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
Wednesday, Nov 16, 7:30 pm
Thursday, Nov 17, 7:30 pm
Saturday, Nov 19, 7:30 pm
Sunday, Nov 20, 3:00 pm
Please note: The opera Greek includes explicit language, racial slurs, violence and sexual content. Recommended for mature audiences only.
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
Performed in two acts with one 25-minute intermission. Performance running time is approximately two hours
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
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
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’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 Wolf Trap Opera conducting Don Giovanni. He has also conducted Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra and was soloist and conductor of Rhapsody in Blue with Buffalo Philharmonic. This season, he continues as Music Director of Eugene Opera where he conducts their 40th Anniversary Gala, West Side Story, and La tragédie de Carmen. His recent recording of Fredrick Kaufman’s Stars and Distances and The Seven Sisters is available on Navona Records.
SAM HELFRICH Stage Director
Sam Helfrich returns to Boston Lyric Opera, having staged the inaugural Opera Annex production of The Turn of the Screw. Recent highlights include Embedded (Fort Worth Opera); St. John Passion (Pittsburgh Symphony); Orpheus in the Underworld (Virginia Opera); Masquerade, In the Penal Colony and Cavalleria Rusticana (String Orchestra of Brooklyn); the World Premieres of Enemies: A Love Story (Palm Beach Opera) and Embedded (Fargo-Moorhead Opera); Ariadne auf Naxos and A Streetcar Named Desire (Virginia Opera); Dead Man Walking and Nixon in China (Eugene Opera); Kepler (in its U.S. Premiere); Louise and Amistad (Spoleto Festival/USA); The Consul and La Voix Humaine (Glimmerglass Opera); Les Indes Galantes, Don Giovanni, and Agrippina (Boston Baroque); a fully-staged Handel’s Messiah (Pittsburgh Symphony); the World Premiere of The Secret Agent (Center for Contemporary Opera in New York, Armel Opera Festival in Hungary, and Opera Avignon in France); Orphée (Virginia Opera, Portland Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, and Pittsburgh Opera). Upcoming projects include Madama Butterfly at Palm Beach Opera, the World Premiere of Dan Sonenberg’s The Summer King at Pittsburgh Opera, and Peter Eotvos’ Angels in America at New York City Opera. Mr. Helfrich received his BA and MFA from Columbia University, and is an associate arts professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in New York.