Yesterday the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) announced that soprano Susanna Phillips would have to withdraw as guest artist for the opening concert of the 2015–2016 season. Her replacement will be soprano Ailyn Pérez, who has graciously agreed to travel to San Francisco between her performances in the role of Mimi in Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the Dallas Opera world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Great Scott, his latest collaboration with librettist Terrence McNally. The vocal portion of the program will remain unchanged. It will begin with the “Letter Scene” from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and will also include Sergei Rachmaninoff’s wordless “Vocalise,” the last of his Opus 34 collection of fourteen songs.
Pérez is no stranger to San Francisco. She was a member of the Merola Opera Program during the summer of 2005. She then “graduated” to an Adler Fellowship with the San Francisco Opera (SFO). In 2014 she sang the role of Violetta in the SFO production of La traviata. A little over a year ago, Warner Classics released the Love Duets album, on which she sang with her husband, tenor Stephen Costello, last seen with SFO when he performed the role of the Ishmael character (Greenhorn) in Heggie’s Moby-Dick opera.
The remainder of the NCCO program will also remain unchanged. Featured Composer Jennifer Higdon will be “introduced” through three compositions, the “Strings” movement from her concerto for orchestra, “String Lake” from All Things Majestic, and “To the Point.” The program will also include an arrangement of Dmitri Shostakovich’s earliest (1931) composition for string quartet, a coupling of an elegy and a polka, and Arvo Pärt’s “Trisagion.”
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place on Saturday, September 19, at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, at 50 Oak Street, a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station on Market Street. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. As has already been noted, single tickets will not go on sale until August 1. However, subscriptions are still on sale. Full subscription packages range from $104 to $220; three-concert subscription packages are also available, which range from $78 to $165. Subscriptions may be purchased online from a special page set up on the NCCO Web site.
This concert will also still have its open rehearsal on September 17, beginning at 10 a.m. This will take place at the Kanbar Performing Arts Center at 44 Page Street, also a short walk from the Van Ness Muni station. Tickets will go on sale beginning on August 1 and will be available for $15 at the door or online from City Box Office.