For several years now, Brooklyn-based organist Jared Lamenzo has been researching an 1826 opera performance which was given at the Basilica of Saint Patrick’s Old Cathedral where he serves as Music Director and Organist. The 1826 event featured the first Italian opera company to visit the United States, the Garcia Company.  Their mezzo soprano was the 17-year-old Maria Garcia Malibran, soon to become the greatest operatic diva of her time.

Lamenzo was fascinated by the story of the event, which was a benefit to raise funds for the Orphan Asylum next to the church on Mott and Prince Streets.  Basilica parishioners Dominick Lynch, a wealthy wine merchant, and Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, brought the company to New York from London, where they were on tour. They held the benefit at the Basilica to support the Orphanage which met a great need in the city.  The 1826 concert raised funds to serve this ministry of the Sisters of Charity, their first in New York City. The concert was the largest and most successful musical event to take place in the city at that time.

This year, Jared combined forces with Italian musicologist Francesco Zimei to realize his long-held dream. On Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at 7:30 PM, Italy’s Cagliari opera performs an evening of sacred vocal and orchestral works based on that 1826 performance.  The music includes works by Haydn and Handel, as well as rare works by 18th-century Italian opera composers, Zingarelli and Cimarosa in their first modern performance.

Facade of the 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ. Photo by Joshua South
Facade of the 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ. Photo by Joshua South

The 2018 performance will be a benefit to raise funds for the restoration of one of the nation’s most important historical instruments, the 1868 Henry Erben pipe organ at the Basilica, celebrating 150 years of beautiful music. On Tuesday October 16 at 7:30, Jared will play a pre-concert recital, Concerto No. 1 by the 18th-century English composer Thomas Arne on this magnificent historical instrument.

Benefit reservations:
Use code BROOKLYN20 for 20% off reservations.


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