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New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center Announce New Opera Initiative

Posted January 15, 2015

The Importance of Being Earnest NY Philharmonic


Exciting news! The New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts today announced a new, multi-year initiative to present fully-staged productions of significant modern operas not yet seen in New York.

First up: the U.S. stage premiere of George Benjamin's Written on Skin, at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, August 11, 13, and 15, 2015, at the David H. Koch Theater. New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert will conduct the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. "This new collaboration will allow the realization of creative ideals that have been important to me since coming to the Philharmonic — the sky’s the limit in terms of the productions of bold, modern operas that can come out of it," Gilbert said. (Last June a concert of Benjamin's music was part of the inaugural NY PHIL BIENNIAL.)

The second presentation is the U.S. stage premiere of the Irish composer Gerald Barry’s opera The Importance of Being Earnest (above), based on Oscar Wilde’s comedy. It will be presented June 2 and 4, 2016, jointly as part of the second NY PHIL BIENNIAL and Lincoln Center’s 50th season of Great Performers at the Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. This production, which was premiered at the Royal Opera House in London, is directed by Ramin Gray and will be conducted by Ilan Volkov, leading New York Philharmonic musicians. 

A third production, slated for 2017, will be announced at a later date.

The collaboration arose from "a positive equivalent of a perfect storm," Jane Moss, Lincoln Center's artistic director, told The New York Times

She said that a confluence of events had led her to seek a teaming with the Philharmonic: her admiration of its pathbreaking semi-staged performances of Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre and Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen; her desire to bring Written on Skin to New York; and her search for top-flight orchestras.

Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, said that he considered the partnership a way to make good on a founding goal of Lincoln Center. “This is really true to that original vision, to be able to work together and to use the energy and the possibilities of all the different constituents and the people who are working all on the same campus,” he said.


Access to tickets for Written on Skin and The Importance of Being Earnest are guaranteed by purchasing a Producers Circle package from Lincoln Center. Email producerscircle@lincolncenter.org or call (212) 875-5466 for information. Single tickets will be available for purchase at a later date.