Creative Team

Composer

PAOLA PRESTINI

Librettist

ROYCE VAVREK

Director

KARMINA ŠILEC

Scenic design

MARIA MAGDALENA CAMPOS-PONS

PAOLA PRESTINI

ROYCE VAVREK

About

The Old Man and the Sea is a new multi-lingual opera from composer Paola Prestini, librettist Royce Vavrek and director Karmina Šilec based on and further inspired by the novel by Ernest Hemingway. The work tells the story of an old fisherman who desperately wants one last great catch, and whose obsession leads him to dangerous maritime territory off the Cuban coast. We follow the man as he encounters man-of-wars, sharks, and a giant marlin that he keeps on his fishing line for two long days and nights, until he finally returns to Havana exhausted with nothing but the skeletal remains of the fish he hoped to be a symbol of his strength and virility. The opera interpolates additional stories based on oral accounts of elders who look back on their lives and livelihoods through the prism of untaught life-lessons that allowed them to self-actualize. The dual tracks of the Hemingway story and portraits of quotidian life combine to create a look at aging, legacy, and our relationship to oceans. The work is being created for a small principal cast of five older singers and one young child, a choir, Jeffrey Zeigler’s solo cello, and small instrumental ensemble with electronics and foley.

Support

Commissioned by ASU Gammage, UNC Carolina Performing Arts, Beth Morrison Projects, VisionIntoArt, and Jill & Bill Steinberg.