For the past three months, I have been participating in a class at my former graduate program (the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU). In the class we wrote mini-operas about Fort Greene Park, a park with a fascinating history that has a crypt containing the bones of Revolutionary War soldiers. The class is a mix of both alums and current students and is a collaboration with American Opera Projects. My opera, “Margaret,” with composer Paulo Tirol will be presented this Saturday, May 7th at 2pm at the GMTWP black box.
In “Margaret,” Mark and Hattie, a young couple, stumble home drunk through Fort Greene Park in the early morning. Mark is frustrated because Hattie won’t take an important step in their relationship and he accuses her of not taking risks. When she insists she does take risks, he dares her to prove it by breaking into the park’s crypt where she finds the ghost of a mad woman whose husband died on the Revolutionary War prison ships. The opera features the singers Blake Friedman (tenor), Sarah Heltzel (mezzo-soprano), and Amelia Watkins (soprano).
The other six mini-operas will be done the following day, Sunday, May 8th at 4pm. These performances are actually in the park. Here is more info about the event:
PARK AND BARK – two sets of mini-operas about Brooklyn’s Fort Greene Park, one of New York’s, and the nation’s, most historic and vibrant neighborhood parks. The operas, each under fifteen minutes, include dramatizations of the park’s large dog walking community, the remains of the Prison Ship Martyrs from the American Revolution, and a park gardener in a post-apocalyptic future. Written by students in the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, led by Randall Eng (Composers & the Voice, Henry’s Wife), in partnership with AOP.
Six of the operas, staged by opera director, associate Arts Professor and Head of Dramaturgy in the Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film Sam Helfrich (Glimmerglass, Virginia Opera, Boston Lyric), will be performed at NYU Tisch’s Black Box Theater. The other six operas will be performed in an outdoor concert near the Visitors Center at Fort Greene Park.
More info about the productions can be found here.