The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare | NOV 8-12 | Boston Lyric Opera

SOLD OUT!

The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare | NOV 8-12 2017-11-14T09:57:45+00:00

Individual Opera Tickets

WED | NOV 8 | 7:30PM SOLD OUT
THU | NOV 9 | 7:30PM SOLD OUT
SUN | NOV 12 | 12:00PM SOLD OUT
SUN | NOV 12 | 4:00PM SOLD OUT

Join us for our next opera: The Threepenny Opera, March 16-25, 2018

Music by Julian Grant | Libretto by Mark Campbell

Edinburgh, 1828. The city’s world-renowned anatomy schools suffer from a cadaver shortage. Two industrious men—William Burke and William Hare—find lucrative work by murdering disenfranchised citizens and selling their corpses to Dr. Knox’s academy. Brutally funny and highly theatrical, irreverent and fast-paced, this chamber opera is based on real events.

Individual Opera Tickets

WED | NOV 8 | 7:30PM SOLD OUT
THU | NOV 9 | 7:30PM SOLD OUT
SUN | NOV 12 | 12:00PM SOLD OUT
SUN | NOV 12 | 4:00PM SOLD OUT

Join us for our next opera: The Threepenny Opera, March 16-25, 2018

The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare
Music by Julian Grant | Libretto by Mark Campbell
A world premiere commissioned by Music-Theatre Group with the support of Boston Lyric Opera
Sung in English with English surtitles

Subscription Tickets

2017/18 SEASON TICKETS NOW ON SALE

CREATIVE TEAM

DAVID ANGUS

Conductor

MARK CAMPBELL

Librettist

JULIAN GRANT

Composer

David Schweizer

Stage Director

Caleb Wertenbaker

Set Designer

Nancy Leary

Costume Designer

Robert Wierzel

Lighting Designer

Melinda Sullivan

Movement Director

Jason Allen»

Wig and Makeup Designer

Allison Voth

Surtitle Designer

CAST

(in order of vocal appearance)

WILLIAM BURDEN*
Tenor

DR. ROBERT KNOX

DAVID MCFERRIN‡
Baritone

FERGUSON

JESSE BLUMBERG
Baritone

WILLIAM BURKE

CRAIG COLCLOUGH*
Bass-Baritone

WILLIAM HARE

MICHELLE TRAINOR‡
Soprano

HELEN MCDOUGAL

HEATHER GALLAGHER‡
Mezzo-Soprano

MARGARET HARE

THE VICTIMS

DAVID CUSHING‡
Baritone

DONALD

MARIE MCLAUGHLIN*
Soprano

ABIGAIL SIMPSON

MICHAEL SLATTERY*
Tenor

JAMES WILSON (“DAFT JAMIE”)

EMMA SORENSON†
Mezzo-soprano

MARY PATERSON

ANTONIA TAMER†
Soprano

MADGE DOCHERTY

CHAMBER ENSEMBLE FROM THE BOSTON LYRIC OPERA ORCHESTRA
SUPERNUMERARIES
PRODUCTION/ARTISTIC STAFF

REHEARSAL COACH/ACCOMPANIST, Brett Hodgdon‡
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, Katherine Carder*
STAGE MANAGER, Cynthia Hennon Marino*

* Boston Lyric Opera Debut
† Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist
‡ Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist Alumnus

The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts

539 Tremont Street | Boston, MA | 02116

The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts

Surrounded by the largest collection of Victorian brownstones in New England and representing the height of urban industrial chic, The Cyclorama at Boston Center for the Arts is an historic venue located in the South End neighborhood of Boston. The building features a a dazzling copper skylight dome atop a round, brick-lined 23,000-square foot space.

Directions and Parking

SEATING

  • Seating will be in a one of a kind space designed by BLO’s production and creative team. The space is based off of an Anatomical Theatre Installation at Humboldt University in Berlin, and the seating zones reflect how central and how close the seats are in the space, thereby indicating a more intimate experience.
  • Seating will be on risers, with rows elevated above each other.
  • There are no Mezzanine and Balcony sections in this theater.
The Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts | The Nefarious, Immoral but Highly Profitable Enterprise of Mr. Burke & Mr. Hare | NOV 8-12 | Boston Lyric Opera

ACCESSIBILITY

  • There is a set of stairs inside the main entrance on Tremont Street to access the theatre. Patrons unable to use the stairs should enter the venue using the elevator to the right of the stair entrance.
  • Accessible seating is located in the first row.
  • The restrooms on the main level are accessible.

RESTROOMS

  • Restrooms are located on the main level and accessible to all seating sections.

Edinburgh, Scotland, 1828. The city’s world-renowned schools of anatomy suffer from a shortage of cadavers for use in dissection lessons, and seek new methods for supply to meet demand.

DONALD

William Hare and William Burke, two poor Irishmen who manage a boardinghouse in Tanner’s Close with their significant others Helen and Margaret, discover one of their lodgers – Donald, a retired soldier – has died of natural causes. At first Burke and Hare bemoan the loss of rent Donald owed, but then Hare suggests they sell his corpse to an anatomy school to make up for the lost income. Burke initially balks at the idea, but eventually is persuaded, and they pack the corpse into a tea chest for transport to the surgery school run by Dr. Knox, where it is met by his assistant, Dr. Ferguson. Knox extols the pursuit of knowledge in a lecture to his anatomy students before preparing Donald’s body for dissection.

ABIGAIL SIMPSON

Burke and Hare celebrate their windfall with Margaret and Helen at a pub. After the women depart, Burke and Hare are harassed by Abigail Simpson, a drunk, apparently homeless woman. Hare convinces Burke to do Abigail a favor by putting her out of her misery; he suggests murdering her and selling her body to Dr. Knox. Burke again protests, then relents. Hare approaches Abigail and offers to buy her a whisky. Meanwhile, at another table in the pub, Ferguson has a romantic exchange with Mary Paterson, a young prostitute he has been seeing.

THE OTHERS

In no time, Burke and Hare’s new enterprise is a success. Because the pair prey on the disenfranchised, the identities of their victims are often unknown. Knox and Ferguson enjoy the rise in enrollment at their school, while Burke, Hare, Helen and Margaret again celebrate their prosperity at the pub.

DAFT JAMIE

A few months later, James Wilson (“Daft Jamie”), a beloved street character of Edinburgh, sings Knox a ditty in passing. Helen and Margaret approach Daft Jamie to offer him whisky. At the school, Knox gives Ferguson good news about a promotion, but Ferguson is distracted after recognizing the corpse of Daft Jamie. He voices suspicions about Burke and Hare’s methods of obtaining bodies. Knox reminds him that their research serves the greater good – then orders Daft Jamie’s head and feet be removed before dissection, to avoid suspicion.

MARY PATERSON

In the pub, Burke struggles with his conscience while Helen and Margaret remind the group they must stick together at all costs. Hare notices Mary Paterson sitting by herself across the pub and invites her to Tanner’s Close. Later, back at the school, Ferguson is distraught to find Mary’s body on the surgery table, but Knox heartlessly observes she will be popular with the students. Ferguson protests. Knox threatens him and warns him they must stick together. He forces Ferguson to present Mary’s naked body to the students for anatomical illustration.

MADGE DOCHERTY

Madge, an itinerant Irish woman, has come to Edinburgh to find her son. She meets Hare who claims they are related. He lures her to Tanner’s Close promising to help her. Burke and Hare ply her with whisky, and when she is too drunk to struggle, they murder her.

Helen and Margaret enter and are surprised by the body, as they have potential lodgers – an entire family – in the next room. They try to hide her body beneath some straw, but the family spots Madge’s lifeless arm and flees. At the school, a constable questions Knox, who compels Ferguson to deny all knowledge of the crimes. Victims and perpetrators alike recount the aftermath of the killing spree.

Synopsis by Mark Campbell, librettist.

Before the World Premiere of Burke & Hare, explore the soundworld of composer Julian Grant and librettist Mark Campbell through these samples of their other works.

Mark Campbell

Articles

Study Guide

Fall 2017 Issue of CODA: The Magazine of Boston Lyric Opera

For press images, please visit the Burke & Hare Media Kit

Burke & Hare Related Events

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