Maria La Selva Vogt was on a mission to honor her father’s memory and and had tried a variety of ways, but nothing was feeling right. She needed a company that focused on him and his mission and values regarding opera. So she has decided to build one herself. Maria is bringing world-renowned conductor Vincent La Selva’s vision to life with the La Selva Opera, set to open soon.
Maria is the daughter of distinguished conductor Vincent La Selva. Maestro La Selva was referred to as a New York institution and was often compared to the late great Arturo Toscanini. In his career, he was knighted by the president of Italy and was awarded the coveted Handel Medallion by a former mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani. He was also the founder and director of the New York Grand Opera, the third major opera company in New York. His performances were attended by over 3 million people over the years. In 1974, the Grand Opera famously made its debut in Central Park with a production of Puccini’s La Bohème. This debut has been described as the first fully-staged full-length opera outdoors in the United States.
In his life, Vincent La Selva was known for his unique energy in the New York music scene. Since his passing in 2017, there has been a tremendous hole in the opera and classical world in the city.
As founder and executive director, Maria is bringing his vision back to life by founding the company La Selva Opera, which will operate as a sister company to the New York Grand Opera, with Michael Hajek as its artistic director and Constantine Kitsopoulos as the principal conductor. The company will operate as a nonprofit, with the money going back into the company for future performances that will be either free or reasonably priced in keeping with Maestro La Selva’s vision of an accessible opera. For almost four decades, he delivered free summer concerts to hundreds of thousands of music lovers, initiating countless people to the beauty of opera.
The opera is set to have its first performance in New York in the fall of 2021 or the spring of 2022. The group will travel across the country, taking the late conductor’s vision for the opera everywhere. There will also be a traveling museum of some of his historically important items from the past, which will be on exhibit to exclusive patrons.
The opera aims to bring back the late maestro’s energy not only to New York but to the entire country. La Selva Opera symbolizes Maestro La Selva’s vision to bring opera in the way the composer intended to all audiences, whether or not they can afford the opera house.
In the future, La Selva Opera aims to be a viable and stable nonprofit opera company with a strong reputation for putting on quality productions at reasonable prices and, when possible, free to the public.