Mannes Opera and Lang Dance End the Semester with a Bow

Students in rehearsal for Eugene Lang College's annual Spring Dance Production. Photo by Frank Mullaney.

As the 2011’2012 academic year enters its final act, two of The New School’s premiere performing arts programs are preparing for a big finish.

According to the New York Times, Mannes Opera enjoys a stellar reputation for the quality of its presentations and the excellence of its student singers., On May 4 and 5,the company presents a full production of Mozart’s masterpiece Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni gives the emerging artists of Mannes Opera the invaluable experience of studying and performing one of the greatest of all operas,, says Mannes Opera artistic director Joseph Colaneri, who conceived of and conducts the production. Our students will come away with a deeper understanding of art as it imitates life because of their immersion in this seminal work.,

From the outset, Don Giovanni presents artistic directors with a novel challenge: deciding which of the two versions to perform. One common version ends with Don Giovanni’s descent into hell, while another extends into an epilogue, in which the surviving characters share their hopes and fears for the future. Mannes Opera will be performing the latter.

Popular readings of the opera consider the shorter version more authentic,, dismissing the original epilogue as conforming to contemporary notions of morality. Colaneri, though, believes the epilogue is important because it captures the ambiguity of the human experience: The lives of its characters continue after the narrative concludes, giving the opera a richer and more textured quality.

Tickets to Don Giovanni are $25 ($10 for students and seniors) and can be ordered by telephone at 212.772.4448. The opera will be performed at Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College (68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues), and those who cannot attend the full production can hear the concert version: Mannes Opera performers will be singing excerpts at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at Mannes Concert Hall. No tickets or reservations are required.

Eugene Lang College’s annual Spring Dance Production, presenting a mix of professional- and student-choreographed dance pieces, runs concurrently with Don Giovanni. This year, Lang dancers partner with two acclaimed modern dance troupes, Trisha Brown Company and Movement Research, in a collaboration that allows students to learn from dancers and choreographers of these two companies who lead classes at Eugene Lang College.

Students working with Trisha Brown Company dancers restage one of the company’s classic pieces, and students collaborating with Movement Research present a new work. An original work by Lang choreography professor Neil Greenberg and his First-Year Repertory students will also be performed.

According to Jenn Riegle, assistant director for the Arts at Lang, this mixture of classic and cutting-edge is illustrative of the students’ approach to dance: These students are inventive, they’re modern,, says Riegle. At Lang, they’re learning different dance vocabularies, but not that there’s no one ‘right’ way to dance.,

Tickets to the Spring Dance Production on May 4 and 5, at the Alley Citigroup Theater (405 West 55th Street at Ninth Avenue) are $5, and free for all New School students, faculty, staff, and alumni. To RSVP, email or call 212.229.5488.