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Anna Christie

Encompass New Opera Theatre will present the world premiere of Anna Christie with music by Edward Thomas, set to a libretto by Joseph Masteroff, with twelve performances beginning on Thursday 4 October 2018 at 8pm and running through Sunday 21 October 2018, at the Baruch Performing Arts Center (at 55 Lexington Avenue, entrance on 25th Street, between Lexington and Third Avenues) in Manhattan, New York, USA.

Nancy Rhodes is stage director and Julian Wachner conducts the Ionisation New Music Ensemble. The cast includes Frank Basile (as Chris Christopherson, Anna Christie's father), Jonathan Estabrooks (as Mat Burke), Melanie Long (as Anna Christie), Joy Hermalyn (as Marthy Owen), and Mike Pirozzi (as Larry the Bartender).

Anna Christie, based on Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, explores the lost relationship of a woman and her father, and the sailor she falls in love with. The sea is a powerful symbol in the play and O'Neill, having lived by the docks in New York City's waterfront, was acquainted with the sailors, booze, saloons and night life that he wrote about with such passion and authenticity. Abandoned by her father when she was five years old, Anna suffered a life of hardship and carries a dark secret from her past. An emotionally charged reunion with her father, a captain of a coal barge, intensifies when a merchant sailor is pulled from the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic on a foggy night. When the fog clears, Anna, the sailor and her father are caught in a riveting struggle between love and the sea, changing their lives forever. The play made its Broadway debut at the Vanderbilt Theatre on 2 November 1921 and was made into a 1930 Hollywood film starring Greta Garbo in her first talking picture.

Richard Pearson Thomas serves as Assistant Music Director, and set design is by Charles Wittreich, costume design by Angela Huff, projections by Lachlin Loud/Charles Wittreich and lighting design by Colin Chauche. Sound design is by Avery James Orvis.

A special ninety-fourth birthday celebration for composer Edward Thomas will take place on Sunday 7 October, immediately following the matinee 3pm performance.

Edward Thomas, composer, studied composition with Tibor Serly and spent the early part of his musical life as a guitarist and ensemble singer. In 1967, his String Quartet was premiered by the Harold Kohon Quartet at New York's Town Hall. Thomas is the composer of the opera Desire Under the Elms (from 1978) set to a libretto by Joe Masteroff that was produced at New York's City Center. The opera was later recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Manahan, featuring James Morris, Jerry Hadley and Victoria Livengood. The recording, nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award, was produced by Tom Shepard and released internationally in October 2002 on the Naxos American Opera Classics series.

His Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra was premiered at Lincoln Center with the London clarinetist Sidney Fell and the Master Virtuosi of New York conducted by Gene Forrell. His Images for Oboe and Strings received its world premiere at the American Music Festival in Oklahoma, and his Fantasy for Two Clarinets was recorded in 2011 by Stanley and Naomi Drucker and the American Composers Orchestra conducted by George Manahan. Also, in 2011, Glenn Dicterow recorded his Reflections for Violin and Piano. His one-act opera, A Sunny Morning, was recorded in 2012 by Judy Kaye and Tim Jerome.

One of the United States of America's leaders in championing new music theatre and American opera, Encompass New Opera Theatre is celebrating its fortieth season dedicated to creating, developing and producing adventurous productions of new music theatre. Striving to discover and nurture emerging singers, composers, librettists, and musicians, to premiere groundbreaking new productions, and revive important twentieth century musical works by American and international composers, Encompass has produced more than sixty-three full-scale opera productions with orchestra and staged readings of more than 165 new works.

Encompass was founded by Nancy Rhodes and Roger Cunningham, and most recently performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, BAM Fisher in January 2016, with the New York premiere of The Astronaut's Tale by Charles Fussell and Jack Larson.


Posted: 24 September 2018

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