What to Look Forward to at the NY Opera Fest This Summer

By Katharine Baran

The New York Opera Fest gave a taste of what to expect in the New York City opera scene this summer. One thing is for sure, there is definitely something for everyone with such a diverse group of operas.

In association with the New York Opera Alliance, the event kicked off with a more traditional piece from “L’Elisir d’amore,” called “Una parola o Adina” from Regina Opera, with music by Gaetano Donizetti.

After that, there was an operatic version of “The Cabaret Songs” sung by Jordan Rutter with Jennifer Peterson on piano. Apparently the full production this summer will be the first time ever that a countertenor will perform the whole show.

Up next was American Opera Projects’ “Not My Night” as a part of “Three Way” the opera. Baritone Wes Mason added a comedic twist to the evening with his performance.

One of the highlights of the evening was when Sign and Sing opera presented a piece called “Explorations – ‘Lucky Child’” from “At the Statue of Venus.” As the pianist, Artyom Pak, started playing Christopher Tester signed on stage, while Alexa Jarvis sang from the audience.

Eventually, Jarvis joined Tester on stage and the two signed and sang together, but it was truly a beautiful piece. Mid-way through the festival event, celebrated soprano Lauren Flanigan was honored for her work in the opera community and received the NYOA Service Award.

Flanigan gave a touching speech that revolved around her beginnings in the opera world that made her the star that she became. It proved just how important the young talent, up and coming companies and smaller companies are.

She then gave a special peek into her latest work, “American Atheist,” which Flanigan helped develop with American Opera Projects and director Kevin Newbury.

The second half of performances kicked off with OperaRox Productions. They previewed two engaging pieces from their upcoming summer season. The first was sung by Maayan Voss de Bettancourt while mezzo-soprano Kim Feltkamp sang “Elizabeth’s Act 1 Aria” from “Sweets by Kate.”

Rhymes With Opera presented an improv “Duet” from “Coping Mechanisms.” Elisabeth Halliday and Robert Maril gave a fascinating performance doing vocal improv for a full four minutes.

Something else that was new and fresh for the opera scene was Opera on Tap’s “Behind the Scenes” from their Virtual Reality Opera, “The Parksville Murders.” With a whole new way to watch opera, the full release of the horror opera will premiere sometime soon.

To wrap up the night was a performance by Opera Upper West from their “Glory Denied Opera.” Baritone Adam Cannedy gave a provoking and appealing performance as he sang a piece called “Teflon Cookware.”

Overall the evening was filled with talent all around and showed just a glimmer of what New York City has in store for this summer.