Review Roundup: CROSSING at Brooklyn Academy Of Music
CROSSING plays through October 8 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. At the crux of Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" lies the question: "What is it, then, between us?" In Crossing, 27-year-old composer and conductor Matthew Aucoin explodes Whitman's "us" to operatic proportions, taking inspiration from the diary the poet kept while volunteering as a Civil War nurse.
The cast stars Rod Gilfry as Walt Whitman, Alexander Lewis as John Wormley, Davone Tines as Freddie Stowers, and Jennifer Zetlan as Messenger. The cast also includes Hadleigh Adams, Sean Christensen, William Goforth, Frank Kelley, Michael Kelly, Ben Lowe, Matthew Patrick Morris, Daniel Neer, James Onstad, Jorrell Williams, Gregory Zavracky, Christina Dooling (Dancer), Jehbreal Jackson (Dancer), Jeff Sykes (Dancer), and Karell Williams (Dancer).
CROSSING is produced and comissioned by American Rpertory Theater at Harvard University, and is produced in association with Music-Theatre Group. It is composed, written, and conducted by Matthew Aucoin, with direction 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, and features Chamber Orchestra A Far Cry.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times: The music grabbed me from the start. The orchestra rustles with spiraling, jagged arpeggios and frenetic ascending riffs - grounded, just barely, by pedal tones that swell and then disappear. Lyrical fragments try to coalesce into a melodic line, but keep you off guard... There are just two other solo roles: The strong bass-baritone Davóne Tines brings mellow sound and affecting earnestness to Freddie, a runaway slave fighting with Union forces. The radiant soprano Jennifer Zetlan appears in a brief, climactic late scene as a messenger with news that the Union has won the war. After Whitman's reconciliation with the dying Wormley, he is left asking, again, "What is it, then, between us?"
Clive Paget, Limelight Magazine: But the fact that his opera Crossing is receiving a timely revival as well as its New York premiere is enough to prove that Aucoin is a very hot ticket and a musical voice well worth the listening to... It is, however, an ambitious new work that teems with ideas and showcases a bright new musical voice. Conveying a rite of passage for Whitman himself as well as a timely reminder of where society could too easily be headed, in Paulus, Gilfry and Lewis's hands, Crossing deserves to be seen.