Today, May 18, legendary American opera soprano Lauren Flanigan, known for creating memorable contemporary opera roles, stars in "Lauren Flanigan's 4th Annual 50th Birthday Bash," presented by American Opera Projects and Music and Mentoring House. The evening is a marathon concert of fifty-four (54) rarely-heard songs performed by Flanigan and friends. Harlem's historic Italian bistro Ristorante Settepani, 196 Lenox Ave. at 120th St., will serve a special menu of Lauren's favorite appetizers and entrees. Tickets are $54 ($39 tax-deductible) and must be purchased in advance at http://flaniganis50again.eventbrite.com or at www.operaprojects.org. Proceeds go towards American Opera Projects' Composers & the Voice program that commissions, develops, and presents contemporary opera.
Lauren Flanigan has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Opera. Her association with American Opera Projects (AOP) began in 2003 with the world premiere of Deborah Drattell's Marina, directed by Anne Bogart (recent recipient of the Doris Duke Artists award). Using the "Viewpoints" acting tools popularized by Bogart, Ms. Flanigan created and led a training program for opera singers with AOP, focusing on character development and performance. In 2008, she created the role of Myra during AOP workshops of Séance on a Wet Afternoon by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked). Séance premiered with Ms. Flanigan at Opera Santa Barbara in 2009 and had a ten performance run with New York City Opera in 2010. Ms. Flanigan inaugurated AOP's partnership with Opera New Jersey in 2011 with a workshop of the opera-in-development The Family Room, written for her and soprano Catherine Malfitano by composer Thomas Pasatieri and librettist Daphne Malfitano.
Settepani's menu will include selections chosen by Lauren and restaurant founder Leah Abraham, with a birthday cake baked on the premises featuring somewhere between one and fifty-four candles (with pending approval of Fire Marshal).
Named by TIME Magazine as "the thinking man's diva" and awarded by ACSAP and the Center for Contemporary Opera for her commitment to performing the works of living composers, soprano Lauren Flanigan has firmly established herself as a unique musical presence in the world today. She has been featured on the telecast "Live from Lincoln Center" in performances of I Lombardi (opposite Luciano Pavarotti), The Richard Tucker Gala, Lizzie Borden and Central Park which was written for her. She has performed at many of the world's leading opera houses including La Scala, Teatro San Carlo, Bayerische Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera. Recordings include: Symphony No. 6 Plutonian Ode written for her by Philip Glass, The Cabildo, Merrymount, Die Liebe der Danae, Sun Cantata, and Frau Margot written for her by Thomas Pasatieri. DVD's include Nabucco from Teatro San Carlo and the motion picture Death to Smoochy where she appears as the Ice Skating Opera Diva.
American Opera Projects' mission is to champion innovative works of music theater, to expand the art form, and to identify, develop and present new works by emerging and established talent. AOP's goal is to create a lasting legacy of relevant music theater and to inspire new audiences with a fresh appreciation for new opera and theater. AOP is a driving force behind the revitalization of contemporary opera and musical theater in the United States through its exclusive devotion to creating, developing, and presenting new American opera and music Theatre Projects, nationally and internationally. Operas developed in AOP workshops were produced n many 2011-12 companies' seasons including Royal Opera House (London), San Francisco Opera Center, and UrbanArias (Washington D.C.). www.operaprojects.org