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BEFORE THE NIGHT SKY

Music by Randall Eng
Libretto by Donna Di Novelli

About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances

ABOUT THE WORK

A contemporary re-telling of the Greek myth of Castor and Pollux collided with the stories of their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. Infused with the propulsive rhythms and harmonic lushness of modern jazz, the score brings the night sky alive with a choral constellation of stars.

Twins united and twins separated create the structure of this updated Greek myth that re-imagines the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux and their overlooked sisters, Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. The two sets of twins navigate what it means to be mortal in this tale of kidnappings and escape. Castor and Pollux are inseparable daredevils working aboard ships and sought by opera houses for their knowledge of riggings. Clytemnestra is her mother’s daughter, happily domestic, until she too is called into action by the kidnapping of Helen, who can’t run far enough away from her beauty. Along the way, the night sky comes alive with Constellations singing to the earthbound hoping to navigate the tumult below.

The opera is written for 4 lead roles (2 sopranos, 1 tenor, 1 baritone) and a chorus of 8. Additional solo roles are played by members of the chorus. It is orchestrated for 19 players: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, 2 horns, trumpet, trombone, harp, piano, 3 violins, viola, cello, bass, and 2 percussionists (1 primarily vibraphone/marimba, 1 primarily drumkit).

Estimated Running Time: 100 minutes

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ABOUT THE CREATORS

engRANDALL ENG
(composer)
Randall Eng’s music lies at the intersection of opera, music-theatre, and jazz. His operas Florida (with librettist Donna Di Novelli) and Henry’s Wife (with librettist Alexis Bernier) have been presented at Lyric Opera Cleveland, New York City Opera’s VOX Festival, Center for Contemporary Opera, American Opera Projects, Virginia Arts Festival, the Public Theater, and Manhattan School of Music. Florida is slated for production in 2018. His latest project is a song cycle tracing the Chinese-American male experience over the past 150 years. Grants and residencies: Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Montalvo Arts Center, Ucross Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Bang-on-a-Can Summer Institute, John Duffy Composers Institute, Tapestry New Opera, American Composers Forum, AOP’s Composers and the Voice. Education: Harvard University, Cambridge University, and NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, where he is a full-time faculty member and runs the GMTWP Opera Lab. He is a Staten Island native and Jeopardy! Champion. www.randalleng.com

dinovelliDONNA DI NOVELLI
(librettist)
Donna Di Novelli writes for opera, music-theater and film. As a librettist and lyricist, Di Novelli collaborates with composers working in both experimental and traditional genres. The Good Swimmer, a pop requiem (music by Heidi Rodewald), directed by Kevin Newbury was presented at 2016 Prototype Festival produced by Beth Morrison Productions and HERE. She wrote the libretto for Paola Prestini’s Oceanic Verses, presented by River-to-River Festival, The Kennedy Center and the Barbican Centre, 2012 and the libretto for Heart of a Soldier, commissioned by the San Francisco Opera, September 2011, music by Christopher Theofanidis. She has worked with Randall Eng since their graduate thesis opera, Florida, scheduled for a production in 2018. Her first screenplay, Stag was turned into an award-winning short film, directed by Newbury and traveled to festivals around the world in 2015-16. She is co-writing a feature length film with the indie director, Josephine Decker. www.donnadinovelli.com

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VIDEO/AUDIO

 
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PHOTO GALLERY

COMING SOON
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PRESS

January 19, 2017 - BROADWAYWORLD
Workshop review: "A Funny Thing - or Not - Happened on the Way to the Opera House"

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AOP PERFORMANCES

Friday, January 13, 2017 at 8 PM
Orchestral workshop of Excerpts
OPERA America New Opera Showcase
The Town Hall - 123 W 43rd St, New York, New York 10036

ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCES
 
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American Opera Projects, Inc. • 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
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