Queen of Knives

3/2010 – 5/2010

An original opera composed by Eric Stern of Vagabond Opera, which I directed and co-produced. Or really, it was co-produced by the organizations known as Vagabond Opera and Wanderlust Circus. Technicalities. Our production brought Brechtian minimalism and Vaudevillian schmaltz to the spectacular aesthetic of opera, and was widely celebrated by the local press and public alike.

counterclockwise from Top L: NagaSita, Skip Von Kuske, Tiffany Slotke, Matthew Rochford, Ashia Grzesik, Scot Crandal, Catherine Olson, Robin Jackson, Mark Burdon, Eric Stern, Griff Bear, Noah Mickens, Heyoka, Rale Sidebottom, Xander Almeida

Just as Stern’s composition comprises influences from Turkish, Moroccan, Egyptian, Greek, and Slavic music; our production incorporated influences of dance and theater forms from the Near- and Far East. Premiered to a sold-out extended run at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in May 2010, and has since joined the permanent Vagabond Opera repertoire.

The incomparable Eric Stern conducts at rehearsal

I was surprised and elated when Mr Stern asked me to direct this show, since he and I had never worked closely or known one another particularly well, and I hadn’t the faintest expertise or experience directing opera. It was very challenging, and I learned so much about music and singing from being around these immensely talented people. The final result was a real triumph in my opinion, worthy of Eric’s monumental work of musical fiction. I hope to return to the Queen of Knives project soon.

Cast included Ashia Grzesik, Scot Crandal, Catherine Olson, Eric Stern, NagaSita, Ruby, Xander Almeida, Rale Sidebottom, and Heyoka.

More at vagabondopera.com/queen-of-knives

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