Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Puccini Opera on an Old Tanker Docked in Red Hook, Anyone?

If McCarren Pool can have concerts and dance performances, the Red Hook waterfront can have opera. Specifically, Giacomo Puccini's Il Tabarro. The performance will be staged on the Mary A. Whalen, a former tanker that is being converted to a floating exhibition space and headquarters by PortSide New York. Set your iCals for September, which is when the performances will take place at the Red Hook Container Port, which is operated by American Stevedoring (and whose future is the subject of ongoing debate.) The performance will be staged by the Vertical Player Repertory Opera.

A release for the performance says:
Vertical Player Repertory (VPR) came to prominence in The New York Times 2003 feature article, "Never Say Die in Indie Opera" written by opera critic Anne Midgette. Offering fully staged opera in alternative settings, with an emphasis on theatrical integrity and unconventional staging, VPR "…has developed a following for its intense performances of unusual works." (The New York Times) Since VPR’s sold-out production of Il Tabarro in its intimate theatre last season (hailed by The New York Times for “…some serious singing”), VPR has sought a way to stage this opera outdoors on the Brooklyn waterfront. PortSide NewYork, a young waterfront-themed non-profit in Red Hook, has provided the solution: the Mary A. Whalen, a retired oil tanker docked at the Red Hook Marine Terminal, one of the last container ports in New York City.

Il Tabarro is a searing portrait of the troubled marriage of a ship’s captain and his restless wife. The psychologically acute libretto dramatizes the lives of the rough, hardworking people of the waterfront. New York opera lovers had an opportunity to see Il Tabarro at the Metropolitan Opera this season. But the VPR production set in Brooklyn and staged on the deck of the Mary Whalen, offers a dimension that cannot be found in any opera house: the excitement and mystique of a real working port.

With actual stevedores and professional opera singers sharing the stage, surrounded by views of gantry cranes, containers, the lumber port, passing vessel traffic and a spectacular view of Governor's Island and the lower Manhattan skyline, this will be an unforgettable on-site experience for audience and performers alike.
An opera about a ship's captain set on an actual ship docked in Brooklyn! The VPR Opera website lists the dates and times as Sept. 7, 9, 14 & 16 at sundown.

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