The Comet / Poppea

Composed by GEORGE LEWIS 
Libretto by DOUGLAS KEARNEY 
Conceived & Directed by YUVAL SHARON 
 

The Comet / Poppea brings together seemingly disparate worlds connected by stories of cultural transformation. It juxtaposes Claudio Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea), an Italian opera from 1643 unfolding among the social divisions of ancient Rome; and the world premiere of The Comet, based on the 1924 science-fiction short story by sociologist and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois. Set in 1920s New York City, “The Comet” depicts a Black man and white woman as the only survivors after a comet hits Earth.

Presented on a turntable divided in two halves, these worlds unfold simultaneously, with the stage’s rotation creating a visual and sonic spiral for audiences—inviting associations, dissociations, collisions, and confluences. 

“As the piece goes on, those two works start to leak into each other,” observes composer George Lewis. “Drawing on Du Bois’s own concept of ‘double consciousness,’ the opera is structured around a number of these doublings: points of repetition or intersection that underscore the dialogue between the two works and the relevance of that dialogue today.”

As director Yuval Sharon explains, “The Comet / Poppea explores exclusion in classical music by creating an uneasy tessellation between the Baroque and the contemporary, and by enacting the experience of double consciousness. It begins as a critique of the institution of opera and ends as a justification of the art form’s radical potential: in the unexpected harmony to be discovered in juxtaposition and its ability to invite a contemplation of both timely and timeless struggles.”

Developed over six years, The Comet / Poppea is realized through a landmark partnership among organizations across the United States, produced by Anthony Roth Costanzo and Cath Brittan, The Industry, AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), and the Curtis Institute of Music.

In addition to the performance presentations, a program of public talks featuring members of the cast and creative team will take place during the run of the show. More details to be announced. 

The Comet / Poppea

Concept and direction, YUVAL SHARON
Music composition (The Comet), GEORGE LEWIS
Libretto, DOUGLAS KEARNEY** based on a short story by W.E.B. Du BOIS
Music composition (L’incoronazione di Poppea), CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI 
Libretto, GIOVANNI FRANCESCO BUSENELLO
Scenic design, MIMI LIEN
Lighting design, JOHN TORRES
Costume design, OANA BOTEZ
Sound design, MARK GREY
Dramaturgy, ROBERT GOODING-WILLIAMS and WENDY HELLER


Cast
The Comet / Poppea features a rotating cast of performers from Los Angeles and New York. Engagements listed below are subject to change.

LINDSAY PATTERSON ABDOU (Love / Nellie). Performing: June 16, 2pm; June 20, 5pm; June 21, 8pm; & June 22, 2pm
CEDRIC BERRY** (Jim / Mercury). Performing: June 15, 8pm; June 20, 5pm; June 21, 8pm; & June 22, 2pm
AMANDA LYNN BOTTOMS (Ottone / Virtue). Performing: All Performances
ANTHONY ROTH COSTANZO*** (Nero / Julia’s Father). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 15, 8pm; June 16, 2pm; June 20, 8pm; June 21, 8pm; June 22, 2pm; June 23, 2pm
KIERA DUFFY (Julia). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 16, 2pm; June 18, 8pm; June 20, 5pm; June 21, 8pm; June 22, 8pm; & June 23, 2pm
LAURIE GARDINER (Ottavia / “Friend” / Fortune). Performing: June 16, 2pm; June 20, 5pm; June 21, 8pm; & June 22, 2pm
JAMES HAYDEN** (Seneca). Performing: All Performances
LAUREL IRENE (Julia). Performing: June 15, 8pm;  June 20, 8pm; June 21, 5pm; & June 22, 2pm
ERIC JURENAS (Nero / Julia’s Father) Performing: June 18, 8pm; June 20, 5pm; June 20, 5pm; & June 22, 8pm
JOANNA LYNN-JACOBS (Poppea). Performing: June 16, 2pm; June 20, 8pm; June 21, 5pm; & June 22, 2pm
JOELLE LAMARRE (Love / Nellie). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 15, 8pm; June 18, 8pm; June 20, 8pm; June 21, 5pm; June 22, 8pm; & June 23, 2pm
WHITNEY MORRISON (Ottavia / “Friend” / Fortune). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 15, 8pm; June 18, 8pm; June 20, 8pm; June 21, 5pm; June 22, 8pm; & June 23, 2pm
DAVÓNE TINES*** (Jim / Mercury). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 16, 2pm; June 18, 8pm; June 20, 8pm; June 21, 5pm; June 22, 8pm; & June 23, 2pm
NARDUS WILLIAMS (Poppea). Performing: June 14, 8pm; June 15, 8pm; June 18, 8pm; June 20, 5pm; June 21, 8pm; June 22, 8pm; & June 23, 2pm
MIKALEA ELSON (Ottone / Virtue, understudy)
BEN LIN (Seneca, understudy)

Instrumentalists 
DOUG BALLIETT***, Double Bass                            
MATT COOK, Percussion                                                  
GABRIEL CRIST, Harpsichord                                                          
MIRANDA CUCKSON***, Viola                                                                 
EMI FERGUSON***, Flute                                                     
KEIR GOGWILT***, Violin                              
RICHARD VALITUTTO, Piano                                   
COLEMAN ITZKOFF***, Cello           
ERIC TINKERHESS, Baroque Cello                          
JASON KOJI YOSHIDA, Theorbo     

** The Industry Company Member
*** AMOC* Company Member

The Comet/Poppea is made possible with generous support from Lead Sponsor: Ellen Michelson.

Additional generous support for The Comet / Poppea is provided by Founding Sponsors: Carol Stein, Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation, Jeff Goody and June Li.

The Comet, composed by George Lewis with Libretto by Douglas Kearney is commissioned by AMOC*
 
Wonmi’s WAREHOUSE Programs is organized by Alex Sloane, Associate Curator, and is produced by Amelia Charter, Producer of Performance and Programs with Michele Huizar, Programming Assistant, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles.
 
Wonmi’s WAREHOUSE Programs is founded by Wonmi & Kihong Kwon and Family

WORLD PREMIERE
June 14 – 23, 2024
WAREHOUSE  at The Geffen Contemporary
Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.  Learn more.

MOCA Member Tickets Released: Tuesday April 23, 2024 at 10am

General Tickets Released:  Thursday April 25, 2024 at 10am

 

"While “How to Fall Apart” looks unflinchingly at climate change, inherent in the theme is something close to hope."

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