Creative Team

Composer

DAVID T. LITTLE

Librettist

ROYCE VAVREK

Based on the short story "Dog Days" by

JUDY BUDNITZ

Director

ROBERT WOODRUFF

Music Director

ALAN PIERSON

DAVID T. LITTLE

ROYCE VAVREK

ROBERT WOODRUFF

ALAN PIERSON

About

How do you deal with your world, when madness becomes the behavioral norm?

Based on a short story by Judy Budnitz, Dog Days is a contemporary opera from celebrated composer/librettist team David T. Little & Royce Vavrek that investigates the psychology of a working class American family against a not-so-distant-future wartime scenario. It asks: is it madness, delusion, or human / animal instinct that guides us through severely trying times? Where exactly is the line between animal and human? At what point must we give in to our animal instincts merely to survive?

Told predominantly from the perspective of Lisa, a thirteen-year-old girl, we watch as the world slowly falls apart around her. We watch her family progressively starve, her mother give up on life, and her father struggle to fulfill his own myth of the provider. We see her brothers flee the stasis of their lives through more and more regular recreational drug use, for which they ultimately give everything for the illusion of escape.

Then we meet Prince, a man in a dog suit, begging for food. Is he mad, or the only one who can still see clearly? No one can be sure. They say that you can tell a lot about a culture by the way it treats its animals. It also bears to reason that you can tell a lot about a person by how long they can remain truly human during traumatic times.

Dog Days was premiered on September 29, 2012 in the Kasser Theater in Montclair, New Jersey, directed by Robert Woodruff and conducted by Alan Pierson. It is dedicated to Beth Morrison.

Support

Tour produced by Beth Morrison Projects

Commissioned by Peak Performances @ Montclair State University (NJ)

World premiere produced by Peak [email protected] University in association with BMP

PERFORMANCES

2015 tour
LA Opera – Off Grand
Redcat (Los Angeles)

NYC premiere
Prototype 2016, Skirball Center (New York)

Press

"It's only a matter of time before this riveting show is confirmed as a groundbreaking American classic."

The New York Times

"Powerful and unsettling"

The New Yorker

"A taut, nuanced work that clawed beneath the surface of every situation...its poetry is indelible and affecting."

The New York Times

"The premiere of a new work by the composer David T. Little is always worth exploring, and his operas — “Dog Days,” “JFK” — reveal him to be an especially powerful composer for the voice."

The New York Times

01 / 04

Video Trailer

DOG DAYS

Photo Gallery