IN Series Returns To The Baltimore Theatre Project
The Washington-based IN Series, an intrepid company positioning itself at the center of changing the nature of opera, is returning to the Baltimore Theatre Project as part of a collaborative effort between the two organizations to regenerate indy-opera in Baltimore. Having brought the final production of their 2018-2019 season, THE TALE OF SERSE, to BTP this past June, the company now mounts a truly major statement: BUTTERFLY, a new version of Puccini's classic and beloved Madama Butterfly that strips the work of its layers of exoticism and artifice, wrestling with its troubling issues of racism and misogyny, to arrive at an intimate theater experience that reveals the raw emotional power held within this unforgettable score. The company will bring two performances of this production to Baltimore Theatre Project September 28th and 29th.
No work in the operatic canon is more troublesome than Madama Butterfly. Composed in 1904, it represents the unrivalled power of opera to emotionally transform and transcend, and at the same time it is weighed down by a problematically racist orientalist story and music which beg the question: "is there a way to appropriately perform Butterfly today?" As the little company than can, IN Series takes this challenge head-on in a radical new theater endeavor that returns to the structure of the original one-act David Belasco play on which Puccini based his opera while presenting the work in full musical glory in an intimacy that can't be experienced anywhere else.
A cast of international young singers brings this work to life. The score, almost untouched and including its most memorable and moving musical moments, is realized by local pianist and composer Jessica Krash, in a scoring for prepared piano that turns the instrument into an orchestra of percussive and atmospheric sounds. Timothy Nelson, a Baltimore native and Peabody Graduate, directs his originally-conceived work that intends to present BUTTERFLY as a work of compelling and riveting contemporary theater.
"Baltimore, a city that will forever feel like home to me, is a place that nurtures the unexpected, the subversive, the surprisingly meaningful. I believe opera can be all of those things. Opera can speak to the issues of the body-politic and collective soul with greater precision and acute power than any other artform. Where better than Baltimore to start a revolution in the way opera transforms people's everyday lives? I think Baltimore deserves not only a culture of opera, but opera that is truly at the cutting-edge of the industry, opera that points towards a future for the artform. For this reason I'm committed to IN Series playing a role in deepening and diversifying the cultural life of the city I love so much, and I look forward to this and many other productions shared between our two cities".
The In Series was founded by Producing Artistic Director Carla Hübner in 1982 as a Concert Series of the former Mount Vernon College. It soon evolved to produce full chamber operas alongside a broader multi-disciplinary season. The In Series became an independent non-profit arts organization in 2000, and is a resident company at Source since 2008. Working with DC area artists, its season fills a unique niche of innovative and affordable operatic, classical, popular, and Latino musical programming. 2018-2019 marks the inaugural season of artistic director Timothy Nelson.
The In Series 2018-2019 season is made possible in part by major funding from the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, Dallas Morse Coors, and Billy Rose Foundations; the Board of Directors of The In Series; a Heritage Grant from The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts; and the bequest of Cecil 'Cy' Richardson. We gratefully recognize also the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies; the Celtino, Dimick, Max and Victoria Dreyfus, Eugene Lang, Reva and David Logan, and M&T Foundations; the individual Friends of The In Series (FINS), the Embassy of Chile, and the invaluable contributions of artists, volunteers, and business advertisers.