“…an enigmatic detente….potent, soulful.” Steve Smith, NY Times
“Aging Magician is brilliant” Robert Wilson
“The Aging Magician is grandly, even venerably, operatic…[from the composer] who wrote the acclaimed Oceanic Verses.” WQXR
“You need to hear the music of Paola Prestini…You need to see the visuals, especially the ending visual so fantastically created
by Mark Stewart.” Minnesota Theater Blog
3.03-12.17 – Aging Magician, New Victory Theater New Victory, New York, NY
Co-created by Julian Crouch, Rinde Eckert, Paola Prestini and Mark Stewart
Written for Gus Rigoli Composed by PAOLA PRESTINI
in collaboration with stage director & co-designer JULIAN CROUCH
Co-Scenic Designer and Costume Design AMY RUBIN
Libretto by & featuring RINDE ECKERT
Instrument designer MARK STEWART
Projection and Lighting Design by JOSH HIGGASON
featuring the ATTACCA QUARTET & THE BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS with Dianne Berkun-Menaker, conductor
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects and VisionIntoArt
Performance Tour: MASS MoCA, Feb 28, 2016; March 5-6 Walker Art Center; Krannert Center April 2, 2016; ASU Gammage January 28th, 2017; Prototype Festival 2015 and Under Construction Series at the Park Avenue Armory Jan 11, and 13th Opera America New Works Forum Jan 12. A 2015 NEFA grant recipient and 2013 NEA grant recipient.
Past Workshop Performance: Prototype Festival, January 15 & 16, 2013 @ Here
Fall 2013 Residency at Watermill Center
Yearlong Residency at Park Avenue Armory (2014)
AGING MAGICIAN is an epic new opera-theater work that tells the story of Harold, an aging clockmaker near the end of his unusual life. The Brooklyn Youth Chorus helps Harold uncover his legacy as the New Victory stage is transformed into a living, breathing instrument. Creators Julian Crouch (Shockheaded Peter, New Vic 1999), Rinde Eckert, Paola Prestini, Mark Stewart and the Attacca Quartet bring together the worlds of music, theater, puppetry, instrument making and scenic design to paint this poignant allegory on time, youth and the peculiar magic of ordinary life, or perhaps, the ordinary magic of a peculiar life.
BROOKLYN YOUTH CHORUS and the ATTACCA STRING QUARTET led by Dianne Berkun-Menaker.
Combining the talents of composer Prestini’s sonic world, Crouch’s puppetry skills, with Eckert’s writing and multi-faceted performing, a children’s youth chorus is woven into set and story. By using traditional greek techniques of consoling, chiding and commenting on the protagonist’s journey, the chorus heightens the overall experience; they additionally add to the interdisciplinary fabric by interacting with the various set pieces, film, and puppetry. The quartet also comments musically, and is made of expert virtuosos and improvisers.
Stewart and Crouch’s set is an immersive installation that can be played like an instrument—blown, struck, whistled, plucked, and bowed. The scenery’s surfaces become the canvas for Josh Higgason’s projection design. He paints the space through film, illuminating scenes from Harold’s imagination.
After the initial stage at The Kitchen as part of the 21c Liederabend Festival, VIA, with Beth Morrison Projects (BMP), continued to produce AGING MAGICIAN in the workshop stage towards a full premiere in Spring 2016. In its workshop stage at the Prototype Festival, VIA and BMP moved AGING MAGICIAN into its next phase at the prestigious Watermill Center and Park Avenue Armory in 2015-16 for further development. With Watermill Center and Park Avenue Armory and finally MASS MoCA acting as residencies and partners for this work, we were able to brainstorm various production and artistic challenges and simultaneously discover innovations in order to reach the Spring 2016 premiere successfully at the Walker Art Center and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Aging Magician is Co-produced and Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects (Executive Producer) and VisionIntoArt with development support from National Endowment for the Arts, and Repertoire Development Grant support from Opera America, with additional funding by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Aging Magician was in residence at Park Avenue Armory as part of its new partnership with The Watermill Center’s Artist Residency Program and at MASS MoCA.