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Aging Magician

The rich artistic elements of “Aging Magician” come together powerfully… The music is ethereal, unfolding in long-spun lines and chantlike phrases.” Anthony Tommasini, The New York 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

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: New Victory Theater New Victory, New York, NY, March 03-12, 2017. 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.



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. Amy C. Rubin co-designs with Crouch,


Aging Magician is Co-produced and Commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects 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.