The Cantiamo Opera Theater New Works Festival features new works by New York City composers.
In Blind Witness News, composer Ben Yarmolinsky and librettist Charles Bernstein take on the local news, complete with Anchorman (Nathan Resika) and Anchorwoman (Deborah Karpel) covering local and national news, a Weatherwoman (Leandra Ramm) providing the forecast, and Sportscaster (Aram
Tchobanian) with latest scores.
Composer Ben Yarmolinsky, a Harvard graduate, studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. His latest works include separate oratoria for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Librettist Charles Bernstein most recent work, Shadowtime, was commissioned by the City of Munich in 1999 for the Munich Biennale, and was recently seen at Lincoln Center.
Following the evening news is the one-act opera Baggage by Ishmael Wallace, where three brothers (mezzo soprano Hayden DeWitt) set out to seek their fortunes, carrying heavy suitcases. Soprano Holli Leggett plays the women the brothers meet on the way. The opera, scored for violin and piano, weaves in traditions as diverse as flamenco, tango, traditional Japanese music, and gospel.
Wallace is half of sibling group, The Orfeo Duo, with his sister, violinist Vita Wallace. The Duo has performed throughout the Americas as well as Europe, and have recorded extensively. The Duo is also the proud force behind the What a Neighborhood! concert series, featuring the works of the more than 80 living composers that live in the Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, Bloomingdale, and Manhattan Valley neighborhoods.
Concluding the evening is excerpts from The Imajica: Part I by Brian Kerns. Based on Clive Barker's novel, this first installation of the opera triptych follows the journey of three major characters: John Furie Zacharias or Gentle (tenor David Jasper), Judith Odell (sopranos Ruth Ann Cunningham/Madeline Abel-Kerns) and Pie 'oh' Pah (mezzo sopranos Tanya Kamens/Sarah Blaze) in their quest to reunite the Imajica: five dominions; four reconciled with each other, while the fifth (Earth), is forever cut-off. Other characters integral to the plot include bass Michael O'Hearn as Klein, and soprano Sherry Zannoth as Celestine.
Cantiamo Opera Theater is a resident company of the West End Theater at
263 West 86th Street (West End Avenue), an intimate blackbox theater on the second floor of the Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew with a majestic dome soaring five stories above the space.
Schedule: December 3, 4, 17, 18. 8 p.m. curtain.
Appropriate For Ages: 16+
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