Miami Beach, FL, February 09, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- SoBe Institute of the Arts presents the World Premiere of Carson Kievman’s Hamlet Soundtheater/Opera in the Little Stage Theater on Miami Beach. This provocative, sophisticated, and radically re-imagined musical setting of Shakespeare’s masterpiece was the final commission by legendary producer Joseph Papp (“A Chorus Line,” “Hair,” etc.) for the New York Shakespeare Festival / Public Theater. Due to Papp’s tragic passing soon after the work was completed, Hamlet remained unperformed, until now.
"I worked on Hamlet Soundtheater/Opera with Papp for four years, and his intention was to produce it at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park," Kievman remembers. The loss of Papp affected the composer deeply. A main theme of Hamlet is, painfully and ironically, the death of fathers, and during Kievman’s years of preparing the libretto and working on the score, several other important mentors and father figures in his life passed away, including Florida Philharmonic’s General Director Joseph Leavitt, visionary composers Luigi Nono and Olivier Messiaen, and Kievman’s own father, Michael. Kievman continues, "... so I placed it in my desk drawer, and there it remained for 21 years, until now."
Hamlet Soundtheater/Opera is interwoven with spiritual and sexual conflicts, it challenges boundary lines, and is multi-dimensional in its cultural and musical reference points. Pulsing with collective zeitgeist and new shapes, the chilling vocals spiral beyond the confines of language to articulate emotional truths behind literal meaning.
Conducted by celebrated New York opera conductor John Yaffé, lighting by award-winning designer Robert Perry, Hamlet Soundtheater /Opera is being performed by a top-flight cast of 13 singers from Miami and New York including:
Expressive and critically-acclaimed lyric baritone Kenneth Mattice as Hamlet
Unique and versatile Meagan Brus as Ophelia
Powerful bass Michael Douglas Jones as Claudius and Ghost of Hamlet’s Father
Internationally trained Finnish soprano Danielle Krause as Gertrude
Recording artist and actor Richard Cassell as Polonius
Rising young tenor Justin John Moniz as Horatio
Also rounding out the dramatis personae are Jeffrey Wienand (Laertes), Enrique Estrada (Rosencrantz), David Schnell (Guildenstern), Jillian Staffiera (the Player Queen), Kunya Rowley (Marcellus), Enrique Coizeau (Cornelius) and John Cabrali (Fortinbras).
Kievman states, “My intention was and is to create a Hamlet with the highest impact to contemporary audiences primarily with actions and gripping music, while maintaining a clear respect for Shakespeare’s genius. This Hamlet takes place as a ‘medieval carnival’ visits Elsinore Castle. The sense of Elsinore
being on the border (and shore) of Denmark will hopefully evoke the excitement of mystery and instability caused by the constant questioning of what lies just across the border. As Hamlet confronts his fellow characters, a merry-go-round, a house of horrors and a house of mirrors are brought to mind.”
“Carson Kievman is a composer of extremely original music, which is rare,"
Olivier Messiaen, composer
"I never thought it could be done - you have done the impossible… enhanced Shakespeare’s words."
Joseph Papp, producer
"…But that won't stop Kievman from writing for the rest of the world. He spends part of each day composing the last scenes of Hamlet. He has promised Papp he'll finish the opera by April 23, Shakespeare's birthday. The premiere production is slated for next season in New York. Remarkably, Kievman is setting the original and problematic old English text to music. Though he has done a little condensing, it is essentially a complete, faithful Hamlet. But the music, with its often aggressive, rockish vocal writing and minimalist-flavored rhythmic pulses, and the staging, which will be wildly visual, might have startled the Danish prince."
Tim Smith, Sun-Sentinel, Sunday, April 2, 1989 (Mr. Smith is now music writer for The Baltimore Sun.)
The birth of this compelling new work, the perfect Miami winter weather, the beautiful setting, and excellent acoustics of this intimate South Beach venue, all promise to make this event a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For schedules and ticket information, call 305.674.9220 or go to www.sobearts.org.
About SoBe Institute of the Arts:
SoBe Institute of the Arts, a nonprofit organization, promotes excellence, creativity, and accessibility of the arts through performance events and arts instruction of the highest quality, in music and related artistic disciplines. Since its founding six years ago, SoBe Arts has established a unique arts complex in the historic Carl Fisher Clubhouse and adjoining Little Stage Theater, located in a park-like setting between the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens and the Miami City Ballet.
The 2011/12 season is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, the City of Miami Beach, the Cultural Arts Council of Miami Beach, the Leroy Schecter Foundation, the Firestone Family Foundation, the Audrey Love Charitable Trust, The J.A. & H.G. Woodruff Jr. Charitable Trust and the Horowitz Family Foundation.