For 61 years, the Amato Opera company reigned over the East Village as the world’s “Smallest Grand Opera Company.” After 61 years of delighting audiences with opulent operas ranging from Puccini’s “La Boheme” to Bizet’s “Carmen,” and after being inducted into City Lore’s People’s Hall of Fame for his contribution to artistic life in New York City, Tony Amato bequeathed his company, sets, costume, and staging rights, and all to a small group of his company members wishing to carry Amato’s torch via a new company named “Amore Opera.”
Amore Opera continues to stage grand opera productions in the East Village much the same way that Tony Amato did. Their performances take place at the Connelly Theatre and use a full orchestra, which is rare for companies operating on a small budget in a small space. What the Connelly lacks in seating capacity it makes of for intimacy though, allowing for more truthful performances than are usually equated with Opera. Amore has also recently started branching out by bringing “new” works to New York City via clever double bills. For example, heir recent production of Magic Flute played in rep with “Das Labyrinth,” a sequel to Magic Flute composed by Peter von Winter and a libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder, who also wrote the libretto to Magic Flute. Das Labyrinth premiered in Vienna on June 12, 1798, but as of 2013, had never been performed in the United States. Amore Opera decided to change this and brought this hidden gem of an opera to New York audiences. The production itself received mixed reviews, but one has to applaud to company for attempting a new production that has no U.S. performance precedence. This double bill idea seems to work well for the them. Other double bills they have brought to the U.S. include La Nozze di Figaro paired with the U.S. premiere of I Due Figaro and Pagliacci paired with the Circus Princess.
Amore Opera performers have also performed at the Met Opera, New York City Opera, Syracuse Opera, O.A.S. Hall of the Americas, and won several prestigious competitions. The conductors have conducted at the Met Opera and New York Philharmonic. When you go, don’t be deceived by the small space, you will hear big voices and see immense talent.
If you hurry, you can catch their current production of Madama Butterfly running through May 25th, 2014.