Composer Louis Karchin has announced that a recording of his opera Romulus will be released sometime next year by Naxos. AOP premiered Romulus at the Peter B. Lewis Theater at the Guggenheim in 2007. Romulus is a one-act opera based on an English Translation by Barnett Shaw of a play by Alexandre Dumas, pèr. In the work, two confirmed bachelors, Celestus and Frantz, have a very comfortable living in their small cottage home in 19th Century Austria. Genially cared for by Celestus’ sister Martha and able to dedicate themselves entirely to their studies of astronomy and philosophy, their lives are simple and perfect –until a baby arrives in a basket.
Though some musicians may think they walk on water, the orchestra of Romulus had a chance to prove it when they arrived to a 6-inch pool of water filling their pit on May 19 – the day before opening night. During restoration on the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum a faulty sump pump was installed that failed to hold back the ground water from the heavy rains that pummelled New York City that week. Rehearsal proceeded as planned around the moat which was drained in time for a proper dress rehearsal the next morning.
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.”