An Evening With Nico Muhly, 'Two Boys' And Other Works Watch an intimate concert inspired by Muhly's exciting, intrigue-filled opera Two Boys, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera.

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
Q2

More From Classical

Jeremy Dutcher performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 22, 2019 (Michael Zamora/NPR). Michael Zamora/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Michael Zamora/NPR

Jeremy Dutcher

There is no one making music like this 27-year-old, classically trained opera tenor and pianist. Watch and see why.

Ensemble Signal performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 25, 2019 (Claire Harbage/NPR). Claire Harbage/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Claire Harbage/NPR

Ensemble Signal Plays Jonny Greenwood

Watch members of the New York-based group give the world premiere video performances of two recent pieces by Radiohead guitarist and composer Jonny Greenwood.

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider perform a Tiny Desk Concert on March 6, 2019. Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

Magos Herrera and Brooklyn Rider

Watch what happens when the smoky-voiced jazz singer from Mexico conspires with an adventuresome string quartet for songs steeped in Latin American traditions.

The Calidore String Quartet performs a Tiny Desk Concert on April 5, 2019 (Amr Alfiky/NPR). Amr Alfiky/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Amr Alfiky/NPR

The Calidore String Quartet

The Calidore String Quartet confirms that the centuries-old formula — two violins, a viola and a cello — is still very much alive and evolving.

Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen perform a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 3, 2018 (Cameron Pollack/NPR)/ Cameron Pollack/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Cameron Pollack/NPR

Carolina Eyck and Clarice Jensen

Carolina Eyck, the first artist to bring a theremin to the Tiny Desk, plays the air with the kind of lyrical phrasing and "fingered" articulation that takes a special kind of virtuosity.

Anthony Roth Costanzo performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Aug. 10, 2018 (Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR). Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Morgan Noelle Smith/NPR

Anthony Roth Costanzo

Watch the ambitious countertenor sing music that spans more than 250 years, connecting the dots between David Byrne, George Frideric Handel and Philip Glass.

George Li performs a Tiny Desk Concert on July 31, 2018 (Eric Lee/NPR). Eric Lee/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eric Lee/NPR

George Li

Watch the young Harvard grad dispatch some of the most "knuckle-busting" piano repertoire with uncommon panache and precision.

Yo-Yo Ma performs a Tiny Desk Concert on June 25, 2018 (Samantha Clark/NPR). Samantha Clark/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Samantha Clark/NPR

Yo-Yo Ma

Watch the 19-time Grammy winner return to his lifelong passion for J.S. Bach, playing music from the Cello Suites and offering advice on the art of incremental learning.

The King's Singers perform a Tiny Desk Concert on April 19, 2018 (Eslah Attar/NPR). Eslah Attar/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Eslah Attar/NPR

The King's Singers

The storied vocal ensemble brings close harmony singing to a diverse set list that includes a Beatles tune and a bawdy madrigal from the 1500s.

Back To Top