Video design JOSHUA HIGGASON | Costume design TERESE WADDEN
Sound design GARTH MACALEAVEY | Dramaturgy MICHAEL JACKSON
In the new opera ACQUANETTA, the spirit of 1940s horror movies is turned inside out in a bravura, one-act deconstruction of the genre that explores how vision relates to identity. Characters include the mad scientist Doctor, the insistent Ape, the reluctant Brainy Woman, the visionary Director and the beautiful Acquanetta, aka Mildred Davenport, an actress who disguised her identity. Acquanetta examines the ways the movie camera manipulates how we see and are seen. In soaring, sometimes comic and always indelible songs that capture the heightened drama of horror films, these vivid characters reveal their inner longings and emotional shadows in what is ultimately a haunting meditation on the meaning of identity, transformation, stereotypes and typecasting, set in the heyday of Hollywood gloss.
Produced by Beth Morrison Projects in association with Bang on a Can and Trinity Church Wall Street. The world premiere chamber version of Acquanetta was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects with lead commissioning support by Linda & Stuart Nelson. Additional support from Chris Ahearn and Marla Mayer, Miles and Joni Benickes, Stephen Block, Sarah Brown and Thomas P. Perkins III, Emilie Corey, Jeanne Fisher, Marian Godfrey, Joel Graber, Raulee Marcus, James Marlas and Marie Nugent-Head Marlas, Jill Matichak, Charles and Jane Morrison, & Anna Rabinowitz.
Acquanetta originally premiered in a Grand Opera form in 2006 in Aachen, Germany.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Acquanetta was made possible by our PROTOTYPE 2018 sponsor, Meyer Sound.
Co-presented with Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center.
"The opera turns the story of that campy film's star into a somberly ritualistic meditation on public versus private identities."
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
“The one unmissable show I've seen so far was Acquanetta, the sublime horror-opera that opened the PROTOTYPE Festival."
– Helen Shaw, Time Out New York
"Acquanetta, as entertaining and funny as it is, will have you thinking about it for days."
– Heather Waters, The Theatre Times
“Gordon's opera Acquanetta draws its irresistible appeal above all from the continual ecstasy of vital, forward chasing, metrical patterns copied over one another.... There is no dull second in this thrilling, entertaining work."
– Eleonore Büning, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"It's energetic rhythms, highly amplified, electronic sound and rapidly changing harmonies, embroiled us in its excesses... It was an outrageous 75 minutes."
– Richard Sasanow, Broadway World
"A fascinating experience of modern psychological theater."
Hanns Mänhardt, Super Sonntag