Caitlin Lynch and Kevin Burdette Lead DARK SISTERS Opera at John Jay College; Tickets on Sale Now
Tickets are now on sale for the World Premiere production of DARK SISTERS, composed by Nico Muhly with libretto by Stephen Karam, conducted by Neal Goren, directed by Rebecca Taichman, and co-commissioned and co-produced by Gotham Chamber Opera, Music-Theatre Group and the Opera Company of Philadelphia. DARK SISTERS will premiere from November 9-19,2011 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 899 Tenth Avenue, NYC. Tickets are $30-125 and are available at www.ticketcentral.com or by phone at 212-279-4200.
The cast will be headed by Caitlin Lynch and Kevin Burdette, with Kristina Bachrach, Jennifer Check, Eve Gigliotti, Margaret Lattimore, and Jennifer Zetlan. Set and Video Design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer (for 59 Productions). Dark Sisters will also be presented in June 2012 as part of the Opera Company of Philadelphia's chamber opera series at the Perelman Theater.
In a world where personal identity is forbidden, Dark Sisters follows one woman's dangerous attempt to escape her life as a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), a sect that split from mainstream Mormonism in the early 20th century largely because of the LDS Church's renunciation of polygamy. The male founders of the Mormon faith (Joseph Smith and Brigham Young chief among them) have traditionally loomed large in American history; Dark Sisters puts the women of the FLDS sect front and center. The narrative draws inspiration from the flurry of media attention surrounding the two most famous raids on FLDS compounds (the 1953 raid at Short Creek, AZ, and the 2008 raid at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, TX) as well as from the stories of the more than 80 wives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young.
Conductor: Neal Goren
Director: Rebecca Taichman
Eliza: Caitlyn Lynch
Prophet/King: Kevin Burdette
Almera: Jennifer Check
Ruth: Eve Gigliotti
Presendia: Margaret Lattimore
Zina: Jennifer Zetlan
Lucinda: Kristina Bachrach
For news and information on this project as it develops, please visit DarkSistersOpera.org.
CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
Composer Nico Muhly was born in Vermont in 1981 and raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and is a 2003 graduate of Columbia University with a degree in English Literature. In 2004 he received a Masters in Music from the Juilliard School, where he studied composition under Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano. Muhly's orchestral works have been premiered by the American Symphony Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, the Boston University Tanglewood Institute Orchestra (It Remains to Be Seen, a commission celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2006), and the Boston Pops (Wish You Were Here, 2007); and Step Music for the Chicago Symphony MusicNOW program. In 2005, the Clare College Choir broadcast Muhly's evensong canticles live on BBC3, and New York's Saint Thomas Church commissioned and performed his Bright Mass with Canons, a work that has entered their regular repertoire. With designer/illustrator Maira Kalman, he created the "finely wrought" (New York Times) cantata on Strunk & White's The Elements of Style that premiered in the New York Public Library, landing him on 2005 year's-best list of New York Magazine. Film credits include his scores for The Reader (2009), Choking Man (2006) and Joshua (2007), and he has worked extensively with Philip Glass as editor, keyboardist, and conductor for numerous film and stage projects. In October 2007, American Ballet Theater premiered Muhly and Millepied's collaboration From Here On Out, and One Thing Leads to Another, the latest collaboration with Benjamin Millepied, will be premiered by the Dutch National Ballet on October 15, 2010. The world premiere of Detailed Instructions, a work for chamber orchestra, was performed in April 2010 by the New York Philharmonic in New York.
Librettist Stephen Karam is the author of Speech & Debate which was produced by Roundabout Theatre Company as the inaugural production of Roundabout Underground. Following an extended run in New York, Speech & Debate has received over 80 productions across the U.S. and Canada. Other plays include columbinus at New York Theatre Workshop and Girl on Girl (Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep). His work is published by Dramatists Play Service and Dramatic Publishing Company. His new play, Sons of the Prophet, will receive a co-world premiere in 2011 by Huntington/Roundabout Theater Companies. Current projects include the film version of Speech & Debate and Darks Sisters. A MacDowell Colony Fellow, Stephen grew up in Scranton, PA, and received his B.A. from Brown University.
Rebecca Taichman (Director) Off-Broadway: Sarah Ruhl's Orlando (Classic Stage Company); Theresa Rebeck's The Scene, starring Tony Shalhoub and Patricia Heaton (Second Stage); Menopausal Gentleman (Obie Award). Regional: Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew (The Shakespeare Theatre); premiere of David Adjmi's The Evildoers (Yale Rep; Sundance Theater Lab); premiere of Sarah Ruhl's Dead Man's Cell Phone (Woolly Mammoth, Helen Hayes nomination); premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius (The Huntington, IRNE and Elliot Norton Awards); premiere of The Scene (Humana); Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House (Woolly Mammoth, 2006 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Resident Play); Elise Thoron's Green Violin, starring Raul Esparza (2003 Barrymore for Outstanding Direction), among others. Yale School of Drama graduate.
Neal Goren (Conductor) has conducted throughout the U. S. and in Europe. For Gotham Chamber Opera, he conducted critically acclaimed productions of Mozart's Il sogno di Scipione, Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas (with period instruments), Martinu's Hlas lesa and Les Larmes du couteau, Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne, Handel's Arianna in Creta (with period instruments), Britten's Albert Herring, Rossini's Il Signor Bruschino, Haydn's L'isola disabitata, Piazzolla's Maria de Buenos Aires, Haydn's Il mondo della luna, and Montsalvatge's El gato con botas. He led Gotham Chamber Opera's co-production of Respighi's La bella dormente nel bosco for Spoleto Festival USA and the Lincoln Center Festival in the summer of 2005, and conducted Britten's The Turn of the Screw for Angers Opera (France) and Opéra de Nantes for the reopening of Théâtre Graslin in February 2004. He made his New York City Opera debut conducting The Magic Flute in November 2003. He has participated in numerous PBS telecasts including Pavarotti Plus! and the Richard Tucker Memorial Concerts. As a recital accompanist, Goren has performed with Leontyne Price (as her exclusive musical collaborator), Kathleen Battle, Harolyn Blackwell, Håken Hagegård, Thomas Hampson, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Aprile Millo, Hermann Prey and others. He has been a member of the faculty of the graduate opera department of the Mannes College of Music since 1992 and served on the Board of Directors of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation from 1991-2003. In addition, he has served as a panelist for Opera America symposiums, is a regular guest on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz, a juror for numerous vocal competitions, and has given master classes in colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Gotham Chamber Opera is the nation's foremost opera company dedicated to producing rarely-performed chamber operas from the Baroque era to the present. The company's mission is to present innovative, fully-staged productions of the highest quality in intimate venues. Founded by conductor and Artistic Director Neal Goren in 2000, in its short history, Gotham Chamber Opera has presented seven U.S. premieres of 18th- and 20th-century operas, including such masterpieces as Mozart's Il Sogno di Scipione; Darius Milhaud's Les Malheurs d'Orphée; Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu's Dada opera, Les Larmes du Couteau; and Swiss composer Heinrich Sutermeister's Die schwarze Spinne. In February 2005, Gotham presented the U.S. stage premiere of Handel's Arianna in Creta. Also in 2005, Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA presented Gotham Chamber Opera's U.S. premiere of Ottorino Respighi's fantastical puppet opera, La bella dormente nel bosco, featuring the puppetry of Basil Twist. In the spring of 2006, Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring received its first professional staging in New York in more than 30 years, and in winter 2007, Rossini's Il signor Bruschino received its first major professional New York staging in over a half century. In the 2007/2008 season, Gotham Chamber Opera celebrated dance with productions of Astor Piazzolla's tango opera María de Buenos Aires, directed by David Parsons and featuring Parsons Dance, and with a new work entitled Ariadne Unhinged, directed by Karole Armitage and featuring members of Armitage Gone! Dance. And in 2009, Mark Morris directed the U.S. stage premiere of Haydn's L'isola disabitata. Most recently, Gotham made news world-wide in 2010 for its high-tech production of Haydn's Il mondo della Luna Staged in the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History and for Montsalvatge's El gato con botas (Puss in Boots), at The New Victory Theater, staged by Tony Award-nominated director Moisés Kaufman with puppet design by Blind Summit Theatre. For more information, visit www.gothamchamberopera.org.
For 40 years, The Music-Theatre Group (founded by Lyn Austin) has been turning inspiration into art, holding a singular place in the lives of culture-driven New Yorkers. Dynamically led by Producing Director Diane Wondisford, M-TG blurs the lines between music, theatre and opera. Internationally renowned for its commitment to the creation of work that embraces new art forms, M-TG has produced and toured worldwide a stunning roster of seminal works including Dr. Selavy's Magic Theatre (1972) by Stanley Silverman and Richard Foreman; The Mother of Us All by Virgil Thomson and Gertrude Stein, directed by Roland Gagnon (1972) and Stanley Silverman (1983); The Club (1975) by Eve Merriam, directed by Tommy Tune; Nightclub Cantata (1977) by Elizabeth Swados; The Garden of Earthly Delights (1984) by Martha Clarke and Richard Peaslee; The Making of Americans (1985) by Al Carmines and Gertrude Stein, directed by Anne Bogart; Vienna: Lusthaus (1986) by Martha Clarke, Richard Peaslee, and Charles Mee; Juan Darien (1988, 1990, 1996 nominated for five Tony Awards including Best Musical) by Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal; Cinderella/Cendrillon (1988) by Jules Massenet, with additional lyrics by Eve Ensler, directed by Anne Bogart; Extraordinary Measures (1995) by Eve Ensler and William Harper, with James Lecesne; Marco Polo (1996, winner of the Grawemeyer Award) by Tan Dun and Paul Griffiths, directed by Martha Clarke; Running Man (1999, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama) by Diedre Murray and Cornelius Eady, directed by Diane Paulus; Best of Both World (2005) by Randy Weiner, Diedre Murray and Diane Paulus; and Arjuna's Dilemma (2008) by Douglas J. Cuomo, directed by Robin Guarino. For more information, visit www.musictheatregroup.org.Opera Company of Philadelphia is Philadelphia's professional opera company, producing grandscale works at the time-honored, historic Academy of Music, and innovative chamber works at the contemporary Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. OCP has always been and remains committed to delivering outstanding productions of traditional repertoire, often presenting these operas in innovative and technologically creative ways, and to underwriting and producing new and exciting operatic works that appeal to a socially and culturally diverse audience; to identifying and cultivating rising young stars, often casting these voices alongside International Artists in appropriately-scaled productions; and to the development of educational programs geared toward introducing the rich heritage of opera to the multi-cultural Philadelphia region. During the 2010-2011 Season, OCP celebrates its 35th Anniversary, and does so under the leadership triumvirate of Artistic Director Robert B. Driver, Music Director Corrado Rovaris, and Executive Director David B. Devan. For more information, visit www.operaphila.org.
Since opening its doors in 1988, the Gerald W. Lynch Theater has been an invaluable cultural resource for John Jay College and the larger New York City community. Under the new direction of Executive Director Shannon R. Mayers, the Theater is dedicated to the creation and presentation of performing arts programming of all disciplines with a special focus on how the artistic imagination can shed light on the many perceptions of justice in our society. The Theater has hosted prestigious events for Lincoln Center Festival, Great Performances, Juilliard, Alvin Ailey and numerous television specials for HBO and Comedy Central. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu/theater.php.
The 650-seat Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is home to the Opera Company of Philadelphia, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, PHILADANCO, American Theater Arts for Youth and a variety of internationally-renowned visiting performers featured as part of Kimmel Center Presents. The multi-use recital hall/proscenium theater has outstanding acoustics and is ideal for intimately-scaled opera, which Opera Company of Philadelphia audiences attend as part of the sold-out Opera at the Perelman Series.
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