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Fort Worth Opera Announces World Premiere Film BERNADETTE'S COZY BOOK NOOK

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Director and Editor Cara Consilvio captures a hilarious slice of quarantine life in this bitingly witty new work.

Fort Worth Opera has announced the world premiere film of composer Joe Illick and librettist Mark Campbell's Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook.

Directed and edited by Cara Consilvio, this searingly clever virtual comedy features opera legends Brenda Harris, Donnie Ray Albert, Joyce Castle, William Burden, FWO Lesley Resident Artist Gabrielle Gilliam, pianist Aldo López-Gavilán, and the world-renowned Harlem Quartet under the baton of music director and sound editor Andrew Whitfield.

Part of the company's new digital initiative FWO Green Room and the first of many exciting offerings for the spring of 2021, Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook is Fort Worth Opera's ninth world premiere and the third creative collaboration between Illick and Campbell, following 2019's Frida Kahlo and the Bravest Girl in the World, and this season's delightful Texas-themed children's opera, Stone Soup.

On April 27, 2020, The Cozy Book Nook, a book club with four retirees as members that usually convenes monthly in person, now meets online for the first time because of the pandemic. Bernadette, the club's president, tightens her tyrannical grip as the members are joined on Zoom by her young niece Eleanor, a recent graduate of Yale, to discuss the book of the month: Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. In forty mordantly funny minutes of life in the time of COVID-19, technology falters, political lines are sharply drawn, and Bernadette's book club becomes anything but cozy.

"Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook, one of the first operas actually set on a Zoom call, takes place many decades ago-in late April 2020," says librettist Mark Campbell. "Any resemblance between this quaint, small city book club and a nation beset by totalitarianism, inequality and deep political divisiveness is purely coincidental."

"I feel so fortunate to have five sensational singing actors, an incredible musical ensemble, the best librettist any composer could ever wish for to create one of the first Zoom operas," says FWO Artistic Director Joe Illick. "Like everyone, I wish there had never been a pandemic that forced us to create opera this way, but we are doing our best to stay in touch with our friends and with the world during this scary time. I hope that this piece helps bring some solace and reminds people that we are still all connected to one another, perhaps more than ever."

Tickets for the January 14-24 digital streaming of Bernadette's Cozy Book Nook can be purchased online beginning December 1, 2020, at www.fwopera.org/bookclub or by calling the Fort Worth Opera box office at 817.731.0726 or toll-free at 1.877.396.7372.



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