Friday, October 29, 2021

Chelsea Opera presents "Songs of Summers Past" on Saturday, November 6 at 8:00 PM, live streamed from St. John's Church in the Village, New York City

Richard Hobson

Chelsea Opera presents... SONGS OF SUMMERS PAST

After an 18-month covid pause, CHELSEA OPERA returns to New York City with a concert of arias, duets and songs on Saturday, November 6 at 8:00 PM from St. John's Church in the Village, 218 West 11th Street.  The hour-long program will feature former lead singers from past productions and will be live streamed, co-produced by Musae.  In-person advance tickets are $20, live stream are $15, and a limited number of tickets at the door are $25.  This program is being underwritten by NYSCA Rapid Grants.  For more information and tickets, visit

The concert will feature Joanie Brittingham and Sarah Daniels, sopranos; co-founder Leonarda Priore, mezzo-soprano, Bradley Bickhardt and Chad Kranak, tenors; and Richard Hobson, baritone; accompanied by collaborative pianist Jestin Pieper.  The program will include selections from Lakmè, Porgy and Bess, Ballymore:  Part One - Winners, The Medium, Rigoletto, Street Scene, L'elisir d'amore, and Tosca, as well as songs by Tosti, Rorem, Gordon, Moore, and Schmidt.

Baritone Richard Hobson made his debut as Count Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) with Chelsea Opera. He later sang for ten consecutive years at the Metropolitan Opera. Among his many productions at the Met were Madama Butterfly, Rigoletto, Carmen, Boris Goudanov, Andrea Chenier, War and Peace, and The Nose. At New York City Opera, he sang the eponymous role of Porgy in Porgy and Bess, and Zuniga in Carmen. He is presently an Affliate Artist at Southern University, New Orleans, where he teaches voice and is the founder and director of the resident opera company, Opera Southern.

Now in its 18th season, Chelsea Opera is a professional company presenting fully staged operas with chamber orchestra, and concerts that include various genres. The company provides a nationally recognized venue for professional singers to advance their careers while making opera affordable and accessible to a broad spectrum of the community.  The fine acoustics of the space provide excellent hearing, and its intimacy allows the audience to feel more connected to the performances.  Of Chelsea Opera’s sustainability, Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times noted in June 2009:  “With American opera companies large and small struggling financially and a few going under, [Chelsea Opera is] a patch of encouraging news…”  Following its 60th anniversary production of Aaron Copland’s The Tender Land in 2014, writer Jon Sobel declared that Chelsea Opera “certainly ranks as one of the country’s preeminent ‘small’ opera companies.”

Formed in 2004 by singers Lynne Hayden-Findlay and Leonarda Priore, Chelsea Opera was launched with an all-volunteer production of Suor Angelica.  Initially, Ms. Priore and Ms. Hayden-

Findlay had only intended to produce this one opera.  However, artist and audience response was so compelling that they agreed to move forward, incorporating the company and obtaining their IRS non-profit designation in a record eight days. They have since produced an extensive range of operas, from standard rep such as Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Don Giovanni, and Tosca, to newly composed works such as Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied which garnered rave reviews from both The New York Times and Opera News, and was revived in November 2015 thanks in part to a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts – Art Works program, one of two such grants the company would receive.

Chelsea Opera has received major support from The Bettina Baruch Foundation, The Amphion, Good News, Ditson, Kovner and Tuttleman Foundations, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), as well as from the Friends of Chelsea Opera.  In-kind support has been provided by JetBlue Airways, the official airline of Chelsea Opera.

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