NEW YORK — New York City Opera (Michael Capasso, General Director) has announced the appointment of internationally acclaimed conductor and pianist Constantine Orbelian as the company’s music director and principal conductor. Orbelian will conduct his first NYCO production this summer when the company performs a newly created version of Rigoletto on Sunday, August 29 at the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in Kingston, New York, followed by an encore performance of the Verdi favorite on Friday, September 3 as part of Bryant Park’s annual Picnic Performance series.
“We are indeed very fortunate to welcome the world-renowned maestro, Constantine Orbelian to the New York City Opera Family,” commented Capasso. “Maestro Orbelian brings decades of international experience conducting opera’s greatest stars both in performance and on award-winning recordings and will offer the company and its audiences many world-class performances in the future. I have no doubt his skill and experience will be central to restoring City Opera to its place in the American and international Opera scenes.”
“I am thrilled to accept the position of music director and principal conductor of the venerable New York City Opera,” said Orbelian. “It is a great opportunity to help bring this historic, culturally significant musical institution back to life after a challenging time of Covid closures. We will give opera lovers the thrill of hearing extraordinary singers from across America and beyond. Staying true to the NYCO tradition, we will provide contemporary composers a great platform in which to premiere their works. We look forward to welcoming you, our opera-loving public, to our performances at Bryant Park and the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice this summer and to announcing our next season of events and performances.”
New York City Opera will return to the Bryant Park Picnic Performance series this summer with four concerts beginning this month on Friday, June 18 with its annual “Pride in the Park” concert and culminating on Friday, September 3 with a fully staged, costumed and Orbelian-conducted production of Rigoletto, a newly created 90-minute version with narration written and performed by actor and playwright Bill Van Horn.
This winter, New York City Opera will produce, with National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, the world premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie’s “The Garden of the Finzi-Continis,” opening in January at the Edward J. Safra Hall at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in downtown Manhattan, guest-conducted by James Lowe. Other upcoming 2022 productions include the New York premiere of Anthony Davis and Richard Wesley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning opera “The Central Park Five.”
Four-time Grammy-nominated conductor Constantine Orbelian has been called “the singer’s dream collaborator” by Opera News, which hailed him for conducting vocal repertoire “with the sensitivity of a lieder pianist.” He has toured and recorded with some of the world’s greatest singers, such as American stars Renée Fleming, Sondra Radvanovsky and Lawrence Brownlee, and with the great Dmitri Hvorostovsky and other renowned Russian singers in European, North American, Russian and Asian music centers.