Music Industry News Network [02-27-2013]

Two Chamber Operas By Martin Halpern Inspired By Japanese Noh Drama

The Dwarf Trees, freely based on Japanese Noh Drama and The Well of Immortality, freely based on W.B. Yeats' play At the Hawk's Well

4 performances
Thursday/Friday/Saturday, February 28, March 1 & 2 at 8 PM
Sunday March 3 at 3 PM
Shetler Studios, 244 West 54 Street (Bridge Theater, 12th floor)
Tickets: $20; $10 for students
Reservations: 718.858.1549

Cast: Jacqueline Noparstak, Jim Trainor, Aram Tchobanian, Daniel Klein and Leslie Middlebrook.
Pianist: Earl Buys
Stage Director: Jamibeth Margolis
Music Director: Martin Halpern

Prolific composer/librettist Martin Halpern will present two chamber operas: The Dwarf Trees, inspired by Japanese Noh drama, and The Well of Immortality, freely based on W.B. Yeats' play At the Hawk's Well, the first work written in English that utilized many of the features of the Japanese Noh theater. Four performances, February 28-March 3 at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54 Street (in the Bridge Theater, 12th floor).

In The Dwarf Trees, an elderly pilgrim in search of enlightenment meets a destitute couple who have been driven from their home and are barely surviving in an abandoned hut. Yet they take him in, feed him, and cut down their precious dwarf trees in order to keep him warm. In a surprise ending, they are handsomely rewarded for fulfilling the Buddhist command to give succor to a needful stranger.

The Well of Immortality is freely based on the 1916 one-act play by William Butler Yeats. The central character is Cuchulain, the mythological hero of ancient Ulster, who ventures to a desolate mountainside to find the well and drink its miraculous waters. There he encounters an old man who has wasted his life waiting for the well waters to bubble up, and the hawklike woman who is Guardian of the Well.

MARTIN HALPERN holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from the Universtiy of Rochester, a Ph.D in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and an M.A. in Composition from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.

After a productive career as playwright, poet and educator, Mr. Halpern retired in 1994 from his position as Professor of Playwriting and Dramatic Literature at Brandeis University to devote himself full time to his passion of music composition. Since then there have been more than 100 performances in the New York area of his art songs, chamber works for string and woodwind combinations, and chamber operas, which are usually based on classic writings by Ibsen, W.B. Yeats, Euripides, Strindberg, and others.


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