(Illustration by Doug Fitch)

The Opera Party: Secrets of the Opera

Monday, May 15, 2017

7:00 PM

When is opera a party? When is a party theater? When it’s The Opera Party, a new WQXR series in The Greene Space! 

Hear world-class live performances while enjoying delectable dishes created to match the music — and drinks you can take to your seat. Metropolitan Opera star Anthony Roth Costanzo curates and hosts three unfettered fêtes celebrating opera in a whole new way.

Opera stars will share the evening with chefs, raconteurs and genre-busting artists in a striking environment created for each event by artist Doug Fitch

Join us for the second event in this series. From backstage secrets to onstage gossip, find out just how much life imitates art to operatic proportions. Revel in the splendor of Metropolitan Opera star Ailyn Perez’s soprano, amuse bouches by chef Antoine Westermann of Le Coq Rico — and a novel way to confess some salacious secrets of your own. Co-hosted by writer, storyteller and performer Justin Sayre.

“Loveable, contemporary and flat-out just funny” — WhereNYC

 

→ Video Webcast

A live video stream will also be available here

 

About the Host and Guests

 

Anthony Roth Costanzo (countertenor) makes his debuts at the Los Angeles Opera as the title role in Phillip Glass' "Ahknaten," the Finnish National Opera in Kaija Sariaaho's "Only the Sound Remains," the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in performances of "Messiah," and with both the London Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic as Prince Go-Go in performances of "Le Grand Macabre," conducted by Sir Simon Rattle and directed by Peter Sellars. He also produces and stars in his critically acclaimed show, "Orphic Moments," at the Landestheater in Salzburg.  

Mr. Costanzo has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as both Ferdinand and Prospero in the world premiere of "The Enchanted Island," and as Prince Orlofsky in a new production of "Die Fledermaus" after making his debut as Unulfo in "Rodelinda." He also recently made his debuts at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the world premiere of Jimmy Lopéz' "Bel Canto" and the San Francisco Opera in "Partenope." He made his European debut at the Glyndebourne Festival in "Rinaldo," and has since appeared at the English National Opera in "The Indian Queen" and "Ahknaten," the Teatro Real in "Death in Venice" and in a performance of Britten's "Canticles" with Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake, and in concerts with Jordi Savall in Barcelona, Paris, and Versailles. He has also performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, on Broadway and in the Merchant Ivory film, "A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries." He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University where he has returned to teach, and received his masters from Manhattan School of Music. 

 

Doug Fitch provides art direction and edible design for the series. As co-founder of the production company Giants Are Small, visual artist, designer, and director Doug Fitch directed several projects conducted by Alan Gilbert for the New York Philharmonic, including Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre (cited as the top opera of 2010 by The New York Times, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York), Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2011, New York Magazine’s “Best Classical Event of the Year”), A Dancer’s Dream: Two Works by Stravinsky (2013, later screened in movie theaters worldwide); and HK Gruber’s Gloria – A Pig Tale (2014, with forces from The Juilliard School as part of the New York Philharmonic’s Bienial).  Mr. Fitch was the inaugural WBFO visiting artist at SUNY, where he created an opera of images, How Did We...? In 2013 he directed and performed in the premiere of Matthew Suttor’s musical setting of Blaise Cendrar’s poem La Prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France with the Taos Chamber Music Group. He has created productions for Los Angeles Opera, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Santa Fe Opera, and directed projects for Canada’s National Arts Centre, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, and Tanglewood (Elliot Carter’s What Next?, screened at The Museum of Modern Art).

Doug Fitch’s creative life began with his family’s touring puppet theater. While studying visual arts at Harvard University, he collaborated with director Peter Sellars on Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, among other projects. He also studied cooking at Paris’s famed La Varenne school and design at the Institut d’Architecture et d’Etudes Urbaines in Strasbourg, France. He emerged as an architectural designer in the 1980s, then collaborated with Mimi Oka on edible art installations called Orphic Feasts, leading to their book, Orphic Fodder. In co-production with Universal Music and Deutsche Grammophon, Giants Are Small developed Peter+Wolf in Hollywood - an iPad app, CD, digital album, and live show that will appear with the National Symphony Orchestra this May.  This year, he is creating a new production for flute and community participants called Pan, with flutist Claire Chase and composer Marcos Balter and, as artist in residence at National Sawdust, curating an evening called Doug Fitch’s Art Gallery Cabaret.  Mr. Fitch resides in Brooklyn, New York.

 

Justin Sayre is a writer and performer best known for his downtown Cabaret/Variety show The Meeting* now in it’s 8th and final season at Joe’s Pub. Sayre has been described by Michael Musto in the Village Voice as “Oscar Wilde meets Whoopi Goldberg,” was recently hailed as one the “Funniest People in Brooklyn” by Brooklyn Magazine and among “LA’s 16 Most Talented LGBT Comics” by Frontiers Magazine. His benefit show, Night of a Thousand Judys, which raises money for the Ali Forney Center for Homeless LGBT youth is now in its 7th year. Splitting his time between New York and Los Angeles, Sayre has written on the CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls” for 3 seasons. He also appeared opposite Lisa Kudrow on HBO’s “The Comeback.” His first young adult novel, Husky, was published by Penguin Books in 2015 and a sequel will hit stands this spring. His podcast, Sparkle and Circulate is available on iTunes. His works for the theatre include: Love’s Refrain (La MaMa;) The Boy Sonata, (Dixon Place, The Wild Project;) Rite of Water: A Life of Hart Crane (Queer Pop-Up Museum;) Justin Sayre Is Alive and Well…Writing (Ars Nova), The Click of the Lock (The Players Club.)

 

Ailyn Pérez has been hailed by the New York Times as “a beautiful woman who commands the stage” and “a major soprano,” Ailyn Pérez is in demand at the world’s leading opera houses and cultural capitals. She has won both the 2012 Richard Tucker Award, thereby becoming the only Hispanic recipient in the award’s 35-year history, and the 15th annual Plácido Domingo Award. As Opera News observes, “The phrase ‘an embarrassment of riches’ might have been invented to describe the combination of talents that belong to Ailyn Pérez, … who truly seems to have it all.”

Ailyn Pérez is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Academy of Vocal Arts and Indiana University. Her many accolades include the George London Foundation’s Leonie Rysanek Award, Shoshana Foundation Career Grant (2007), 2nd place in the 2006 Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, and honors from the Loren L. Zachary Foundation, Opera Index, and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation. 

Career highlights include Violetta La Traviata for Opernhaus Zurich, Hamburg State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, San Francisco Opera and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, where she was hailed as “an ideal Violetta” (Observer, UK); Pérez appeared twice more at Covent Garden the same season, as the title role in Massenet’s Manon, and for her role debut as Liù in Turandot. Other highlights include Adina L’elisir d’amore for Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Wiener Staatsoper and Washington National Opera; Violetta and Manon on a Japanese tour with the Royal Opera House; house debuts at the Bolshoi as Mimì and at Glyndebourne as Falstaff’s Alice Ford; Countess Le nozze di Figaro and Marguerite Faust for Hamburg State Opera; Marguerite Faust in Santa Fe and Amelia Grimaldi Simon Boccanegra at La Scala, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin and opposite Leo Nucci at Opernhaus Zurich. 

In concert Ailyn has performed Verdi’s Requiem with the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal conducted by Yannick Nézet Seguin; Mozart’s Requiem with Antonio Pappano and the Accademia Santa Cecilia Orchestra in Rome and Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Essen Philharmoniker. In recent seasons Ailyn has sung opposite Carreras, Bocelli and with Plácido Domingo in gala concerts at the Royal Opera House, and has made guest appearances at several gala concerts for the Metropolitan Opera. Ailyn has also appeared in recital at London’s Rosenblatt Recitals, at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center and for Santa Fe Desert Chorale. Her debut album, Poème d’un jour: a program of French and Italian songs on the Opus Arte label, was released to rave reviews; the UK’s Independent awarded it a full five stars, while International Record Review confessed: “Every so often, a singer comes along who completely bowls you over.”