New York City Opera’s Bryant Park summer series concludes with Romeo and Juliet on Friday, September 8, 2023 at 7pm. Gounod’s perennial favorite brings Shakespeare’s play to life through some of the most beautiful music in the French repertoire. Celebrated conductor Maestro Joseph Rescigno will be at the helm, accompanied by members of the City Opera Orchestra.
Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis. Performances are designed to be enjoyed casually – no tickets required – with ample seating available and free picnic blankets for audience members to borrow. For more information, visit https://bryantpark.org/calendar/event/new-york-city-opera-romeo-and-juliet/2023-09-08.
For anyone unable to attend in person, free livestream broadcasts of the performances will be available nationwide via Bryant Park’s website and social media platforms.
Conductor: Joseph Rescigno
Director: Shayna Leahy
Stage Manager: Valerie Wheeler
Roméo: Victor Starsky
Juliette: Joanna Mongiardo
Mercutio: Alex Boyd
Stephano: Amy Maude Helfer
Tybalt: Drew Seigla
Nurse Gertrude: Melanie Ashkar
Friar Lawrence: Phil Cokorinos
Narrator: Billy Van Horn
“We are delighted to return as a part Bryant Park Picnic Performances presented by Bank of America for the 8th consecutive year,” said Michael Capasso, General Director of New York City Opera. “Our increasingly elaborate productions have drawn thousands of New Yorkers and tourists for free. It is truly ‘The People’s Opera.’”
New York City Opera was famously dubbed “The People’s Opera” by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia at its founding in 1943. More than 75 years later, City Opera continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with innovative and theatrically compelling opera, nurture the work of promising American artists, and build new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs. Picnic Performances continues the tradition of opera in Bryant Park.
Attendees may bring their own food or purchase from on-site food and beverage vendors near the Lawn. At most performances, attendees can purchase food from a rotating line-up of local NYC vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. At all performances, Stout NYC offers cheese and charcuterie boards as well as a selection of beer, wine, frosé, and non-alcoholic beverages for purchase. COVID-19 vaccinations and masks are not currently required but Bryant Park will continue to monitor and follow updated New York City and New York State COVID-19 guidelines throughout the summer as necessary.
About New York City Opera
Since its founding in 1943 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as “The People’s Opera,” New York City Opera (NYCO) has been a critical part of the city’s cultural life. During its history, New York City Opera launched the careers of dozens of major artists and presented engaging productions of both mainstream and unusual operas alongside commissions and regional premieres. The result was a uniquely American opera company of international stature.
For more than seven decades, New York City Opera has maintained a distinct identity, adhering to its unique mission: affordable ticket prices, a devotion to American works, English-language performances, the promotion of up-and-coming American singers, and seasons of accessible, vibrant and compelling productions intended to introduce new audiences to the art form. Stars who launched their careers at New York City Opera include Plácido Domingo, Catherine Malfitano, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, and Shirley Verrett, among dozens of other great artists. New York City Opera has a long history of inclusion and diversity. It was the first major opera company to feature Black singers in leading roles (Todd Duncan as Tonio in Pagliacci, 1945; Camilla Williams in the title role of Madama Butterfly, 1946); the first to produce an opera by a Black composer (William Grant Still, Troubled Island, 1949); and the first to have a Black conductor lead its orchestra (Everett Lee, 1955).
A revitalized City Opera re-opened in January 2016 with Tosca, the opera that originally launched the company in 1944. Outstanding productions since then include: the world premiere of Iain Bell and Mark Campbell’s Stonewall, which NYCO commissioned and developed; legendary director Harold Prince’s new production of Bernstein’s Candide; Puccini’s beloved La Fanciulla del West; and the New York premiere of Daniel Catán’s Florencia en el Amazonas — the first in its Ópera en Español series. Subsequent Ópera en Español productions include the New York premiere of the world’s first mariachi opera, José “Pepe” Martinez’s Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, Literes’s Los Elementos, and Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires. In addition to the world premiere of Stonewall, the productions in NYCO’s Pride Series, which produces an LGBTQ-themed work each June during Pride Month, include the New York premiere of Péter Eötvös’s Angels in America and the American premiere of Charles Wuorinen’s Brokeback Mountain. New York City Opera has presented such talents as Anna Caterina Antonacci and Aprile Millo in concert, as well as its own 75th Anniversary Concert in Bryant Park, one in a series of the many concerts and staged productions that it presents each year as part of the Park’s summer Picnic Performance series. City Opera’s acclaimed summer series in Bryant Park brings free performances to thousands of New Yorkers and visitors every year.
New York City Opera continues its legacy with main stage performances at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater and with revitalized outreach and education programs at venues throughout the city, designed to welcome and inspire a new generation of opera audiences.
New York City Opera:
About Bryant Park
Bryant Park Corporation (BPC), a private not-for-profit company, was founded in 1980 to renovate, finance and operate Bryant Park in New York City. BPC is funded by income from events, concessions, and corporate sponsors, as well as an assessment on neighboring properties, and does not accept government or philanthropic monies. In addition to providing security, sanitation, and horticultural services, BPC offers restaurants, food kiosks, world-class restrooms, and a wide range of free events throughout the year. The Midtown Manhattan park is visited by more than 12 million people each year and is one of the busiest public spaces in the world. BPC’s website, bryantpark.org, offers more detailed information and a schedule of upcoming events.