Let music put you in a ‘New York State of Mind’ with an all-star video and free opera in Bryant Park

As NYC continues to reopen with COVID-19 safety protocol in place, audiences can enjoy two stellar concert performances today, online and/or in person. And even better, you don’t have to choose, you can do both, and they’re both free of charge, with no registration required.

Bryant Park. Photo Ryan Muir.

This evening, Saturday, August 21, from 7-8 pm, stars of the New York City Opera will treat audiences of all ages, both in person and online, to a family-friendly concert, Now That’s What I Call Opera!, as part of the free open-air series of Bryant Park Picnic Performances. Emceed by General Director Michael Capasso in an engaging and educational format, the program of operatic favorites includes selections from The Barber of Seville, Carmen, Rigoletto, La Bohème, and many other beloved classics, performed by the cast of Lisa Chavez, Adam Cioffari, Adam Diegel, and Kristin Sampson, with Kamal Khan serving as music director and pianist.

When it was founded in 1943, NYC’s legendary Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia called City Opera “The People’s Opera;” now, more than 70 years later, the company continues its historic mission to inspire audiences with theatrically compelling innovative opera and emerging talents, building new audiences through affordable ticket prices and extensive outreach and education programs.​

New York City Opera Company in Bryant Park. Photo by Angelito Jusay.

Now That’s What I Call Opera! by the New York City Opera plays on Saturday, August 21, 7 pm, at Bryant Park, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, 40th and 42nd Streets, Upper Terrace, NYC. No tickets are needed for the event, but a government-issued photo ID and proof of full vaccination status or a recent negative COVID-19 test is required for attendance. If you can’t make it to the show in-person, you can watch the livestream exclusively on the Bryant Park website, courtesy of Bank of America.

To support its mission of helping “the city we love recover and rebuild . . . by creating moments of joy,” NYCNext, a grassroots army of volunteers, is focusing on New York’s creative community and putting everyone everywhere in a “New York State of Mind” with an all-new all-star video of the Billy Joel hit.

Directed by Joshua Seftel (Smartypants Pictures), with Andrew Lerner serving as Executive Producer and Tom Kitt as Co-Conceiver, Music Supervisor, Co-Arranger, and Co-Orchestrator, the video was filmed around all five boroughs at such iconic locations as Birdland, the Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, La Casita de Chema, Maimonides Park, NYU, Open Jar Studios, Red Hook Winery, Russ & Daughters, the Staten Island Ferry, Steinway & Sons Factory, Tom’s Restaurant, and the Wonder Wheel, among many others.

This uplifting love letter to the City is sung by a wide array of top artists from multiple disciplines in the entertainment industry. Featured in the video are powerful performances by Billy Joel’s singer-songwriter daughter Alexa Ray Joel, Zeshan B., Sara Bareilles, Mario Cantone, Victoria Clark, Cautious Clay, Andy Cohen, Stephen Colbert, Jerry Dixon, Chloe Flower, Joseph Joubert, Tom Kitt, The Klezmatics, The Yankees, LaChanze, Idina Menzel, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Brian Newman, Kelli O’Hara, Joan Osborne, Peppermint, Angie Pontani, Anaïs Reno, Mark Rivera, David Rosenthal, Bobby Sanabria, Ben Stiller, and Suzanne Vega.

You can enjoy the inspiring work below, and if you’re moved to make a tax-deductible donation, or to volunteer, visit the NYCNext website.

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Deb Miller
Deb Miller (PhD, Art History) is the Senior Correspondent and Editor for New York City, where she grew up seeing every show on Broadway. She is an active member of the Outer Critics Circle and served for more than a decade as a Voter, Nominator, and Judge for the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre. Outside of her home base in NYC, she has written and lectured extensively on the arts and theater throughout the world (including her many years in Amsterdam, London, and Venice, and her extensive work and personal connections with Andy Warhol and his circle) and previously served as a lead writer for Stage Magazine, Phindie, and Central Voice.


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