New York Opera Fest 2018: New Amsterdam Opera Honors Dmitri Hvorostovsky in Rare Donizetti Opera

By David Salazar

With the New York Opera Fest 2018 officially underway, OperaWire will be showcasing small previews for each major participant at the festival, as we did during last year’s event. However, we are doing things a bit differently this year and giving the floor directly to each company to speak to you, the reader, directly. Enjoy!

One of the most hotly anticipated events of this year’s Opera Fest is undeniably the performance of “La Favorite” from New Amsterdam Opera. The anticipation is two-fold. Not only is this opera a rare occurrence in New York, but the showcase is being dedicated to a truly legendary artist.

Performance Dates

June 2, 2018 – New Amsterdam Opera presents La Favorita: The Center at West Park, 165 West 86th St, New York, NY

Tell us a bit about your company in general and what you’re all about!

New Amsterdam Opera is Opera with a Purpose! We strive to offer audiences unforgettable experiences of live opera and concert performances at reasonable prices. We believe that there are operatic masterpieces and voices that deserve to be heard in New York City and we seek to provide those opportunities. We also endeavor to help young artists gain the training and performance experience that they need in order to advance in their artistic development and careers. Our desire is to enchant audiences with the beauty of the music and the voices; to enlighten the public about the relevance of opera in modern society; and, to offer engaging and exciting performances that ignite a passion for this art form in new audiences.

Tell us a bit about your production(s) and why you’re excited about them!

On June 2, New Amsterdam Opera is presenting Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece “La Favorita.” This is an opera that seems to be somewhat neglected by professional companies in the US. It is probably best known as being the opera from which the beautiful aria “O mio Fernando” comes. We are excited to be able to present “La Favorita” to NYC audiences with a sensational young cast – Catherine Martin (Leonora), Steven LaBrie (Alfonso), Peter Scott Drackley (Fernando), Kevin Thompson (Baldassare), April Martin (Ines), and Eamon Pereyra (Don Gasparo). This production will also be memorable for New Amsterdam Opera as it will be the first production for which we will use the orchestral materials that Opera Orchestra of New York (“OONY”) shared with us. OONY last performed this beautiful opera in 2001. The cast for that performance included the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky as King Alfonso XI, and the New Amsterdam Opera production of “La Favorita” is dedicated to the memory of this beloved artist.

Tell us why you’re excited about this year’s New York Opera Festival!

This is the first time that New Amsterdam Opera is participating in the New York Opera Festival. We are thrilled to be part of such a vibrant group of organizations that join together for 2 months to present and showcase the gloriously diverse art form that is Opera. This Festival is proof that the predictions about the impending death of opera are wrong. Opera isn’t dying, it’s evolving – as it has since the time of the Florentine Camerata. There is something for everyone to experience at the Festival. From traditional classics like New Amsterdam Opera’s “La Favorita” to Heartbeat Opera’s updated interpretations of “Fidelio” and “Don Giovanni,” from Opera on Tap’s playground production of “Hansel and Gretel” to premieres of opera created by Hunter College students, with many other options in between.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge small opera companies face?

We think that the challenge is two-fold: marketing and money. NYC is an exciting place to start and to run an opera company, and it has the best talent pool in the world, BUT… I don’t think that anyone would argue with the fact that it is a very expensive city in which to run a company and to produce live performance events. NYC is also a place that has many cultural and entertainment options that compete for audiences and for the attention of the media. It certainly helps if you are able to advertise and generate publicity about your company and its productions, but many small companies have limited budgets for advertising and promotion.