Opera Orchestra of New York
The Opera Orchestra of New York (also known as OONY) specializes in the performance of opera in concert form. It is particularly known for its work in presenting rarely performed repertory. Among the numerous American premieres it has presented are Puccini’s Edgar, Boito’s Nerone, and Smetana’s Libuše.
Founded in 1971 by Eve Queler, who remains its conductor and music director, the Orchestra presented its first season in 1972 with two operas - Rossini's William Tell and Meyerbeer's L'africaine - performed at New York's Carnegie Hall. Since then it has gone on to present more than ninety different operas there, with the season now consisting of three to four operas, which are also broadcast on National Public Radio. In the past, tickets came with a complete libretto of the opera being performed. However, the 2007/2008 season introduced surtitles for the first time.
Financial difficulties in early 2007 threatened to close the company or severely curtail its 2007/2008 season to one opera. However, these were overcome, and the 2007/2008 season of three operas opened as planned on 13 December 2007 with Verdi's I due Foscari. An additional Gala concert celebrating Eve Queler's 100th performance conducting the Orchestra at Carnegie Hall was presented in March 2008. In 2011, the New York Times reported that the Orchestra had returned to financial stability:
Many prominent opera singers have performed with the Orchestra including Plácido Domingo, Nicolai Gedda, Montserrat Caballé, Carlo Bergonzi, Renata Scotto, Alfredo Kraus, José Carreras, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Bryan Hymel, Samuel Ramey, James Morris, Grace Bumbry and Ghena Dimitrova, many of them in the very early stages of their careers. (José Carreras made his OONY debut in 1972 on his twenty-fourth birthday.)
In 1978, The Opera Orchestra of New York instituted a Young Artists Program to train and showcase young singers. Participants sing small roles in the Carnegie Hall performances and understudy the principal ones. Notable past participants in the program include Renée Fleming, Vivica Genaux and Deborah Voigt.
- Gaetano Donizetti: Gemma di Vergy (Montserrat Caballé (Gemma di Vergy), Paul Plishka (Guido), Luis Lima (Tamas), Louis Quilico (Count di Vergy), Natalya Chudy (Ida), Mark Munkittrick (Rolando), Schola Cantorum (Hugh Ross, Director); Opera Orchestra of New York; Conductor: Eve Queler). World premiere recording, recorded live at Carnegie Hall (March 14, 1976). CBS/Sony
- Jules Massenet: Le Cid (Grace Bumbry (Chimene), Plácido Domingo (Rodrigo), Paul Plishka (Don Diego), Clinton Ingram (Don Arias), Theodre Hodges (Don Alonzo), Arnold Voketaitis (The Count de Gormas), Eleanor Bergquist (The Infanta), Jake Gardner (The King), Peter Lightfoot (The Moorish Envoy), John Adams (St. James), Byrne Camp Chorale (Bryne Camp, Director); Opera Orchestra of New York; Conductor: Eve Queler). World premiere recording, recorded live at Carnegie Hall (March 8, 1976). CBS/Sony
- Giuseppe Verdi: Aroldo (Montserrat Caballé (Mina), Gianfranco Cecchele (Aroldo), Juan Pons (Egberto), Louis Lebherz (Briano), Vincenzo Manno (Godvino), Paul Ragers (Enrico), Marianna Busching (Elena), Oratorio Society of New York, Westchester Choral Society (Lyndon Woodside, Director); Opera Orchestra of New York; Conductor: Eve Queler). World premiere recording, recorded live at Carnegie Hall (April 1979). CBS/Sony
- The Opera Orchestra of New York grew from a smaller project, the New York Opera Workshop, which Queler had started in 1967.
- Matthew Westphal, Opera Orchestra of New York Launches Season with Verdi's I Due Foscari at Carnegie Hall, Playbill Arts, 13 December 2007.
- Tommasini, Anthony (Nov. 9, 2011). "2 Stars Spice Up Verismo Opera". The New York Times.
- Anne Midgette, "The Wisdom of Eve", Opera News, October 1999. Accessed via subscription 20 December 2007.
- Bernard Holland, "Into the Woods but Leaving Hidden Meanings Behind", New York Times, 8 June 2005. Accessed 20 December 2007.
- Daniel J. Wakin, "Opera Orchestra of New York Says It May Reduce Concerts Next Season", New York Times, 17 February 2007. Accessed 20 December 2007.
- Jay Nordlinger, "A Stage for Opera's Overlooked", The New York Sun, 17 December 2007. Accessed 20 December 2007.