Music and Lyrics by Phil Kline

About the Work Creators Video/Audio Gallery Press Performances


"In the BAM world premiere of Kline’s Schubert-meets-Sinatra song cycle, Bleckmann conjured Buster Keaton’s melancholy and Fred Astaire’s grace, transforming a black-box theater with a few café tables into a world as vast as a lover’s hopes and as stifling as regret." - WQXR Best of Opera 2012

Out Cold is an all-new monodrama written for Kline’s muse Theo Bleckmann and ACME, and co-commissioned by American Opera Projects. Conceived during a NY blizzard in January 2010, Kline started with the idea of the great romantic song cycle Winterreise (winter journey) — Schubert’s long walk out into the cold — and fused it with the ethos of Frank Sinatra’s “suicide song” LP’s with Nelson Riddle from the 1950’s (particularly Only the Lonely). The winter landscape is replaced by a mythical bar at 2:45am, with a man haunted by the past and searching for something, singing sad and beautiful songs with a ten-piece band from a dark corner of heaven. Despite the cozy environs, the singer is “out cold” in the sense of being an outcast, and in the sense of being unconscious, even in his waking moments.

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A fixture of New York’s downtown scene, Phil Kline stands out for his range and unpredictability. He makes music in many genres and contexts, from experimental electronics and sound installations to songs, choral, theater, chamber and orchestral works. Early in his career he cofounded the rock band the Del-Byzanteens with Jim Jarmusch and James Nares, collaborated with Nan Goldin on the soundtrack to The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, and played guitar in the notorious Glenn Branca Ensemble. Some of his early work evolved from performance art and used large numbers of boom boxes, such as the Christmas cult classic Unsilent Night. Other diverse works include John the Revelator, a setting of the Latin mass written for early music specialists Lionheart, and dreamcitynine, which mixed 60 percussionists with hundreds of iphones around the plaza of Lincoln Center. Kline is currently working with Jarmusch on an opera, Tesla in New York.

Theo Bleckmann is a Grammy-nominated and ECHO award-winning vocalist and composer whose work spans concerts, installations, theater, cabaret, and performance art. He currently tours with his acclaimed Kate Bush song project, Hello Earth! as well as with drummer-composer John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet and Large Ensemble. For over a decade he has performed with guitarist Ben Monder and in Meredith Monk’s ensemble, and is a longtime student and mentee of vocalist and NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. He has collaborated with artists such as Laurie Anderson, Philip Glass, Uri Caine, Julia Wolfe, John Zorn, and the Bang on a Can All-stars, among others. Bleckmann has garnered praise from The New York Times, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine and the Village Voice.

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March 13, 2013 - NEW MUSIC BOX
Opera profile: "Reports of the Death of Opera Have Been Greatly Exaggerated"

December 2012 - BROOKLYN RAIL
Opera review: "BAM Next Wave Part 1"

December 14, 2012 - WQXR
Year-in-review: "The Best and Worst of Opera in 2012"

November 1, 2012 - ARTS JOURNAL BLOG
Opera review: "Phil Kline's staged song cycle: Better seen or heard?"

October 27, 2012 - LUCID CULTURE
Opera review: "Three Transcendent Song Cycles by Phil Kline at BAM"

October 26, 2012 - NEW YORK TIMES
Opera review: "Out Cold/Zippo Songs at Bam's Next Wave Festival"

October 19, 2012 - ARTS JOURNAL BLOG
Opera profile: "Great music- and opera - at the end of the line"

October 19, 2012 - BAM BLOG
Opera profile: "Schubert and Sinatra Walk into a Bar"

October 17, 2012 - CLASSICAL TV
Opera profile: "The Art of Song"

October 12, 2012 - LUCID CULTURE
Opera profile: "Ten Questions for Phil Kline"

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October 25-27, 2012
World Premiere
Presented as part of BAM's 30th Next Wave Festival
In a co-production with AOP
Presented with Phil Kline's Rumsfeld Songs and Zippo Songs
BAM Fisher, Brooklyn, NY

Performed by Theo Bleckmann and ACME
ACME players for Out Cold / Zippo Songs
Caleb Burhans, Ben Russell, Keats Dieffenbach, violins
Nadia Sirota, viola; Clarice Jensen, cello; Logan Coale, bass; Alex Sopp, flute
Michelle Farah, oboe; Timothy Andres, piano; Chris Thompson, percussion

Emma Griffin – Stage Director
Andrea Lauer – Production and Costume Designer
Mike Inwood – Lighting Designer
Todd Eskridge – Sound Engineer
Glenn Reed – Set Builder Coordinator
W. Wilson Jones – Production Stage Manager
Chris Jaehnig – Set Design Assistant



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Out Cold banner image designed by Great Believer


American Opera Projects, Inc. • 138 South Oxford Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217
718.398.4024 •