You Will Meet A Tall, Dark Librettist…

December 2, 2010

…named Tom Phillips, and you will buy his new iPad app.

Not convinced?  Well, look no further than A Humument, one of the latest additions to the iPad collection based on Phillips’ infamous fine art book of the same name.

(More on the librettist part later.)

Considered to be a “seminal classic of postmodern art,” the multi-talented British artist created the hard copy of A Humument in 1966 when he decided to find a second-hand book for exactly three pence and physically alter each page through collage techniques in order to create an entirely new version.  The lucky original (which was found in a South London junk shop) was an 1892 obscurity by W. H. Mallock entitled A Human Document, and the first edition of the transformed version was published in 1973 as A Humument.  A Human Document = A Hum(an Doc)ument = A Humument.

Developed by Phillips and John Bowring, the iPad version features 367 full color pages and a new interactive feature, The Oracle (cue spooky music).  Similar to I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, The Oracle randomly selects two pages of A Humument to act as a guide for life, luck, and…love?  Only The Oracle knows.

Oh, and by the way, in addition to being a well-known artist, Mr. Phillips also wrote the libretto for AOP’s First Chance opera-in-development Heart of Darkness, a new opera composed by Tarik O’Regan and based on the novella by Joseph Conrad.  Which will have its world premiere at the Linbury Studio Theater in 2011.  Talk about multi-tasking.  And multi-talented.


Tarik O’Regan’s “Latent Manifest” Wows British Audiences

August 17, 2010

Tarik O’Regan, known to AOP audiences as the composer of Heart of Darkness, has just premiered a new piece in London to rave reviews! Part of the BBC Proms 2010 program, the piece, Latent Manifest, is inspired by the prelude to Bach’s solo violin partita no. 3 in C Major, BWV 1005. The piece was performed in Royal Albert Hall by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on August 14th, under the baton of Andrew Litton, and broadcast live on BBC 2, BBC HD, and BBC Radio 3.

British publications are applauding O’Regan’s great success:

…a gracefully-controlled meditation on a single Bach phrase.

– Michael Church, The Independent

…[a] personal canvas, taking us a long way from a literal reworking into the realms of evanescent fantasy, with delicately evocative results.

– George Hall, The Guardian

…a beguiling response to response itself – a mirage of intimations and allusions to [O’Regan’s] own experience of hearing Bach’s third solo Violin Sonata.

– Hilary Finch, The Times

Tarik O’Regan’s Latent Manifest ambitiously tried to bring out the implied harmonies and textures of a solo violin piece[…]it created an atmosphere all of its own.

– Paul Gent, The Telegraph

…atmospheric [and] imaginative.

– Richard Fairman, Financial Times

…enjoyable and well written.

– Barry Millington, The Evening Standard

Check out the full piece!

  • Tarik O’Regan’s Latent Manifest ambitiously tried to bring out the implied harmonies and textures of a solo violin piece[…]it created an atmosphere all of its own.

The Honor! The Honor! Heart of Darkness heads for a World Premiere

April 21, 2010

Heart of Darkness world premiere logoGet your rivets ready to take your steamer upriver – the Thames, that is.

AOP is very excited to announce that Heart of Darkness will make its World Premiere in 2011 at the Royal Opera House 2 in London, England!  AOP’s Heart of Darkness is a one act chamber opera composed by Tarik O’Regan, based on Joseph Conrad’s much beloved novel of the same name. Heart of Darkness has been developed since 2006 at American Opera Projects with further development in partnership with OperaGenesis & Opera East Productions in England.

The production of Heart of Darkness also boasts an impressive roster of artists and musicians.  The libretto was created by British artist Tom Phillips, and the London premiere will be directed by the acclaimed Edward Dick.   Maestro Oliver Gooch will conduct Britten Sinfonia in the debut performance.

Audiences will have a chance to preview some of the music of Heart of Darkness in an exclusive piano/vocal reading on April 22, 2010. A performance will be held at 7p.m. on 22 Mansfield Street in London as part of The Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust concert series. The vocalist line-up for the evening features a stellar cast of singers (also conducted by Oliver Gooch) including;

-Soprano Jeanine De Bique as Woman of the River
-Mezzo-soprano Miranda Westcott as the Fiancé
-Tenor Philip Sheffield as Marlow
-Tenor Darren Abrahams as Harlequin
-Tenor Steven Ebel as the Boat Director
-Baritone Alex Ashworth as the Manager
-Baritone Ronan Collett as the Boilmaker
-Bass James Gower as Kurtz

Visit www.operaprojects.org/heart_of_darkness for further updates on the world premiere.


Listen to AOP and 400 years of opera on Symphony Space Live

April 8, 2010

Symphony Space orchestra

Symphony Space‘s streaming music site is offering audiences a chance to revisit their Wall to Wall Opera festival from 2007 that

explored the world of Western opera over the past 400 years, from Baroque to contemporary. Highlights of the day included a Master Class in bel canto with legendary soprano, Renata Scotto; the “Opera Matinee” featuring the New York City Opera Orchestra conducted by Gerald Steichen; performances by members of the Metropolitan Opera’s Young Artists Program; scenes from American operas performed by Encompass New Opera Theatre, new operas performed by Center for Contemporary Opera, Music-Theatre Group and American Opera Projects…

AOP’s contribution to this tour of opera history was scenes from Tarik O’Regan‘s Heart of Darkness conducted by Steven Osgood. You can hear this excerpt from Heart of Darkness, which will have its world premiere at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio in 2011, along with the other Wall to Wall performances throughout the month here at Symphony Space Live.


NYCO holds a Séance in 2011

March 11, 2010
Seance at Orensanz 2008

AOP's Seance workshop, Nov 2008. (l to r: Michael Zegarski, Matthew Curran, Lauren Flanigan, John Kimberling, Hila Plitmann. Photo by Michael Chadwick (c)2008)

It was just announced this week that New York City Opera will close their 2010-11 season with the AOP-developed Stephen Schwartz opera Séance on a Wet Afternoon.  Our audiences got a chance to see several workshops of Séance in 2008, and now they’ll have a chance to see how it all finally came together when it has its fully staged NYC premiere on April 19, 2011.  NYCO star Lauren Flanigan, who appeared in each of the AOP workshops, will return to the role of Myra, the psychic medium who hatches a nefarious kidnapping plot in order to boost her reputation.

NYCO will also produce Strauss’ Intermezzo, Bernstein’s A Quiet Place, and will bring back Jonathan Miller‘s production of Donizetti’s Elixer of Love. (A bit of trivia: Jonathan Miller hosted an AOP libretto workshop of Heart of Darkness and Semmelweis in November 2008 just before AOP’s workshop of Séance in the Lower East Side’s Orensanz Theater.)

From NYCO’s press release:

“With this season, we take another step forward on an exciting journey for New York City Opera,” stated George Steel. “I’m thrilled that we have three new productions, that we’re presenting four premieres of works by American composers—all of them New Yorkers—and that we’re exploring new programming possibilities, both with our triple bill of mini-operas and with the new concert series. Most of all, I love the incredible range of compositional styles this season: from the transparent simplicity of Donizetti to the opulent middle-period Richard Strauss to the blend of the popular and classical worlds in Bernstein and Stephen Schwartz—all this topped off by the delicious trio of Schoenberg, Feldman and Zorn. This is what City Opera was made to do, and what makes City Opera unique.”

See more about NYCO’s premiere of Séance on a Wet Afternoon and the rest of the 2010-11 season here.

Other upcoming premieres of AOP-developed projects include Before Night Falls at Fort Worth Opera this May and Heart of Darkness at the Royal Opera House in 2011.


Tarik O’Regan makes the perfect Xmas gift – NY Times

December 1, 2009
Scattered Rhymes

"Scattered Rhymes" by Tarik O'Regan

Looking for just the right stocking stuffer? According to Allan Kozinn at The New York Times, “Scattered Rhymes” – the 2009 CD from Heart of Darkness composer Tarik O’Regan is the perfect fit.

Ancient and modern mingle in this beautifully sung program. The title work, by the imaginative English composer Tarik O’Regan, is a (mostly) Petrarch song cycle, built on themes borrowed from Machaut’s Messe de Nostre Dame. A velvety account of the Machaut original is included, too, along with other works by Machaut, Mr. O’Regan, Dufay and Gavin Bryars. (Harmonia Mundi HMU 807469; CD); $23.98.

Read the full list of notable CD’s from 2009 as chosen by classical critics of The New York Times here.

Buy your copy of “Scattered Rhymes” here.


Heart of Darkness continues to inspire – London’s The Daily Telegraph

July 20, 2009

Joseph Conrad

This July, the London Daily Telegraph published a piece profiling the legacy of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In the piece, the Telegraph mentioned the upcoming opera based on Conrad’s novella by Tarik O’Regan, which is currently in workshop with AOP.

“Like some deeply bruised cloud hovering thunderously above a summer picnic, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness threatens us still, more than a century since its publication.

Few works have entertained, excited and troubled minds as much. It has inspired music – including a forthcoming opera by Tarik O’Regan – and spawned numerous radio, theatre, film and television adaptations, the most famous being Apocalypse Now. TS Eliot’s The Hollow Men did more for the work’s projection towards a readership, quoting the phrase: “Mistah Kurtz, he dead.” It infused Ronan Bennett’s The Catastrophist and haunts both John le Carré’s The Constant Gardener and The Mission Song. VS Naipaul and Graham Greene were swept up by it, as were Nick Davies in writing Dark Heart along with Sven Lindquist’s Exterminate All the Brutes, Michaela Wrong’s In the Footsteps of Mr Kurtz, and Tim Butcher’s Blood River. This weekend, at the Festival Hall in London, there will be two five-hour readings of the book, complete with piano accompaniment.

What is it about Heart of Darkness that has this horrid hold on our consciousness?”

Read full article…


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