What an evening! The New York City Opera Orchestra and Stars celebrated the 70th anniversary of “The People’s Opera” with great fanfare to a rapt crowd on Feb. 21 at New York City Center.
“To be able to make music once more with my friends and colleagues in the orchestra as well as the singers, all of whom I’d worked with on productions at NYCO, meant a tremendous amount to me,” conductor George Manahan told Allegro. “It brought back a rush of memories in the rehearsals, a happy experience and yet also bittersweet. It also brought some closure.” Orchestra manager David Titcomb agreed. “We managed to pull off a great concert,” he said. “I kept going back to a line from ‘Spamalot.’ While collecting the bodies from the black plague, one of the casualties begins a full blown chorus with the line ‘We are not yet dead!’ So for us, let’s see what the future holds.” And bassist Gail Kruvand told Allegro, “I was proud to have been a part of the effort that brought this amazing celebration of New York City Opera to the stage. It would not have been possible without the support of Local 802.”
At the concert, special guest Placido Domingo sang “Nemico della Patria” from Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier” and then surprised the audience by conducting the “Forza del Destino” overture. The show also featured some of City Opera’s most acclaimed recent performers, including Amy Burton, Lauren Flanigan, Tonna Miller, Jennifer Rivera, Heather Johnson, Ryan MacPherson, Sidney Outlaw and Stefania Dovhan as well as the full 60-piece New York City Opera Orchestra, conducted by George Manahan, and the New York City Opera Chorus under Chorus Master Bruce Stasyna. Naomi Lewin of WQXR was the host for the evening.
Andrew Schwartz, fundraising coordinator for the Emergency Relief Fund – which was the recipient of proceeds from the evening – thanked the audience for its generosity before the New York City Opera Chorus and the entire ensemble sang “Make Our Garden Grow,” the finale from “Candide,” which had become something of a City Opera theme song. More photos at www.Facebook.com/Local802AFM.