Wesley Chinn, General Manager and Artistic Director
Crystal Manich and Avi Stein, Artistic Directors
Opera Omnia aims to combine a deep knowledge of historical performance practice with a modern theatrical aesthetic to produce performances that are musically and dramatically satisfying to both the veteran classical concertgoer and to those new to the genre. We concentrate on musical-dramatic works of the 17th century, performing them in English translation and modern staging. Our approach seeks to bring new audiences to these early opera masterworks while shedding new light on the works for those already familiar with them.
Opera Omnia’s first two productions, Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea and Cavalli’s Giasone in English translations, played to sold-out houses at Le Poisson Rouge in 2008 and 2011. More recently, Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses played in the Howard Gilman Studio at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in 2013 to wide critical acclaim and sold out houses once again.
You can read past reviews and see what the the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Classics Today, Concertonet.com, Out in Jersey, and the Gay City News have to say about this dynamic young company.
Elsewhere on the internet, see what Mark Adamo and Roger Evans have to say, and check out Alex Ross‘s excellent column in which Opera Omnia got a mention in April 2013. There’s also the Times preview in 2008 about the formation of our company, which you can read here.
About our Staff
Avi Stein (Music Director) Avi Stein teaches continuo accompaniment and chamber music at the Juilliard School, harpsichord at the Longy School and vocal repertoire at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music. He is also the music director at St. Matthew & St. Timothy Episcopal Church in Manhattan. The New York Times described Avi as “a brilliant organ soloist” in his Carnegie Hall debut and he was recently featured in Early Music America magazine in an article on the new generation of leaders in the field. Avi has performed throughout the United States, in Europe, Canada, and Central America. He is an active continuo accompanist who plays regularly with the Boston Early Music Festival, the Trinity Church Wall Street Choir and Baroque Orchestra, the Clarion Music Society and Bach Vespers NYC. Avi directed the young artists’ program at the Carmel Bach Festival and has conducted a variety of ensembles including the Opera Français de New York, the Amherst Festival opera and a critically acclaimed annual series called the 4×4 Festival. Avi studied at Indiana University, the Eastman School of Music, the University of Southern California and was a Fulbright scholar in France at the Toulouse CEMS.
Stage director Crystal Manich is thrilled to stage The Return of Ulysses for Opera Omnia after the success of The Coronation of Poppea in 2008, which marked her directorial debut, and Giasone in 2011. Her productions in the 2012–2013 season included Madama Butterfly (Pittsburgh Opera), Cendrillon (Simpson College Opera) and The Flying Dutchman (Opera Roanoke). Crystal has worked with various companies domestically and abroad including Buenos Aires Lírica in Argentina, Lyric Opera Baltimore, Utah Opera and The Bay View Festival. She has also collaborated with composers at American Opera Projects in New York City on Blessed Art Thou Amongst Women (Gregory Spears and Tarik O’Regan) and Model Love (J. David Jackson). Crystal also served as assistant artistic director with Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam in South America in 2009–2010. Other credits include positions as assistant director for various companies in the USA, among them several productions at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and with renowned directors such as Francesca Zambello, Emilio Sagi, Chris Alexander, Tim Albery, and Andrei Serban. Upcoming projects in the 2013–2014 season: Aida to open Pittsburgh Opera’s 75th anniversary season, Madama Butterfly for Opera Columbus, La bohème and Rusalka for North Carolina Opera, I puritani with designer John Conklin for Boston Lyric Opera, and a return to Buenos Aires Lírica late spring 2014 for a new production of Adriana Lecouvreur. She will also serve as assistant director for Jake Heggie’s Moby Dick at the Kennedy Center. Crystal holds a BFA in Drama-Directing from Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama in addition to a Masters in Arts Management, also from CMU. www.crystalmanich.com.
Producer Wesley Chinn has been involved with early music since taking up baroque violin in high school, and has been an arts administrator of one sort or another for nearly as long. As founder of the Harvard Early Music Society, he produced several early baroque operas in English translation. He also worked at the Boston Early Music Festival in a variety of capacities, including serving as Stage Manager for Ercole Amante in 2001. Wesley moved to New York to be Operations Manager and Artistic Coordinator of The New York Collegium, spent seven years at Carnegie Hall in the Marketing/Creative Services and Artistic Programming departments, was Artistic Administrator of The Little Orchestra Society, General Manager of Sympho and Good Child Music, and currently devotes his non-Opera Omnia time to a life as a freelance musician, editor, and consultant for projects ranging from concert production to remote-recording software. As a conductor and teacher he has been the director of the youth chorus at Hour Children for the past three years; he has also directed children’s choirs at the Church Street Music School, PS 89 in Manhattan, and PS 315 in Brooklyn and waved a stick (actually empty hands) at singers and orchestra in Matthew Schickele’s Marymere and Yoav Gal’s Mosheh (for which he was assistant music director as well as singing the Voice of God). As a performer, he has performed around New York in a variety of genres as a violinist (baroque and modern), baritone, countertenor, and jowza (Iraqi spike fiddle) player, and plays lute, guitar, piano and harpsichord for his own amusement (and occasionally to accompany children singing). He lives in Long Island City with his wife Jennifer and their newborn daughter Emmeline Rose, and is currently running an experiment to determine the effects of sleep deprivation on opera producers.