News Ticker

Baruch Performing Arts Center

Lady M (Heartbeat Opera)

April 22, 2023

Heartbeat Opera seems to have found the way to separate themselves from the rest of the pack of alternative opera companies here in New York. Their way is to inject the standard repertory of grand opera with fresh ways of presenting the rich beloved scores. Enter music director Daniel Schlosberg, a Brooklyn-based composer-pianist who is their ingenious arranger for both Puccini's "Tosca" and Verdi's renamed "Lady M," and conductor and pianist for "Lady M." He arranges "Tosca" for a band of eight, "Lady M" for a band of six. Consider both of these Herculean feats with sumptuous results. [more]

Tosca (Heartbeat Opera)

April 20, 2023

Just when you think you’ve seen an opera so many times you can’t imagine it being told anew along comes Heartbeat Opera with a riveting take on Puccini’s "Tosca."  Director Shadi G. sets it as a thriller in Teheran, Iran with a cast of singers trying to get through a performance in defiance of the censors. The opera "Tosca" has always been set under a dictatorship of an authoritarian regime. It is usually set 1800 with the Kingdom of Naples’s control of Rome threatened by Napoleon’s invasion of Italy. The Heartbeat production underlines the usual terror with Irani police officers in shadows, hidden in stairwells and behind stage entrances ready to arrest the performers if they do anything outside the strict code of ethics and behavior in the Irani culture. This added layer to the story provides a lot of exciting running exits into the audience to avoid capture by the authorities. [more]

Heartbeat Opera: Butterfly

June 9, 2017

The artistic team responsible for this "Butterfly" made radical decisions and changes. Puccini’s original three acts of linear story – love and “wedding,” waiting, betrayal and death – are reorganized and abbreviated into three scenes of waiting, remembered love, and then betrayal. Some minor characters in the original opera are eliminated to create a caste of just five singing characters. The entire orchestra is reduced to a chamber orchestra of just six musicians, the Cantata Profana. The adaptation of Puccini’s orchestral score for this small chamber group by Daniel Schlosberg is remarkable: unexpectedly, its absolute faithfulness to Puccini’s musical intent at almost every turn made up for the diminished number of musicians. [more]

Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble: Verdi’s La Traviata & Chansons de Baudelaire

September 19, 2016

The performance of Verdi's "La Traviata" featuring Bonnie Frauenthal as Violetta and Jose Heredia as Alfredo Germont was wonderful in many ways. Frauenthal sang and acted her complex role compellingly: she is a confident singer, capable of both womanly sturdiness and subtle virtuosity, and she inhabited the dense narrative of Violetta's story credibly and compellingly. Heredia's youthful and earnest Alfredo was also convincing; his deep love of Violetta and grief at her death were poignantly believable. Interestingly, as an actor, Heredia stuck so literally to the movement of Alfredo's character in Piave's libretto that Alfredo's subservience to his father was maddening: the son's filial weakness undercut the manliness of his love for Violetta. Both Frauenthal and Heredia sang with integrity; they held nothing back from full commitment to either their roles or their audience. [more]

C4: Unusual – Music of the strange, the absurd, and the surreal

March 24, 2016

For the winter concert of their eleventh season, the twenty-three member C4: The Choral Composer Conductor Collective – elected to honor “Unusual - music of the strange, the absurd, the surreal.” The evening included three premieres, all by current C4 composers, among the eight pieces performed. Some of the works were splendid and some weren't, but all were presented with C4's characteristic superb musicianship and artistic integrity as well as their willingness to take risks. [more]

A Wake and a Wedding

November 11, 2014

Encompass New Opera Theatre, under longtime director Nancy Rhodes, is presenting the East Coast premiere of Richard Pearson Thomas's chamber opera A Wake or a Wedding at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. The opera is a burlesque of 19th Century melodrama, with stereotypical characters and a series of silly 'revelations' to resolve the convoluted plot. The music uses an accessible mid-century modernist style, conservative but not inappropriately so. [more]

Written in Sand

October 17, 2014

This was my first in-person experience of Finley's work, and unfortunately it was a shambles. What could have been forty intense minutes of poetry and music was padded with rambling introductions and mostly aimless patter to more than twice that. The night I attended she was nervous and flustered, repeatedly losing her place in the program, and allowing herself to be distracted over and over again by a leaky water pitcher. (Why didn't the stage manager just replace it?) [more]