New York City Opera's 2009-10 Season to Feature Thirty-Three Performances of Five Operas

City Opera to Present Revivals of Weisgall's Esther, Chabrier's L'Étoile, Madama Butterfly and Handel's Partenope; Christopher Alden to Stage New Production of Don Giovanni

New York City Opera, forced to forgo a mainstage 2008-09 season while its home venue undergoes extensive renovations, has announced details of its 2009-10 season, the first under the leadership of recently arrived general manager and artistic director George Steel.

The company, embattled by financial difficulties as well as last November's news that Gerard Mortier, then City Opera's general manager and artistic director designate, has reneged on a much publicized bid to helm NYCO, now plans to present thirty-three performances of five operas across its 2009-10 fall and spring seasons. Speaking to the New York Times, Steel said that the number of performances and productions in the 2009-10 season - significantly downscaled from what the company has presented in recent seasons - would be offset by what City Opera planned to present in 2010-11. "I'm hopeful we'll return to our right size," he is quoted as telling the Times. Likewise, Steel estimated the company's budget for next season as $25 million to $30 million, down from the approximately $42 million budgets that the company had at its disposal in recent seasons.

A November 5 opening-night gala concert honor David H. Koch will feature renowned artists, many of whom began their careers singing with the company; the concert will also feature a performance by the New York City Ballet, which will appear at the invitation of the opera. A November 7 gala performance of Hugo Weisgall's Esther, which premiered at City Opera in 1993, will open the company's season proper, and feature soprano Lauren Flanigan in the title role; Christopher Mattaliano directs the production, which will feature set designs by Jerome Sirlin, costumes by Joseph Citarella and choreography by Jennifer Muller. City Opera music director George Manahan paces the performances. A new production of Don Giovanni premieres the following evening, and will feature Daniel Okulitch singing the title role of Mozart's opera. The staging, directed by Christopher Alden, will feature the set designs of Paul Steinberg, costumes by Terese Wadden and lighting by Adam Silverman.

A March 18 gala performance of City Opera's Mark Lamos production of Emmanuel Chabrier's L'Étoile is slated to inaugurate the company's spring season; the opera has yet to announce casting for the performances. Also part of its spring season, the company plans to revive its Mark Lamos staging of Madama Butterfly as well as Francisco Negrin's production of Handel's Partenope, which will feature Cyndia Sieden in the title role. All of the company's performances during its 2009-10 season will take place in the David H. Koch Theater - formerly the New York State Theater - which is currently undergoing an $80 million renovation.

"This first season in our renovated home will show the many ways City Opera makes outstanding contributions to the people of New York and to the world of opera," Steel said in a statement issued by the company today. "We are excited to return to our audiences, on schedule, and are thrilled to be moving forward with our plans for a more expansive 2010-2011 season."

In addition to its mainstage offerings, the company also plans to present its annual VOX showcase of new American operatic works, performed by the company's roster of artists and musicians, for the eleventh year.

As part of its Opera For All program, New York City Opera plans to offer some 600 seats under $20 for most of its performances during the 2009-10 season.

More information can be found at New York City Opera.

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