Don Giovanni in the Park with DSO

Manhattan Travel Blog

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Setting up for the concert

I have been a member of the Downtown Symphony (DSO) for almost 2.5 years now. DSO has two traditional concerts. Every year it plays Handel's (Mozart's) Messiah with Christmas, and in May it performs an opera.

The operas used to be performed outside, in Washington Market Park, a park located next to the home base of DSO, the Borough of Manhattan Community College. In the past years this was not done anymore since the park management did not allow the audience to sit on the grass. And an audience is a key element for a concert, of course. With the park being managed by the NYC Parks Dept. this fortunately changed and today the DSO had the first park concert in years.

Between 1880 and 1960 Washington Market Park used to be the site of one of the most prominent wholesale markets in the city.

The first people of the audience already sat down
When the market was relocated to The Bronx the site became a dump site. In the early 1980s the city had plans to create a municipal parking lot at the location. This was successfully prevented by the community who lobbied for a park instead. The park came in 1983. It even has a friends club, see here.

This year's opera was Mozart's Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni, world's 7th most played opera, is probably Mozart's darkest opera, but despite that fact the music is still perfect and a huge pleasure to play.

Premiered in Prague in 1787 and half a year later in Vienna (with all five male main characters played by a Francesco), there does not seem to be a link with New York City. Yet there is! The libretto of the musical was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte, the writer who delivered 28 operas.

Our flyer
Several for Antonio Salieri, and three for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni, Cosí fan Tutte, and Le Nozze di Figaro. His career in Europe did not go that well and he was forced to flee to the United States. Here he settled briefly in New York City, then went to Pennsylvania to run a grocery store and finally returned to the Big Apple where he made it to be come the first professor of Italian Literature at Columbia University. After that he founded the first opera house of the city, the predecessor of the Metropolitan Opera.

Our concert was blessed with beautiful weather. There was quite an audience and given the fact that we did not have many rehearsals, the concert went pretty well. A very nice day!

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Setting up for the concert
Setting up for the concert
The first people of the audience a…
The first people of the audience …
Our flyer
Our flyer
photo by: Fitnessguru729