May 2017
W.A. Mozart's

The Secret Gardener

West Side Community Garden/Atlanta Botanical Garden

On Site Opera partnered with The Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries series to bring Mozart’s The Secret Gardener (La finta giardiniera) to life in a new site-specific co-production. Performances marked a bi-city first for both companies. Written by an 18-year-old Mozart, The Secret Gardener is a story of love, madness, and redemption that unfolds in the lush setting of a beautiful garden. Disguises and mistaken identities abound in Mozart’s charming tale of a triple love triangle!

The production featured a new English translation by Kelley Rourke and a new reduced orchestration by Yoni Kahn and Thomas Carroll.

A co-production with The Atlanta Opera’s Discoveries series

About The Atlanta Opera:

Nominated in the 2016 International Opera Awards, The Atlanta Opera is one of the finest regional opera companies in the nation. The Opera presents four mainstage productions at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and two productions at satellite theaters as part of the Discoveries series. The Opera works with world-renowned directors, actors, and designers who seek to enhance the art form and further the current renaissance of opera. Atlanta has a strong history of opera, dating back to the early 1900s when the Metropolitan Opera’s annual tour was a major social event. The Atlanta Opera, founded in 1979, aims to enrich lives through opera.

About The Discoveries series:

The Discoveries series debuted in Atlanta two seasons ago with an emphasis on presenting new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives on great Atlanta-area stages. The 2015 productions of Three Decembers and Soldier Songs were highlighted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Best of 2015 list. The Atlanta Opera Discoveries series is dedicated to audience members who are seeking new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives. As a part of the Atlanta Opera’s efforts to bring opera to new audiences all over the Atlanta Metro area, these productions will be performed in exciting alternative venues.

About the West Side Community Garden:

The West Side Community Garden is owned and maintained by the West Side Community Garden Inc., an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization incorporated under New York State Law. The West Side Community Garden was founded in 1976 on a trash-strewn 89,000 square foot vacant lot on Columbus Avenue that had been slated for an urban renewal project. In 1982, the Community board, developers, and the New York City Planning Commission approved a permanent Garden plan, and a groundbreaking for the present Garden took place in October 1987. The property for the current Garden site was deeded to West Side Community Garden Inc. in November 1989. The current design for the garden was developed by the Gardeners working with Artists and the current layout, incorporating a floral amphitheater and public seating area, was part of the Gardener’s vision from the very beginning. Landscape designer Terry Schnadelbach took the Gardener’s vision and created a blueprint design which was built to our specifications during 1987-88. The Garden and Terry Schnadelbach won the Philip N. Winslow award for best landscape design in 1991.

123 W 89th St, New York, NY 10024, United States
  • Nothing quite matches the delight of stumbling unawares onto a peaceful fleck of green tucked away in a maze of stone and concrete. Evening strollers alighting upon the West Side Community Garden…were met with an added surprise: a Mozart opera, fully staged by On Site Opera, and free to anyone.

    The New York Times
  • On Site Opera delivered another perfect combination of piece and location with an exhilarating staging

    Opera News
  • [On Site Opera] offered a literal breath of fresh air on Thursday with Mozart’s The Secret Gardener…Eric Einhorn’s directing, with its surprise entrances and witty bits, kept the show immediate and captivating.

    The Wall Street Journal
  • Had On Site Opera’s production of Mozart’s The Secret Gardener not been so compelling the gorgeous colors of the Spring flowers might have upstaged it. Happily, nothing could have upstaged this production, one that left us with a big smile which should last us at least through the weekend. Looking at the faces of the audience members indicated that our joy was a shared experience.

    Voce di Meche
  • On Site Opera assembled a terrific cast for the proceedings…People from all walks around the city joining in a communal experience like none other. As the singing-actors moved about the garden, nothing separated us from them. No tiered seating. No proscenium. No fourth wall. We were all part of the storytelling ritual, literally.

  • The cast was superb, picking tulips, dashing through flowerbeds, all for the seeming purpose of finding love. Where better to look and listen than a garden?…With the ever-delightful Mozart music pared down for maximum pleasure, On Site again brings out treasures from the repertoire and makes our garden grow with beautiful music and singing.

    Berkshire Fine Arts
  • It was the kind of unique, immersive, site-specific production that is OSO’s bread and butter…All in all, it was the perfect entertainment for a spring evening.

    Broadway World
  • On Site Opera has built its reputation by staging unusual works in some decidedly odd locations around New York. On Thursday night, Eric Einhorn’s little opera company invaded the West Side Community Garden…The cast featured a bouquet of fine voices…The audience too was occasionally pulled into the action, making the already intimate evening feel even more so.


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