Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Barihunks to portray JFK and LBJ in Fort Worth

Matthew Worth and Daniel Okulitch
One of America's most innovative opera companies, the Fort Worth Opera has collaborated with the American Lyric Theater to produce an opera based on President John F. Kennedy's final twelve hours. The opera will star two of the world's most popular barihunks in the lead roles, as Matthew Worth takes on JFK and Daniel Okulitch portrays LBJ. Worth shares both the good looks and New England charm of our 35th President, while Okulitch matches the Vice President's 6' 4" frame.

Joining them in the cast will be the amazing mezzo-soprano Daniela Mack as Jackie Kennedy, Talise Trevigne as hotel maid Clara Harris, and the thrilling tenor Sean Panikkar as JFK's secret service agent and confidant, Henry Rathbone. The opera is being written by composer David T. Little and librettist Royce Vavrek, who collaborated on the critically acclaimed opera Dog Days in 2012.

The opera, which is slated to premiere at the Fort Worth Opera's 2016 season, is the perfect setting, as it's the last place that the President slept before being gunned down in Dallas. JFK left the Hotel Texas (now the Fort Worth Hilton) on the rain-soaked morning of November 22, 1963, and spoke to thousands who had waited in the rain to hear him speak. Those remarks were to be his final public speech.

The American Lyric Theater and the Collegiate Chorale will produce a workshop of the opera-in-progress this November, which will bring together the world-premiere cast together for the first time. On Tuesday, November 25 at 7:00 PM, American Lyric Theater will present InsightALT: JFK at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City. The InsightALT series provides the public with the opportunity to look inside the process of creating new operas at all stages of their development through a combination of performance and discussion with the creative artists behind these new works. InsightALT: JFK will feature excerpts from the opera, as well as a discussion, moderated by ALT artistic director Larry Edelson, between composer David T. Little, librettist Royce Vavrek, Fort Worth Opera's General Director Darren K. Woods, and the cast members.

In the 2015 season, the Fort Worth Opera will present David T. Little and Royce Vavrek's Dog Days, along with Verdi's La traviata and Ambroise Thomas' Hamlet, starring barihunk Wes Mason in the title role. Daniel Okulitch can next be seen in September with the Milwaukee Symphony singing Mozart's Don Giovanni with André Courville as Masetto and Matthew Rose as Leporello. You can listen to Matthew Worth on a live stream of Bernstein's Candide on WCRB on August 17th from the Tanglewood Festival.

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