Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Date: July 10,1996

Release #326-96

Contact: Colleen Roche (212) 788-2958 or Kim Serafin (212)788-8479


Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani kicked off the first performance of Verdi's Alzira in Central Park at the opening of the twenty-third season of the New York Grand Opera Summer Stage. Joining the Mayor were New York City Parks Department Commissioner Henry Stern, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Schuyler Chapin, Italian Consul General Franco Mistretta, Founder and Artistic Director of the New York Grand Opera Maestro Vincent La Selva and representatives of Dime Savings Bank.

"New York City is the cultural capital of America," the Mayor said. "From theater to music to the visual arts, nowhere even comes close to providing the variety and quality of cultural experiences in these five boroughs."

"The company is in the third year of its seven year Viva Verdi Festival, in which they will produce every Verdi opera in chronological order," the Mayor added. "This is something that I don't believe has ever been done before, anywhere. I would like to thank Maestro Vincent La Selva who, as the founder, the artistic director, the visionary and driving force behind the New York Grand Opera Company, has added immeasurably to cultural life in our City."

Alzira is a fully staged, professional performance with a full orchestra and costumes, and admission is free of charge. The opera was performed near the 72nd street entrance of the Park and Fifth Avenue. To date, a fully staged version of Alzira has never been performed in New York. Based on a play by Voltaire, Alzira is Verdi's eighth opera. No other opera company in the world has ever attempted to present the entire oeuvre of an artist.

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