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DARKLING To Be Released as CD 11/1

From a book-length poem to a multi-media experimental opera to its current incarnation as a CD, DARKLING gives a haunting portrayal of the emotions, terrors, and incalculable losses incurred during the period between the two World Wars and the Holocaust. Commissioned by American Opera Projects, DARKLING is based on Anna Rabinowitz's Darkling: A Poem (Tupelo Press, 2001) set to original music by post-classical composer Stefan Weisman. Featuring four singers (soprano / mezzo / tenor / baritone), a string quartet and 16 spoken-word artists, DARKLING movingly evokes the memory of the Holocaust as well as the human cost of cataclysmic events through a fusion of avant-garde theater, opera, cutting-edge technology and poignant language.

DARKLING is a remarkable story of love, loss, calamity and hope pieced together from bits of memorabilia such as fading photographs and yellowing letters found by the poet in a shoe box saved on a shelf in her deceased father's closet. Faceless, and mainly nameless, voices of DARKLING emerged for her from the old photos and letters - lost fragments of the Eastern European Jewish world destroyed by the Holocaust.

In his musical process, Weisman emulated the poem's overarching acrostic structure. He also made efforts to capture the poetry's underlying emotionality. "My goal was to take the heartrending ideas which I found in Darkling's poetry and make them instantly clear and direct through music," explains Weisman.

The score, rich in Minimalist riffs, recalls Schoenberg, Bartok and Schostakovich, and hints at Jewish folk idioms. It "is personal moody and skillfully wrought...most compelling when...the harmonic language becomes astringent and a raw, fitful quality erupts." (New York Times)

DARKLING premiered to great acclaim at the Classic Stage Company in 2006 in New York City before it went to New York City Opera's VOX at NYU's Skirball Center. According to the New York Resident, " with charged generosity...," and is "...acute in its musical reach and dead smart as theater." DARKLING was also included in the Guggenheim Museum's Works & Process series, toured Europe in 2007, and was performed by The Center City Opera Theatre at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in 2009.

About Stefan Weisman
Stefan Weisman is a composer living in New York City. His music in Darkling was described by Anthony Tommasini (The New York Times) as "personal, moody and skillfully wrought." His one-act opera Fade, commissioned by the British opera company Second Movement, premiered in London in 2008 and also had successful productions in Philadelphia, San Francisco and Brooklyn. His commissioned work for the Bang on a Can All Stars was mentioned in the New York Times' retrospective of 2007's best new music. Upcoming projects include a new chamber work for eighth blackbird, and a multimedia family opera, The Scarlet Ibis, which is being developed by the HERE Arts Center and American Opera Projects.

About Anna Rabinowitz
A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, Anna Rabinowitz has published four volumes of poetry: Present Tense, Omnidawn (cited by the Huffington Post as one of the best poetry books of 2010), The Wanton Sublime (for which she has been commissioned by AOP to write a libretto for a monodrama of the same name, with music by British composer Tarik O'Regan), Darkling, and At the Site of Inside Out, (winner of the Juniper Prize). Her work has appeared widely in literary journals and in various anthologies.

About American Opera Projects
American Opera Projects' mission is to champion innovative works of music theater, to expand the art form, and to identify, develop and present new works by emerging and established talent. In addition to Darkling, operas to receive fully-staged premieres after passing through AOP's First Chance development program include Séance on a Wet Afternoon (New York City Opera, Opera Santa Barbara), Before Night Falls (Fort Worth Opera), and Heart of Darkness (London's Royal Opera House), among many others.

Darkling is available for purchase at all major online retailers. For more info about the CD, visit

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