Unison Media and The Green-Wood Historic Fund have announced “The Angel’s Share,” a new series of opera and chamber music concerts taking place in Green-Wood’s remarkable Catacombs.
The catacombs are one of the oldest structures in the 478-acre National Historic Landmark cemetery and were built in the 1850s. The series takes its name from the distiller’s term for whiskey that evaporates while maturing in the barrel, thus going to the angels.
The season will open in June with a World Premiere of a new chamber opera, “The Rose Elf,” by David Hertzberg, whose “The Wake World” received the “Best New Opera Award” from the Music Critics Association of North America. “The Rose Elf” will be directed by R.B. Schlather, starring award-winning mezzo-soprano Samantha Hankey.
The season will also include the world-renowned harpist Bridget Kibbey and friends in a program that will include Debussy’s “Danses Sacrée et Profane.” Pianists Christina and Michelle Naughton will perform the works of French and American composers, including Green-Wood “permanent resident,” Leonard Bernstein. The JACK Quartet will also perform a program entitled “Modern Medieval,” while pianist and composer Gregg Kallor will also introduce a World Premiere, his new cantata based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic novel, “Frankenstein,” in partnership with On Site Opera.
The Angel’s Share follows Unison Media’s acclaimed Crypt Sessions, which debuted at the Church of the Intercession in Harlem in 2015.
In a statement Andrew Ousley, president of Unison Media, said, “I’m tremendously excited to present The Angel’s Share, expanding on all that we’ve accomplished with the Crypt Sessions. I can think of no better space to experience these programs and no better partner than the amazing people at Green-Wood. There’s a lot of angst-ridden, hand-wringing over the death of classical music and opera, but based on the view from the Catacombs, things look very much alive to me.”