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Since New York Grand Opera premiered with a performance of La Boheme on May 23, 1973 in the grand ballroom of the Riverside Plaza Hotel on Manhattan’s West 73rd Street, the Company has given over 200 performances of over 50 different operas  to over 3 million people in Central Park, throughout the five boroughs, Long Island and New Jersey.  For  many, New York Grand Opera’s performances have been their first experience hearing and seeing an opera.  


New York Grand Opera’s performances  have included not only the standards such AidaRigoletto,ToscaCavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci but also such rarities as an unfamiliar La Boheme by Leoncavallo and Verdi’s lost and rare Stiffelio in their American premieres; the first staged performances in the United States of Verdi’s Giovanna d'Arco; the first staged performance in New York of Aroldo; the first  New York staged performance in 127 years of Verdi’s I Masnadieri; the first New York performance with orchestra of the earliest Verdi opera, Oberto; and the first professional staged performance in fifty years of Halevy’s La Juive.


In addition to its annual summer series in Central Park, New York Grand Opera has played throughout the metropolitan area in such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the Beacon Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Temple B’nai Jeshurun, Bronx Botanical Gardens, Cunningham Park in Queens, Snug Harbor on Staten Island, Co-op City in the Bronx, the Flushing Center for the Arts, and Brookdale Park in Montclair, New Jersey. The company has also given a number of performances  for students in elementary through high schools throughout the City as part of its educational program


New York Grand Opera is unique in the world for presenting free, professional  fully-staged operas in an open venue. Stage directors have included Anthony Stivanello, Lawrence Florio,  Roberto Stivanello, James Lucas and Franco Gentilesca and Albert Bergeret.


When the company was formed, Maestro La Selva felt that New York needed a professional opera company which would fall somewhere between the New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. La Selva wanted to build audiences, to give people a chance to see and hear opera who might not have been able to afford the other companies. And, of course, he wanted to give qualified singers a chance. Thus, he has discovered many singers who have gone on to professional careers as well as using Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera singers including Lucine Amara, Gabriella Tucci, Enrico di Giuseppe, Frank Guarrera and Isola Jones.  



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