The Met at Le Poisson Rouge: An Evening of Britten and Muhly

August 29, 2013

Nico Muhly performing on May 14, 2013 during “An Evening with Nico Muhly, Two Boys, and other works” at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City. Photo: Cory Weaver/Metropolitan Opera

Patricia Racette, Kathleen Kim, Iestyn Davies, Joseph Kaiser, and Nico Muhly
To Perform in "An Evening of Britten and Muhly"

Thursday, October 17 at Le Poisson Rouge
Shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m.

 Muhly’s Two Boys has its North American premiere at the Met beginning October 21;
A revival of Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens October 11

New York, NY – The Metropolitan Opera and Le Poisson Rouge announced details for “An Evening of Britten and Muhly,” two concerts at Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, October 17 at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Metropolitan Opera stars Patricia Racette, Kathleen Kim, Iestyn Davies, and Joseph Kaiser will perform at the event, accompanied by trumpet player CJ Camerieri and pianist Dan Saunders. Composer Nico Muhly will host and perform on piano.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth, the program will explore the connections between the extraordinary English composer and those who came before and after, from early English songs to the contemporary music of Muhly, a Britten devotee. Muhly will accompany countertenor Davies in music by Britten as well as his own Four Traditional Songs, settings written for Davies. Soprano Kathleen Kim and tenor Joseph Kaiser, both appearing opposite Davies in A Midsummer Night's Dream, will perform Tytania’s aria “Be kind and courteous” from Britten's opera as well as Purcell songs realized by Britten. Soprano Patricia Racette will sing Britten’s Cabaret Songs, his colorful collaboration with W.H. Auden. Additional artists will be announced at a later date.

Tickets are available through Le Poisson Rouge for $35 (seated) or $20 (standing) at (212) 505-3474 or lepoissonrouge.com. Standing room tickets will be sold at $25 on the day of the performance, subject to availability. Underwriting for the concerts has been provided by a generous gift from Dr. Coco Lazaroff.

The Met presents a rare revival of A Midsummer Night’s Dream beginning October 11. James Conlon conducts a starry ensemble that includes Davies as Oberon and Kim as Tytania, king and queen of the fairies; Erin Wall (Helena), Elizabeth DeShong (Hermia), Joseph Kaiser (Lysander), and Michael Todd Simpson (Demetrius) as the quartet of mismatched lovers; and Matthew Rose as the weaver-turned-amateur-actor Bottom. The production runs through October 31.

"A work of dark beauty...a landmark in the career of an important artist" (The New York Times)," Two Boys marked the "auspicious operatic debut" (London Independent) of Muhly, who was 29 when the Met commission premiered in London in the fall of 2011. With a libretto by celebrated playwright Craig Lucas, Two Boys explores the shadowy world of the Internet as a detective takes on what initially seems to be to be a straightforward case—the stabbing of one teenage boy by another—and discovers a tangled web of online intrigue. This striking new work, conducted by David Robertson and staged by Bartlett Sher in a co-production with English National Opera, receives its North American premiere at the Met on October 21 in a revised version, and continues through November 14.

Davies has sung Creonte in Steffani’s Niobe for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea for Zürich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsace in Partenope for the New York City Opera and English National Opera; Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Houston and London; Hamor in Jephtha for Welsh National Opera; Apollo in Death in Venice for ENO and at La Scala, Milan; Eustazio in Rinaldo for the Lyric Opera of Chicago; and Unulfo in Rodelinda for his debut with The Metropolitan Opera. His performance last season in the Met premiere of Adès’s The Tempest was seen in movie theaters across the world as part of the The Met: Live in HD. In concert he has performed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan with Dudamel, the Concertgebouw and Tonhalle with Koopman and appeared at the Barbican, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Center, and at the BBC Proms. His recordings include Handel's Messiah, Chandos Anthems, and Flavio, Porpora Cantatas with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo, arias written for castrato Gaetano Guadagni, and his debut solo recording, Live at the Wigmore Hall, with his own Ensemble Guadagni. This season, Davies returns to the Metropolitan Opera in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is the recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2010 Young Artist of the Year prize.

Kaiser has bowed at the Metropolitan Opera in a diverse array of leading parts including the title role of Roméo et Juliette opposite Anna Netrebko and conducted by Plácido Domingo, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte conducted by Kirill Petrenko, and Flamand in Capriccio opposite Renée Fleming and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. His performances of Narraboth in Salome and Grimoaldo in Rodelinda were seen internationally as part of The Met: Live in HD. This season he appears at the Met as Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by James Conlon. Kaiser regularly sings with the world’s leading opera companies, including Bayerische Staatsoper, Washington National Opera, Opéra National de Paris, Royal Opera House, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, and the Salzburg Festival. In 2007, he starred as Tamino in the Kenneth Branagh film adaptation of The Magic Flute, conducted by James Conlon.

Kim, who sings regularly at many of the world’s premiere opera houses and concert halls, made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007. Ms. Kim’s extensive career at the Met includes performances as Olympia in Bartlett Sher’s production of Les Contes d’Hoffmann, conducted by James Levine; as Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos conducted by Kirill Petrenko in 2010 and Fabio Luisi in 2011; and as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda in 2007 and by Fabio Luisi in 2012. She was hailed by critics for her role as Chiang Ch’ing in the Met premiere of John Adams’s Nixon in China, directed by Peter Sellars and conducted by Adams. Kim opens her 2013/2014 season as the enchanted Tytania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Met under the baton of James Conlon. Kim has been recognized with numerous prizes and awards, including a Sullivan Foundation Award, Sarasota Opera Guild’s Leo Rogers Scholarship, and the Rose Ann Grund Scholarship of the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation voice competition in Chicago. She was a prize winner of the Mario Lanza Competition, a National Finalist of the MacAllister Awards, and a prize winner of the Liederkranz Competition.

Muhly has composed a wide scope of work for ensembles, soloists and organizations including the New York Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, Boston Pops, Chicago Symphony, Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, Paris Opéra Ballet, soprano Jessica Rivera, countertenor Iestyn Davies, violinist Hilary Hahn, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, and designer/illustrator Maira Kalman. Recently, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Decca released an entire disc of Muhly’s choral music, A Good Understanding. The Aurora Orchestra recorded his Seeing is Believing, and with choreographer Stephen Petronio, Muhly created the evening-length I Drink the Air Before Me, both of which were also released on Decca. His chamber opera, Dark Sisters, commissioned by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Music Theatre Group, and the Gotham Chamber Opera, premiered in New York in the fall of 2012. Muhly’s film credits include scores for Joshua (2007), Margaret (2009), and Academy Award Best Picture nominee The Reader (2008); all have been recorded and released commercially.

Racette has appeared in the most acclaimed opera houses of the world including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Paris Opera, Theater an der Wien and the Bayerische Staatsoper. She has gained particular acclaim for her portrayals of the title roles of Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Jenůfa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three lead soprano roles in Il Trittico. Her performances of Madama Butterfly and Peter Grimes at the Metropolitan Opera were seen in movie theaters across the world as part of the The Met: Live in HD, and both were subsequently released on DVD. With the release of Diva on Detour, her breakout first cabaret album, Racette officially adds the cabaret genre to her performance platform. Her cabaret show has been heard live in New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Dallas, and Santa Fe. This season, Racette returns to the Metropolitan Opera for Tosca (which will be broadcast around the world as part of the The Met: Live in HD), and Maddalena in Andrea Chenier. Among her honors are the Richard Tucker Award, the Marian Anderson Award, and most recently a 2010 Opera News Award.

As a trumpet player, french hornist, and keyboard player, Camerieri has enjoyed an active, diverse, and exciting career since completing his classical trumpet training at Juilliard in 2004. He has become an indispensable collaborator for numerous indie rock groups as a performer, arranger, improviser, and soloist and is a co-founder of the contemporary classical ensemble yMusic. yMusic’s debut record was named Time Out New York’s #1 Classical Record of 2011, the same year that Camerieri won two Grammys as a member of Bon Iver for the band’s sophomore record, which later reached gold status. He began working in alternative music as the trumpet player and keyboard player for Sufjan Stevens in January of 2006. He then went on to tour the world as a member of Rufus Wainwright’s band in 2007-2008 before starting yMusic with Rob Moose in the spring of 2008 and later joining Bon Iver in 2011. His discography includes well over 100 recordings, including current and forthcoming releases by Bon Iver, yMusic, Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, David Byrne, Antony and the Johnsons, Martha Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright III, Gabriel Kahane, The National, Julia Stone, My Brightest Diamond, A Fine Frenzy, Baby Dee, Diane Birch, Joan Osbourne, Sean Lennon, Yuka Honda, GOASTT, Jesse Harris, She and Him, Harper Simon, Chris Garneau, Clare and the Reasons, Welcome Wagon, Anthony Coleman, ACME, New York Trumpet Ensemble, Argento New Music Ensemble and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra.

Saunders is becoming increasingly well known to audiences around the world as an accomplished conductor and pianist. An assistant conductor to James Levine and Seiji Ozawa and a recitalist with many of the world’s finest soloists, Saunders served as the Associate Conductor of the Virginia Opera from 2000 until 2006 and is currently an Assistant Conductor with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Met credits include a new production of Hansel and Gretel, the Met premiere of Armida with Renée Fleming, Salome with Karita Mattila, and serving as a Musical Assistant to Fabio Luisi for Rigoletto and Tosca. Other Met credits include a new production of Don Giovanni, in which he played harpsichord recitatives under the baton of Louis Langrée, and the world premiere of Jeremy Sam’s The Enchanted Island, starring Plácido Domingo, Danielle de Niese, Joyce DiDonato, David Daniels, and Luca Pisaroni. This season he is the Assistant Conductor for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Der Rosenkavalier, and a new production of Die Fledermaus.

“An Evening of Britten and Muhly” marks the third collaboration between the Metropolitan Opera and Le Poisson Rouge. The series started in October 2012 with “An Evening with Thomas Adès & The Tempest.” With the composer at the piano, that evening explored the music of Ives, Purcell, Stravinsky, and Tippett, as well as selections from Adès’s The Tempest, which premiered at the Met that same month. Metropolitan Opera singers Simon Keenlyside, Kate Lindsey, and Iestyn Davies were featured. The second collaboration, “An Evening with Nico Muhly, Two Boys, and other works” in May 2013, featured a diverse repertory curated and performed by the composer, ranging from early music to contemporary work, including two arias from Two Boys. Metropolitan Opera singers Paul Appleby and Jennifer Zetlan were joined on the program by violist Nadia Sirota, a frequent Muhly collaborator. Special guests included folk artist Sam Amidon and violin duo Angela and Jennifer Chun. The program is available for video streaming at npr.org.

Le Poisson Rouge is a multimedia art cabaret founded by musicians on the site of the historic Village Gate. Dedicated to the fusion of popular and art cultures in music, film, theater, dance, and fine art, the venue's mission is to revive the symbiotic relationship between art and revelry; to establish a creative asylum for both artists and audiences.

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