Goodbye, Mr. Chips a New Opera by Gordon Getty Reimagined for Film
A new opera by Gordon Getty, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, will receive its New York premiere—as an opera reimagined for film—on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, at 7 p.m. The public screening, co-presented by New York City Opera (NYCO) and Festival Napa Valley, will take place at the Walter Reade Theater, Lincoln Center, 165 W. 65th Street, New York, NY 10023.
Getty’s fourth opera is based on the popular 1934 novella Goodbye, Mr. Chips and other stories by James Hilton. The film, directed by Brian Staufenbiel, was given its world premiere screening on November 14, 2021, in California, presented by Festival Napa Valley in partnership with the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips tells the heart-warming story of a teacher at Brookfield, an all-boys English boarding school to which “Chips” dedicates most of his adult life. The opera chronicles Chips’ story of love, loss and learning over his decades-long tenure at Brookfield.
The film features Nathan Granner in the titular role of Mr. Chips, Marnie Breckenridge singing Kathie and Linford, Lester Lynch as Merrivale, and Kevin Short as Ralston and Rivers. The orchestra of stellar San Francisco 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 opera’s premiere was originally planned as a fully-staged, live performance, but COVID-19 cancellations gave the production team an opportunity to try something new. Rather than put the project on hold, the team reimagined 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 City Opera and Festival Napa Valley presents:
Goodbye, Mr. Chips
An opera reimagined for film
Music and libretto by Gordon Getty
Based on the book Goodbye, Mr. Chips and other stories by James Hilton
Directed by Brian Staufenbiel
Conducted by Nicole Paiement
New York Premiere Screening
Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 7 p.m.
Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center
165 W. 65th Street, New York, NY 10023
Nathan Granner (tenor) – Mr. Chips
Marnie Breckenridge (soprano) – Kathie/Linford
Lester Lynch (baritone) – Merrivale
Kevin Short (bass-baritone) – Ralston/Rivers
Young People’s Chorus of New York City; Francisco J. Núñez, Founder and Artistic Director
Advance tickets available through New York City Opera: https://newyorkcityopera.yapsody.com/event/index/708511/goodbye-mr-chips; individual tickets for the screening are $25.
Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
(Bios courtesy of the artists)