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Nadia Boulanger is widely considered one of the most important women in the history of music, having taught iconic 20th-Century composers including Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Astor Piazzolla, Philip Glass, and Quincy Jones. Her only opera, La ville morte, with a libretto by Gabriele D’Annunzio, is a twisted love story that explores the destructive power of obsession and desire within a quartet of characters. The work was scheduled to premiere at the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1914, but with the outbreak of World War I, it never did, and the music was lost. Nearly a century later, vital New York-based chamber company Catapult Opera has commissioned David Conte, one of Boulanger’s last protégés, to compose a full score based on Boulanger’s recently discovered piano reduction of the orchestra, for a new production helmed by acclaimed opera and film director Robin Guarino, conducted by Catapult founder and artistic director Neal Goren, and featuring the Talea Ensemble. A co-production of Catapult and the Greek National Opera, La ville morte comes to NYU Skirball for its American premiere, after opening in Athens in January 2024.
Catapult Opera projects a more dynamic future for opera; the company seeks to broaden the art form and its audience, launching innovative productions that celebrate the classically trained voice. Catapult was founded in 2019 by Neal Goren, whose previous venture, Gotham Chamber Opera, popularized and legitimized the formerly ignored genre of chamber opera, which has now attained respect equal to the pillars of the operatic repertoire.www.catapultopera.org
The mission of the Greek National Opera is to offer audiences – at home and abroad – high-caliber productions, by presenting operas, ballets, operettas, operas for children and music recitals, among others. Performances are held at Greek National Opera’s two stages at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, as well as at the open-air Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The repertory of Greece’s only opera company covers four centuries of lyrical theater, from the works of Claudio Monteverdi to those of contemporary composers.
This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.
NYU Skirball’s programs are made possible in part with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature; and by Howard Gilman Foundation; FUSED (French U.S. Exchange in Dance), a program of FACE Foundation in partnership with Villa Albertine; General Delegation of the Government of Flanders to the USA; Collins Building Services; Korean Cultural Center New York, Marta Heflin Foundation; Harkness Foundation for Dance; as well as our valued donors through memberships, commissioning, and Stage Pass Fund support.