Saturday, May 4, 2013

American Lyric Theater hosts series of events for three new opera commissions

Justin Hopkins in his barihunk tee shirt
Back in November we posted about the American Lyric Theater's exciting project to commission three new operas under the auspices of their Composer Librettist Development Program. ALT has announced a series of events related to those works including a series of concert readings of the operas, which happen to include singers familiar to our readers.

On Thursday, May 30th there will be a concert reading of The Turing Project by composer Justine F. Chen and librettist David Simpatico featuring barihunks Jonathan Estabrooks, Justin Hopkins and Joseph Beutel. They will be joined by soprano Kathryn Guthrie, mezzo-soprano Elise Quagliata, tenor Kyle Bielfield, and tenor Benjamin Robinson.

Jonathan Estabrooks
The Turing Project is a historical fantasia based on the life of the English scientist Alan Turing. A simple man of extraordinary abilities, Turing's achievements include creating the first universal computer; breaking the Nazi U-Boat code, which proved crucial to the success of the allied forces in WWII; and creating the field of Artificial Intelligence. Yet, despite the many benefits Turing's ideas bestowed upon humanity, the British government charged him with Gross Indecency for the crime of being homosexual, and punished him with chemical castration. A year after his sentence was carried out, Turing committed suicide at the age of 41, eating an apple laced with cyanide. The opera explores Turing's extraordinary contributions to mankind, his county's disavowal of him because he was gay, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.
Daniel Belcher
Sunday, June 2, 2013, there will be a concert reading of The Long Walk by composer Jeremy Howard Beck and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann featuring barihunks Daniel Belcher and Justin Hopkins, our honorary tenor barihunk Glenn Seven Allen from our year-end feature, mezzo-soprano Heather Johnson, tenor Kyle Bielfield, soprano Caroline Worra, and soprano Donita Volkwijn.

The Long Walk dives deep into the mind of an American soldier who has returned from Iraq after serving as an officer in an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit. Castner's battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which he calls "the Crazy with a capital C," is at the center of this moving personal story of a man struggling to reintegrate himself into his family life upon his return from the war.

Christopher Burchett rehearsing Soldier Songs
On Monday, June 3rd, there will be a concert reading of La Reina by composer Jorge Sosa and librettist Laura Sosa Pedroza featuring barihunk Christopher Burchett, mezzo-soprano Audrey Babcock, soprano Audrey Luna, soprano Rosa Betancourt, tenor Dominic Armstrong, and tenor Javier Abreu.

La Reina is the story of one of the most powerful drug "queenpins" in history - Regina. The opera explores the symbiotic relationship between the US and Mexico and their shared responsibilities in the increasingly violent drug wars, fueled by revenge and corruption on both sides of the border. As events from her past invade her present reality in an American prison cell, she interacts with the ghosts of the men who have shaped her life. A shrine of La Santa Muerte (a skull and bones incarnation of the Virgin Mary and the patron saint of drug dealers) comes to life and acts as Regina's guide in her journey through her past. La Santa Muerte forces Regina to relive the tragic sequences of death and treason that led to her crowning as the queen of organized crime, and to her eventual downfall and imprisonment.

Additional information, included related events can be found on the American Lyric Theater's website.

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