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Trinity Produces New York Premiere Of Wachner's REV. 23 at Prototype Festival

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This winter, Trinity Church Wall Street co-produces the New York premiere of REV. 23, the latest opera by its own Director of Music Julian Wachner, along with the cutting-edge Prototype Festival and Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Performances take place at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater in Manhattan, on January 17 at 8pm and January 18 at 3pm and 8pm. Composed to an audacious, satirical libretto by Cerise Jacobs, founder of the Boston-based activist opera company White Snake Projects, which commissioned the work, REV. 23 explores an "unpublished" new chapter of the Book of Revelation. Los Angeles-based director James Darrah creates a striking new production for this New York premiere, leading the audience on a fantastical journey through the myths of The Collective Unconscious. Noted conductor Daniela Candillari leads Trinity's in-house contemporary orchestra, NOVUS NY.

In the last decade, Trinity's music program has steadily gained traction as an influential voice in the wider cultural conversation, frequently serving as an incubator of important new concert and theatrical works whose topics have ranged from coal mining, climate change and water justice to human trafficking and gender inequality. To date these have included three Pulitzer Prize-winners. REV. 23 itself comes to its new production after receiving glowing notices at its 2017 premiere. New England Theatre Geek found the work to be "bursting with innuendo and cheeky wit," and praised Wachner's "magnificent beast of a score." Describing the music as "an endlessly unfolding chain of highly controlled polystylism," the Boston Musical Intelligencer noted that "amidst this entertaining gallimaufry, Wachner often reveals deep emotional intelligence," and the Boston Globe declared that the "protean score deftly employs a grab-bag of 20th-century operatic and musical-theater styles to hold a mirror to the libretto."

An eclectic roster of characters drawn from the Bible, mythology and Chinese history populates Jacobs's libretto. For the Prototype Festival production, soprano Colleen Daly reprises the role of Persephone, whose "mournful second-act aria was a highlight of the evening" in the premiere (Boston Musical Intelligencer), and male soprano Michael Maniaci - "one of the greatest singers of his generation" (Toronto Globe and Mail) - returns as the Archangel Michael. Joining them are baritone Alexander Elliott - "simply perfect" (The Observer) in New York City Opera's recent La fanciulla del West - as Lucifer; and the "rare and amazing" tenor (Opera West) Kyle van Schoonhoven as Hades. The cast is rounded out by tenor Brian Giebler - praised by the New York Times for "lovely tone and deep expressivity" - as Adam; "magnificent" (Broadway World) soprano Sophia Byrd as Eve; and the "deep, warm sound" (The Examiner) of bass Paul An as Sun Tze. A chorus of three Furies comprises mezzo-soprano Melanie Long, reprising her role from the 2017 premiere, soprano Anna Schubert, and mezzo-soprano Naomi Louisa O'Connell.

Julian Wachner's compositions have been variously described as "jazzy, energetic, and ingenious" (Boston Globe), "a compendium of surprises" (Washington Post) and "bold and atmospheric," demonstrating "an imaginative air for allusive text setting" (New York Times). Besides being an active composer in many genres, Wachner oversees an annual season of hundreds of events at Trinity Church Wall Street, and serves as artistic director of the Grand Rapids Bach Festival. He is also an in-demand guest conductor, and was named one of Musical America's Top 30 Professionals for 2018.

Librettist Cerise Jacobs creates new American opera inspired by the myths that live in our imaginations and the excitement of current events and people she encounters. She is the author of six original opera libretti, including the 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winninga??Madame White Snake. She was named a 2017 Mover & Shaper by Musical America, an award given to music professionals for driving the performing arts towards a future shaped by their vision, and one of Boston's 100 Most Influential People of Color in 2018. Jacobs's production company, White Snake Projects, commissioned and produced the premiere of REV. 23 in Boston in 2017.

Director James Darrah, known for creating visually and emotionally arresting work at the intersection of theater, opera and film, has led projects around the world, including the world premieres of two operas that won "Best New Opera" from the Music Critics Association of North America. Darrah recently collaborated with Wachner, The Choir of Trinity Wall Street and NOVUS NY on the world premiere of Ellen Reid's Pulitzer Prize-winning p r i s m at LA Opera and the Prototype Festival, and the production will be reprised at Washington DC's Kennedy Center this spring.

PROTOTYPE - OPERA | THEATRE | NOW is a co-production of Beth Morrison Projects and HERE, two trailblazers in the creation and presentation of contemporary, multi-disciplinary opera-theatre and music-theatre works. The pioneering festival is the only one of its kind in New York City and is a model now emulated around the country - producing and presenting a wide spectrum of works, from intimate black-box experiences to larger chamber opera productions, valuing artistic, curatorial, and producorial risk-taking.

PROTOTYPE is committed to surprising audiences and confounding their expectations through content, form, and relevance. The festival gives voice to a diverse group of composers, librettists, performers and musicians across all genres, backgrounds, and cultures. In providing a recurring showcase of visionary opera-theatre and music-theatre pieces, the touring life of the work extends around the world. The festival also presents groundbreaking new works by International Artists and has become a global reference of artistic excellence in the field of opera and music-theatre.

Trinity Church Wall Street's groundbreaking music program - "the top of musical life in New York" (New York Times) - has changed the landscape of performing arts in New York City, re-envisioning the impact arts organizations have with its peerless ensembles, a uniquely broad range of expertise from early to new music performance, a long tradition of championing underrepresented composers, and an extensive and growing discography. A pioneer in amplifying the voices of female artists, Trinity has helped incubate many new compositions, including three large-scale Pulitzer Prize-winning works by women: Julia Wolfe's oratorio Anthracite Fields, Du Yun's opera Angel's Bone and Ellen Reid's opera p r i s m. Conductor and composer Julian Wachner serves as the director of music at Trinity and the principal conductor of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, NOVUS NY and the Trinity Baroque Orchestra.

Anchor components of Trinity's music program include the midday Bach + One and Pipes at One concert series, improvised Sunday evening Compline by Candlelight services, annual performances of Handel's Messiah that the New York Times declares to be "New York's best," annual Time's Arrow and 12 Nights themed festivals, and additional new programs each season.

Trinity's musical education initiatives reach more than 400 children in New York City's underserved schools. Students perform in their local community, as well as at least once a year at Trinity, and the church offers an annual music camp for children involved with its partner organization, Hour Children. The Trinity Youth Chorus program, now in its 14th year and with 100 young singers enrolled, has its own schedule of performances and collaborations, and provides support for liturgical music, concerts and recordings. Trinity also provides opportunities for adults in the community to further their own musical education and experience, with the semiprofessional choir Downtown Voices and the volunteer St. Paul's Chapel Choir.



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