Matthew Aucoin's Opera CROSSING, Helmed by Diane Paulus, to Make New York Premiere at BAM

Matthew Aucoin's Opera CROSSING, Helmed by Diane Paulus, to Make New York Premiere at BAM

BAM presents The New York premiere of Matthew Aucoin's acclaimed opera Crossing, an American Repertory Theater production directed by Diane Paulus, running October 3-8, 2017 at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave). Tickets start at $35.

Poet Walt Whitman's personal experience caring for Union soldiers in a Civil War field hospital sets the stage for composer/librettist Matthew Aucoin's critically acclaimed and resonant opera. Directed by Diane Paulus, with Aucoin conducting 26-piece chamber orchestra A Far Cry, the opera features baritone Rod Gilfry (Walt Whitman), tenor Alexander Lewis (John Wormley), bass baritone Davone Tines (Freddie Stowers), soprano Jennifer Zetlan (Messenger), and an 11-member male chorus. The work was commissioned by American Repertory Theater for The National Civil War Project, commemorating the war's 150th anniversary.

Set in a ramshackle hospital, bloodied and broken soldiers await their fates and news of the war's end. Aucoin's fictional characterization of Whitman presents a conflicted but compassionate man, drawn romantically to a wounded soldier-John Wormley-himself a complex character in need. In a review of the opera's 2015 world premiere in Boston, The New York Times said Aucoin "writes music that activates the text. In whole stretches, the orchestra almost hugs each word with some piercing harmony..." The Boston Globe says "Crossing is opera at its most elemental, something Whitman would have appreciated." The work features rich choral segments and additional solo roles by Davone Tines as Freddie Stowers, an escaped slave who later joined the Union forces; and Jennifer Zetlan-the opera's sole female voice-as the messenger who brings word of the war's end.

Composer/conductor Matthew Aucoin is currently at work on Eurydice, a new opera with a libretto by playwright Sarah Ruhl, co-commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera's new works program and the Los Angeles Opera, where Aucoin is Artist-in-Residence. Aucoin's residency in LA includes annual appearances as a conductor, including (in the current season) both Verdi's Rigoletto and his own Crossing. Recent and upcoming performances of Aucoin's music include performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Brentano Quartet, the Orchestra of St. Luke's, Salzburg's Mozarteum Orchestra, Chanticleer, members of the Chicago Symphony, tenor Paul Appleby, and countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo. As a conductor, Aucoin has appeared with the Chicago Symphony, LA Opera, the LA Philharmonic, the LA Chamber Orchestra, Salzburg's Mozarteum Orchestra, and the Music Academy of the West, among others. Aucoin is a 2012 graduate of Harvard College (summa cum laude) and a 2014 recipient of The Juilliard School's graduate diploma in composition.

American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.) is a professional theater on the campus of Harvard University, producing groundbreaking work in Cambridge and beyond. The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as artistic director until 2002, when he was succeeded by RoBert Woodruff. Diane Paulus began her tenure as artistic director in 2008. The A.R.T. has been honored with distinguished awards including a Tony Award for Best New Play for All the Way (2014), consecutive Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical for Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess (2012), a Pulitzer Prize, and a Tony for Best Regional Theater.

Diane Paulus is the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University and was selected for the 2014 Time 100. Paulus won the Tony Award for Best Director of a Musical in 2013 for Pippin. For A.R.T., she has directed Finding Neverland, Witness Uganda, The Donkey Show, and The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess. Paulus directed The Public Theater's Tony Award-winning revival of Hair on Broadway and London's West End; Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna; and operas including The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and the Monteverdi trilogy including Orfeo (Chicago Opera Theater production, BAM 2002 Spring Season), Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria, and L'incoronazione di Poppea.


Composed, written, and conducted by Matthew Aucoin
Presented by American Repertory Theater

Directed by Diane Paulus
Choreography by Jill Johnson
Set design by Tom Pye
Costume design by David Zinn
Lighting by Jennifer Tipton
Projection design by Finn Ross
Featuring Chamber Orchestra A Far Cry

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Oct 3, 5, and 7 at 7:30pm; Oct 8 at 3pm
Tickets start at $35

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafé are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn's only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafé, operated by Great Performances, offers a dinner menu prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances.

Limited commercial parking lots are located near BAM. Visit for information. For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit

Photo by Gretjen Helene Photography

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