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Feb 29 - Mar 01

Presented by Linda and Mitch Hart

Germany, 1938. Kristallnacht. To survive the pending threat, two brothers are sent halfway around the world, to Shanghai. Otto cherishes his heritage, while Josef seeks a new path, and falls in love with Lina, a Chinese woman recovering from the loss of her mother in the Nanjing Massacre. From there flows Émigré, a semi-staged musical drama that tells a sweeping tale of love and loss, set to music by film and concert composer Aaron Zigman. Lyrics by Grammy-winning lyricist Mark Campbell, with additional lyrics by Brock Walsh. Long Yu conducts.

Arrive early for a pre-concert talk, beginning at 6:00 PM on 2/29 and at 6:30 PM on 3/1.

Learn more about Émigré.

Date / Time

Create-Your-Own Subscriptions for the 2023–24 season are available; purchase 3+ concerts and save at least 10% off single ticket prices. Plus, you’ll enjoy other great benefits, including no-fee ticket exchanges.


Wu Tsai Theater, David Geffen Hall



1 Hour 30 Minutes with Intermission

Program to Include

Program Notes

Aaron Zigman / Mark Campbell, libretto | Brock Walsh, additional lyrics

Émigré (US Premiere–New York Philharmonic Co-Commission with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra and Long Yu)


Long Yu Conductor
A prominent figure in China’s classical music scene, conductor and impresario Long Yu has devoted his career to steering China’s growing connection to classical music while familiarizing international audiences with some of the country’s most celebrated musicians and composers. Maestro Yu holds the top position in China’s leading orchestras, serving as artistic director of the China Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO), music director of Shanghai Symphony Orchestra (SSO), and principal guest conductor of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. After 20 years, he recently stepped down as music director of Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra and is now honorary music director for life and chair of the artistic committee. He is co-director of Shanghai’s Music in the Summer Air festival and chair of the artistic committee of the Beijing Music Festival, an annual autumn event that he founded in 1998 and served as artistic director for 20 years. He is currently vice president of the China Musicians Association and chairman of its recently established League of China Orchestras.

Learn more about Long Yu

Mary Birnbaum Director

Mary Birnbaum has directed opera and music theater productions around the world, including staging critically acclaimed productions of Rossi’s L’Orfeo, Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up, and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, all at The Juilliard School, and Stucky’s The Classical Style: An Opera (of Sorts) at Carnegie Hall. She was nominated as best newcomer at The European Opera Awards in 2015. In 2019 her production of Puccini’s La bohème opened Santa Fe Opera’s season, and her production of Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas toured to Opera Holland Park and Opéra de Versailles. Birnbaum has also directed productions at Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Bard Music Festival, Virginia Opera, Virginia Arts Festival, Ojai Festival, Montclair Peak Performances, and Boston Baroque in the US, as well as in Taiwan (with the National Symphony Orchestra), Central America (National Theatre of Costa Rica and Guatemala), Australia, and Israel.

Learn more about Mary Birnbaum

Meigui Zhang Soprano

Meigui Zhang’s 2022–23 season features her role debut as Euridice in San Francisco Opera’s production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, Atlanta Opera debut as Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and return to The Metropolitan Opera covering Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo. She is also engaged as the soprano soloist in Mozart’s Requiem with the North Carolina Symphony, Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with Bard College’s The Orchestra Now, and Bruckner’s Te Deum with New Jersey Symphony.

Learn more about Meigui Zhang

Diana Newman Soprano

American soprano Diana Newman brings fresh and intense performances to opera houses and concert stages across the United States and Europe. Highlights of her 2023–24 season include the world premiere of Émigré — composed by Aaron Zigman and lyrics by Mark Campbell and Brock Walsh — with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, followed by the work’s US Premiere with the New York Philharmonic, both conducted by Long Yu.

Learn more about Diana Newman

New York Philharmonic Chorus | Malcolm J. Merriweather, Director Chorus

The New York Philharmonic Cho­rus is an ensemble of New York–based, profes­sional vocalists that was established to mark the Orchestra’s return to the transformed David Geffen Hall in the 2022–23 season. The Chorus made its debut in the hall’s two Inaugural Galas, both conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden, in which it sang selections by Bernstein and Handel as well as Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and the World Premiere of Angélica Negrón’s You Are the Prelude, which the NY Phil commissioned for the occasion. The Chorus returned later in the season for Adolphus Hailstork’s Done Made My Vow, A Ceremony and the New York Premiere of John Luther Adams’s Become Desert. In the 2023–24 season Malcolm J. Merriweather again directs the New York Philharmonic Chorus, preparing the ensemble for Holst’s The Planets, in November; Émigré — composed by Aaron Zigman and lyrics by Mark Campbell and Brock Walsh — in February–March; and van Zweden’s season-concluding performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Resurrection. Grammy-nominated conductor and baritone Malcolm J. Merriweather — who has prepared the New York Philharmonic Chorus for appearances with the Orchestra since the choir was founded — is music director of The Dessoff Choirs. He also serves as an associate professor at Brooklyn College and on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music. He has conducted ensembles in venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Madison Square Garden in New York City, as well as Westminster Abbey and at the Vatican before Pope Francis. His repertoire ranges from J.S. Bach to the world premiere recording of Margaret Bonds’s The Ballad of the Brown King (AVIE Records). As a baritone, Merriweather studied with Rita Shane, has appeared as soloist throughout the United States, and has premiered dozens of contemporary solo works. He was a fellowship recipient at Tanglewood and has earned degrees from Eastman School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, and Syracuse University.

Learn more about New York Philharmonic Chorus | Malcolm J. Merriweather, Director

Huiling Zhu Mezzo-Soprano

The Shanghai-born mezzo-soprano Huiling Zhu graduated from the high school affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, and Musikhochschule Stuttgart. As one of the most high-profile vocal artists in China, Huiling Zhu collaborates regularly with major orchestras and opera houses, performing operas including Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Ravel’s L’Heure espagnole, Bizet’s Carmen, as well as Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 2, 3, and 8 and Das Lied von der Erde, the Verdi Requiem, and the world premiere of two works by Ye Xiaogang: Symphony No. 4, Songs from the Steppe, and Symphony No. 5, Lu Xun.

Learn more about Huiling Zhu

Matthew White Tenor

In the 2023–24 season, American tenor Matthew White will perform the role of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with Vancouver Opera and give a series of Christmas concerts with the Dallas Opera. Future seasons include debuts with the Salzburg Easter Festival and Royal Danish Opera as well as his return to Opéra de Montréal.

Learn more about Matthew White

Arnold Livingston Geis Tenor

In November 2023 tenor Arnold Livingston Geis created the role of Josef Bader in the world premiere of Emigré — composed by Aaron Zigman and lyrics by Mark Campbell and Brock Walsh — with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Long Yu; he reprises the role in the work’s US Premiere by the New York Philharmonic. He also sings Orff’s Carmina burana with the Phoenix and Erie Symphony Orchestras, and returns to the Los Angeles Philharmonic as Mormon / Housemate in Oliver Leith’s Last Days.

Learn more about Arnold Livingston Geis

Andrew Dwan Bass-Baritone

Bass-baritone Andrew Dwan is a versatile performer, praised for his magnetic stage presence. An avid interpreter and advocate of contemporary works, he recently appeared in the role of Prospero in the world premiere of Allen Shearer’s Prospero’s Island at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. Other appearances included the title role in Miriam Gideon’s Fortunato, Constantin Basica’s Knot an Opera, Aldous Huxley in Anne LeBaron’s LSD: The Opera, and Oulomenos in Jason Thorpe Buchanan’s Hunger. Andrew Dwan is also known for his comedic roles, including the title character in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love, Papageno in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Dandini in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Dwan is a 2019 and 2021 alumnus of the Merola Opera Program.

Learn more about Andrew Dwan

Shenyang Bass

Shenyang rose to international attention as winner of the 2007 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, which led to a string of high-profile debuts, including at the Glyndebourne Festival, Metropolitan Opera, Bavarian Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zürich, and Washington National Opera. While his early career focused principally on the operas of Rossini, Mozart, and Handel, recent seasons have seen a shift to a more dramatic repertoire. Recent debuts have included the roles of Don Pizarro in Beethoven’s Fidelio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel and with Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and Paavo Järvi; Jochanaan in Richard Strauss’s Salome with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Alexander Liebreich; Gunther in Wagner’s Götterdämmerung with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden (released on Naxos), Klingsor in Wagner’s Parsifal at Brussels’s La Monnaie with Alain Altinoglu, and Kurwenal in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde at the Glyndebourne Festival and BBC Proms, conducted by Robin Ticciati. In 2023 Shenyang gave his first performances as Wotan in Wagner’s Das Rheingold in concert with the Guangzhou Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sun Yifan.

Learn more about Shenyang

Kristen Robinson Production Designer

Kristen Robinson is an award-winning designer, artist, and educator. Her work ranges from experimental opera to regional theater. Highlights among the projects that she has designed include Drinking in America (for Audible Theater), Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Wolftrap Opera), Heather Christian’s Oratorio for Living Things (Ars Nova), In the Green (Lincoln Center Theater’s LCT3), Heart of Darkness (Baryshnikov Arts Center), Minor Character (Under the Radar Festival), Everybody Black, The Thin Place (Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville), graveyard shift (Goodman Theatre), Familiar (Steppenwolf Theatre), and Ethel (Alliance Theatre). She is the assistant professor of scenic design at Purchase College. A Princess Grace Fellow, she received her MFA from Yale University and is a proud member of USA 829.

Learn more about Kristen Robinson

Oana Botez Costume Designer

Oana Botez has designed costumes for theater, opera, film, and dance. Her honors include receiving the Princess Grace, Barrymore, and Henry Hewes Design awards; a Lucille Lortel Award nomination; and the NEA / TCG Career Development Program. Her New York credits include BAM Next Wave, Bard SummerScape / Richard B. Fisher Center, Playwrights Horizons, Baryshnikov Arts Center, David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center’s LCT3, Big Apple Circus, and Classic Stage Company. Her regional work has included Ain’t Misbehavin (Barrington Stage Company), Macbeth (Old Globe), Angels in America (Arena Stage & Wilma), and Man in a Case (Hartford). Opera productions have included Mozart’s Don Giovanni (Wolf Trap), Derrick Skye’s Song of the Ambassadors (Alice Tully Hall); Bizet’s Carmen (Minneapolis Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Portland Opera), In a Grove (Pittsburgh Opera), and A House in Bali (BAM). Internationally she has worked with Bucharest National Theatre, Château de Versailles, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Les Subsistances, The Old Vic, Budapest National Theatre, Cluj Hungarian National Theatre, Le Quartz (Brest, France), La Filature (Mulhouse, France), Exit Festival / Maison des arts de Créteil, Tanz im August Festival Hebbel am Ufer–HAU1 (Berlin, Germany), Edinburgh International Festival, and Singapore Arts Festival. She teaches at Yale’s David Geffen School of Drama.

Learn more about Oana Botez

Yuki Nakase Link Lighting Designer

Lighting designer Yuki Nakase Link has designed works directed by Mary Birnbaum, including Christopher Cerrone’s In a Grove (at Pittsburgh Opera) and Missy Mazzoli’s Proving Up (Juilliard Opera). Recent and upcoming projects include Cage’s Europeras 3 & 4 (Detroit Opera), Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia (The Shepherd School of Music–Rice University), Huang Ruo’s Angel Island (Brooklyn Academy of Music / Prototype Festival), Puccini’s Madame Butterfly (co-produced by Cincinnati Opera, Detroit Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Utah Opera), Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice (San Francisco Opera), Beethoven’s Fidelio (Canadian Opera Company), Tod Machover’s VALIS (MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology), Monteverdi’s  L’Orfeo (Santa Fe Opera), and Garrett Fisher’s Blood Moon (Baruch Performing Arts Center). Born in Tokyo, Yuki Nakase Link grew up in Kyoto, Japan, and received her MFA from New York University.

Learn more about Yuki Nakase Link

Joshua Higgason Projection Designer

Joshua Higgason is a video, scenic, lighting, and interactive designer who creates experiences for theater, opera, and events. He recently designed augmented reality and projections for Wagner’s Parsifal at Bayreuth Festival 2023. Other recent video designs include Rhiannon Giddens and Michael Abels’s Omar (presented at LA Opera, San Francisco Opera, Boston Lyric, and Spoleto); Orpheus in the Underworld (Vienna Volksoper); Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Richard Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena (at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala); Verdi’s Falstaff and Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Florence’s Maggio Musicale); Purcell’s King Arthur (Berlin Staatsoper, Theater an der Wien); Michael Gordon’s Acquanetta (Bard Summerscape); Jeanine Tesori’s Blue (Detroit Opera); Weill’s The Threepenny Opera  (Salzburg Festival); and Michael R. Jackson’s White Girl in Danger (Off-Broadway). He has also designed for projects by Sufjan Stevens, Zvidance, Radiolab, Ira Glass, Daniel Fish, Lucinda Childs, Windmill Factory, and Big Dance Theater, as well as Christine Jones’s Theatre for One. Higgason’s work has been presented at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Edinburgh Festival, TED, SXSW, Museum of Modern Art, London’s Barbican, The Beacon, and MassMoCA. He teaches performance design at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Learn more about Joshua Higgason

Laura Stanfield Prichard Dramaturge

Laura Stanfield Prichard studied at Yale University, Emory University, and University of Illinois; she holds master’s and doctoral degrees in choral conducting, library science, musicology, and education. She lectures regularly for the San Francisco and Chicago Symphony Orchestras and opera companies in Boston and San Francisco. She reviews concerts for the Boston Musical Intelligencer, which sent her to Cuba in 2015 as a foreign correspondent. She has served as president of the Pacific Chapter of the College Music Society and assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. She sings with the Boston and San Francisco Symphony Choruses. Her 25 years of college teaching have focused on interdisciplinary cultural analysis of music, dance, and art history. Recent publications include editorial prefaces for orchestral scores (for Musikproduktion Höflich, Munich, Germany), 650 translations of song and choral texts (on lieder.net), and more than three-dozen entries in the Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music, the revision of the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, and Music Around the World (2020). She was a finalist for the 2015 Pauline Alderman Award, for outstanding writing on women and music, and the 2019 Kurt Weill Award, for writing on contemporary musical theater.

Learn more about Laura Stanfield Prichard


Émigré is presented by Linda and Mitch Hart.

Lead support for Émigré is provided by Ling Tian and Diana Wang.

Generous support for these concerts is provided by Jane and Stuart Weitzman.

Generous support for Long Yu’s appearances is provided by the US-China Cultural Institute, in memory of Shirley Young.

Support for the commission of Aaron Zigman & Mark Campbell's Émigré is provided by Starr International Foundation.

For these performances of Émigré, the New York Philharmonic musicians are joined by three members of the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra: Concertmaster Ming Liu, Principal Cello Lin Zhu, and Principal Bass Bowen Qian.