April 27-28: You've never seen opera like this before
When footage from a West Wing staff party is leaked to a major news channel, the president is on the warpath looking for a culprit. Staffers scheme and second-guess each other amidst the misleading headlines, and politicians exploit the turmoil for their own ends.
Sound familiar? Mozart, Haydn, Rossini, and Donizetti would have thought so. Our brand new opera, woven together from 18th and 19th century plots with new dialogue, will make you see today's politics from a totally new vantage point.
Caution: this production contains strong language, but no worse than the average White House cabinet meeting!
Boston's own Grand Harmonie is putting on its most ambitious project yet: a fully staged premiere of a brand-new opera, arranged for wind band and performed on period instruments. Directed by Julia Mintzer with an original script by Charles Ogilvie, On Behalf of a Madman will feature Classical and Romantic arias in new arrangements and with incidental music by GH co-founder Yoni Kahn, and will be performed by GH and conducted by Geoff McDonald. Our performance venue is the amazing Arts at the Armory in Somerville, MA, where patrons can enjoy a well-stocked bar and wander around the action as the performance is going on. The limited run is TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY, on April 27 and 28.
The wind band, or Harmonie band, was the populist entertainment of the 19th century. The rich had their opera houses, but the masses heard the popular tunes in bootlegged arrangements for Harmonie band. This production is the ultimate example of old meets new. Old instruments, new arrangements. Old composers, new drama.
News today flies so fast that it's hard to keep up. Art gives us a release from daily trials and tribulations: if we can laugh at it, it can't hurt us. This is the musical catharsis you've been waiting for.
Your contribution helps support new art
Putting on a new opera takes a huge amount of resources. We're already most of the way towards meeting our budget, which prioritizes compensating our singers and instrumentalists first, but we need your help for the last $7500 to cross the finish line. Here's what your contribution will cover:
- Venue rental fees: $2260 to rehearse and perform in the Armory. We used this venue for the first time last season and it was a huge hit - we can't wait to go back!
- Videography: $1000 to document the premiere of this brand-new work and allow us to pitch repeat performances to other opera companies around the country.
- Transportation: $2000 to help cover our amazing artists' travel expenses to Boston.
- Props and sets: $1000 to take the world of "Madman" from our production team's imagination to the real world.
- Technical team: $1240 to cover fees for our rehearsal pianist and stage manager to help the production run smoothly.
If we exceed our goal, any additional funding will be used to compensate the artistic team for this production, which is currently donating its fees in-kind to make this production a reality.
As a token of our thanks, we're thrilled to offer you perks, from complimentary tickets to VIP seating to private concerts by the GH band.
Opera for the current political moment
We think "On Behalf of a Madman" is the beginning of a thrilling artistic collaboration. All of the artistic team have worked together before, but never all at once on the same project. GH is convinced that this kind of genre-bending performance is an integral part of the future of opera, and we want to present more Harmonie arrangements with our collaborators and demonstrate the relevance of these 200-year old works to modern audiences. But to do so, we need to get this project off the ground.
Other ways you can help
While we would love your financial support, you can also help by getting the word out about this opera! Tell all your friends that the hottest political satire isn't Veep or Scandal, it's "On Behalf of a Madman" on April 27 and 28. We can't wait to see you there!
Who made those awesome tunes you heard in the video? Grand Harmonie, of course!
Mozart (arr. Mozart?) - Overture to Abduction from the Seraglio
Kristin Olson and Allison Gangler, oboes
Thomas Carroll and Bixby Kennedy, clarinets
Elisabeth Axtell and John Aubrey, horns
Allen Hamrick and Melissa Schoenack, bassoons
Nathan Varga, contrabass
Jonathan Hess, Chris Belluscio, and Paul Perfetti, percussion
Beethoven arr. Sedlak/Carroll/Kahn - "In des Lebens Frühlingstagen" from Fidelio
Brent Reilly Turner, tenor
Kristin Olson and Priscilla Herreid, oboes
Thomas Carroll and Elise Bonhivert, clarinets
Elisabeth Axtell and Yoni Kahn, horns
Kelsey Schilling and Allen Hamrick, bassoons
Julianne Russell, contrabass
Risks and challenges
Creating a new work of art always involves some risk! This is the first time all members of the production team have worked together on the same project, so there are a lot of moving parts. However, given our past collaborations on "Fidelio" at Princeton University in 2016, and "La Finta Giardiniera" with On Site Opera in 2017, we are confident in our ability to both self-produce opera and communicate it to a wide audience through the medium of period wind music. The venue is booked, the musicians are contracted, and the show will go on: we hope you'll join us on this journey!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)