If you’re looking for some Friday night entertainment, New York’s Remarkable Theater Brigade is presenting an evening of “Opera Shorts” at Carnegie’s Weill Hall.
It will be an evening of 10 short operas by living composers.
This will be a light-hearted event as these composers will put a fun face on what is considered the most serious of art forms.
As Monica Harte, co-director and general director of the Remarkable Theater Brigade explains, “Opera is usually considered this Very Serious Thing, but Opera Shorts is fun and irreverent and infectious. It’s not suits and gowns – it’s much more laidback. I mean, our logo is a pair of boxer shorts, after all!”
Opera Shorts 2011 features works by Jake Heggie, Tom Cipullo, Davide Zannoni, Patrick Soluri, Anne Dinsmore Phillips, Marie Incontera, Mike McFerron, William Bolcolm, and Christian McLeer.
Heggie’s opera short, Again, is the disturbing behind-the-scenes account of the famed Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel and how their lives are completely consumed by their TV show, with physical and emotional abuse between Ricky and Lucy.
Commissioned by the New York Festival of Song, Cipullo’s The Husbands has now been transformed into a staged opera. This beautiful story, critically acclaimed by the Chicago Sun Times, tells a tale of elderly widows reunited with their husbands.
Zannoni’s Blind Date With Alter Egos exposes the real thoughts and opinions of a mismatched couple on a blind date.
Soluri’s The Tragedy of Count Alfredo von Nibelungen consists of four haikus in the styles of Puccini, Verdi, Mozart and Wagner – an absurdist slant on tragic opera.
In a Seinfeld vein, Phillips’ opera short Table #9 disarms listeners with subtle humor as two women commence their day with the ever-essential cup of coffee.
Incontera’s Little Orphant Annie features a grown-up Annie working as a maid when naughty little children begin to disappear around her. This merry mystery will haunt the audience in more ways than one, as listeners leave humming the music.
McFerron’s Loving Isretells the ancient yet ever-compelling tale of Tristan and Isolde, with the opera short unveiling the tragic result of Tristan’s violent jealousy.
Pulitzer Prizer-winner Bolcolm’s Barnyard Boogalooactually takes place in a barnyard, where it’s mayhem and madness as the animals talk politics and philosophy – and plan their escape. He believes that the script-writer, Arnold Weinstein (who grew up in Harlem) may have been inspired by African-American (Chitlin Circuit) theater.
This was a piece that he and writer Weinstein put together in a hurry in 1980 and sock-drawered. Bolcolm took it out of the drawer specifically for the Remarkable Theater Brigade event.
This will be the third year that the Remarkable Theater Brigade will perform opera shorts. The opera shorts are the brainchild of Christian McLeer, Patrick Soluri, and Monica Harte. McLeer and Soluri had produced a 10-minute opera, and Harte had come up with the idea of doing an entire evening of them at Carnegie Hall.
McLeer’s Sonata is a quirky comic opera with an unconventional approach–no libretto or plot, only structure and emotion.
As he explains, “I love comedy in general. I also love grand opera and the melodramatic element that opera often has. When I write for voice, I typically write the music and libretto together as one. But this time, I had the idea of creating a show within a show. I wanted the singers examine the music from within to try to figure out what they are singing about. It seemed funny to have characters who may… or may not… be from different shows find themselves on the same stage in front of an audience. Since I work with singers so much, I have incredible respect for their ability to deal with any situation while never losing the musical element of their shows. Although Sonata has a very silly element, it is all in good fun and actually an homage of sorts to singers and opera fans alike.”
His other opera of the evening, Rollercoaster is a hilarious operatic talefeaturing an awkward couple waiting in line for the Coney Island rollercoaster. His conundrum is whether or not to tell her of his unfortunate, uncontrollable fear of carnival rides.
The Remarkable Theater Brigade’s evening of Opera Shorts will take place on Friday November 4, 2011 at 8pm at Weill Recital Hall.
You can purchase tickets by visiting the Carnegie Hall box office or ordering through the Carnegie Hall website.