 Grand Street, Brooklyn, NY
A staged performance of Britten’s solo cantata for mezzo soprano, featuring Judith Barnes, presented in partnership with LEIMAY, the interdisciplinary ensemble and producing organization, and performed with a reduced chamber ensemble as part of SOAK.

JUNE 15: Opera on Tap presents The Elixir of Love: The Playground Opera
The Playground, Public School 129, 425 W 130th St
Opera on Tap returns to Harlem PS 129 for the third year in a row, presenting a colorful re-imagining of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, co-produced by the students and performed in their school playground.

JUNE 15-18: American Opera Projects presents Robert Paterson’s Three Way
BAM Fisher – Fishman Space, 321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY
The New York premiere of Robert Paterson’s Three Way, a new opera, comprised of three playful one-acts, on the present and future of sex and love.

JUNE 17: Martina Arroyo Foundation presents MAF Prelude to Performance Opera Highlights Concert
Ida K. Lang Recital Hall, Hunter College, East 69th St
Join the exciting young artists of the MAF Prelude to Performance program for excerpts from the upcoming Prelude operas, Bizet’s, Carmen and Puccini’s, Suor Angelica/ Gianni Schicchi.

JUNE 20 & 22-24: On Site Opera presents Darius Milhaud’s La mère coupable
The Garage, 611 West 50th Street
The U.S. premiere and new site-specific production of Darius Milhaud’s La mère coupable (The Guilty Mother).

JUNE 23: OperaRox Productions presents A New Works Concert
Location TBA
A concert of entirely new songs, featuring OperaRox Young Artists.

TBA: Indie Opera Podcast presents Women in Opera
The National Opera Center, 330 7th Avenue, 8th Floor
Prominent women gather from various aspects of Opera Production to discuss issues facing women in opera today. Is access and influence fair or still a loaded game?

TBA: Victor Herbert Renaissance Project LIVE! presents Victor Herbert and the Grand Opera Natoma
Location TBA
VHRP LIVE! will give you an overview of Herbert’s place in American musical theatre, the opera’s history, our restoration, excerpts from the vocal score, and a comparison of an excerpt on piano with the same excerpt as heard with a full orchestra — utilizing portions of Herbert’s grand opera Natoma.