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Robert Lombardo
Venue Profiles
Dicapo Opera Theatre

Profile of the Dicapo Opera Theatre

by Robert Lombardo
March 6, 2006
Dicapo Opera Theatre
184 East 76th Street
(Lexington Avenue)
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-9438

Profile of The Dicapo Opera Theatre

Robert Lombardo
March 6, 2006

See Mr. Martins' upcoming event at the Dicapo Opera Theatre on March 25, 2006 and March 26.

Co-founded in 1981 by Michael Capasso and Diane Martindale, Dicapo Opera Theatre is the only professional non-profit opera company in New York—aside from the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera—presenting a full season of opera productions, musical theater, concerts, and other events in its own facility located at St. Jean Baptiste Church on East 76th Street (184 East 76th Street, New York, New York 10021; 212-288-9438, Ext. 10). Completely remodeled in 1995, the 204-seat Dicapo Opera Theatre is state of the art with supertitles, orchestra pit, and spacious lobby areas, as well as in-house scenery and costumes shops, office and rehearsal spaces.

Dicapo Opera Theatre's repertoire runs the gamut from crowd-pleasing traditional repertoire to rarely performed operas and at least one 20th-century work each season.

During the 2003-04 season the company presented for the first time all three versions of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, which The New York Times said, "felt like an intense bonding experience with an old friend." Other highlights of Dicapo's adventurous productions have included the New York premiere of Richard Wargo's A Chekhov Trilogy, the American premiere of original version of Donizetti's Il Campanello, the New York premiere of Robert Ward's Claudia Legare, the first major New York production of Stephen Sondheim's Passion since its New York premiere in 1994, as well as the first production by an opera company, and a rare production of Yolanta, the opera Tchaikovsky wrote to go with his ballet, The Nutcracker.

Each season National Lyric Opera, Dicapo Opera Theatre's touring company, takes several Dicapo productions on tour throughout the Northeast, providing thousands of music-lovers with the opportunity to experience opera live. This season the company will tour La Bohème, Susannah, and "A Grand Night for Singing," a fully staged evening of Rodgers & Hammerstein music.

In 1997 Dicapo Opera Theatre initiated its Resident Artists Program, which was established to assist singers in bridging the gap between their music training and their professional careers. Resident artists perform all secondary roles, provide covers for leading roles and the ensemble for main stage productions, perform in outreach productions, as well as in many of their own concerts. Throughout, , they participate in master classes and workshops provided by Dicapo. Resident artists have performed leading and supporting roles with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and leading regional companies, including Sarasota Opera, Nashville Opera, Augusta Opera and Virginia Opera.

Dicapo also conducts a children's educational program for young people who love to sing, with weekly classes and the opportunity to take part in concerts and main stage Dicapo Opera Theatre productions, where they work with professional directors, singers, actors and musicians. Directed by Diane Martindale, the children are exposed to a rich and varied musical curriculum as well as an authentic theater environment. The children regularly perform as guest artists with other companies and appeared in the Juilliard Opera Center's national telecast of Hansel und Gretel on Live From Lincoln Center.

Dicapo Opera Theatre's 2005-06 subscription season of four major events began in October with Puccini's beloved La Bohème. The season also features the Dicapo Opera Theatre production of Carlisle Floyd's Susannah in April, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its premiere, and "A Grand Night for Singing," an evening-long revue of the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Dicapo's rare double bill presentation of Rachmaninoff's choral symphony The Bells and his one-act opera Francesca da Rimini, held in the sanctuary of St. Jean Baptiste Church, was standing-room-only and praised by The New York Times and Opera News. In addition to Puccini Passion, other notable presentations this season are Oscar Straus's The Merry Niebelungs, a riotous parody of Wagner's Ring and several family productions, including Vittorio Gianinni's Beauty & the Beast.

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