PBS to Present ‘Da Ponte’s Oratorio: A Concert for New York’

By Nicolas Quiroga

PBS is set to premiere “The Oratorio” and “Da Ponte’s Oratorio: A Concert for New York” on Nov. 5, 2021.

First up will be the documentary, which starts at 9 p.m., and will be headlined by famed film director Martín Scorsese as he reveals the story of the arrival of Italian opera to the New World during a performance in the Old Cathedral of Saint Patrick. The event was lost for almost 200 years and was recently rediscovered and staged.

The Oratorio features interviews with conductor Claudio Orazi and musicologist Francesco Zimei, who led an effort to restage the oratorio after convincing the Italian government to fund the performance as a gift from the Old World.

“Everything is in constant change, but this basilica has been and remains a constant, an anchor,” Scorsese said in an official press release. “And it was built by people who flocked here to start a new life in this city. A city where people still come from all over the world. A city that, for me, has always been synonymous with America itself—America at its very best.”

Audiences will also then get a chance to see “Da Ponte’s Oratorio: A Concert for New York” starting at 10 p.m. This restaged concert features Teatro Lírico di Cagliari taking on music by Cimarosa, Zingarelli, Hayden, Händel, and Arne. Conducted by Donato Renzetti, the showcase stars sopranos Francesco Dotto and Salome Jicia, tenor Patrick Kabomgo, and baritones Pier Luigi and Daniele Terenzi.