Operatic Angels in America to Begin Fort Worth Run May 16

News   Operatic Angels in America to Begin Fort Worth Run May 16
 
The Forth Worth Opera's production of Peter Eötvös' operatic adaptation of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer and Tony-winning drama Angels in America begins performances May 16 at the Scott Theatre.

Casting for the production includes David Adam Moore (Prior Walter), Ava Pine (The Angel), Janice Hall (Hannah Pitt), Erin Smith (Harper Pitt), Craig Verm (Joseph "Joe" Pitt), Scott Scully (Louis Ironson), Daniel Billings (Belize) and Kelly Anderson (Roy Cohn).

David Gately directs with Christopher Larkin conducting. Set design is by Peter Nigrini, and costumes are by Claudia Stephens.

Kushner's politically themed, Reagen-era "fantasia" on the AIDS epidemic was adapted for the operatic stage in 2004 and originally presented at Paris' Théâtre du Châtelet starring Julia Migenes. Librettist Mari Mezei condensed Millennium Approaches and Perestroika into a two-and-a-half hour work.

In a statement about the 2004 Paris debut, Eötvös remarked, "In the opera version, I put less emphasis on the political line than Kushner. I rather focus on the passionate relationships, on the highly dramatic suspense of the wonderful text, on the permanently uncertain state of the visions."

Performed in English, Eötvös' score is also a rarity for opera in that it requires its cast to wear microphones. The Ft. Worth production includes six synthesizers in its orchestrations. Angels in America made its U.S. operatic debut in 2006 at Boston's Stanford Calderwood Pavilion. The Fort Worth Opera production marks the second presentation of the work in the U.S.

Press notes for the opera state, "When Prior Walter tells his boyfriend, Louis, that he has AIDS; Louis leaves him. Meanwhile another couple, Joe and his wife Harper, are also having trouble. Joe is gay and in the closet, Harper escapes her sexless marriage by taking Valium. Prior begins seeing visions of an Angel who tells him he is a prophet. Belize, his friend, stands by him and, while at his job as a nurse, treats Roy Cohn who also has AIDS but vehemently denies it, saying he has cancer. Louis and Joe meet and become lovers. Joe calls his Mormon mother, Hannah, who comes to New York to try to help her son and Harper. She ends up meeting Prior and administers both help and spiritual advice. When Roy Cohn dies, Belize takes his experimental medications to give to Prior. Prior, with the help of Belize, Hannah and a blessing by the Angel, gets his disease under control and declares he has 'more life.'"

Angels in America runs through June 7 at the Scott Theatre, which is located at 3505 West Lancaster Avenue in Dallas, TX. For tickets and further information visit www.fwopera.org.

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