On Site Opera to Present Site-Adaptive Opera Song of the Nightingale | Playbill

Classic Arts News On Site Opera to Present Site-Adaptive Opera Song of the Nightingale

The world premiere will be presented at three venues around New York City.

A scene from On Site Opera's The Secret Gardener Faye Fox

On Site Opera has announced the world premiere of Song of the Nightingale, a new opera by composer Lisa DeSpain and librettist Melisa Tien. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Nightingale, the opera was co-commissioned by On Site Opera and Brookfield Properties Arts & Culture. 

Since its founding in 2012, On Site Opera has presented nearly 30 site-specific productions of operas in non-traditional venues ranging from gardens to museums to churches. Song of the Nightingale will be the company's first "site-adaptive" production, presented at three of Brookfield Properties’ public spaces: Brooklyn Commons (September 8-9), Manhattan West (September 21-23), and Brookfield Place (September 28-30).

The cast will includes Hannah Cho, Nicole Haslett, Bernard Holcomb, Eliam Ramos, and Chrystal E. Williams. Geoffrey McDonald conducts.

On Site Opera General Director Piper Gunnarson says, “This will be our first time presenting a single opera production in three different spaces, which is an exciting way to extend our artistic reach and impact. This innovative collaboration will not only democratize access to opera but also invigorate public spaces with the transformative beauty and emotional resonance of this timeless art form, fostering a deeper appreciation for both opera and the vibrant cultural fabric of our communities.”

Song of the Nightingale is directed by Katherine M. Carter and features costume design by Kara Harmon, lighting design by Tess James, and sound design by Beth Lake.

Andersen's fairy tale has long held interest for composers, having been previously adapted into an opera in 1914 by Stravinsky and a musical in 1982 by Charles Strouse. DeSpain and Tien's opera reimagines the story as a "modern-day fairy tale [which] tells the story of a collector looking to gather up the world’s most beautiful objects."

Admission is free, and seating will be available on a first-come first-served basis.

Visit OSOpera.org.

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