On this week's show we will go into the archives from two past episodes, where Greg Trupiano was one of my guests.
We will replay part of my show on Fort Greene - Greg loved bringing the history of his beloved Brooklyn to life, especially where it was touched and greatly influenced by Walt Whitman- and my interview with Greg and Michael Capasso, the General Director of the New York City Opera, on the history of opera in New York City.
Greg was wonderful in so many ways, and he was taken from us far too soon. I hope you will join us.
Jeff introduces his first guest Greg Trupiano, who is a Brooklyn native growing up in the Kensington neighborhood. Greg explains how he first got involved in sharing neighborhood history with people. This initially started with his passion for the famous American poet Walt Whitman. Through the Walt Whitman Project, Greg gives tours across Brooklyn. Greg then goes into the early history of Fort Greene. Under the British rule, Fort Greene and all of Brooklyn was mainly rural farmland. Fort Greene saw a lot of action during the Revolutionary War, the most famous of which was the Battle of Brooklyn. During this time, the British were using the Brooklyn Navy Yard as a place to put American prisoners on ships. In addition, there was a lot of abolitionist work going on in Fort Greene after the war. There was a large African-American population due to the ending of slavery in 1827.
Greg discusses the importance of the implementation of L trains through Fort Greene. Many historic buildings are located in Fort Greene, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the oldest hospital in Brooklyn. The Williamsburg Saving Banks Tower is another significant piece of architecture, for at least half a century was the tallest building in the borough. Jeff then brings up the decline of Fort Greene in the mid-1900s. After the Brooklyn Navy Yard was decommissioned in 1966, the neighborhood lost a lot of its population and wealth. Greg says that In the 1980s the neighborhood was revitalized and people began repopulating the area.
Jeff started off the show by introducing the history of the opera in New York City. Jeff introduces his first two guests, Michael Capasso, and Greg Trupiano. He then talks about the background of them. Jeff then asks how Michael got to work with the New York City Opera. Michael comes from an Italian family and he used to listen to a famous singer’s song when he was young and he also read a book about the singer by then he was inspired. Then Jeff asks his second guest, Greg Trupiano. Greg talks about how the Garcia family came to New York to produce the Italian Opera.
Jeff continues to ask about the history of opera in New York. Michael talks about a very famous company that started in the 18th century, the Metropolitan Opera House. The wealthy businessmen built the Metropolitan Opera House. They are able to gather the most famous opera singers to perform in the Metropolitan Opera House. Then he talks about the New York City Opera being “people’s opera” because it was popular with its new price and its features appeal to the immigrant population.
00:00:40.650 --> 00:00:48.900 Jeff Goodman: Hello everyone. Welcome to our listeners in the Big Apple from across the US and around the world. I'm Jeff Goodman and this is rediscovering New York
00:00:49.710 --> 00:00:59.490 Jeff Goodman: It's the middle of summer here in New York. The weather is very pleasantly summary. We're not in the middle of a heatwave and I thought on such a nice summer evening I would go into our archives
00:01:00.510 --> 00:01:09.780 Jeff Goodman: I decided that it would be very fitting to pay tribute to a past guest on the show someone very special Greg true piano who sadly passed away in February.
00:01:11.130 --> 00:01:18.720 Jeff Goodman: Greg Love, bringing the history of his beloved Brooklyn to life, especially where was touched and influenced by America's great poet Walt Whitman.
00:01:19.800 --> 00:01:23.670 Jeff Goodman: Greg was the founder and artistic director of the Walt Whitman project here in New York.
00:01:24.420 --> 00:01:37.110 Jeff Goodman: I didn't know Greg. For a long time we met on a walking tour last summer, the Brooklyn waterfront. In fact, that he created and hosted and aptly called crossing the Brooklyn fairy after a poem of the same name by weapon.
00:01:38.220 --> 00:01:48.150 Jeff Goodman: Greg also loved opera and especially bringing opera into people's lives. Among his many, many hats. Greg war. He was the artistic administrator of the Sarasota operate in Florida.
00:01:49.380 --> 00:01:55.260 Jeff Goodman: I was lucky to have had Greg as my guests, not on one show, but to when we celebrated to have his loves
00:01:55.980 --> 00:02:01.830 Jeff Goodman: Greg was on an episode showcasing for green that wonderful Brooklyn neighborhood where Whitman actually once lived
00:02:02.610 --> 00:02:15.300 Jeff Goodman: And together with Michael capacity, the general director of the New York City Opera. He was part of a lively and fascinating conversation about the history of opera in New York City, which is one of my love's too. And that was from an episode I hosted last fall.
00:02:16.380 --> 00:02:22.020 Jeff Goodman: I hope you all enjoy these past shows at least half as much as I will hearing them again tonight.
00:02:24.750 --> 00:02:33.690 Rediscovering New York: And today we are headed to one of Brooklyn's most beautiful and oldest neighborhoods, one of my favorites Fort Greene and we're also going to talk a little bit about
00:02:34.380 --> 00:02:40.950 Rediscovering New York: Part of a neighborhood that's a little bit north of that wall about being the Brooklyn Navy Yard, our first guest is Greg tripping on. Oh.
00:02:41.430 --> 00:02:49.680 Rediscovering New York: Greg is a native of Brooklyn. He's the founder and artistic director of the Walt Whitman project. It's a Brooklyn based community arts organization that started in 2000
00:02:50.550 --> 00:02:58.170 Rediscovering New York: It's devoted to exploring the life and influence of a great American writer through readings of his poetry and prose and performances of musical compositions based on his text.
00:02:58.890 --> 00:03:08.760 Rediscovering New York: It's often said that Whitman is America's greatest poet past events of the Walt Whitman project had been have been produced in cooperation with American opera projects for Green Park.
00:03:09.540 --> 00:03:14.820 Rediscovering New York: I'm sorry for Korean Park Conservancy Brooklyn Historical Society of which Yours Truly happens to be a member
00:03:15.480 --> 00:03:23.850 Rediscovering New York: The Hudson guild theater company the Whitney Museum of American Art Museum of the City of New York bldg 92 with the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The Gay Gotham chorus.
00:03:24.270 --> 00:03:30.600 Rediscovering New York: Brooklyn Museum of Art and with young poet writing mentor on jelly raspberry that I pronounce it then run Angela, Angela. Sorry.
00:03:31.110 --> 00:03:43.470 Rediscovering New York: I'm thinking we just how you and Angelina, and various other past partners include St. Francis college paste University. Lower Manhattan. The making Brooklyn Heights and central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn botanical garden.
00:03:44.490 --> 00:03:50.580 Rediscovering New York: Walt Whitman project has produced programs out of New York City at locations including the Walt Whitman birthplace in Huntington, Long Island.
00:03:51.060 --> 00:04:04.410 Rediscovering New York: And in Chicago, Washington, DC in Sarasota, Florida but Greg's artistic talent is not limited to New York. He's the artistic director who's our director of artistic administration at the Sarasota operate in Florida.
00:04:04.890 --> 00:04:08.640 Rediscovering New York: He spends half is year in that state well must be the wintertime you go down there.
00:04:09.270 --> 00:04:14.430 Rediscovering New York: And he doesn't run the company without some help long black is the projects artistic associate
00:04:14.820 --> 00:04:23.550 Rediscovering New York: Greg Hardy. Welcome to rediscovering New York, Jeff, thank you so much. This beautiful evening in Manhattan. You know, sometimes I get nervous when I leave Brooklyn, Jeff.
00:04:23.790 --> 00:04:35.160 Rediscovering New York: And I did so beautiful, this evening. I'm really glad to be here with you in Manhattan. Well, I ordered the weather that way as I sometimes do for walking tours and believe you me it wasn't that easy, but but we made it happen.
00:04:35.820 --> 00:04:43.860 Rediscovering New York: You're actually a Brooklyn native Greg. That's true. What part of Brooklyn that you're from, where'd you grow up. I grew up in Kensington Avenue and East Fourth Street.
00:04:44.250 --> 00:04:55.050 Rediscovering New York: I went to St. Rose of Lima Catholic elementary school. And then I went to Erasmus Hall High School in Flatbush in Flatbush 5% church Avenue. The second oldest
00:04:55.770 --> 00:04:58.320 Rediscovering New York: Public School in New York City actually in the nation.
00:04:58.860 --> 00:05:09.990 Rediscovering New York: And, you know, not that they were my classmates, but people like Barbra Streisand and Barbara Stanwyck and Billie Cunningham and Neil Diamond all went to Erasmus all high school
00:05:10.380 --> 00:05:18.150 Rediscovering New York: Did you study social, you must take and social studies at Erasmus whole I did, yes. Do you remember Mr Bernstein. No. Okay. My name. I don't know.
00:05:18.600 --> 00:05:30.480 Rediscovering New York: My favorite teacher in high school was Gladys Bernstein, and her husband was the chairman of the department at Erasmus, I went to midway, haha. And so I thought you might have forgot his first name were enemies, you went to MIT.
00:05:31.620 --> 00:05:35.640 Rediscovering New York: Which is not actually in midway midway, it is in Flatbush right it's just over the line.
00:05:36.900 --> 00:05:42.840 Rediscovering New York: We'll talk about the Walt Whitman project and a little bit. But I want to ask you how you got involved with
00:05:43.680 --> 00:05:51.930 Rediscovering New York: Passionately sharing neighborhood history with people and in the different things that you do. Well, it really came first from my love of Walt Whitman that came first.
00:05:52.170 --> 00:05:59.760 Rediscovering New York: And then when you read Walt Whitman, especially his journalism has pros and he starts talking about
00:06:00.360 --> 00:06:10.980 Rediscovering New York: I live near Flatbush Avenue. I lived on Hillary street I lived on Johnson street I lived near the near the Fulton ferry you start
00:06:11.880 --> 00:06:20.820 Rediscovering New York: Crossing over and develop passions for these neighborhoods too because Walt was there and you're trying to touch him as much as possible.
00:06:21.390 --> 00:06:29.670 Rediscovering New York: How long have you been giving tours. Great. Well, the Walt Whitman project is will be 20 years old in fall 2020 I'm very happy to say that
00:06:29.940 --> 00:06:40.110 Rediscovering New York: So I think we started to do tours fairly early on and this various tours. We do you know that the tour. You are on Jeff for Brooklyn historical
00:06:40.440 --> 00:06:50.250 Rediscovering New York: Society, the one of Fulton ferry and Walt Whitman. That was the first time I did that my colleague for that with Stefan killin was actually his idea and I helped him.
00:06:50.520 --> 00:07:01.680 Rediscovering New York: Develop that so that's one tour. We now have, I have a downtown Whitman tour. It's surprising downtown, there are buildings that still exist that quick mean wrote about such as
00:07:01.950 --> 00:07:13.290 Rediscovering New York: For Whitman, who is Brooklyn City Hall Brooklyn Borough Hall Whitman wrote extensively about one of his big concerns when they were building it in the 1840s, was I hope that has good ventilation.
00:07:13.920 --> 00:07:23.550 Rediscovering New York: And then the tour that I do give the most is the Fort Greene Park Walt Whitman tour through through and in conjunction with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy.
00:07:23.940 --> 00:07:30.030 Rediscovering New York: And we'll talk about an upcoming tour. And the second part of our time together and full disclosure, everyone Greg and I first met about a month ago.
00:07:30.360 --> 00:07:37.470 Rediscovering New York: I went on this great tour that was sponsored by the Brooklyn Historical Society. It's called crossing Brooklyn fairy. It was about Walt Whitman was very inspiring.
00:07:38.520 --> 00:07:49.380 Rediscovering New York: Let's move to Fort Greene with a neighborhood that became for green before Europeans came with a native peoples living in the area. Yes, certainly. They were the Canarsie Lynette
00:07:49.980 --> 00:08:01.230 Rediscovering New York: People and then Europeans first arrived in the area. Probably 10 years after the Dutch settled New Amsterdam to start the farming there. Right. And it was the Dutch you came to Brooklyn also
00:08:02.370 --> 00:08:16.200 Rediscovering New York: What was the area like when the British rule, New York, before the time of the revolution. Well, it was Brooklyn was was not a City, New York was a City, New York, Brooklyn, which just at Open agricultural land.
00:08:16.770 --> 00:08:24.150 Rediscovering New York: Maybe the population was about between 4005 thousand obviously lots of descendants from the from Dutch times
00:08:24.900 --> 00:08:34.740 Rediscovering New York: And about a quarter of the population were slaves quarter the population in Brooklyn were slaves. Wow. Correct. I was remember slavery is not outlawed in New York State until 1827
00:08:36.000 --> 00:08:36.990 Rediscovering New York: And it was the second
00:08:38.010 --> 00:08:45.210 Rediscovering New York: To the last state in the north to actually get rid of slavery, the first being, New Jersey, we have we have something over New Jersey.
00:08:45.750 --> 00:08:52.140 Rediscovering New York: A Fort Greene, or the neighborhood that the area that would become the neighborhood for cream saw a lot of action during the Revolutionary War.
00:08:52.320 --> 00:08:58.530 Rediscovering New York: Oh, it certainly did. And when actually we're coming up to a time of the year when we commemorate that and that's the Battle of Brooklyn.
00:08:58.770 --> 00:09:14.370 Rediscovering New York: Also known as the Battle of Long Island, but for any number of reasons. I do prefer the title of the Battle of Brooklyn. So, on August 27 1776 the, the British had a plan to save the American empire, and that was to take
00:09:15.090 --> 00:09:23.220 Rediscovering New York: New York City and the surrounding areas and to hold them to to send, send soldiers in and to seize them.
00:09:23.760 --> 00:09:35.670 Rediscovering New York: This way they could cut off New England and part of New York from the rest of the colonies and they hope by doing that, that they would maintain the their control over the area.
00:09:36.090 --> 00:09:43.980 Rediscovering New York: And that the British sailed into graves and day in Brooklyn, a few months before August 27
00:09:44.490 --> 00:09:55.230 Rediscovering New York: And they brought with them over 30,000 men for this expedition huge number of men. So when they finally landed in Brooklyn. On August 27 THEY OVERWHELMED.
00:09:55.500 --> 00:10:05.280 Rediscovering New York: The rather ragtag American army. It was not a good day and night for George Washington. Now, the Battle of Brooklyn was geographically wide ranging
00:10:05.730 --> 00:10:17.880 Rediscovering New York: Part of it. For example, took place in Park Slope at the old now, today, we have to reconstruction of the old stone house that that commemorates that part of it took place in the pumpkin patch.
00:10:18.150 --> 00:10:32.190 Rediscovering New York: At Greenwood Cemetery on on 36 Street and part of it also did take place at Fort Greene. Now for the American Revolution Fort Greene. The fourth at present day for green was actually called fort Putnam
00:10:32.520 --> 00:10:43.080 Rediscovering New York: When the Americans figures out that the strategy of the British was that they were going to sell in and try to take over Brooklyn Brooklyn Heights and New York. They quickly put up a series
00:10:43.800 --> 00:10:51.090 Rediscovering New York: Of readouts or or small forts made out of trees and and and stones and mud.
00:10:51.390 --> 00:11:04.920 Rediscovering New York: And the readout at the top of Fort Greene was called for Putnam, for example, Cardwell Carol Park is today that's that was another form that the Americans put up as was for defiance off the shore of Red Hook.
00:11:05.250 --> 00:11:13.590 Rediscovering New York: The British came in and overwhelmed the Americans, the Americans lost their lives, forcing George Washington to retreat from Fulton landing
00:11:14.310 --> 00:11:18.150 Rediscovering New York: Fulton ferry landing over to Manhattan under the cover of dark
00:11:18.690 --> 00:11:28.890 Rediscovering New York: And and fog that descended on the evening of August 27 thank goodness, he data, we probably wouldn't have the United States that we know today that is absolutely true.
00:11:29.490 --> 00:11:38.220 Rediscovering New York: And of course, we can't talk about for green or about Wall about Bay without talking about the the prison ships in their horrific conditions and the number of people who died.
00:11:38.940 --> 00:11:47.280 Rediscovering New York: at the hands of the British on these on these on these horrible ships, Jeff. It's very true act while about Bay, which we should we should say that's where the Brooklyn Navy Yard is today.
00:11:48.120 --> 00:11:51.810 Rediscovering New York: Before it the day what was filled in.
00:11:52.350 --> 00:12:00.780 Rediscovering New York: To better serve the Brooklyn Navy Yard in a beginning in 1801 the British ran out of land jails and other places.
00:12:00.990 --> 00:12:13.800 Rediscovering New York: Where to put their imprisoned Americans those Americans who weren't cheering for George the Third who wanted independence. So they were being locked up by the British including women, including including women, including people who were
00:12:13.980 --> 00:12:21.390 Rediscovering New York: Quote unquote not Americans, right, because people from all over the globe came to fight the British for American independence. So was
00:12:22.170 --> 00:12:30.000 Rediscovering New York: It was very much a a mixed bag of people who came to fight for American independence.
00:12:30.480 --> 00:12:36.570 Rediscovering New York: The British sailed into wall about Bay about 16 derelict chips that they had from from their navy.
00:12:36.840 --> 00:12:47.610 Rediscovering New York: And they imprisoned, the Americans on them the most notorious of these ships was the jersey. That was the intake ship. So that was the ship that everyone had to go to and which people remember
00:12:47.910 --> 00:12:59.340 Rediscovering New York: And on these ships people died of starvation of disease of overcrowding and every morning, the British would say Americans pass out. You're dead. The Americans within
00:12:59.640 --> 00:13:09.180 Rediscovering New York: A buried in the shallow sands of the wall about day. And over the course of decades. These remnants these bones washed up to the shore.
00:13:10.230 --> 00:13:16.620 Rediscovering New York: Also, lots of bones were recovered when the navy yard was construction started in
00:13:18.150 --> 00:13:27.300 Rediscovering New York: The people of the area of wall about hated the British and the cruelty that they exhibited to these prisoners of war.
00:13:27.630 --> 00:13:30.930 Rediscovering New York: And it's estimated, and this might be a conservative estimate
00:13:31.200 --> 00:13:47.040 Rediscovering New York: Estimation that over 12,000 people died on the ships which not more than the continental soldiers who were killed in an action which wasn't even not to minimalize that number, which wasn't even 6000 so double the number of people.
00:13:47.520 --> 00:14:01.800 Rediscovering New York: Died on the prison ships how horrible finally in 1808 the bone shards and other remnants of these now called martyrs while about patriots prison ship martyrs.
00:14:02.400 --> 00:14:21.960 Rediscovering New York: They are was constructed a little temple to them little wooden structure right on the western wall of the Navy Yard. And that was the first of three structures created in order to honor the prison ship Marcus and Walt Whitman knew that structure. He talks about it in a newspaper series.
00:14:23.100 --> 00:14:33.660 Rediscovering New York: What we're going to take a break in a minute. What was the area that would become for green. What was it like before the Civil War right before the Civil War, and before Brooklyn underwent a lot of industrialization short so
00:14:34.980 --> 00:14:42.840 Rediscovering New York: The great thing about Fort Greene is the hill right and that hill might have even actually been higher at one time.
00:14:43.140 --> 00:14:48.690 Rediscovering New York: What was going to happen before the Civil War in the 1840s that area was being developed Brooklyn.
00:14:48.930 --> 00:14:57.300 Rediscovering New York: Which was which finally became a city unto itself in 1834 was spreading towards the east towards present day Bed Stuy and Queens.
00:14:57.600 --> 00:15:14.340 Rediscovering New York: And the plan was to level the hill of old for to green and to put streets in right so so you wouldn't have a Willoughby street on one side and will it be Avenue, on the other, will it be would go all the way through on a level playing
00:15:14.730 --> 00:15:32.340 Rediscovering New York: And it was actually very much because of Walt Whitman and his being the editor of the Brooklyn daily Eagle that that did not happen that old Fort Greene, which became for green for the war of 1812 was saved and maintained.
00:15:33.600 --> 00:15:46.230 Rediscovering New York: In fact, Fort Greene Park is actually older than Prospect Park. Yes, that's absolutely correct. It wasn't for Queen Park first created by an act of the legislature yes state legislature, because it's the state legislature that
00:15:46.650 --> 00:15:51.000 Rediscovering New York: Actually controls parkland in in New York City. No, I didn't know that.
00:15:52.980 --> 00:16:07.080 Rediscovering New York: Okay. Um, there was a lot of abolitionist activity and for green right before the war, there was the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church which had the likes of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman come and speak and the church also aided the work of the Underground Railroad.
00:16:08.820 --> 00:16:10.950 Rediscovering New York: By 1870 I think didn't
00:16:12.270 --> 00:16:17.970 Rediscovering New York: More than half of African American Brooklynites live in Fort Greene I think the population.
00:16:18.330 --> 00:16:38.310 Rediscovering New York: I believe that's true. But remember, the remember the population of African Americans at that time in Brooklyn, which was not huge, but in that area. It was it was substantial and again it's remnants of slaves in New York State being given freedom by 1827
00:16:39.960 --> 00:16:46.110 Rediscovering New York: All right, well, we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our conversation with Greg up on the wall will
00:16:47.160 --> 00:16:47.940 Rediscovering New York: Be back in a minute.
00:18:50.310 --> 00:18:56.310 Rediscovering New York: We're back. My first guest is Greg trippy on of the world within project read, why don't you tell us a little bit about the project.
00:18:56.910 --> 00:19:07.800 Rediscovering New York: And what you do with with it. Thank you so much. It is a community based arts organization giving tours is just one of the several things that we do. We've also have
00:19:08.280 --> 00:19:14.880 Rediscovering New York: Sponsored poetry readings in Fort Greene Park and other locations such as some of the Brooklyn public libraries.
00:19:15.660 --> 00:19:19.830 Rediscovering New York: Not just the poetry of Walt Whitman. But poetry by living
00:19:20.400 --> 00:19:35.520 Rediscovering New York: Poets. And I'm very proud of that. Because Walt Whitman said he was just the first of many to come. So he was waiting for people to not only come after him, but to be greater than he was. And I think soon we're going to be there with that.
00:19:36.480 --> 00:19:49.080 Rediscovering New York: Well, you also I've because I'm from the world of music and Opera I've commissioned co condition. Lots of settings of Whitman texts to new music that's another thing that we do, we do literary events.
00:19:49.650 --> 00:19:57.060 Rediscovering New York: We do sometimes we do be community events such as a number of years ago in Fort Greene, we had
00:19:58.890 --> 00:20:07.440 Rediscovering New York: The Brooklyn hospital and many other important institutions from the neighborhood came and was a day in the park.
00:20:08.670 --> 00:20:16.140 Rediscovering New York: Inspired by Whitman readings of Whitman, but also the community, getting to know other parts of the Community.
00:20:16.710 --> 00:20:25.920 Rediscovering New York: And you have a special tour on Saturday, don't you, yes. It's one of our tours of Fort Greene Park told through the angle of how Walt Whitman.
00:20:26.190 --> 00:20:32.100 Rediscovering New York: As the editor of the Brooklyn daily eagle was quite influential in the creation of the park.
00:20:32.610 --> 00:20:42.960 Rediscovering New York: This was in 1846 and then finally in 1847 as you mentioned, the New York State Legislature finally gave for approval of a park on old Fort Greene.
00:20:43.290 --> 00:20:53.280 Rediscovering New York: If someone wants to find out about the tour. How can they get in touch with they should go to the Fort Greene Park Conservancy website and they should make a reservation and
00:20:54.750 --> 00:21:04.440 Rediscovering New York: And you know what, even the website says we're sold out come anyway. We start at 11 o'clock sharp as we, as we call it the top of the hill.
00:21:04.950 --> 00:21:12.900 Rediscovering New York: For Green Park at the visitor center. Well, if anyone's listening to this on podcast. The tour is going to be on Saturday, August 10 at 11am
00:21:13.440 --> 00:21:18.720 Rediscovering New York: Be there or be square. I actually would be there except I have another tour. I'm hosting. I can't bake it, otherwise I would go
00:21:19.290 --> 00:21:26.880 Rediscovering New York: Anyway, getting back to Fort Greene and after the Civil War, you know, Brooklyn Heights is known as the borrows oldest settled neighborhood.
00:21:27.360 --> 00:21:37.440 Rediscovering New York: And certainly the oldest upscale community, but is it for cream. The second oldest luxury community and what was then still the city of Brooklyn and older than Park Slope, I think.
00:21:37.830 --> 00:21:43.320 Rediscovering New York: That's that's true and and one way we could look at that is, remember when one of the great
00:21:43.770 --> 00:21:52.500 Rediscovering New York: Older institutions of Fort Greene is Bam, Brooklyn Academy of Music and that building a brand BAM on Lafayette right East Flatbush
00:21:53.220 --> 00:22:01.560 Rediscovering New York: Dates to 1908 but that's not the first band building the first band building what's on Montague Street near Clinton street in Brooklyn Heights.
00:22:01.830 --> 00:22:16.410 Rediscovering New York: And in 1903 the first band building in Brooklyn Heights burnt down so it was decided to move them from Montague Street to Lafayette Avenue, because they were following the money trail. So I think
00:22:16.800 --> 00:22:27.780 Rediscovering New York: That is absolutely true. I mean that that's one of the hands on examples we have of the money going towards that area, actually, because after the construction of the bridge. There was a
00:22:28.170 --> 00:22:34.200 Rediscovering New York: Genuine emotion of value of local real estate in the heights and also after the subway. That was was planned to be extended.
00:22:34.560 --> 00:22:42.060 Rediscovering New York: And the Brooklyn Academy music for those of you who've never been as it is a gorgeous structure. We used to go there being a native of Brooklyn. We used to go there from
00:22:42.720 --> 00:22:50.940 Rediscovering New York: Elementary School trips and I've seen some great some great music performances there over the years. I used to live two blocks away when I lived in boerum Hill, but that's another another story.
00:22:51.690 --> 00:23:02.670 Rediscovering New York: When we speak about the history of public transportation in Manhattan. The L trains figure prominently. The Third Avenue. Well, the Ninth Avenue, well the the Eighth Avenue. Well, the second avenue well
00:23:03.660 --> 00:23:10.890 Rediscovering New York: Brooklyn had its own L trains and a number of lines went through 430 yes that's I'm so glad you're bringing this up so
00:23:11.220 --> 00:23:24.510 Rediscovering New York: There was two major elevated says subways, which means they're not subways elevated trains went through for green one was on Fulton Street, which I believe was finally taken down that section of it in
00:23:24.960 --> 00:23:37.170 Rediscovering New York: In 1940 but even more recently on Myrtle Avenue. There was the L Train until 1969 now one of my favorite stories is when they took down the the L Train from Myrtle
00:23:37.440 --> 00:23:46.980 Rediscovering New York: They actually took part of the metal from the L and at St. Michael's and St Edward's church on St Edward's place in Fort Greene.
00:23:47.250 --> 00:24:00.690 Rediscovering New York: Thing fashioned a new altar out of part of the L structure and a new cross for the church. So it was a way of incorporating the, the old still in the community.
00:24:01.290 --> 00:24:08.910 Rediscovering New York: Actually, a little bit of forgotten, New York, if anyone's taking the old BMT line from the decal Avenue station toward the bridge.
00:24:09.510 --> 00:24:17.640 Rediscovering New York: There was a station that transferred to the L Train at Myrtle and in fact you can see now they're all these like colorful dancing figures through through slots so
00:24:18.750 --> 00:24:23.220 Rediscovering New York: I used to when I lived in Brooklyn. I used to love seeing that. But I don't take that that line or so I can't
00:24:24.180 --> 00:24:30.810 Rediscovering New York: Bama certainly one of the old time institutions in Fort Greene, but Brooklyn's oldest hospital was also based there. Yeah, absolutely.
00:24:31.620 --> 00:24:46.710 Rediscovering New York: What is today, Brooklyn Hospital Center used to be Brooklyn City Hospital. It was charted in the 1840s. The first major building on the site. Still, still there directly to the west of Fort Greene Park.
00:24:48.000 --> 00:24:59.430 Rediscovering New York: The route that original building opened in 1855. And again, Walt Whitman in his 1861 62 newspapers series Brooklyn IANA that he wrote for the Brooklyn standard
00:24:59.670 --> 00:25:09.330 Rediscovering New York: writes about the hospital and He is proud of it. He said, It's so wonderful to have this hospital now so many people know Whitman as an
00:25:09.660 --> 00:25:16.830 Rediscovering New York: visitor to the army hospitals during the Civil War in Washington. But when he came home to visit his mother.
00:25:17.160 --> 00:25:25.140 Rediscovering New York: Who, by the way, was still living on North Portland Street directly across the street from Fort Greene Park during the Civil War.
00:25:25.380 --> 00:25:40.860 Rediscovering New York: When he came home, he was still in the habit of going to Brooklyn City Hospital. On the other side of the park and visiting the sick and wounded veterans. So, he continued, that even when he wasn't in Washington, DC, so it's it's
00:25:41.310 --> 00:25:46.290 Rediscovering New York: A very important connection to the to the neighborhood and to Walt Whitman.
00:25:48.030 --> 00:25:56.160 Rediscovering New York: There's a little plug here with the Brooklyn Historical Society. They have a great exhibition at the name branch and Pierpont Street. It's called taking care of Brooklyn. I've actually seen it.
00:25:57.330 --> 00:26:07.170 Rediscovering New York: It's really something. And actually, it talks about the history of health care in Brooklyn from almost the time that that the Dutch we're here and the founding of Brooklyn hospital.
00:26:08.250 --> 00:26:13.770 Rediscovering New York: Has a prominent place in the exhibition. Let's talk briefly about the Williamsburg Savings Bank tower.
00:26:14.550 --> 00:26:20.790 Rediscovering New York: I, you know, for so many decades. It was like the loan skyscraper the quarter of Fort Greene with nothing else around it.
00:26:21.780 --> 00:26:31.110 Rediscovering New York: I wonder why they decided to build it at that location where there was not really much of anything else when it went up in the late 20th, but I believe there was still already the to now there's nine
00:26:31.440 --> 00:26:40.050 Rediscovering New York: subway lines underneath it. I doubt there were that many. I think it's right before the building of the independent subway line but
00:26:40.380 --> 00:26:46.020 Rediscovering New York: I think they were already several subway lines that merge there. So that would that would certainly seem good and
00:26:46.350 --> 00:26:52.170 Rediscovering New York: And I agree with you as you said earlier, I grew up in Brooklyn. And to me, that was always
00:26:52.380 --> 00:27:03.540 Rediscovering New York: The symbol of Brooklyn and I'm kind of sad. These days it was the tallest built. It was the tallest building in the borrow for for for at least half a century. And I have a very close friend who lives on the 26th floor.
00:27:03.750 --> 00:27:16.680 Rediscovering New York: With the wraparound balcony. Oh, wow. And he's there for now almost a decade and every fourth of July. Now, when we go up, we see less of the view because there's another very tall building, building there. Yes, it's true.
00:27:17.250 --> 00:27:26.940 Rediscovering New York: Well as a real estate agent. It was very interesting to see the condo development in the tower which you know which which they created really beautiful spaces about that.
00:27:28.350 --> 00:27:42.480 Rediscovering New York: Fast forwarding a little to the Second World War, at the height of the war. There were more than 70,000 people who are employed at the Navy Yard. Yes. And the fourth greenhouses, which are right north of myrtle Avenue. They were originally built during the war.
00:27:43.650 --> 00:27:49.950 Rediscovering New York: Right before the war. I think the key Myrtle and Park Avenue with the B2B is now to help alleviate the shortage of housing in the area.
00:27:52.230 --> 00:28:00.690 Rediscovering New York: Well, we have to go to to a sad part about the neighborhoods history which actually befell many neighborhoods in New York after the navy yard was decommissioned in 1966
00:28:01.290 --> 00:28:07.380 Rediscovering New York: It started a period of decline in the neighborhood and that generally is associated with a lot of neighborhoods in New York City.
00:28:08.340 --> 00:28:18.270 Rediscovering New York: What started the rejuvenation of Fort Greene, which began in the early 80s have to start with little bit of personal history. My mother's best friend.
00:28:18.900 --> 00:28:27.570 Rediscovering New York: Moved from Midwood and she bought a incredible brownstone on Washington Park for a song, you know, and the
00:28:28.080 --> 00:28:34.950 Rediscovering New York: Thing is incredible. And she was there at the end there at the birth of the of the of the rebirth of Fort Greene.
00:28:35.340 --> 00:28:45.150 Rediscovering New York: What what led to Fort Greene, because when we would visit there. I remember mom would say, then don't go in the park. It was one of the it was one of the most dangerous places in Brooklyn know it.
00:28:45.510 --> 00:28:48.690 Rediscovering New York: Jeff. There's no denying denying it. That's absolutely true.
00:28:49.020 --> 00:29:00.780 Rediscovering New York: I think one of the reasons why that area was rejuvenated is because of the fantastic housing stock that is there a brownstones and not only brownstones you go down certain blocks, such as
00:29:01.200 --> 00:29:21.420 Rediscovering New York: Oxford South Oxford Street, you will find freestanding would houses that have verandas and it, it's unbelievable that style of buildings that you have in Fort Greene. So I certainly think that was one one area of one reason why that area became
00:29:23.130 --> 00:29:31.290 Rediscovering New York: Popular again. Another reason is I think for Green Park itself. And also, you know, Jeff, you just mentioned the street called Washington Park.
00:29:31.590 --> 00:29:43.410 Rediscovering New York: And it's like, where did that name come from. Well, the original name of Fort Greene Park from 1847 to 1898 was Washington Park and Washington Park is the is the street.
00:29:43.890 --> 00:29:53.430 Rediscovering New York: It's the continuation of Cumberland between decal and and and Myrtle, you know, when the dog people with dog started to walk their dogs at night.
00:29:53.670 --> 00:30:03.390 Rediscovering New York: In the park in the 80s, early 90s that made the park much safer because it was inhabited by by by people again and the dogs from you didn't want to mess with
00:30:03.750 --> 00:30:09.990 Rediscovering New York: Its they parked in Biju buyer attacking their owners. Correct. I mean, I mean that that that did happen.
00:30:10.680 --> 00:30:24.720 Rediscovering New York: Of course we have to give credit to Herbert Scott Gibson on the 80s and the Fort Greene landmark preservation Committee, which also led to the establishment his efforts and the committee's efforts to have Fort Greene designated a historic district.
00:30:26.220 --> 00:30:32.520 Rediscovering New York: Well, we have a very short amount of time left. There's so much more we can talk about. But what I'd like to do in a minute or so we have left, left, Greg.
00:30:33.000 --> 00:30:40.770 Rediscovering New York: Is talk about some of the newer and more recent institutions in Fort Greene. Sure. Well, one of my favorites is a
00:30:41.220 --> 00:30:53.700 Rediscovering New York: Store. I'm sorry. One of my favorites is New York writers coalition and New York Rogers coalition semi, you know, Jeff, I'm going to say something to me so much a Fort Greene is about writing
00:30:54.090 --> 00:31:00.930 Rediscovering New York: And and people who famous writers who live there like Walt Whitman and Marianne more
00:31:01.290 --> 00:31:15.870 Rediscovering New York: And so many others. And here is a community organization that's one of the largest in the world of community based writing workshops and they have workshops for youth for seniors for the gay, lesbian community.
00:31:16.410 --> 00:31:27.870 Rediscovering New York: For for people who have been imprisoned and it's just so inspiring because they they believe everyone is a writer and in so many ways. And for green I think everyone's a writer. Well,
00:31:29.970 --> 00:31:37.440 Rediscovering New York: Thank you Greg. We're out of time in our first segment our first guest today has been Greg true piano with the Walt Whitman project.
00:33:49.620 --> 00:33:56.730 Rediscovering New York: Our first segments that the history of opera. We have two guests Michael casar the New York City Opera and Greg Trumpy on Greg Tribbiani Greg is
00:33:57.150 --> 00:34:00.630 Rediscovering New York: With Sarasota opera, as well as a couple of other things he does, which I'll talk about
00:34:01.410 --> 00:34:07.680 Rediscovering New York: Michael capacity has produced directed and toward opera and musical theatre productions in the US and abroad for over 40 years
00:34:08.520 --> 00:34:19.140 Rediscovering New York: He began his career, producing and directing while still in his late teens. Wow. And early 20s in 1981 he, along with Diane Martindale founded New York's capital opera theater.
00:34:20.160 --> 00:34:30.030 Rediscovering New York: Michael has been general director of the New York City Opera since January of 2016 and two years before that in 2014 along with philanthropist Roy niederhoffer
00:34:30.570 --> 00:34:38.490 Rediscovering New York: He led the successful effort to bring the New York City Opera out of bankruptcy laying the artistic administrative and fiscal groundwork for the company's return to production.
00:34:39.300 --> 00:34:56.250 Rediscovering New York: On just leadership, the revitalized City Opera and a long hiatus, and took to the stage in January 2016 with a celebratory production of Tosca once again on solid financial footing. The company has completed its 2018 19 season of six fully stage productions concerts and special events.
00:34:57.450 --> 00:35:04.920 Rediscovering New York: During Michael's tenure. The City Opera has consistently loaded has been lauded for innovative eclectic programming and outstanding casting
00:35:05.460 --> 00:35:16.170 Rediscovering New York: Under his leadership. The company has mounted many land more productions, little bit more of his history. In addition to his work with the capital opera theater Michael has directed operas at La, la, la, la.
00:35:16.740 --> 00:35:23.940 Rediscovering New York: La Yorker opera and stay in Toledo opera Connecticut opera, the New Jersey State opera. Opera Carolina and Orlando opera, among others.
00:35:24.660 --> 00:35:33.690 Rediscovering New York: Michael founded the national Lyric Opera in 1991 a touring company that has brought fully staged offers to communities in the North American and sorry in the American northeast.
00:35:34.110 --> 00:35:39.450 Rediscovering New York: That would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience live opera and that itself is God's work. Let me tell you.
00:35:40.620 --> 00:35:47.190 Rediscovering New York: Our second guest for the first segment of rediscovering to your client is Greg trophy on out who's a native of Brooklyn where I'm a native from also
00:35:48.540 --> 00:35:54.840 Rediscovering New York: Greg is the founder and artistic director of the Walt Whitman project. It's a Brooklyn based community arts organization that started in 2000
00:35:55.590 --> 00:36:03.810 Rediscovering New York: It's devoted to exploring the life and influence of a great American writer through readings of his poetry and prose and performances of musical compositions based on his text.
00:36:04.260 --> 00:36:10.650 Rediscovering New York: Is texts sorry past events of the Walt Whitman project had been produced in cooperation with merican opera projects.
00:36:11.190 --> 00:36:16.440 Rediscovering New York: For Korean Park Conservancy Brooklyn Historical Society, the Hudson guild theater company the Whitney Museum
00:36:17.010 --> 00:36:21.000 Rediscovering New York: Museum in the city of New York building 92 with the Navy Yard. That's the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
00:36:21.630 --> 00:36:26.880 Rediscovering New York: The gate Gotham chorus, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and with young poet, writer mentor, Anjali raspberry.
00:36:27.270 --> 00:36:39.180 Rediscovering New York: There's and jelly raspberry than and jelly raspberry. Sorry about that. Other past partners include St. Francis college Pace University in lower Manhattan and make on Brooklyn Heights and central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
00:36:40.290 --> 00:36:46.230 Rediscovering New York: With all this Walt Whitman related content. Some of our listeners may be asking, What does this have to do with opera well
00:36:46.680 --> 00:36:52.920 Rediscovering New York: Aside from being passionate about the art form. Greg is also director of artistic administration in Sarasota operate in Florida.
00:36:53.280 --> 00:37:02.520 Rediscovering New York: And spends half of each year in Sarasota working with the company and he's also expert in the famed history of development of opera in New York, which is our main subject tonight.
00:37:03.330 --> 00:37:10.170 Rediscovering New York: And speaking of the Sarasota opera Greg doesn't run the company without help lon black is the projects artistic associate
00:37:10.740 --> 00:37:20.220 Rediscovering New York: Greg and Michael a hearty welcome to rediscovering New York. Thanks for being here. Thank you. Thank you Greg as a returning guest. By the way, and likely be on future shows two
00:37:21.240 --> 00:37:25.620 Rediscovering New York: Gentlemen, before we get started on the history of opera in New York, since this is a show about New York
00:37:26.310 --> 00:37:41.700 Rediscovering New York: My guests are always intrigued by how people got here if they weren't from here. Originally, Michael, you from New York. Originally, yeah, I was raised on Long Island. That's New York. So New York because you get to Greg. How about you. I was born in Brooklyn. Ah, that's dear to my heart.
00:37:43.470 --> 00:37:46.410 Rediscovering New York: Michael, how did you get into working in the world of opera.
00:37:48.330 --> 00:37:54.180 Rediscovering New York: I come from an Italian family that was constantly listening to Neapolitan music and never opera.
00:37:54.810 --> 00:38:05.070 Rediscovering New York: And yet, when I asked, who was the best Italian singer, the answer was Enrico Caruso. And I said, well, why are we listening to her room. So, and the answer was, well, because those recordings are difficult to listen to
00:38:05.670 --> 00:38:14.010 Rediscovering New York: So I got a book about Caruso by Francis Robinson called Caruso life in pictures and I was
00:38:14.580 --> 00:38:24.480 Rediscovering New York: Seven years old and fascinated by the picture. So this man in these costumes and I then saw Mario Lanza is the great Caruso film.
00:38:24.990 --> 00:38:38.280 Rediscovering New York: And I asked to be taken to the opera and I went and and I never looked back. In both of them. Lanza and Caruso died far too young, your charisma at 48 lines at 38 well
00:38:39.210 --> 00:38:47.550 Rediscovering New York: Greg, I have to call your career Renaissance career, it takes you to it. It took you to at least two places history, especially Brooklyn history and also opera.
00:38:48.180 --> 00:38:56.250 Rediscovering New York: How did you come to be artistic director of artistic production at the Sarasota opera. I don't sing. So I have to do something an offer, if I
00:38:56.820 --> 00:39:10.050 Rediscovering New York: life would have been very different like Michael if if I if I saying I never had that gift. So I went into administration. Ah. Well, as long as you love something you can be part of it. You know, I suppose, like I am about New York
00:39:11.460 --> 00:39:16.770 Rediscovering New York: help sell it, but also bring it to people through these programs that brings us to operate in New York.
00:39:18.180 --> 00:39:34.710 Rediscovering New York: Opera and also in its old or form. It's all this form has been around almost longer than New York was settled by the Dutch back in the 1620 years when would the city's residents have been able to see their first opera here. Well, look, I'm going to start off with some information on that.
00:39:36.060 --> 00:39:45.360 Rediscovering New York: For our purposes let's say it was 1825, where do I mean for our purposes, there were opera performances in New York before 1825
00:39:45.750 --> 00:39:54.360 Rediscovering New York: But much of it was in translation or it was if a particular type of opera called the English ballad opera something like
00:39:55.110 --> 00:40:17.820 Rediscovering New York: Beggars opera. They were popular. But when we're talking Italian opera sung in Italian, we have to go to 1825 and in 1825 at the park theater. Now the park theatre stood where j in our records used to be. Remember that unfortunately on on on Park Road on Park Road. Oh wow, okay.
00:40:19.710 --> 00:40:26.820 Rediscovering New York: Excuse me, you know, directly across the street from City Hall. So that was the case for century 21 after it.
00:40:27.210 --> 00:40:44.070 Rediscovering New York: Yeah, it's had quite a, quite a, quite a history of going back and forth from a theater to two other commercial uses but in 1825 a gentleman by the name of non UL Garcia and his family came to New York, specifically to produce Italian
00:40:45.420 --> 00:40:53.040 Rediscovering New York: To to produce Italian opera. That is Italian opera. Opera in Italian. Now, why, why did it happen.
00:40:53.580 --> 00:41:04.050 Rediscovering New York: Living in New York City at this time is one of the most famous people from OPERA HISTORY, the librettist or the person who wrote the words Lorenzo de Pont
00:41:04.770 --> 00:41:11.040 Rediscovering New York: Du Pont a wrote the words to three of the most popular operas ever written. Don Giovanni.
00:41:11.610 --> 00:41:16.740 Rediscovering New York: By Mozart cozy fun today also by Mozart and the marriage of figure out
00:41:17.070 --> 00:41:21.630 Rediscovering New York: Also by Mozart. So it's just incredible that he ended up in New York.
00:41:21.840 --> 00:41:35.010 Rediscovering New York: To ponti was an adventurer, and those are the opposite from the late 70s, 80s to the early 1790s. So this was decades later, this was decades later, but not that much later. Right now, of course, Mozart died young. At the age of 36
00:41:35.310 --> 00:41:51.060 Rediscovering New York: But DuPont a didn't die to the 1840s and he was well into his 80s, but he is living in New York saying to people, we need to bring Italian opera here. So the Garcia family Kane and now the Garcia family.
00:41:51.540 --> 00:42:03.330 Rediscovering New York: Was was incredible. It was headed by a tenner Manuel Garcia. Could you imagine he sang the world premiere tenor role the account almaviva
00:42:03.630 --> 00:42:15.390 Rediscovering New York: In the original Rossini production of The Barber of Seville in Rome in 1815 so he was a major singer and a major part of opera and he came, he had a daughter, who's
00:42:15.990 --> 00:42:28.350 Rediscovering New York: One daughter who whose name was Maria later in life. She becomes one of the most famous divas in Europe, Maria Mal abroad and dies, very young.
00:42:29.730 --> 00:42:32.580 Rediscovering New York: In Paris at the age of or near Paris.
00:42:33.690 --> 00:42:44.190 Rediscovering New York: in her 20s, but even by that point she had really made a mark mark in music. He had a much younger daughter, who, during the New York years was very young and not singing
00:42:44.460 --> 00:42:55.680 Rediscovering New York: And she becomes Pauline via doe who lives well into her 80s and is one of the most famous opera singers of the 19th century.
00:42:56.040 --> 00:43:02.520 Rediscovering New York: Finally, he had a son, a son, you know, he wasn't a very good singer. So what does he do, he becomes the
00:43:02.880 --> 00:43:13.080 Rediscovering New York: Best known singing teacher in Europe during the 1900s, so he had quite a family when they produce together in 1825 and I should also say
00:43:13.560 --> 00:43:18.810 Rediscovering New York: Garcia's wife was also a singer. His second wife, and they all edit except for the baby.
00:43:19.140 --> 00:43:33.600 Rediscovering New York: Pauline, they all had roles in the Barber of Seville, the first opera song in Italian in New York City and ultimately they do at the park theater about 80 performances over the next few years, and
00:43:34.050 --> 00:43:40.440 Rediscovering New York: That's in urine 1825 didn't. The New Orleans opera common. Yeah. And the funny thing is, could you that
00:43:40.950 --> 00:43:55.140 Rediscovering New York: In in America, by far, the city that had the most sophisticated opera culture was New Orleans and they actually used to send tours companies from New Orleans productions.
00:43:55.800 --> 00:44:04.740 Rediscovering New York: To perform in New York and other northeastern cities. I think the first, the oldest Opera House, the dedicated opera house in the country wasn't New Orleans.
00:44:05.310 --> 00:44:12.630 Rediscovering New York: When did New York get its first dedicated opera company, I would have been thanks to Lorenzo de Ponty WELL INTO HIS 80S at that point.
00:44:12.870 --> 00:44:23.100 Rediscovering New York: In 1833 and it stood lower Manhattan, of course, the center of New York City is lower Manhattan, and it was on the northwest corner of Church Street and Leonard Street.
00:44:23.340 --> 00:44:36.360 Rediscovering New York: And it was called the Italian opera house. It had high hopes and within two years to Potentate had had to sell it, but that was the in New York City. The first dedicated building created to produce opera.
00:44:37.560 --> 00:44:48.930 Rediscovering New York: Um, one thing about the Whitman project. There were a number of opera performances in the late 1840s, that is truly actually reviewed. Yeah, it's absolutely true.
00:44:49.740 --> 00:44:56.580 Rediscovering New York: This year we're celebrating Walt Whitman 200th birthday, and when he was the editor of the Brooklyn daily eagle.
00:44:57.570 --> 00:45:13.440 Rediscovering New York: 1846 1847 Whitman decided, you know what I really liked this Italian opera. So he reviewed productions of the Barber of Seville, he attended and reviewed the very first dirty opera ever produced in
00:45:13.950 --> 00:45:22.110 Rediscovering New York: In America, and that was very nice fourth opera Elim guardi and he writes, are you have it in the in the Brooklyn daily eagle.
00:45:23.220 --> 00:45:32.130 Rediscovering New York: Well, we're going to take a short break and when we come back we're going to continue our conversation with Greg true piano and Michael composite will be back in a minute.
00:47:20.370 --> 00:47:25.650 Rediscovering New York: We're back to rediscovering New York in our program about New York
00:47:26.760 --> 00:47:33.570 Rediscovering New York: Michael capacity general director of the New York City Opera. What are some of the opposite the City Opera is going to be doing in the near future.
00:47:33.990 --> 00:47:52.080 Rediscovering New York: We have plans for an opera by Pietro Moscone ease a bow, which must county this course, most famous for having written couple of us, the comma. But he wrote many other important operas and part of city offers history has always been to rediscover important works.
00:47:53.130 --> 00:48:01.170 Rediscovering New York: And he's a bow essentially his Lady Godiva the opera, but it's a very beautiful opera that we performed in London last year.
00:48:01.770 --> 00:48:11.430 Rediscovering New York: In a co production with opera Holland Park. We are also planning the concert version of Benjamin Britain's glory, honor
00:48:11.850 --> 00:48:20.250 Rediscovering New York: Which was written for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the Second and is rarely performed and in the leading role is the amazing
00:48:20.850 --> 00:48:32.100 Rediscovering New York: diva on a Katarina Antonucci who had a great success with this role in Spain year after we have LGBT concert also because we are the
00:48:33.000 --> 00:48:46.140 Rediscovering New York: We are committed to every June doing an LGBT themed work we've already done angels in america and Brokeback Mountain and last year world premiere opera about Stonewall called Stonewall
00:48:46.710 --> 00:49:01.170 Rediscovering New York: On this year. It's the LGBT work as a concert featuring Patricia said, Who is not only a very, very important singer and an alum of the City Opera, but also a leader in the LGBT community.
00:49:02.730 --> 00:49:05.610 Rediscovering New York: Well, want to go back to the, the history of opera in New York.
00:49:06.750 --> 00:49:17.130 Rediscovering New York: Of course, we don't have a ton of time, but the pace of opera in New York speeds up in the second half of the 19th century, we had very famous company that started in 1883
00:49:18.480 --> 00:49:26.790 Rediscovering New York: Yes, the Metropolitan Opera. The Metropolitan Opera and real estate company was founded because opera prior to
00:49:28.350 --> 00:49:36.390 Rediscovering New York: Was being performed that what was called the Academy of Music and the Academy of Music stood on Irving place where the candidates and building is now.
00:49:36.870 --> 00:49:53.340 Rediscovering New York: And it was for rich people to go to the opera to see and be seen and there was some performances, too, but it wasn't about performance this and then there were the nouveau riche in 1883 all of the new money. The robber barons etc like Jay Gould.
00:49:55.260 --> 00:50:06.570 Rediscovering New York: Who couldn't get a box at the Academy of Music. And so they were unwelcome so they decided that they would go way up town where there was a square block of empty real estate.
00:50:06.990 --> 00:50:18.450 Rediscovering New York: On 3839 to 48 Street between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. Was there anything else up there at that level. I mean, there were things up there, but it was. I mean, it was the country. I mean, you know, uptown.
00:50:18.750 --> 00:50:28.710 Rediscovering New York: Of North of 23rd Street in those days with not was a lot was going on and they were able to buy this, you know, a square block and put up a building and it was
00:50:29.520 --> 00:50:37.170 Rediscovering New York: Everybody said it was just terrifically ugly was called the yellow brick brewery. I have one of the yellow bricks on my desk as a paperweight
00:50:38.760 --> 00:50:44.580 Rediscovering New York: And when the Metropolitan Opera and real estate company was formed, and it was essentially a co op where
00:50:45.060 --> 00:50:55.020 Rediscovering New York: The box holders owned the building and they hired an emperor an impresario was engaged with the ability to exploit the building to his
00:50:55.980 --> 00:51:04.650 Rediscovering New York: Profit throughout the year, as long as he produced a certain amount of opera performances during the year as well. And when I'm like that for quite some time.
00:51:05.460 --> 00:51:11.790 Rediscovering New York: One of the things that I found interesting about the mat is that we all those of us who remember they met on tour going across the country.
00:51:12.480 --> 00:51:21.330 Rediscovering New York: But the man actually went on tour around the city. They just didn't perform in the Metropolitan Opera. Oh, absolutely. They were, they were they were throughout the city. They were in Brooklyn, they
00:51:22.170 --> 00:51:26.670 Rediscovering New York: They later you know for and they went to Philadelphia. They were, they were all over and
00:51:27.360 --> 00:51:37.560 Rediscovering New York: They were and later on in the company's history. They had national tours. I mean, the Metropolitan Opera in in 1906 was in San Francisco during the earthquake.
00:51:37.890 --> 00:51:46.470 Rediscovering New York: They performed Carmen that night and went back to their hotel, and then the earthquake came. Wow. Well, to San Francisco have its own Opera Company in them or not.
00:51:47.790 --> 00:51:59.400 Rediscovering New York: Um, you know what, I'm not sure. I mean, it was in class. I mean, I don't really recall when the San Francisco opera was formed. I don't believe it was as early as 1906 but speaking in 1906
00:51:59.880 --> 00:52:10.710 Rediscovering New York: an ancestor of a another very famous American with the same name opens up another Opera Company, right, that would be Oscar Hammerstein and Oscar Hammerstein
00:52:11.100 --> 00:52:25.410 Rediscovering New York: Was a great lover of opera and a great impresario who put everything he had into being an opera impresario and he built the Manhattan Opera House, which is still standing on 34th Street and Eighth Avenue and
00:52:25.980 --> 00:52:31.710 Rediscovering New York: It is now used for different purposes. Of course he produced some extraordinary work there.
00:52:33.030 --> 00:52:41.160 Rediscovering New York: But, and including the American premiere of Paleo some Ellis Island and things like that. A lot of French work in particular, and he was able to entice
00:52:41.700 --> 00:52:50.520 Rediscovering New York: All of the major singers in the world to sing there with one single exception and that was Enrico Caruso and there was no singer.
00:52:51.030 --> 00:53:04.020 Rediscovering New York: more famous than Caruso at that time, or really ever since. If you consider what his wide appeal was throughout the world and Caruso was loyal to the Metropolitan Opera and and the years
00:53:06.030 --> 00:53:18.870 Rediscovering New York: Were considered the great opera house wars and there's a puck magazine sketch of Hammerstein and Conrad, who was the director of the Met throwing
00:53:19.830 --> 00:53:31.950 Rediscovering New York: figurines of famous singers at each other trying to, you know, trying to overcome one another and ultimately the war was ended when Otto Khan, who was that great.
00:53:32.700 --> 00:53:44.640 Rediscovering New York: philanthropist and essentially the he was the chair of the board of the Metropolitan Opera personally gave Hammerstein $1.2 million to stay out of the opera business in New York for 10 years and
00:53:44.940 --> 00:53:55.410 Rediscovering New York: Michael, not only in New York, but also like Boston. Boston and Philadelphia. Could, could you imagine 1.2 million in those loans, just to Jeff. Just to add one more thing about the
00:53:56.040 --> 00:54:07.770 Rediscovering New York: Metropolitan Opera touring to Brooklyn. The Metropolitan Opera performed, both at the Brooklyn Academy and music. The original one in Brooklyn Heights on Montague Street near Clinton.
00:54:08.280 --> 00:54:17.940 Rediscovering New York: And you'd also performed after the fire destroyed in 1903 we need reopened near Flatbush Avenue and Lafayette Avenue.
00:54:18.540 --> 00:54:32.910 Rediscovering New York: In in 1908 but it also went to other theaters in in Brooklyn, including a theater in Williamsburg on Bedford Avenue and South nine street called the n Fi on theater.
00:54:33.240 --> 00:54:43.920 Rediscovering New York: Where they did an entire Ring cycle and I'm pretty sure that they brought the reading cycle to Williamsburg because of the German population there and they and they would have
00:54:45.750 --> 00:54:56.730 Rediscovering New York: They would have a ready made audience for it well and and when it open. The new Brooklyn Academy of Music open and it still stands as the opera house in Brooklyn, it
00:54:57.150 --> 00:55:04.830 Rediscovering New York: Opened with production of Faust with Caruso and the great American diva Geraldine Ferraro and it marked the first
00:55:05.280 --> 00:55:21.990 Rediscovering New York: Performance by the new administration that had been brought in by auto con, which was the general manager Julio got think is outside and the music director arterial Toscanini and it was premiered with which singers in 1980 Corazon for
00:55:23.010 --> 00:55:28.410 Rediscovering New York: The very God to have been at that. That would have been an amazing experience any of these performances were talking
00:55:30.150 --> 00:55:41.730 Rediscovering New York: Well, Michael. Let's go to to New York's other well known Opera Company. The New York City Opera. How did it get started when, when did it start and who and who was instrumental in bringing it in starting it began.
00:55:42.270 --> 00:56:00.150 Rediscovering New York: As an idea of Mayor LaGuardia in 1943 the company was incorporated and it began performing in 1944 at what was a Masonic Temple on 56 Street, which is now 55th and 56
00:56:01.620 --> 00:56:07.380 Rediscovering New York: Which is now called city center, but that was not a sonic temple liberalism Masonic Temple originally yes and
00:56:08.370 --> 00:56:19.170 Rediscovering New York: And it was the inspiration of Mayor LaGuardia and a group of philanthropists came together and they hired and emperor. Sorry. Oh conductor Hungarian name Lazlo hollow
00:56:20.010 --> 00:56:31.380 Rediscovering New York: And allows little harsh began in 1944 with the production of Tosca. And the idea behind the company was that it was the people's opera. So it was popular lead price.
00:56:32.100 --> 00:56:39.030 Rediscovering New York: It featured a mostly repertoire that would appeal to the enormous immigrant population at the time, which was
00:56:39.390 --> 00:56:48.240 Rediscovering New York: Predominantly Italian or German Jewish. So the majority of the repertoire. Yeah, either appeal to Italian immigrants or people of Italian descent.
00:56:48.480 --> 00:56:56.340 Rediscovering New York: Or there was, you know, a lot of German repertoire. A lot of operetta and things of that sort. And they focused also
00:56:57.030 --> 00:57:01.650 Rediscovering New York: Differently than the Metropolitan Opera by that time, the meta had a long history of
00:57:02.250 --> 00:57:10.290 Rediscovering New York: In the Gothic because lots of time of doing American opera, but then City Opera really put their stamp on it and they were also
00:57:10.650 --> 00:57:21.990 Rediscovering New York: incredibly diverse. They were the first company to engage of an African American composer. They were the first company years before Marian Anderson to put African Americans in leading roles on stage.
00:57:22.980 --> 00:57:29.490 Rediscovering New York: Very, very important to the diversity in the culture of New York City. How long did they performance city center for Winton.
00:57:29.820 --> 00:57:39.240 Rediscovering New York: They sourced a theater was until the state until they move to Lincoln Center, much to the chagrin of Rudolph thing, who didn't want them as a neighbor and
00:57:39.600 --> 00:57:50.910 Rediscovering New York: And, you know, they moved to a State Theater, what was then the State Theater and it was a it was a beautiful venue for them. But it was a big step up and
00:57:51.540 --> 00:57:59.790 Rediscovering New York: One thing that has been consistent throughout the entire history of the New York City Opera is they've never had enough money, and I can tell you that that's the case today.
00:58:00.780 --> 00:58:08.070 Rediscovering New York: But you were really great in helping to pull the City Opera up out of the depths of not good financial situation. Back to back to
00:58:08.310 --> 00:58:18.180 Rediscovering New York: Putting productions on yes in in 2013 I read in the New York Times, along with everybody else that City Opera had filed for Chapter 11 protection.
00:58:18.540 --> 00:58:28.320 Rediscovering New York: And I was shocked and horrified. I was raised on Long Island, and I used to take the train in and go to see, you know, hundreds of performances.
00:58:28.980 --> 00:58:35.820 Rediscovering New York: At City Opera since I was a kid, I went to the Met to but you know I could afford to go to Sydney Opera, which was a big difference.
00:58:36.030 --> 00:58:46.140 Rediscovering New York: And they did amazing, amazing things and they did repertoire that you couldn't see anywhere else, you couldn't see the boy. If you're still filet or or or the total shot and things like that where
00:58:46.380 --> 00:58:54.360 Rediscovering New York: The amazing production of the massive amount, all it wasn't being done at the Met at that time, they really carved out a niche for themselves and so
00:58:55.140 --> 00:59:05.760 Rediscovering New York: I called a friend of mine who's a lawyer and said, What's the story with bankruptcy and non for profits and he said, I don't know, but talk to Gerard which he regrets, because now
00:59:06.390 --> 00:59:18.780 Rediscovering New York: This our general counsel has spent, you know, hundreds and hundreds of pro bono hours helping us and we went through the process of restructuring the company which took two years. But ultimately, we won the asset and we
00:59:19.470 --> 00:59:33.030 Rediscovering New York: We came out in January of 2016 and to pay respect to the history of the company. We opened with Tosca again. Oh, that's great, which happens to be one of my favorite operas my desert island opera, for sure.
00:59:34.470 --> 00:59:47.070 Rediscovering New York: And of course around the same time that both opera companies move to Lincoln Center. There's the tale kind of the sordid story of what was going to happen to the old men is was known, the original Opera House.
00:59:49.200 --> 01:00:00.270 Rediscovering New York: What happened to the old man, why isn't on here anymore. It's not here because it was it sad. By this time by the 16th 39th and Broadway was a very valuable.
01:00:00.750 --> 01:00:12.720 Rediscovering New York: Parcel of real estate and the mat needed to needed the money the income from from the property and there were people who were fighting to preserve
01:00:13.050 --> 01:00:23.640 Rediscovering New York: The house because of its tradition and and and everything that it was and and the Landmarks Preservation was just coming in because there had been the fight over the demolition of
01:00:24.090 --> 01:00:35.010 Rediscovering New York: Penn Station and mission was formed in 6565 and and this was all going on at the same time, and ultimately the metal couldn't be saved and there is a
01:00:35.490 --> 01:00:50.250 Rediscovering New York: There's some amazing pictures of the demolition and there's there's one of leech Alvin is a you know I'm in the great great soprano in the rubble of the of the old house, and it was
01:00:51.060 --> 01:00:59.820 Rediscovering New York: Had it been saved it would likely be used today. Much in the way the polygon. Yay, is used in Paris, where, which is this, you know, and they have a new
01:01:00.570 --> 01:01:06.540 Rediscovering New York: Totally modern Opera House, and then they have the older, you know, elegant opera house. Well, thank goodness. That was not the model.
01:01:07.260 --> 01:01:15.480 Rediscovering New York: T talk about the drive, you know, would be on the order of Penn Station in the short time we have left. That one is one additional question.
01:01:16.080 --> 01:01:24.690 Rediscovering New York: For a while there was actually opera performed in a stadium in New York wasn't there. Yes. Lewis john stadium is was on the campus of City College.
01:01:25.410 --> 01:01:33.300 Rediscovering New York: Where the Polo Grounds were and, you know, lots of activity was up there and many, many performances of opera happen there.
01:01:33.840 --> 01:01:40.410 Rediscovering New York: By the Metropolitan Opera by the New York City Opera. They were concerts by the Philharmonic incredibly famous singers sang there.
01:01:41.190 --> 01:01:55.470 Rediscovering New York: And if it's an important place that is again has been since demolished. You can see it in its partial demolition and the movie Serpico there's a scene that takes place in the partially demolish stating
01:01:56.880 --> 01:02:04.560 Rediscovering New York: Well, gentlemen, Michael and Greg. We have not had nearly enough time to talk about the history of this great art form and our great city.
01:02:05.100 --> 01:02:11.910 Rediscovering New York: But I want to thank you for being able to illuminate us a little bit to the history of opera in New York. Thank you.
01:02:12.420 --> 01:02:19.290 Rediscovering New York: Thank you for having us of the guests on the first part of my show had been Michael capozza who's general director of the New York City Opera.
01:02:19.920 --> 01:02:32.430 Rediscovering New York: And also, Greg true piano, who is the founder and artistic director of the Walt Whitman project and who also is the director of artistic administration at the Sarasota operate in Florida. Gentlemen, thank you so much.
01:02:32.920 --> 01:02:35.430 Jeff Goodman: I hope you've enjoyed this tribute to Greg true piano as much as I have Greg was the artistic administrator of the Sarasota opera in Florida and was also the founder and artistic director of the Walt Whitman project here in New York, Greg. We miss you.
01:02:35.430 --> 01:02:37.730 Jeff Goodman: Our producers Ralph story or our engineer is Sam Leibowitz our special consultant for rediscovering New York is David Griffin of landmark branding. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time.