Classics in Concert

An Evening With Nico Muhly, 'Two Boys' And Other WorksQ2

Opera audiences are well acquainted with all manners of intrigue — whether political, romantic or psychological. The exciting American composer Nico Muhly is updating that paradigm to the 21st century with his opera Two Boys.

This work, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, is loosely based on a true story from the 1990s, just at the birth of online culture. It delves into a curious and still very timely tale: a detective's investigation into the stabbing of one teenage boy by another, a crime that unspools within a web of chat room activity. Upon the piece's world premiere at the English National Opera in June 2011, New York Times critic Zachary Woolfe described Two Boys as "Muhly's best work yet." Two Boys arrives for its American premiere at the Met in October.

On May 14, Muhly teamed up with a spectacular group of friends for an intimate evening performance produced by the Met and (Le) Poisson Rouge that anticipates Two Boys' American debut. The performers represented the incredible range of Muhly's musical fluency: tenor and Two Boys star Paul Appleby; soprano Jennifer Zetlan, who starred in Muhly's 2011 chamber opera Dark Sisters and is also slated to sing in Two Boys at the Met; indie folk singer/songwriter Sam Amidon; frequent Muhly collaborator, violist (and Q2 host) Nadia Sirota; and duo violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun. With Muhly's entertaining and illuminating running commentary — and many exciting performances — this was definitely an evening to remember.

PROGRAM:

All music by Nico Muhly unless otherwise noted

Hudson Cycle (Nico Muhly, piano)

Etude 3 (Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano)

JOHN ADAMS: Am I in Your Light (Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano)

Two Songs: "Last Words" and "Empty House" (Jennifer Zetlan, soprano and Nico Muhly, piano)

"I'm Scared for My Life" from Two Boys (Jennifer Zetlan, soprano; Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano)

Etude 1 (Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano

SAM AMIDON: "Wild Bill Jones," "Short Life," "As I Roved Out," and "Saro" (Sam Amidon, voice, guitar and banjo; Nico Muhly, piano

Honest Music (Angela and Jennifer Chun, violins; Nico Muhly, piano)

"I'm Only Sixteen" from Two Boys (Paul Appleby, tenor; Nadia Sirota, viola; Nico Muhly, piano

Skip Town (Nico Muhly, piano)

PHILIP GLASS: Etude 12 (Nico Muhly, piano)

[+] read more[-] less

More From Classical

Viola da gamba master Jordi Savall leads his ensemble Le Concert des Nations in a performance at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall on Apr. 16, 2015. AJ Wilhelm for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

Jordi Savall And Le Concert Des Nations WQXR-FM

Hear the consummate master of early music lead an exhilarating program of French compositions.

Listen Loading… 2:21:40
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347126561/401021961" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Tiny Desk Concert with Anonymous 4 on March 4. Emily Jan/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Emily Jan/NPR

Tiny Desk

Anonymous 4 With Bruce Molsky

The a cappella quartet, with banjo and fiddle, offers popular songs from the Civil War era.

András Schiff takes late sonatas by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert to Carnegie Hall. AJ Wilhelm/for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm/for NPR

Carnegie Hall Live

András Schiff Plays Mozart, Haydn, Schubert And Beethoven At Carnegie Hall WQXR-FM

On March 10, hear the eminent pianist in a solo recital of sublime masterworks.

Listen Loading… 2:03:37
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347112344/392189990" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Baritone Thomas Hampson brings a Civil War-themed program to Carnegie Hall Feb. 9, 2015. Kristine Hoebermann hide caption

itoggle caption Kristine Hoebermann

Carnegie Hall Live

Thomas Hampson Sings A World Premiere WQXR-FM

Hear the beloved American baritone sing a new work by Jennifer Higdon in this recital.

Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a concert of powerhouse orchestral works at Carnegie Hall. AJ Wilhelm for NPR Music hide caption

itoggle caption AJ Wilhelm for NPR Music

Carnegie Hall Live

The Chicago Symphony Plays A Colorful Concert WQXR-FM

Hear the CSO and its charismatic conductor Riccardo Muti in a program of Scriabin and Debussy.

Listen Loading… 2:00
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/347102210/382739058" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Back To Top