Music > Beasts - the opera
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The Beasts

The Beasts is my new chamber opera for which I wrote the original libretto and music. The world premiere was performed in a concert version (sung but not fully staged/acted) on March 6, 2013 in the sanctuary of the First Congregational Church in Stockbridge, MA.

The Beasts was written for my men's 5-voice a cappella group, Quintessential, so the major roles are taken by two tenors, two baritones and one bass. But the piece also features an off-stage soprano, and the singers are supported by one violin, one viola and one cello. The production was partially supported by a grant from the Martha Boschen Fund for the Arts, administered by the Berkshire-Taconic Foundation.

The opera tells the story of a Joseph, a young man who, because of past losses, struggles to find any joy in Christmas. He lives alone except for his pets: a parrot, a very old dog, a goldfish and a brand-new puppy. In keeping with ancient tradition, Joseph's pets have the power of speech at midnight on Christmas Eve. But these beasts find they can speak well before sundown on Christmas Eve, and they struggle to understand why. The Beasts tells the story of what they discover, and how they use their powers of speech to help their grief-stricken master.

A note to parents: Although the opera features talking animals, it might not be suitable for children. The piece is, in the end, optimistic, but it does contain a small amount of overt blasphemy, and descriptions or depictions of the death of parents and beloved pets.