More Praise for “Before Night Falls”

June 29, 2010
Jarden, Koch and Koch at Fort Worth

Charles Jarden, Executive Director of AOP, with Gloria Koch (daughter of the late Dolores Koch, co-librettist of Before Night Falls and friend of Reinaldo Arenas) and her daughter.

A full month after it’s world premiere with Fort Worth Opera, Before Night Falls, a new opera by Jorge Martín, is still receiving rave reviews. Before Night Falls tells the compelling story of gay Cuban counterrevolutionary Reinaldo Arenas and his struggles as a political dissident and homosexual in both Cuba and America.

“Vibrant, musically substantive, and very touching… One of the most admirable American operas of recent years.”

– David Shengold, Gay City News

Read full review…

“Although Martín’s score is eclectic, it is not annoyingly pastiche-like. It is nicely shape-shifting. And it all coheres. The orchestration often has a beautiful sheen: transparent but not thin or barren. And I will tell you something extraordinary: Before Night Falls is full of arias, duets, trios, and choruses. There are real, unabashed melodies and tunes. That is old-fashioned; indeed, it is well-nigh counterrevolutionary.”

– Jay Nordlinger, National Review

Read full review…

“…powerfully moving.”

– Anne Midgette, Washington Post

Read full review…

Make sure to check out AOP’s earlier blog post about the Fort Worth performance of Before Night Falls here.


“Top-flight production” of Before Night Falls has world premiere in TX

June 1, 2010

Foreground, from left: Javier Abreu as Pepe and Wes Mason as Reinaldo Arenas. Photo by Robert Hart for TheaterJones.com.

Jorge Martín’s new opera Before Night Falls, presented by Fort Worth Opera, premiered in the Bass Performance Hall last Saturday evening, May 29th and is quickly becoming the talk of the opera world. The press and blogosphere have chimed as well about the AOP-developed opera, saying:

“Martín’s Before Night Falls succeeds musically and as work of theater…Martín has imbued his score with many lovely moments that evoke the Latin rhythms of Cuba and the musical atmosphere, such as popular songs and film scores, of the various eras he invokes. He does this deftly while still sounding fresh and original… Unlike many cotemporary composers, Martín has a gift for melody and he isn’t afraid to use it.”

– Gregory Sullivan Isaacs, theaterjones.com

Read full review…

“…a top-flight production.”

– Chris Shull, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

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“…a daring departure from tradition.”

– Olin Chism, artandseek.net

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“This work is infused with magnificent Cuban-style music that truly reflects the time as well as gives a feel for the heritage.”

– Alan Savada, Opera-L

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“…ultimately romantic, intensely emotional… Before Night Falls displays several aspects that predict long-term success.”

– Wayne Lee Gay, D Magazine

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Before Night Falls, based on the novel with the same name by Reinaldo Arenas, tracks the harsh life of a political dissident and gay man in Fidel Castro’s Cuba. The production, directed by David Gately and with stirring and provocative projections by designers Peter Nigrini, featured Wes Mason and Jonathan Blalock. AOP helped develop the work in a series of workshops in 2005.


Opera Chic: Before Night Falls one of the top 5 to see

April 7, 2010
Before Night Falls

Before Night Falls

The upcoming world premiere of Jorge Martín‘s opera Before Night Falls continues be all the buzz for the Spring opera season. Just last month the AOP-developed opera was called a “must-see” event by Travel and Leisure and now the notorious Opera Chic has told W magazine that it is her pick for one of “the top five productions that will be in American and European opera houses from now to the beginning of summer.”

Everything’s better in Texas, especially an opera spin-off of Reinaldo Arenas’s autobiography Before Night Falls.

We couldn’t agree more. Find out the rest of her list here…


Before Night Falls is a “must-see” event of 2010

March 9, 2010

Travel & LeisureDo you enjoy travel? How about leisure? Then why not hop on a plane for Fort Worth in May and kick back to a world premiere of the AOP-developed opera Before Night Falls which was just chosen by Travel and Leisure magazine as a “must-see” event in 2010? (yeesh, that was corny. sorry.)

The Fort Worth Opera (fwopera.org) presents Cuban American composer Jorge Martín’s Before Night Falls (May 29–June 6), which features young baritone Wes Mason as the gay dissident and poet Reinaldo Arenas in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.

Check out the rest of Travel and Leisure‘s list of 2010 events not to be missed events…


Dolores M. Koch, 1928-2009

July 14, 2009
Dr. Dolores M. Koch

Dr. Dolores M. Koch

AOP is saddened to announce the passing of Dolores M. Koch, co-librettist for Jorge Martín’s opera Before Night Falls.  Dr. Koch was a close personal friend of the opera’s subject, poet Reinaldo Arenas, and was an important bridge to his story as the opera developed.

Martín lamented that he was “so sorry Dolores did not get to see the premiere of BNF. … She was a living link to Reinaldo Arenas, and shared with him, I think, a greatness of spirit.”

AOP Executive Director Charles Jarden remarked, “AOP’s contact with Dolores was limited to a few visits during the pre-production time of the BNF workshops, but it was easy to feel her profound integrity and dignity.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Martín’s “Before Night Falls” to premiere at Fort Worth Opera

November 7, 2008

Jorge Martin

Jorge Martín

Fort Worth Opera has announced that it will present the World Premiere of Jorge Martín‘s opera Before Night Falls as part of its 2010 Festival.  The opera is based on the autobiography of the same title by Reinaldo Arenas, a Cuban poet, novelist and playwright who was an outspoken critic of Fidel Castro’s regime. AOP produced several workshops of the first act of the opera at Dance Theatre Workshop and at the Rose Studio at Lincoln Center.

From the press release:

Darren K. Woods, general director of Fort Worth Opera, first learned of Before Night Falls in 2005 after American Opera Projects in New York presented piano readings from the then unfinished opera as part of the Cuban Arts Festival. … “As soon as we saw Before Night Falls at the workshop, my team and I knew this was an opportunity we didn’t want to pass up,” said Woods. “I told Jorge [Martín] that night that we wanted to do the world premiere in Fort Worth.”

Read entire press release here.


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