OPERAS IN FORMATION
A BARREL OF LAUGHS, A VALE OF TEARS
with Julia Adolphe
directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer
dramaturgy by Jessica Kubzansky
development: National Sawdust & Boston Court Theatre
An adaptation of Jules Feiffer’s wonderfully loopy fairytale for children of all ages about a young royal doomed to make everyone around her laugh so hard nothing gets done in her presence. How to cure her of her affliction? Why, send her on a quest, of course. A wild ride of a story involving endless transformation, a forest from which no one ever returns, a sea of malice, a a ruthless bully of a best friend, and a spunky lady in waiting, among others. All about what it is to fall in love at almost first sight, to grow wise and generous and teary-eyed—in spite of one’s self. For 6 principles and children’s chorus.
Libretto workshop: Boston Court Theatre, 2018; music workshop: National Sawdust, 2019, conducted by David Hanlon.
ARKHIPOV with Peter Knell
directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer
music director: Daniela Candellari
dramatugy: Cori Ellison
producer: Cath Brittan
Among the world's unsung heroes stands Vasili Arkhipov, Deputy Fleet Commander of a squadron of Soviet submarines covertly carrying deadly nuclear weapons to Cuba. Arkhipov should, by rights, be a household name for his having saved the world from imminent destruction at the fulcrum of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when he cast the deciding vote to prevent the firing of his sub's nuclear warhead. This opera, which chronicles the events leading up to that pivotal moment and conjures a moving portrait of an extraordinary man, explores what drives the decisions our leaders make in times of crisis, the fallibility of our communications, and our vulnerability in the face of weapons of mass destruction. For 10 singers & 17 instrumentalists.
Libretto workshop: NYC, 2017; 1st music workshop: Pasadena, 2018, conducted by Daniela Candillari.
Sample available on request.
TAINARON with Jeremy Howard Beck
adapted from Leena Krohn's classic novella
An unnamed woman has sailed across the sea to Tainaron, a faraway city populated by insects. The woman sends a series of letters home to her beloved, who never responds. Recounting her explorations in this strange land, the woman plumbs the loaded terrain of what she has left behind and comes face to face with the cycles of life, death, rebirth and renewal, the metamorphosis that is the central fact of life here. A myth for now, Krohn’s dreamlike, haunting meditation on exile and memory is a story of immigration, of passage, a book of changes. Tainaron has a powerfully theatrical potential. This sui generis source material calls for a unique sonic and visual language, “voices of a kind not heard [or seen] anywhere else.”
WALLIS with Jeremy Gill
directed by Kathleen Belcher
Frequently immortalized as having played a part in the greatest love story of the 20th Century, Wallis Simpson, “that woman,” the American divorcee for whom the King of England abdicated his throne, lost a great deal more than she gained when she left her second husband, Ernest Simpson, for Edward. The opera centers on the tense days of the abdication and a politically enforced separation leading up to Wallis and HRM’s wedding in the south of France (attended by a paltry handful of guests). Drawing on letters between Wallis and Ernest Simpson, Wallis explores the dynamics of what was, behind the tabloid headlines, a love triangle, and takes a hard look at the painful consequences of outsized ambition.
Sample available upon request.