New York City Opera

From Academic Kids

The New York City Opera (NYCO) is New York City's second opera company (after the Metropolitan Opera). Its home base is Philip Johnson's New York State Theater at Lincoln Center.

The company was founded in 1944 with the aim of an opera company that would be financially accessible to a wide audience, innovative in its choice of repertory, and a home for American singers and composers.

In 1945, NYCO became the first major opera company to have an African American performer. This was the production Leoncavallo's I Pagliacci with Todd Duncan's performance as Tonio. Lawrence Winters was another notable African American opera pioneer to sing with the company during this period. The first African American woman to sing with the company was Camilla Williams, soprano as Madama Butterfly in 1946. (Southern, 417)

In its early years, the company's home base was the City Center on West 55th Street. On February 22, 1966, it innaugurated its new home at Lincoln Center with a production of Alberto Ginastera's Don Rodrigo with tenor Plácido Domingo.

In 1966, the American soprano Beverly Sills made her major breakthrough as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare. Although Sills went on to become a leading opera singer, she remained faithful to the NYCO. Upon her retirement from the stage in 1979, she joined the company as its General Director, replacing Julius Rudel, who had led the company since 1957.

In 1983, the NYCO became the first American company to use supertitles.

In recent years, the works of baroque masters such as Handel, Gluck, and Rameau have gained special prominence in its repertoire, sparking a renewal of interest in these long-neglected works

The NYCO has extensive education and outreach programs, offering arts-in-education programs to 12,000 students in over seventy-five schools.

References

The Music of Black Americans: A History. Eileen Southern. W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd edition. ISBN 0393971414

External links

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