Hello from Fargo, North Dakota! What am I doing here? Spring came to Tulsa a little too early this year so I decided to head north and enjoy some more winter.
No, seriously: I’m here conducting the world premiere of The Poe Project at Fargo-Moorhead Opera.
Yes, Fargo, ND has an opera company. It is run by a Tulsan, the tenor David Hamilton who has been on the faculty at Concordia College for the last twenty years. Fargo-Moorhead Opera stages two operas each season, with a professional orchestra and chorus and with many of the same wonderful singers that you can hear on stages across the United States.
The Poe Project was created under the auspices of the American Lyric Theater, Larry Edelson’s New York-based nursery for new American works. Remember when the Tulsa Opera Studio Artists performed All Wounds Bleed at the Philbrook last year? That’s another ALT work.
The Poe Project consists of two one-acts, each about an hour long, which tell contemporary horror stories. In Buried Alive, the painter Victor Moreno is visited by a sexy female mortician who tells him that he is dead and he has to choose between burial and cremation. Victor’ wife, Elena, tells Victor that this is nonsense, and he always acts strangely when he is on the verge of a major artistic breakthrough. Well, it turns out she is wrong.
Or is she?
In Embedded, star news anchor Sylvia Malow feels that her career is sinking as her younger rival, Victoria, is becoming popular with the producer and the TV audience. She ends up drowning when she accepts the invitation to an exclusive interview with a notorious terrorist and gets caught in the Holland Tunnel is bombed on both sides by said terrorist.
But not before she can broadcast her own death on a live video phone feed.
That’s the face of new opera, folks: video phones, TV anchors and angsty New York artists. The music, by Jeff Myers and Patrick Soluri is haunting, inventive and quirky. There is a singing GPS and an “embalming trio” worthy of CSI. David Hamilton has assembled an amazingly talented cast of young singing actors who could hold their own on prime time TV. The production is hi-tech with video and lighting effects for the 21st century.
We had two orchestra rehearsals yesterday, with the composers present (!) and we move into the theater tonight. Opening on Friday and matinee on Sunday. Opera is alive and well in Fargo, ND. Join me?
For more info on the show check this out: