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Composer Nick Bentz
Composer Nick Bentz

Composer Nick Bentz’s chamber opera will be performed by the Western New York Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, Feb. 18.

  • February 5, 2024
  • Doug Osborne-Coy

The Western New York Chamber Orchestra continues its Classics Series at SUNY on Sunday, Feb. 18 with the world premiere live performance of a chamber opera by composer Nick Bentz.

WNYCO presents “Having Guest for Dinner” at 3 p.m. in the Harry A. King Concert Hall on the Fredonia campus.

Tickets are available online 24/7 and by phone at (716) 673-3501 or in person at the Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Having Guests for Dinner” is Bentz’s one-act chamber opera for three singers and small symphony with libretto by Robert Feng. It follows a young, dysfunctional couple, Marcus and Laura, who are invited to a friend of a friend’s house for dinner. When they arrive, they meet their odd host, Christoph. Something seems off – their friends Scott and Andrew never arrive, and Christoph’s demeanor betrays that perhaps there’s “more on the menu than just beef and lamb.”

This work of art contains mature themes and dark comedy.

Bentz is a composer, violinist, and multimedia artist whose work “is drawn to remote fringes and recesses of experience.”

His music has been performed by groups including the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony and New Opera West and has received top honors from the Tribeca New Music Festival, Boston New Music Initiative and Hartford Opera Theater, among others.

Bentz has held residencies at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Symphony Number One and Atlantic Center for the Arts. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Brown University, pursuing a doctoral degree in Music and Multimedia Composition.

The Western New York Chamber Orchestra is an ensemble-in-residence at the Fredonia School of Music with a history dating back more than 40 years. It is currently led by Glen Cortese, composer and conductor.

The WNYCO Classics Series is presented as part of the 2023-24 Lake Shore Savings Season at the Michael C. Rockefeller Arts Center and is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts and Chautauqua County’s United Arts Appeal.