I am an Opera, Created and Performed by Joseph Keckler, Directed by Uwe Mengel, Music co-arranged and performed live by Patrick Grant, Commissioned by Dixon Place will be presented Fridays and Saturdays, April 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 at 7:30pm. BroadwayWorld has a sneak peek below.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $12 for students and seniors and TDF. For more information, visit: dixonplace.org.
Is opera dead? If so, could it come back to life?
In I am an Opera, the award-winning artist Joseph Keckler-whose work spans theater, performance art and music, and has garnered acclaim in the worlds of the performing and visual arts-envisions the classical art form as being in-between and ghost-like.
Employing his classically trained, mimetic voice, Keckler presents a collection of arias that often sound vaguely familiar, as though they might belong to the Verdi repertoire. But rather than prayers to the gods or suicidal swansongs, these laments tell minor stories from Keckler's own life: a trip on hallucinogens, an expedition to the bondage store, and the time he fell asleep in the stairwell at a day job. Keckler also invokes the fantastical, conjuring a world in which he is possessed by taunting demons and hectored by a persnickety voice teacher who emanates from an atmospheric silent film. Part satire, part self-portrait and part aesthetic exorcism, I am an Opera delves not only into the question of when life becomes art, but when life becomes dead art.
Keckler is known in the art scene for his powerful voice, his arresting presence, and his sharp, literary sensibility. For the past year, he has created cultural collisions by staging humorous operatic episodes depicting everyday life in front of unsuspecting crowds in unlikely settings-from underground parties, dingy rock venues and dive bars to galleries and swanky cocktail benefits. The audience response has been overwhelmingly positive. BOMB has called the project "an exquisite exercise in operatic abstraction," and said, "I am an Opera simultaneously deconstructs and re-animates the operatic form, making it contemporary, relevant, and even urgent."
The world premiere takes Keckler's project a step further, presenting an entire evening of modern-day images brought to life by a form that is often considered by the general public to be antiquated, exotic and artificial. Written, composed and performed by Keckler, I am an Opera is directed by German experimental theater artist Uwe Mengel with music co-arranged and performed live by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Grant. Lighting design is by Ben Kato with costume elements by Andrew Jordan.