Fans of Edgar Allen Poe, Goth, Baroque, and cats might well rejoice in Long Beach Opera’s classical production of Poe’s famous short story, “The Black Cat.” This US premiere, a collaboration between the opera company and Musica Angelica Baroque, retells Poe’s dark, phantasmal tale in which a nameless man relays haunting events involving arson, a black cat, and the death of his wife. Conceptualized by Martin Haselböck, Frank Hoffmann, and Virgil Widrich, this multi-media production features original music by David Sylvian and a selection of Bach’s most beloved arias melded into a cinematic mash-up of video projections, dancers, singers and musicians, all of whom merge within virtual space to create a tormenting hallucinatory experience worthy of Poe’s mysterious and macabre nightmares.
Long Beach Opera (LBO) presents the U.S. premiere of The Black Cat in collaboration with the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra January 19 and 20 at The Beverly O’Neill Theater, 300 East Ocean Blvd., Long
Beach CA 90802. The Black Cat is performed in English.
The Black Cat is a cinematic, multi-disciplinary retelling of Poe’s famous story, comprised of dance, film, and a musical mashup of English songwriter David Sylvian and J.S. Bach. Director Frank Hoffmann explains: “The stage
design is foremost a film – moving images, scenes and stories. In the third dimension, the singer, the dancers, and the musicians merge with the virtual space … to become one total spatial experience.” This international co-
production was conceived by Martin Haselböck, Austrian conductor and Artistic Director of Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra, the Luxembourg-based theater and film director Frank Hoffmann, and Academy Award-
nominated Austrian film and multi-media artist Virgil Widrich.
The international cast includes acclaimed tenor Nicholas Mulroy and modern dance performers Sylvia Camarda, and Jean-Guillaume Weis, (Pina Bausch Tanztheater, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Tanztheater Basel); all
performed at the 2012 world premiere at Théâtre National du Luxembourg, Belgium and Musikkonzept Wien, Austria.
A nameless person proclaims his sanity, despite the phantasms he finds himself haunted by over the course of many months, involving arson, a black cat, and the death of his wife.
Video Designer Virgil Widrich creates a cinematic and dramatic space for the story, which is then combined with a musical conception by Martin Haselböck using the unsettling music of contemporary English songwriter David
Sylvian, used during flashback sequences, and arias from the cantatas of J.S. Bach. The action is further expanded with four larger dance sequences between the narrator and his wife.
Andreas Mitisek, Artistic & General Director of Long Beach Opera, said, “This production opens new worlds for visual story-telling and dance, all in a brilliant new concept, breaking the boundaries between performing arts and
visual arts. Two dancers along with a singer and a baroque ensemble perform a work of contrasts and extremes,
from Baroque to Rock.”
Tickets for Black Cat range from $49 to $150, and can be purchased either by calling the LBO Box Office at 562.470.SING (7464) or by going online to longbeachopera.org. Student Rush tickets for $15 will be available
space permitting. For information, please visit www.longbeachopera.org
Additional support has been provided by the Arts Council for Long Beach, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Port of Long Beach, Colburn Foundation and the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation.