Music by Mark-Anthony Turnage
Based on Steven Berkoff’s stage play of the same title
Libretto adapted by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Moore
Sung in English with English surtitles
Hailed as a cult classic, Greek is a political and indelible retelling of Sophocles’ tragedy, Oedipus the King. Transporting audiences to London’s East End during the tumultuous 1980s with music influences that range from jazz to daring percussion to sounds of the streets, Greek is an aggressive, defiant and profane detonation of a story millennia old.
This Opera Annex production features award-winning baritone Marcus Farnsworth, who makes his BLO debut as he reprises the role he sang in a critically-acclaimed production seen at Music Theatre Wales. BLO favorites Caroline Worra and Christopher Burchett join Amanda Crider in her BLO debut to complete the cast of four singers who inhabit 11 characters at a breakneck pace. Directed by Sam Helfrich and conducted by Andrew Bisantz, Greek reunites the team that launched BLO’s acclaimed Opera Annex series.
Conductor Andrew Bisantz
Stage Director Sam Helfrich
Set Designer John Conklin
Costume Designer Nancy Leary
Lighting Designer Chris Hudacs*
Fight Director Andrew Kenneth Moss
Wig and Makeup Designer Jason Allen
Dramaturg John Conklin
Surtitle Designer Allison Voth
Marcus Farnsworth* as Eddy
Caroline Worra as Eddy’s Mum | Waitress | Sphinx
Amanda Crider* as Doreen | Waitress who becomes Eddy’s Wife | Sphinx
Christopher Burchett as Dad | Café Manager | Chief of Police
Actors: Dani Berkowitz*, Erin Eva Butcher*, Caleb Cedrone*, Nile Hawver*
* Boston Lyric Opera Debut
† Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist
‡ Boston Lyric Opera Jane and Steven Akin Emerging Artist Alumnus
Performed in two acts with one 25-minute intermission. Performance running time is approximately two hours
Please note: The opera Greek includes explicit language, violence and sexual content. Recommended for mature audiences only.
OPERA ANNEX TALKBACKS
Stick around after the show for informal Talkbacks: Half-hour panels that include cast and creative team members in discussion. Listen to candid conversations about the performance process and what happened onstage that day or evening. Talkbacks are available after each performance of Greek. Free to ticketholders.
LISTEN TO THE MUSIC
In London’s East End, the aimless and bored Eddy lives with his parents and sister, dreaming of a better life. His father recounts visiting a fortuneteller at a fair years before and the unsettling prophecy that Eddy would grow up to murder his father and sleep with his mother. Disgusted, Eddy storms off in search of love and adventure. The streets of London are restless and angry; Eddy joins in a riot and is beaten up by the police. Eddy ventures into a small café and orders, before getting into an argument with the manager. He kicks the man to death. The owner’s wife is distraught, but Eddy comforts her. She remarks that he seems familiar somehow and tells Eddy of her young son who disappeared into the Thames years before – they searched, but only found his teddy bear. The two fall passionately in love. Meanwhile, back at Eddy’s home, his parents wonder if they should have told him the whole truth about his past.
Ten years later, Eddy and his wife are successful and happy. Eddy’s parents visit. London is besieged by a terrible plague which seems to be caused by a Sphinx, who lurks outside the city walls. Eddy decides to confront her. She spews insults and profanity at him, but he easily answers her riddle and kills her. He returns to the café, triumphant. But then, Eddy’s parents confess that he is not actually their son. They rescued him from the Thames when he was only two years old – clutching a teddy bear, which they threw back into the water. Horrified, Eddy realizes that the fortuneteller’s prophecy has come true. He thinks of Oedipus and imagines putting out his own eyes, Greek-style. But – can the Eddy of today defy his fate?
Meet the Artists
MARK-ANTHONY TURNAGE Composer
English composer Mark-Anthony Turnage is cited among the most significant creative figures to have emerged in British music of the last three decades. His first opera, Greek, established Mr. Turnage’s reputation as an artist who forged his own path between modernism and tradition by means of a unique blend of jazz and classical styles. Three Screaming Popes, Kai, Momentum and Drowned Out emerged during his time as Composer in Association in Birmingham with Sir Simon Rattle, followed by Blood on the Floor. His second full-length opera, The Silver Tassie, won both the South Bank Show and the Olivier Awards for Opera in 2001; his third opera Anna Nicole played at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden in 2011 and has received new productions in Germany and New York, as well as a revival at Covent Garden in Autumn 2014. Mr. Turnage has been Resident Composer with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Turnage is Research Fellow in Composition at the Royal College of Music.
ANDREW BISANTZ Conductor
Andrew Bisantz’s Boston Lyric Opera credits include leading BLO’s inaugural Opera Annex production of The Turn of the Screw, followed by Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Recent engagements include Le Nozze di Figaro (Opera Saratoga, Opera San Jose), Lucia di Lammermoor and Eugene Onegin (Eugene Opera), La Fanciulla del West (Opera Omaha), and Don Giovanni (Savannah Voice Festival). Other notable engagements include The Consul, Die Zauberflöte, Rigoletto, and Don Giovanni (Florida Grand Opera); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (McGill University); La Traviata (Virginia Opera); and his debut with