The Scarlet Ibis is an opera that fuses singers, puppetry and multimedia stagecraft to tell the story of Doodle, a remarkable, disabled boy whose older brother pushes him to be “normal.” Set in rural North Carolina a century ago, the story contrasts notions of physical wholeness versus mystical otherness. Episodic and expressionistic, the narrative draws on elements of Southern Gothic, boy’s adventure and domestic tragedy. It unfolds in thirteen scenes, from Doodle’s traumatic birth to his tragic end. Ingenious set and puppet effects take us to various locations: a house, barn, field and swamp.
The cast includes mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn, countertenor Eric S. Brenner, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, baritone Keith Phares and contralto Nicole Mitchell. The Scarlet Ibis is for adults and teens.
Commissioned and developed by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE Arts Center through the HERE Artist Residency Program and Dream Music Puppetry Program. Produced in association with American Opera Projects. Funding provided by the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Additional support provided by Bard Faculty Development grants, the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust, Opera America New Works Forum, and the Jim Henson Foundation.
“A haunting, honest and occasionally horrifying tale of familial bullying and disability…the centerpiece of this year’s PROTOTYPE festival.”
“Subtly subversive, and its production is groundbreaking”
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