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Puccini in the Park

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passing of Giacomo Puccini

In partnership with BRYANT PARK Picnic Performances

Friday, May 31, 2024

Saturday, June 1, 2024

7:00 PM

Free to the Public

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About the performance

Since 2016, New York City Opera has appeared as a staple of the Bryant Park Summer Picnic Performances Series. These performances are presented free of charge and frequently draw crowds of 5,000 or more.  

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passing of Giacomo Puccini, one of the greatest opera composers in history, New York City Opera will present a glittering concert celebrating his immense and indelible legacy. Featuring the New York City Opera Orchestra and Chorus and conducted by Maestro Joseph Rescigno, the concert will feature some of the brightest stars of the opera world singing a selection of the most beloved arias, duets, and ensembles in all of opera. 


No tickets necessary. Lawn chairs and picnic seating with blankets provided by Bryant Park.

The Cast

Creative Team


Bryant Park, 42nd Street, NYC
(Between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas)


Tatev Baroyan


Soprano Tatev Baroyan’s recent seasons have held many significant milestones. She had her role and house debut at the Salzburger Landestheater, portraying the title role of Iolanta. This production was a unique combination of Tchaikovsky's two works: Iolanta and The Nutcracker, crafted into a fantasy setting directed by Thomas Mika, under the baton of Leslie Suganandarajah. Additionally, she returned to the New York City Opera, making her role debut as Annina while covering the role of Violetta in La Traviata, directed by Michael Capasso and conducted by Constantine Orbelian. She also performed the role of Berta in Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, directed by Helena Binder. Prior to these engagements, Tatev Baroyan participated in the world premiere production of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Ricky Ian Gordon and Michael Korie with the New York City Opera, covering the title role of Micòl Finzi-Contini. She also won the Florida District competition and received the second prize in the Southeast Region of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition.


Ashley Bell


The “delightful” (Opera News) soprano Ashley Galvani Bell has been performing from an early age, debuting as a member of the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus at age nine and making her Off-Broadway debut at sixteen in the world premiere of the musical The Golden Touch. Bell’s 2023-24 season includes producing and performing the title role in Divaria Productions’ Giovanna D’Arco/Maid of Orleans at the Bay Street Theatre; singing the role of Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, New Hampshire; and reprising the title character in Pedro Halffter’s Klara at the Teatro Pérez Galdos in Gran Canaria, a role she originated and has performed at Harvard University and in several venues in Spain. In 2023, Bell made her debut with ABAO Bilbao Opera as Fiordiligi in Cosi Fan Tutte where ProOpera highlighted her “superabundance of talent.” Other recent highlights include her debut with Seville’s Teatro Maestranza as Violetta in La Traviata, performing the role of Cio-Cio San in Madama Butterfly with both Bohème Opera New Jersey and Daytona Beach Symphony Society; singing as soprano soloist with Milan’s Orchestra UNIMI in Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate; and singing Mimì in La Bohème with Opera Modesto.


Kathryn Olander

Rehearsal Pianist

Recently hailed by Opera News for her “impressive playing,” Kathryn Olander is a frequent assistant conductor/pianist with New York City Opera as well as many regional opera houses. In addition to coaching privately she has held coaching positions with the Juilliard School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Chautauqua Institute. An avid recitalist, highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall and Zankel Hall, The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bryant Park's concert series, the Hungarian Consulate of New York and the Polish Consulate of New York, and Bechstein Hall. Ms. Olander is a regular pianist with Reaching for the Arts and Opportunity Music Project, specializing in bringing music to underserved communities and Creative Stage. Ms. Olander began teaching piano at Northeastern University while earning her Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance at New England Conservatory and has since maintained a studio of private piano students.


Joseph Rescigno


Joseph Rescigno has conducted the music of Bach through the moderns for companies on four continents. Permanent engagements have included the Florentine Opera Company of Milwaukee, WI, where he served as Artistic Advisor and Principal Conductor for 38 seasons beginning in 1981. He also has been Music Director of La Musica Lirica since 2005. As a guest, he has mounted the podium of more than 50 companies such as the Montreal Symphony and the New York City Opera (debut 1985). Maestro Rescigno’s discography of seven recordings includes two operatic world premieres and studio recordings of operatic and symphonic works. The University of North Texas Press published his Conducting Opera: Where Theater Meets Music in 2020. A native New Yorker, Joseph Rescigno comes from a long line of musicians on both sides of his family. He trained as a pianist and has studied and performed music since childhood. 

Irina Rindzner

Irina Rindzuner


Irina Rindzuner is an American dramatic soprano who has appeared in leading roles at many of the world’s major opera companies and has received great critical acclaim from international publications. 


As a designated Metropolitan cover artist for the principal role of Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk in the 22/23 season, Irina Rindzuner made her Metropolitan Opera stage debut (in comprimario role of the Convict) in September 2022 with no rehearsal. 

Turandot is Irina Rindzuner’s signature role, as she has sung it 84 times in theaters across the globe. The most notable performances have taken place at such theaters as Gran Teatro Puccini, Den Norske Opera, Teatro Municipal de Santiago de Chile, Minnesota Opera, National Lyric Opera of New York, Opéra Nice Côte d’Azur, Saarländisches Staatstheater, Braunschweig Staatstheater and many others. The New York Times has described Ms. Rindzuner's appearance as Turandot at the Dicapo Opera Theater as a performance that has “earned her a rousing ovation”. She covered the role at the Metropolitan Opera in the 20/21 season.

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Victor Starsky


Tenor Victor Starsky, a native of Richmond Hill, New York, received critical acclaim for role debuts as Radamés in Verdi’s Aïda and George Gibbs in Rorem’s Our Town at the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater in 2023. He performed Roméo in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette with New York City Opera and Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème with Wichita Grand Opera. This winter, Starsky makes his Sarasota Opera debut as Don José in Carmen; one critic wrote “While possessing a voice that flexes with nuance...Watching his slow crumbling into unhinged desperation is unforgettable." Starsky will make his debut with Charlottesville Opera as Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore in summer 2024. Previously, Starsky performed The Celebrant in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass with Maestro Maurice Peress, and as an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera, he was awarded the Shoshana Foundation’s Richard F. Gold Career Grant.


Todd Thomas


Recognized by opera companies and critics alike as one of the true Verdi baritones gracing stages today, Todd Thomas continues his tenure as one of America’s most sought-after artists. Last season, Thomas returned to the Shanghai Opera House for his captivating portrayal of Der fliegende Holländer, reprised his signature role of Rigoletto with Amarillo Opera, and performed the role of Scarpia in Tosca with Florida Grand Opera, Opera Memphis, Opera on the James, and Charlottesville Opera, as well as Amonasro in Tulsa Opera’s Aida. This season, Thomas returns to China for concert performances of Roméo et Juliette with the Suzhou Symphony Orchestra. Recently, Mr. Thomas performed the title role in Nabucco with Theater Erfurt in Germany, the title role of Rigoletto for both Florentine Opera and Florida Grand Opera, and Michele in Il tabarro with Opera Santa Barbara. Additionally, he sang Rigoletto for Tulsa Opera and Shreveport Opera, Michele/Schicchi in Il trittico with Pacific Opera Victoria, Tonio/Alfio in Pagliacci/Cavalleria rusticana for Opera Omaha, the title role of Gianni Schicchi with Opera Memphis, and Scarpia in Tosca with New Jersey Festival Orchestra.

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Valerie Wheeler

Production Stage Manager

Valerie Wheeler has served as Production Stage Manager for opera companies across the U.S. including New York City Opera, Opera Carolina, Chautauqua Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Portland Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Opera Cleveland, Opera on the James, and Opera Santa Barbara.  Valerie is currently the Production Stage Manager & Assistant to the Director of Production for Opera Carolina. She is thrilled to be back as the Production Stage Manager for New York City Opera.


WooYoung Yoon


Tenor WooYoung Yoon has been praised for his “soaring high notes” and a voice that “conveys nobility” - Opera News. Future engagements include Rodolfo in La Boheme, and Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, both with Opera San Jose, and his return to Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Hagenberg’s Illuminare, and in the Ramirez Misa Criolla. Recent performances include the Duke in Verdi’s Rigoletto, Benvolio and Romeo (cover) in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliet for Opera San Jose, Mozart’s Requiem for the Evansville Philharmonic, and the title role in La Damnation de Faust and Christus am Oelberg with Maestro Nelson and the Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Costa Rica. For the New York City Opera, he made his role debut as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, sang Almaviva in Il barbiere di Siviglia, premiered a concert commemorating the heroism of Chiune Sugihara which debuted at Carnegie Hall, and was featured in their production of Peter Rothstein’s All Is Calm. 

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