The Passenger—Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s uncompromising 1968 opera about the Holocaust, set to a libretto by Alexander Medvedev and based on the book The Passenger by Polish writer and concentration camp survivor Zofia Posmysz—will have its New York premiere July 10, 12, and 13, in a co-production with Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory. The Houston Grand Opera (HGO) production, directed by David Pountney, will be performed on an enormous, multi-tiered set that takes full advantage of the scale of the Armory’s soaring Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

In addition to the opera performances, author Zofia Posmysz will travel to New York from Warsaw to attend the premiere and participate in two panel discussions, Andrzej Munk’s film based on the same story will be screened, and the ARC Ensemble will perform chamber concerts devoted to the music of Weinberg.

Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s The Passenger has been called by the Independent (U.K.) “the most significant opera composed in the Russian language since Prokofiev’s War and Peace.” With an unflinching eye, this late 20th-century masterwork focuses on a former SS prison camp overseer on board an ocean liner who fears her secret past is about to be revealed. Framing the action is a towering multi-level set that seamlessly moves between the carefree world of the ocean liner above and the grim camp below. Director David Pountney’s definitive production of this Polish-born, Soviet-trained composer’s most important work was inspired, in part, by the soaring space of Park Avenue Armory’s massive Wade Thompson Drill Hall, where he staged Zimmerman’s Die Soldaten for Lincoln Center Festival in 2008.

Despite being called “a perfect masterpiece” by Shostakovich, The Passenger was suppressed by Soviet authorities and remained on the shelf until the premiere of this production in 2010. Patrick Summers conducts the Houston Grand Opera, Orchestra, and Chorus with a stellar cast of singers, including Melody Moore, Michelle Breedt, and Joseph Kaiser.

Prior to each performance, the ARC Ensemble will perform chamber concerts devoted to the music of Weinberg. The 45-minute concerts are free for ticket holders and begin at 6:00 pm. The programs are as follows:

  • July 10: From the Lyrics of Baratinsky, op. 125 (1979), songs for bass and piano; Piano Trio, op. 24 (1945)
  • July 12: Cello Sonata no. 2, op. 63 (1958); Violin Sonata no. 1, op. 12 (1943)
  • July 13: Piano Quintet, op. 18 (1945)

Co-presented by Lincoln Center Festival and Park Avenue Armory, the Lincoln Center Festival 2014 presentation of The Passenger is made possible in part by generous support from the Polska Music Program of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Robert and Helen Appel, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Larry A. and Klara Silverstein, Judy and Michael Steinhardt, Nancy & Morris W. Offit, and One Anonymous. The Polish Cultural Institute New York has generously supported Zofia Posmysz’s travel to New York for participation in discussion panels.

July 10 – 13, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.
Opera: The Passenger performed at Lincoln Center Festival
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
Single Tickets Available: call 212-721-6500, visit or go to the Avery Fisher Hall box office (65th Street and Broadway)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | 6:00 p.m.
Film: free screening of The Passenger by Andrzej Munk
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
165 W. 65th St., 10th floor, New York, NY

Friday, July 11, 2014 | 6:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Author Zofia Posmysz & HGO dramaturg Menna Hanna
Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse
165 W. 65th St., 10th floor, New York, NY

PLEASE NOTE: Tickets are required to attend the screening and panel discussions and are available for The Passenger ticketholders only. Any additional tickets will be made available to the general public on stand-by at the time of the events.