October 2, 2009
Philadelphia audiences finally got to experience the multimedia opera-theatre work Darkling when it premiered in a new, semi-staged version for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival presented by Center City Opera Theater on Sep 8, 10, and 12, 2009. Conductor and CCOT Artistic Director Andrew Kurtz brought composer Stefan Weisman and librettist Anna Rabinowitz‘s haunting experimental work to life as part of ConNEXTions 2009: The Next Generation of Opera. Spanning the decades from the 1930’s to the post-World War period, Darkling is a remarkable story of a poet who struggles to identify and interpret the stories of various Polish-Jewish family affected by the extraordinary events of the Holocaust based only on the few letters and photographs they left behind.
Maeve Hoglund as the bride fleeing to America in the Sep 2009 performance of Darkling in Philadelphia.
Returning singers Hai-Ting Chinn and Jon Garrison joined with Maeve Hoglund, Martin Hargrove and Jason Switzer, narrator Sharon Sigal, and a string quartet under the stage direction of Matt Gray. AOP premiered Darkling in 2006 at the East 13th Street Theater in a fully staged version conceived and directed by Michael Comlish. A concert version also developed by Mr. Comlish toured through Europe in 2007.
July 3, 2007
Audiences packed the houses to see Michael Comlish‘s touring version of Darkling when it visited Berlin, Germany and Gniezno, Poland this June. Over 600 people gathered in the Max Kade Auditorium at the Freie Universitat Berlin on June 9, to see Darkling as part of a city-wide celebration of the arts and sciences. Two days later in Poland, ancestral home to Darkling author Anna Rabinowitz and performer Elzbieta Czyzewska, audiences filled every one of the 350 seats in the Aleksander Fredro Theater and then unfilled them with a rapturous standing ovation at the end of the evening. Stefan Weisman‘s wonderful score was accompanied by members of ensemble courage from Dresden, Germany.
July 3, 2007
AOP, “known for bringing cutting-edge vocal productions to the masses,” (New York magazine) recently finished up an especially busy and rich run of performances, receiving wide praise from audiences and New York press. In May, a total of nine composers’ works were showcased at major venues in front of eager audiences. Besides, a “best date under $50” recommendation for Composers & the Voice, Time Out NY also praised AOP’s preview of the touring version of Darkling at New York City Opera’s VOX festival as “dark [and] absorbing.” The New York Times‘ review of Wall-to-Wall Opera at Symphony Space made special mention of Tarik O’Regan’s opera-in-development at AOP, Heart of Darkness, calling it ‘”a dense, dreamlike chamber opera heavily tinged with exoticism, like ‘Death in Venice‘ on steroids.” And the “appealingly lyrical” (The New Yorker) music of Louis Karchin’s opera Romulus (pictured above), staged at the Guggenheim Museum, prompted Steve Smith at The New York Times to conclude, “I would have happily stayed to hear it performed again.”