Stephanie Blythe

MasterVoices (formerly The Collegiate Chorale) will celebrate its 75th anniversary during the 2016-2017 season, beginning with the New York premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon and Royce Vavrek's 27,specially adapted for MasterVoices, on October 20 and 21, 2016 at 8pm at New York City Center, 131 W. 55th Street, New York City. MasterVoices' production of 27 will be semi-staged, and will feature the direction of James Robinson, conducting by MasterVoices' Artistic Director Ted Sperling, the 150 singers of MasterVoices, and Orchestra of St. Luke's. The cast features Metropolitan Opera mezzo Stephanie Blythe as Gertrude Stein, and up-and-coming soprano Heidi Stober as Alice B. Toklas,Theo Lebow, Tobias Greenhalgh, and Daniel Brevik. The production will include scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by James Schuette, and lighting design by James F. Ingalls.

27 explores the relationship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, who hosted regular salon evenings at their Paris home at 27 Rue de Fleurus, with such guests as Pablo Picasso, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Man Ray, Henri Matisse and Ernest Hemingway. Commissioned by Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, 27 received its world premiere in June 2014. For the New York Premiere, Ricky Ian Gordon has specially added new sections for the MasterVoices chorus.

"MasterVoices is delighted to provide New York audiences with the opportunity to hear the singular Stephanie Blythe recreate the role of Gertrude Stein and to be working with the radiant Heidi Stober (Alice B. Toklas) for the first time. 27 is not only a celebration of the influence that Gertrude Stein had on her contemporary artist friends; it's also an expression of the love and devotion Alice B. Toklas felt towards Gertrude, and her desire to be recognized as her wife in an era where that was not possible. It could not be a better time to remind ourselves of the timelessness of this struggle and what it means for us today," said Ted Sperling, Artistic Director.

"When I pitched the piece to Ted Sperling and MasterVoices," said Ricky Ian Gordon, 27's composer, "it was because I heard in my head a way of expanding the texture of the three-man chorus to full chorus, in a way that I felt beautiful and exciting, and in no way robbed from the integrity of the piece. I ended up creating a new version, wherein I did nothing to what the actual cast does, but added the chorus to both augment and enhance some moments, and invent others. Now it feels like an entirely new opera to me, more epic, less intimate, but fresh and independent. I am very happy to premiere this new version with MasterVoices and Ted Sperling."

Tickets are $30-$150 and are available online at NYCityCenter.org, by calling CityTix® at 212-581-1212, or at the Box Office at 131 W. 55th Street (btwn 6th and 7th).

MasterVoices'Annual Fall Galais on October 20, 2016. Gala tickets include pre-concert cocktails and dinner at a private club, preferred seating for 27, and a post-concert dessert reception at City Center. For more information, call 646-202-9623.