Operas at the House, a showcase of three original operas inspired by the not-for-profit International House and each no longer than the traditional sit-com, will be performed Saturday, May 13 at 5 p.m. at NYU Tisch’s Black Box Theater. Co-sponsored by the Tisch Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program (GMTWP), International House, the NYU Tisch Department of Design for Stage & Film and American Opera Projects (AOP), Operas at the House is free with advance registration and open to the public.
Operas at the House is the most recent production of Tisch GMTWP’s Advanced Opera Lab program, through which students write, develop, and design original operas performed by professional opera singers. Advanced Opera Lab was started in 2015 by Tisch Arts Professor Randall Eng and is open to both students and alumni. Last year, the program culminated in a show comprised of 12 mini-operas, all on the subject of Fort Greene Park. In a similar vein, this year’s 30-minute operas are all inspired by the 90-year-old not-for-profit International House, which houses and supports international students and entrepreneurs from around the world. There will be a second performance at International House on Sunday, May 14.
“Today’s opera community is tremendously supportive of new and exciting work, which is exactly what we’re promoting with this partnership,” said Eng. “Having our students write longer pieces this year provides them with an even more robust experience, while still enticing non-traditional audiences with a more accessible format.”
Operas at the House includes the following works:
HENNA LEAVES: Set against the background of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Henna Leaves follows best friends and Afghan poets Afia and Dorakshan as they fight to make their voices heard on opposite ends of the world. As Dorakshan explores her independence as a graduate student living at the International House in New York City, Afia struggles to keep writing her poetry as her family pressures her into marriage. Music by Aleksandra Weil, and libretto by Laura Barati.
A BRIDGE BETWEEN: International House philanthropist and former resident, Kathryn Wasserman Davis, began financing scholarships for students from Muslim countries in 2007. But in 1930, she is just a young idealist looking out her window at the George Washington Bridge being erected. In 1993, across time and ocean, a young boy in a war-ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina spies the 427-year-old Mostar Bridge being bombed. A Bridge Between is a one-act opera that connects two continents, two bridges and two people who have never met. With music by Casey O’Neil, and libretto by Sophia Chapadjiev.
FINAL ROUND: Inspired by American Dreams, an interactive play by Leila Buck, Final Round is set amidst the madness of a reality TV game show, Green Card Me!, in which outstanding students from around the world compete in a series of challenges over weeks to win America's votes and the opportunity to become an American. Music by Edison Hong, and libretto by Paulo K Tiról.
In addition to Eng, NYU/Tisch's GMTWP Advanced Opera Lab is led by Professor of Design Sam Helfrich, the show’s stage director, and Music Director Mila Henry. Additional designers from the NYU Graduate Department of Design for Stage and Film include Jake Fine, Susanne Houstle, Maryam Khosravi, Andrew Moerdyk, Eric Norbury, Ethan Olsen, Kelvin Pater, Desira Pesta, and Avery Reed. Performers include Maria Elena Armijo, Keith Browning, Tomás Cruz, Sarah Heltzel, Jeremy Hirsch, and Nicole Mitchell.
The Black Box Theatre is located at 721 Broadway, between Washington and Waverly places, on the second floor. To reserve tickets, email email@example.com.
Founded by the Rockefeller and Dodge families in 1924, International House is a non-profit programmatic and residential center dedicated to fostering the next generation of global leaders. Each year, I-House serves as home to more than 750 carefully selected graduate students and young professionals from 100 countries, representing more than 70 leading universities, businesses, and cultural, non-profit, and government institutions. Learn more at www.ihouse-nyc.org
About the NYU Tisch School of the Arts
For over 50 years, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts has drawn on the vast artistic and cultural resources of New York City and New York University to create an extraordinary training ground for the individual artist and scholar of the arts. Today, students learn their craft in a spirited, risk-taking environment that combines the professional training of a conservatory with the liberal arts education of a premier global university with campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai and 11 academic centers around the world. Learn more at www.tisch.nyu.edu.