Gordon Getty's new opera, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, receives its New York premiere — as an opera re-imagined for film — in a special screening presented by Festival Napa Valley in partnership with the New York City Opera.
Getty’s fourth opera is based on the popular 1934 book Goodbye, Mr. Chips and other stories by James Hilton. Goodbye, Mr. Chips tells the heart-warming story of a teacher at Brookfield, an all-boys English boarding school to which “Chips” has dedicated most of his adult life, and chronicles Chips’ story of love, loss and learning over his decades-long tenure at Brookfield.
Directed by Brian Staufenbiel, the film features tenor Nathan Granner in the titular role of Mr. Chips, soprano Marnie Breckenridge singing Kathie and Linford, baritone Lester Lynch as Merrivale, and bass-baritone Kevin Short as Ralston and Rivers. The orchestra of stellar Bay Area players is conducted by Nicole Paiement. Members of The Young People’s Chorus of New York City, conducted by Francisco J. Núñez, represent the boarding school’s students.
The premiere was originally planned as a fully-staged, live opera performance, but COVID-19 cancellations gave the team an opportunity to try something new. Rather than put the project on hold, the team re-imagined the work as a film. This new medium allowed for seamless storytelling, with Chips moving fluidly between his later life and flashbacks of his early years at Brookfield.
As a result of pandemic safety protocols, the main cast, orchestra, and chorus were all recorded separately. The cast then filmed on a live set in San Francisco, while the boys were captured as projections in New York City, vividly appearing in the film as Chips remembers them.
New York Premiere co-presented with New York City Opera.
Venue: Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, NYC
Tickets through New York City Opera: $25 each