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Spotlight

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene

Experience the genesis of a brand new American opera

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene and the New York City Opera are thrilled to announce final casting for the world-premiere production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, a new American opera based on the book of the same name by Giorgio Bassani

Rachel Blaustein (Micól Finzi-Contini), Brian James Myer (Alberto Finzi-Contini), Mary Phillips (Mama), Franco Pomponi (Papà), Anthony Ciaramitaro (Giorgio), and Matt Ciuffitelli (Malnate) will head the cast of THE GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, which will feature production design by John Farrell, costume design by Ildikó Debreczeni, lighting design by Susan Roth, and production stage management by Diana Vassall-DuMelle.

The cast also includes D’Marreon Alexander, Robert Balonek, Adam Cioffari, Peter Kendall Clark, Dani Goldstein, Spencer Hamlin, Kristee Haney, Rebecca Hargrove, Sarah Heltzel, Adam Klein, Meredith Krinke, Melanie Long, Violet Paris, Gabe Ponichter, Sami Sallaway, Drew Seigla, Markos Simopoulos, Rosy Anoush Svazlian, Tim Roller, and Rachel Zatcoff.

Ranging from opera rising stars to veterans, the cast of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis encompasses the full scope of participants in the American opera tradition. The ensemble, 23-people strong, has performed all kinds of work, spanning the globe, from classics like Carmen to new works like Paul Vasile and Karin Coonrod’s Judith.

The opera is alive and well — this production includes an impressive selection from a generation of rising stars. Some very impressive credits come from the ensemble’s youngest members. Meredith Krinke, one of two singers playing Young Micòl, is a high school sophomore and a classically trained violinist; on top of her accomplishments as a performer, Violet Paris (the second Young Micòl) also studies composition with Max Grafe with a focus on composing choral music. Gabe Ponichter, the 14-year-old performer playing Young Giorgio, is also the fastest runner on his school’s cross country team and is a Level 6 American Red Cross swimmer.

These young performers will have the opportunity to learn from some of the most seasoned stars in the field: maestros who have performed everything, everywhere. On a parent-mentor level, Mary Phillips, who plays Mama, is a Grammy Award-winner and is closely associated with the music of Wagner and Verdi. She has sung many roles in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen with The Metropolitan Opera, Canadian Opera, Scottish Opera, Seattle Opera, Hawaii Opera and Dallas Opera. Likewise, Franco Pomponi, who plays Papà, is the cofounder and president of Opera Festival of Chicago. He has been a soloist with Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Orchestre de Paris, L’Orchestre Philharmonie de Radio France, Grant Park Symphony, Qatar Philharmonic, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, and Musiciens du Louvre — essentially, he has a whole world of experience. 

Regardless of age or level of experience, we know we have assembled an incredible ensemble, filled with major talent from top to bottom. We’re so excited to bring these folks together to share this classic story with you through fresh eyes.

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis will be presented January 27 – February 6, 2022

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