A new opera project: Madame Theremin
Latitude 45 Arts is very proud to announce that we will be representing Madame Theremin, a new opera project by Kennedy Verrett (composer) and George M. Kopp (librettist)!
Madame Theremin spans three worlds: the real, the unreal, and the surreal. First, the real: Leon Theremin, the Russian inventor of an electronic musical instrument played without touching it, lived in New York for a decade and married Lavinia Williams, an African American dancer. He was ordered back to Russia and then sent to the gulag, while Lavinia went on to open a school of dance in Haiti. The opera takes place on the night of Leon's arrest in 1938. The unreal is Lavinia’s imagined journey that night, from a near lynching to an underground sanctuary of ancient African music, art, and religion. Here we encounter the surreal: a vodou priestess descended from personages invented by the artist Frohawk Two Feathers (Umar Rashid), whose critically acclaimed practice depicts an alternate history of colonialism. Powerful forces set Lavinia on a new path, but she is unable to save her husband, a victim of “progress”. Through a real and imagined past, this work is a dramatic commentary on our present.
This new opera will be premiered in 2022-23.
We are thrilled to see this work develop and flourish in the coming seasons.
For more information, click here.
Kennedy Verrett is an innovative and versatile composer whose imaginative music captures beauty, bursts of melodic and rhythmic energy. His compositional vocabulary spans the concert stage as well as the film and television industry, and is sought after by many collaborators who seek authentic but familiar sonorities.
George M. Kopp, librettist, has had a varied career encompassing acting, directing, journalism, magazine editing, and marketing research. He performed in and directed many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and appeared with one of New York’s favorite ensembles, the Light Opera of Manhattan. Always attracted to lesser known works, his directing credits also include such rarely performed gems as Muriel Spark’s Doctors of Philosophy, the Al Carmines-Maria Irene Fornes musical Promenade, and Joe Orton’s television play Funeral Games. He ended up pursuing his day job, however, and had a successful career as a business journalist covering the consumer electronics technologies that have so altered our lives.