New Operas – Radio Betty Episode 17

In Episode 17 we talked about the abundance of new operas, including Guerilla Opera’s world premiere of “Loose, Wet, Perforated.” I went to see “Heart of a Dog” last winter and can affirm that you will never see anything like a Guerilla Opera production. For ticket info, go to

We also talked about Kickstarter and all the operas in varying states of production. If you haven’t been to yet, set aside a few days with no distractions and plenty of food and water. The projects people have come up with are unbelievable. I searched for “opera” and found 134 projects. Some were already funded and some had not met their goal (thankfully, in a few cases). Many are still collecting donations, including “Beautiful Creatures,” the first opera that caught my eye. According to the Kickstarter overview it “explores the loss of ideals and how we reconcile our best hopes with sobering realities.”

I was pulled in by the music during the video introduction, and then realized I recognized one of the faces: playwright Dominic Orlando. I never seem to discover someone is a librettist until long after I’ve spent a week hanging out down the hall from him. I worked on the publicity for Dominic’s play Danny Casolaro Died for You, which premiered last fall (what do you mean you haven’t heard of it?? You have now). I love his storytelling and pretty much think he’s the cat’s pajamas. In fact, if I didn’t like opera, this might push me over the edge.

The synopsis: Eileen, an inveterate executive of an environmental organization, struggles to find the reins of her mission in the green movement with all its recent changes. Her fantasies and anxieties play out during an afterparty at a green conference where the competing strategies and motivations of 3 other characters within the movement (a celebrity, an eco-terrorist, a green-washed corporate) threaten to take them all down.

After the guests have arrived Cori (the terrorist) tells us that she’s wearing a bomb, and intends to kill the tabloid beauty (Hank) to demonstrate the destruction of a “beautiful creature” she believes the world won’t ignore. Stan and Eileen get into a row about their old relationship: he accuses her of becoming a shameless self-promoter posing as a green activist. She chastizes his corporate greenwash activities for clean coal. Cori confronts Hank to see if he might have any real integrity about the environment, but remains unconvinced by his response. International activists stroke Hank’s ego in order to leverage his celebrity, but Stan makes an ugly scene, telling them he’s just an actor posing as a do-gooder. Cori finally gets herself psyched up to do the deed even while she’s wishing someone might stop her. The others struggle in a build-up to a tense moment where the bomb might go off.

Stage|Time Collaborative has until October 2 to reach their goal. Donate here if you can:BEAUTIFUL CREATURES.

From there we gave an overview/tutorial on The Rake’s Progress. It seemed appropriate.

And for the Ripped from the Headlines portion of our program, we talked about Eva-Maria Westbroek and her roles as Anna Nicole and Sieglinde. Interestingly, if you do a google search for images of Eva-Maria, there are about 80 billion of her as Anna Nicole and 12 as Sieglinde.

Read the article in The Independent.

In addition to segments of the operas, we played “Boycott Immorality” from Chocolat and “Anna Nicole Smith’s Baby” by Spring Forth. We tried to fit in Bananarama’s “Venus” at the end of The Rake’s Progress, but it was too jarring a transition even for us.

Next time.