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April 2012

March 2012

OPERAtion Brooklyn Presents Excerpts from Susan Botti's "Wonderglass"

by Michael Cirigliano II

operation brooklyn

For their latest production, OPERAtion Brooklyn hooked on to the ever-popular Alice in Wonderland theme, mounting a two-night opera-burlesque “party” that featured excerpts from Alice-inspired vocal works by Susan Botti, Manly Romero, and David del Tredici. In many ways, Galapagos Arts Space was an ideal venue for such a venture, with its lily pad-style seating, dark wood, and candlelit balcony.

However, Monday night’s semi-staged production of scenes from Botti’s early opera, Wonderglass, failed to hit its mark. Despite an eerie introduction from a tall, gangly man dressed as the White Rabbit, the presentation of the first opera of the evening was quite rudimentary. (Sadly, I was only able to stay for the Botti work.) The producers of the evening quickly shattered the mystery of the White Rabbit’s presence by taking to the stage to announce drink specials and raffles that were to take place far later in the evening.

Thankfully, Botti’s music spoke for itself—a unique work that pulled inspiration from neo-classical Stravinsky, Kurt Weill, and Eastern gamelan sounds. Like most of Botti’s music, the voice is the focus, and there were certainly some operatic aerobatics on display. The Queen of Heart’s invitation to croquet tested the extreme range of the soprano, accompanied by fanfare and march motives from the jazz ensemble. In another of the Queen’s scenes, the tone changed on a dime, with the Queen morphing into a flamenco dancer-chanteuse, complete with hand claps and well-played solos from the sax and trombone players.

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This Ring Brought to You by Apple

Ring apple storeFor all you Ring-heads out there, Peter Gelb will host a conversation about the Met's upcoming Ring Cycle tonight at the UWS Apple Store, starting at 6pm. Panelists include director Robert LePage, Debbie Voigt (Brünnhilde), and Eric Owens (Alberich). And, yes, the panel will be available for a "brief" Q&A. Oh boy.

Here's one: "How many iPads could you buy with what it cost to build The Machine?"

Feast of Music Co-Presents Brain Cave Festival at Bell House 4/5 and 4/7

  Brain cave
Next week, the Brain-Cave Music & Art festival returns for a second year, featuring 25 of the best of up-and-coming Brooklyn-based artists and musicians on April 5th & 7th at The Bellhouse. And, for the first time, Feast of Music will be a co-pressenter!

Thursday the 5th will feature many of NYC's best female-centric bands including She Keeps Bees, Natureboy, Shilpa Ray, Family Band and Firehorse, while Saturday the 7th is spread across two stages featuring Snowmine, Conveyor, Spanish Prisoners, Team Genius, Monogold, Aye Aye Rabbit, and Greg Saunier (Deerhoof).  

Tickets are $12 per day, or $20 for a two-day pass, available now online. Full lineup and other details below.

Continue reading "Feast of Music Co-Presents Brain Cave Festival at Bell House 4/5 and 4/7" »

Your 33 Black Angels at Union Pool

By Caleb Easterly


Your 33 Black Angels

Your 33 Black Angels played a wild, energetic show at Union Pool last Friday, blowing away the crowd with songs from their powerful new album, Moon and Morning Star. The show was a release party for the album, despite the physical album having been released more than a month ago.

The band is nearly a supergroup: at their fullest, they crammed five guitarists, a keytarist, and two drummers onto the tiny stage at the Pool. This lineup entwined melodies, vocal harmonies, and layer upon layer of guitar to create a complex, unique sound that blew away all the opening acts, both in sheer power and in originality.


The opening groups—Gringo Star, Organs, and The Above—all sounded more or less like combinations of The Kinks, The Who, and the Rolling Stones in their prime. They were musically capable and projected a compelling stage presence (and, in the case of Gringo Star, a frenzied energy), but this vein of hard rock rarely has anything new to say.

Union Pool is an undeniably cool venue; an open-air garden in the back features a built-in taco truck that was getting plenty of business from hungry hipsters. Unfortunately, this coolness extended to the audience, which mostly stood stock-still, with a few nodding heads here and there. When Y33BA really got going near the end of their set, their jamming would have created a mosh pit anywhere else, or at least some energetic dancing (props to the one guy who shamelessly gyrated in the front, though).

The band’s terrific set belied their new album, which definitely doesn’t sound like the work of eight musicians. However, Moon and Morning Star is a great listen, and is a refreshing work of straight-up hard rock that is a rarity to hear these days.