Photo Flash: New American Opera DARK SISTERS Hosts Reception, 10/28

Gotham Chamber Opera, Music-Theatre Group and the Opera Company of Philadelphia announced the commission of a new American opera, DARK SISTERS, composed by Nico Muhly with libretto by Stephen Karam, conducted by Neal Goren, and directed by Rebecca Taichman at The Chelsea Art Museum on Thursday, October 28.

The three organizations have co-commissioned and will co-produce the opera, which will have its World Premiere in November 2011 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College, 899 Tenth Avenue, NYC, one of the first works to be presented at the Theater following the creation of a new lobby at the space. The cast will be headed by Caitlin Lynch and Kevin Burdette, with Kristina Bachrach, Jennifer Check, Eve Gigliotti, Brenda Harris, and Jennifer Zetlan. Dark Sisters will also be presented in June 2012 as part of the Opera Company of Philadelphia's chamber opera series at the Perelman Theater.

Dark Sisters follows one woman's dangerous attempt to escape her life as a member of the FLDS Church (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints), a sect that split from mainstream Mormonism in the early 20th Century largely because of the LDS Church's renunciation of polygamy. The male founders of the Mormon faith (Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, chief among them) have traditionally loomed large in American history; Dark Sisters puts the women of the FLDS sect front and center. The narrative draws inspiration from the flurry of media attention surrounding the two most infamous raids on FLDS compounds (the 1953 raid at Short Creek, AZ and the 2008 raid at the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado, TX) as well as the stories of the over 80 wives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Set against a red-earthed landscape filled with revelations, dark prophets and white temples stretching towards heaven, Dark Sisters charts one woman's quest for self-discovery in a world where personal identity is forbidden.

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