World Premiere, Chamber Version: January 9-13 at 7:30pm and January 14 at 6pm

At Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center



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.

Composer Michael Gordon
Librettist Deborah Artman
Director Daniel Fish
Conductor Daniela Candillari

Scenic Designers Amy Rubin & Jim Findlay
Video Designer Josh Higgason
Costume Designer Terese Wadden
Sound Designer Garth MacAleavey
With Bang on a Can Opera and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street

Acquanetta Mikaela Bennett
Brainy Woman Amelia Watkins
Ape Eliza Bagg
Doctor Timur
Director Matt Boehler
Chorus Members of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street

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. Acquanetta originally premiered in a Grand Opera format in 2006 in Aachen, Germany. 

Co-presented with Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center
Acquanetta was made possible by our PROTOTYPE 2018 sponsor, Meyer Sound.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Show run time: 70 minutes
Photo Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing LLC

Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center
29 Jay Street, DUMBO Brooklyn
close to F and A/C trains

Show Press:

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

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

A fascinating experience of modern psychological theater.
— Hanns Mänhardt, Super Sonntag