Tenor Byron Singleton and Spinto Soprano Eilin O'Dea with Maestro Brian Holman at the piano will take the audience on an unforgettable musical and dramatic journey.
Byron Singleton, Eilin O'Dea, Brian Holman. (Left to right) Photo credit-Jonathan Slaff.
On March 23 and 30, Fusion Theatre will present Tenor Byron Singleton and Spinto Soprano Eilin O'Dea in "A Night at the Opera," an evening of extracts (duets and arias) from "Aida," "Tosca" and "Madama Butterfly," at Marc A. Scorca Hall of National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave., 7th floor. Musical direction is by pianist Maestro Brian Holman.
Eilin O'Dea founded Fusion Theatre in 2016 to fulfill her concept that synthesizing the worlds of theater and opera can provide the ultimate theatrical experience. O' Dea describes this as "the culmination and joining of both great art forms." The company injected operatic arias into Sartre's "No Exit" in 2016 and Anouilh's "Antigone" in 2017. Now it is giving its first opera performance. Fusion chose three of the best known and loved operas of all time to launch their Opera Series. The excerpts presented will be representative of the dramatic and musical journey of each of the chosen operas and the performers, dual-trained as classical actors/opera singers, aim to maintain their absolute commitment to dramatic truth.
The performances will be in Italian without surtitles.
Byron Singleton (Tenor) made his solo Carnegie Hall debut in "Beyond Boundaries," a concert featuring the music of Bernstein and Sondheim. He has sung in eleven productions with the chorus at the Metropolitan Opera. His career highlights include Cavaradossi in "Tosca" with MORE Opera conducted by Maestro Anton Coppola, the title role in "Les Contes D'Hoffmann" with Vocal Productions NYC, Manrico in Vera Musica Opera's production of "Il Trovatore, Rodolfo in "La Boheme" with the Crotan Symphony, Tenor Soloist in Verdi's Requiem and Foresto in "Attila" with Empire Opera, Riccardo in "Un Ballo in Maschera" at Symphony Space and Der Steuermann in "Der Fliegende Hollander" with the United Nations Orchestra. Recently he was a guest performer with the NY City Slickers' Bluegrass to Broadway concert at Feinstein's/54 Below.
Eilin O'Dea (Spinto Soprano) is an award-winning Irish actress and soprano who trained at the prestigious LIR Academy, Trinity College, Dublin and the Conservatory of Music, Dublin. She has performed both in concert and operatic platforms including as guest soprano at St George’s Hall, UK, Mansion House, Dublin, Edgerton Performing Arts, Symphony Space, Broadway, American/Irish Historical Society, New York. She is best known to-date for her groundbreaking interpretations of the works of James Joyce, where she has merged music into Joyce's text. She received numerous Culture Ireland awards that have allowed her bring her work here to the United States. Among her favorite opera roles to date are Tosca, Aida, Cio Cio San, Suor Angelica and Leonora (La Forza del Destino). O'Dea's performances as a theater actress have consistently received enthusiastic notices. Theater critic Belinda McKeown described her performance as Madama Cassandra at a sold out Symphony Space Selected Shorts engagement as "staggering." Her performances as Joyce's Molly Bloom have been described as "rich, passionate, compelling" (Irish Theatre Magazine), "O'Dea is every inch the sensualist Joyce imagined" (Irish Times) and "brilliant" (Sunday Business Post).
Brian Holman (Musical Director, Piano) has been described as “dazzlingly talented” (The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe) and wielding a “magic baton” (Brooklyn Eagle). This past season, he was named Principal Conductor of New Rochelle Opera, where he led a new production of La Bohème, and returns this season to conduct "La Traviata." His debuts this season include appearances with Red River Lyric Opera ("Suor Angelica," "Gianni Schicchi"), Inland Northwest Opera ("Le nozze di Figaro"), Opera Orlando ("Les contes d’Hoffmann"), and a special Christmas concert with the Lebanese Philharmonic Orchestra and tenor Amine Hachem at Casino du Liban. Recent engagements include Cleveland Opera Theater ("Amelia Lost"), Marble City Opera ("La Traviata"), Harare International Festival of the Arts (opera gala with Baroque 2000 Chamber Orchestra), Film Fest Tucson ("The Mine With the Iron Door"), Mediterranean Opera Festival in Sicily and Merkin Concert Hall ("Tosca"). He has worked with New York City Opera, Opera Africa, Treasure Coast Opera, New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Tucson Pops Orchestra and Ensemble Mise-En.
Costume design for "A Night at the Opera" is by Dahlia Barakat.
ABOUT FUSION THEATRE
Fusion Theatre launched in January, 2016 with a staged reading of James Joyce's "The Dead" at Theater Row, in which operatic tenor Byron Singleton and soprano Eilin O'Dea sang many of the Irish ballads referred to in Joyce's work. This was followed September 19-25, 2016 with a short proof-of-concept run of Sartre's "No Exit" at Walkerspace Theatre. That production opened with operatic arias representative of the transition as between life and death and the instant in between.
In 2017, Fusion presented the Lewis Galantière translation of Anouilh's "Antigone" at Theatre Row's Studio Theatre, infusing the play with operatic selections from five classic operas based on the Greek myth. The production was critically applauded for its acting, singing and staging. (See below.)
The company draws its casts from a tiny pool of classically trained actors who are also accomplished opera singers. The two performers of "A Night at the Opera," Eilin O'Dea and Byron Singleton, initially met while working in regional opera.
Fusion Theatre will mount its opera-charged version of Sartre's "No Exit" from April 5 to 25, 2019 as the opening production of a new OOB venue, The Theater at 244, located at 244 West 54th Street, 10th floor. Over the rest of the year, Fusion will conduct an extended residency there.
REVIEWS OF PAST FUSION THEATRE PRODUCTIONS
The multi-talented and creative Eilin O’Dea brings the maximum of dramatic tension to the role of Antigone. Byron Singleton combines down-to-earth self-interest with a touching sympathy in his role as First Guard, and with his fine tenor voice he provides a thoroughly enjoyable rendition of Manrico’s aria, 'Deserto Sulla Terra,' from Verdi’s Il Trovatore....The operatic music was thought-provoking, enriching and a pleasure to hear, and did a good job of advancing the Fusion Theater’s point that there’s value in merging classical theater and opera." -- Yvonne Korshak, Let's Talk Off-Broadway
"Fusion Theatre brings 'Antigone' to life like never before through their unique blend of dialogue and classic opera....The acting, singing, and staging were all exceptionally well done. All in all, this is an 'Antigone' you won't soon forget." -- Erin Kahn, Stage Buddy
"The insertion of operatic arias to this rich interweaving of motivations adds yet another element to Anouilh’s play, and the actors, when they sing, display their fine classical training." -- Roberta Pikser, theaterscene.com
"Eilin O’Dea gives a superb performance as Antigone....In fact, the entire cast is first-rate....this production is excellent, exquisite, a great success – and congratulations to Fusion Theatre!" -- Steve Capra, New York Theatre Critic blog.
"NO EXIT," 2016
The 2016 production of No Exit was a proof-of-concept showcase and was not reviewed. The upcoming production April 5 to 25 at The Theater at 244 will be the production's official opening.
HOW TO BUY TICKETS TO "A NIGHT AT THE OPERA"
Fusion Theatre will present "A Night at the Opera" March 23 and 30 at 8:00 PM at Marc A. Scorca Hall of National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave., 7 fl. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/4075758 or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006
Critics are invited to both performances of "A Night at the Opera" (March 23 and 30 at 8:00 PM).