Two new one-act operas, Michael Ching's Faith and Russell Currie's Caliban, end their New York premieres Sept. 19. The pieces, produced by the Vital Theatre Company, began Sept. 2. Vital co-founder Scott C. Embler directs with musical direction by Jennifer Peterson.
Caliban, based on the character from William Shakespeare's The Tempest, is a monodrama sung by Ryan Allen, for whom the opera was written. Composer Currie has written for film with an emphasis on Edgar Allen Poe and horror. Past pieces have included "The Black Cat" for Columbia Tristar Pictures, "The Cask of Amontillado" and "The Fall of the House of Usher." He is currently composing a music theatre piece based on the life of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Based on a short science fiction story by James Patrick Kelly, Faith is a romantic comedy about a divorced woman who finds love again with a man who can talk to plants. Ching, the artistic director of Opera Memphis, will see the world premiere of his opera, Buoso's Ghost at Chicago's Opera Theatre in March, 2000.
David de Jong will also perform in Caliban. Faith's cast includes Rufus Read ("Happiness"), Sarah Pillow, Elizabeth Wiley, David Klopp, Judith Skinner, Christopher Haney and Amy Gluck.
Caliban and Faith mark the fourth production for the Vital Theatre Company, founded by Stephen Sunderlin, Embler, Laura Stephens and Michael Schloegl. Tickets are $12 and available by calling (212) 592-4508. (The Thursday, Sept. 16 performance was canceled, owing to the tropical storm that passed through the East Coast that evening.) The Vital Theatre Company is located at 432 West 42nd Street on the 3rd floor.
-- By Christine Ehren