2022 Season Announcement
ON SITE OPERA CELEBRATES TENTH ANNIVERSARY SEASON WITH A COMMITMENT TO THE FUTURE AND A CELEBRATION OF THE PAST
Global Virtual Experiences, A Multi-Year Trilogy Project and Musical Connections to the Local Community Headline Milestone Season
NEW YORK, October 12, 2020 – On Site Opera, New York’s pioneering opera company rooted in site-specific storytelling and the immersive experience, announces its celebratory tenth anniversary season. Curated by General & Artistic Director Eric Einhorn, Music Director Geoffrey McDonald, and Executive Director Piper Gunnarson, the rich and varied programming paves the way for a bright future while celebrating the past. Founded in 2012, On Site Opera has become a leading arts organization in the opera space that is rooted in ingenuity, equity, and sustainability. Since its inception, the company has not only presented more than 25 productions in 4 states to sold out audiences but has built a robust infrastructure with a dedicated and distinct board of trustees comprised of top professionals from varying backgrounds, in addition to a tireless Artistic Advisory Council and Business Innovation Council that continues to propel the organization forward. Additionally, On Site Opera has mobilized their commitment to accessibility and equity, diversity and inclusion through civic partnership, outreach, and programming.
The anniversary season, which will span the entirety of 2022, begins with opera greats Stephanie Blythe and Laquita Mitchell leading a live and interactive virtual production of Lesson Plan, a reimagined setting of a comedic Telemann cantata by Rachel J. Peters, January 21-22 and 28-29, followed by an out-of-town partnership with the Peabody Institute presenting performances of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt at the Maryland Science Center, February 12 and 19. The season will continue with an in-person production at New York’s sumptuous Prince George Ballroom of Puccini’s comedy Gianni Schicchi, April 7-11; the first in a multi-season presentation of Puccini’s complete Il Trittico. The spring and summer will offer audiences a curatorial collaboration with the 5 Boroughs Music Festival, a free retrospective walking tour that spotlights the sites and sounds of the company’s last decade of productions, a return to the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, NY, and a tenth anniversary gala to begin On Site Opera’s next decade of music making and cultivation of the next generation of opera goers. December 2022 will mark the return of the company’s heartwarming holiday favorite Amahl and the Night Visitors, engaging a community choir of formerly homeless voices to tell a tale of humanity, faith, and hope.
Following a year of sold-out and innovative opera experiences that utilized unique mediums of mail, telephone and a mobile app that connected history, music and geography, the company has committed to further developing the connection with their global audiences through digital offerings in addition to live and local productions. On sale this November, the company presents their latest virtual project, Lesson Plan, based on George Phillipp Telemann’s comic cantata Der Schulmeister and expanded, adapted and translated by composer and librettist Rachel J. Peters. When a great operatic diva is mistakenly booked for an online masterclass, a compassionate choir director must navigate the choppy waters of digital music making. Stephanie Blythe and Laquita Mitchell star in this lighthearted expansion of a comedic Telemann cantata, with additional music and a new English libretto by Rachel J. Peters.
The forty-minute comedy will be performed live on Zoom January 21-22 & 28-29 for six performances and will not be streamed or recorded for later viewing.
During the winter, the company will revive their original production of Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt for Baltimore’s Peabody Institute. Audiences of all ages join Rhoda on a hunt for missing fossils, while learning about the connection between creativity and science for six free public performances February 12 and 19. Written by John Musto and Eric Einhorn, this twenty-minute work is based on a true story and originally premiered by On Site Opera in 2017 at the American Museum of Natural History.
This spring, the company welcomes back live New York audiences April 7-11 at the grand Prince George Ballroom with Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. In this hysterical farce, audiences are invited into the Donati family house as they mourn the passing of their patriarch and impatiently wait to read his will and inherit his great fortune. The mood shifts to anger when the relatives discover that they have been disinherited and call upon the scheming and ingenious Gianni Schicchi to help them re-write the will. In a series of hilarious hijinks, secret deals, and one ridiculous plan, Schicchi leaves with his pockets full but his fate sealed! In seasons to follow, On Site Opera will present Il Tabarro (The Cloak) and Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) to complete Puccini’s celebrated trilogy of one-act operas, Il Trittico.
Later in the spring the company will offer a free mobile app-based walking tour experience that will lead audiences through ten years of past productions that propelled them forward in the New York opera landscape. Additionally, On Site Opera will collaborate in co-productions with both the 5 Boroughs Music Festival and the Hudson Valley’s historic and picturesque Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts.
Lastly, the company will close their anniversary season with an encore performance of their holiday classic Amahl and the Night Visitors— a modern production that connects this timeless story of charity and miracles with the prevalent issue of homelessness in NYC. Presented in the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and in partnership with Breaking Ground, New York City’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing for homeless New Yorkers, performances will feature a chorus made up of community members who have experienced homelessness performing alongside renowned opera soloists and musicians. Performances will be held in December of 2022, with tickets on sale next Fall.
“When we first launched On Site Opera in 2012, I could never have imagined what the company would grow to become. What began as an artistic experiment a decade ago has grown into a community of people dedicated to the power of site-specific opera – not only through productions, but through new work development, deep community partnerships, and robust participation in the national arts conversation. All of us at On Site Opera are so proud to announce our tenth anniversary season,” explains Eric Einhorn, General and Artistic Director of On Site Opera. “We invite our audiences, whether they are our New York neighbors or our new friends from around the world, to join us this season to celebrate what we have created together and the exciting experiences that lie ahead. Cheers to ten years and beyond!”
“With each new production over the past decade, On Site Opera’s ambitions have grown,” adds Geoffrey McDonald, Music Director. “I’m pleased to say that our artistic family has expanded in kind. Ten years in, we know we can draw on a community of performers, creatives, and staff, who share our passion for the thrilling intimacy of site-specific opera. And while it’s wonderful that so many talented people are excited to join our ranks, what makes me especially proud is our reputation as a company where collegiality and kindness do not play second fiddle to excellence. Artist support is a major part of who we are and why we’re still here,” he adds. “Our commissioning work is also worth cheering, as we continue to explore new territory for what opera in the 21st century might mean, where it might be experienced, and whom it might reach. Ten years is a great moment to celebrate how far the company has come—but it’s also the right time to dream about the unexpected places we will take our audiences next.”
“This is an inspiring moment to be an arts organization, not only because the opera landscape is teeming with new work and new voices, but also because there is so much opportunity – and responsibility – to continually examine and evolve our purpose in our communities,” explains Executive Director Piper Gunnarson. “Art – even an art form as old as opera – need not be static to its origin story, nor should our organization be static to its founding days. Celebrating and cheering the accomplishments of our first decade fills us all with great pride, and we are just as eager to turn our eyes toward the future with equal measures of preparation and openness to the unknown.”
SEASON HIGHLIGHTS: SCHEDULE AND DETAILS
January 21-22, 28-29: Lesson Plan live on Zoom
A virtual adaptation of Telemann’s comic cantata Der Schulmeister starring Stephanie Blythe and Laquita Mitchell by Rachel J. Peters.
February 12 and 19: Rhoda and the Fossil Hunt at the Maryland Science Center
Based on a true story, the opera by John Musto and Eric Einhorn explores how science and art are linked through common characteristics of creativity and discovery. Come for the dinosaurs, stay for the opera!
April 7-11: Gianni Schicchi at the Prince George Ballroom
Puccini’s satirical one act opera of deception, greed, and one screwed up family.
Spring/Summer: 10th Anniversary Retrospective Walking Tour, the 5 Boroughs Music Festival and Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts programming to be announced.
December 8-10: Amahl and the Night Visitors
Menotti’s holiday tale of humanity, faith and hope.
ABOUT ON SITE OPERA
Founded in 2012, New York City-based On Site Opera is the country’s leading presenter of site-specific operas in non- traditional venues. Rooted in collaboration and storytelling, On Site Opera celebrates the connection between artist and audience through highly curated experiences led by exciting opera artists and bold and innovative creative teams. Each On Site Opera production invites New Yorkers to explore their city in new and unique ways, while cultivating a new generation of opera audiences. To date, OSO has produced 19 operas in as many unique locations to critical acclaim, including the Bronx Zoo, Harlem’s historic Cotton Club, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the
American Museum of Natural History, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Committed to exploring new technology to make opera more accessible, OSO was the first opera company to employ Google Glass supertitles, and the company has currently developed its own mobile app for multi-language translations and digital program information.
Following extended COVID-related theater closures in 2020, On Site Opera was recognized as a leading organization in reimagining opera, bringing productions to audiences around the world through the telephone, by mail, and online in inventive and creative productions.