Anna Nicole is coming to New York City Opera! Mark-Anthony Turnage’s opera about the former Playboy playmate and tabloid fixture was a smash hit at the Royal Opera House in London two seasons ago. It will open the 2013-2014 City Opera season in September in a co-production with Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Details were announced a press conference on Tuesday morning at New York City Center.
The American premiere of Anna Nicole also serves as the opening of BAM’s Next Wave Festival. The production will star Sarah Joy Miller in the title role, along with fellow opera singer Rod Gilfrey, and musical theater stars Mary Testa and James Barbour. According to City Opera general manager and artistic director George Steel, all the Broadway singers auditioned "expecting to hold their own with opera singers" without using microphones onstage.
The season also includes another U.S. premiere, which Steel says he’s been dreaming of for over a decade: Endimione, by Johann Christian Bach, youngest son of J.S. Bach, and the only member of the family to compose opera. Endimione runs in February 2014 at El Museo del Barrio’s theater, where City Opera previously presented its last Baroque opera, Telemann’s Orpheus.
St. Ann’s Warehouse serves as a new collaborator for City Opera next season, to mount Bela Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, directed by Daniel Kramer. Kramer, who directed Bluebeard for English National Opera in 2009, will reconfigure the piece for the St. Ann’s Warehouse space, to create what Steel called an “installation piece” intended to be a one-hour "short, sharp shock – a total immersion experience." Winding up the season, Christopher Alden will direct a new production of The Marriage of Figaro at City Center.
Steel also announced the appointment of a new music director: Jayce Ogren. Ogren conducted this year’s production of Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and is currently preparing Rossini’s Moses in Egypt, set to open next month at City Center – which Steel referred to as the company’s “umbilical home.” While the number of productions is consistent with the current season, the total number of performances will increase from 16 to 23.
Below: The Royal Opera House created a preview trailer for Anna Nicole in 2011.