If you have been following us this season, you will know that over at EiO headquarters, we have a special affinity for compelling stories and personalities. Zombies, Nuns, Inventors, Founding Fathers, Skateboarders, Astronauts… These are the characters who inhabit our community’s imagination, and we think they lend themselves to a unique perspective on opera. In this spirit, we asked 17 of our friends to imagine new operatic characters. As the above illustrations hint at, the resulting characters are a motley crew of misfits, half-humans and neurotics. How about them operas?

You can reserve your copy of our ‘Characters’ book today by donating $25.00 to our end-of-year fundraiser.

‘Characters’ includes the handiwork of our dear friends, some of the most clever writers, composers, directors and artists out there: Nadia Berenstein, Roddy Bottum, Jason Cady, Mallory Catlett, Kurt Gottschalk, Daniel Handler, Taylor Ho Bynum, Andy Horwitz, Audrey Hinsdale, Hannah Marie Marcus, Louisa Proske & Michael Attias, Reuben Radding, Megan Schubert, Aaron Siegel, Leaha Maria Villarreal, and Matthew Welch.

‘Characters’ includes original illustrations by Lauren Kolesinskas.

Consider a donation today and we will send you out the most surprising book that guests to your home will ever come across!

Experiments in Opera commissioned four ‘opera trailers’ for its May 2013 production at Abrons Arts Center in New York. These are short stand-alone video works explore an opera idea, seed or vision.

Below are the finished works by the commissioned composers/librettists:
Jason Cady – Dead Inside
Daniel Kushner/Noelle Evans – Ontic
Dave Ruder – Certification Blues
Matthew Welch – Barbarella

Here is a first batch of photos from our production of Brother Brother on May 2 and 3 at the Abrons Arts Center.  All photos by Reuben Radding.


Brother Brother with text web

Brother Brother

May 2-3, 2014 | 8pm
Tickets: $20
Purchase Tickets

This program will feature a full production of EiO co-founder Aaron Siegel’s evening length opera, Brother Brother directed by Mallory Catlett, with designs by Mimi Lien and performances by Mantra Percussion and Cadillac Moon Ensemble under the musical direction of David Bloom. This 90-minute opera, which has been in development with Experiments in Opera for the last two seasons, explores the relationship between Orville and Wilbur Wright following their first flights in 1903.  This fascinating story of family drama, business struggles and legal fights is layered over a secondary story detailing the challenges of contemporary brotherhood and the complexities of growing up with an unusual idea of brotherly intimacy.  Aaron Siegel drew on his own experiences as a twin while writing the libretto that provides both sets of brothers a range of intimate language to express their wonder in the world and in each other.  The music for Brother Brother draws on Siegel’s wide range of experiences with percussive minimalism, early music, American shape-note singing, ambient electronic music and improvised jazz.  Brother Brother is a timely look at the personal side of innovation and entrepreneurial optimism in America.

Cast :
Michele Kennedy, Soprano
Patrick Fennig, Countertenor
Marc Day, Tenor
Julian A. Rozzell, Jr., Red
Danyon Davis, Blue
Marie Ortinau, Soprano Chorister
Jamie Ehrenfeld, Alto Chorister
Billy Lowrimore, Tenor Chorister
Adrian Rosas, Bass Chorister
Mantra Percussion
Cadillac Moon Ensemble
David Bloom, Musical Director

Production Team:
Mallory Catlett, Director
Mimi Lien, Stage Designer
Jeanette Yew, Lighting Designer
Caley Monahon-Ward, Sound Designer
Andreea Mincic, Costume Designer
Esti Bernstein, Stage Manager

Prior to each Brother Brother performance, Experiments in Opera will share two ‘Opera Trailers,’  90-second videos that offer a sneak peek at new opera ideas and characters.  Featured artists include Jason Cady, Dave Ruder, Matthew Welch and the partnership of Daniel Kushner, Noelle Evans and Jascha Narveson. Additionally, in partnership with, composers and collaborators featured on Brother Brother will take part in a free public discussion – Opera in Dialogue #3 on Saturday May 3, 2014, 5:00 PM, at the Playhouse, Abrons Arts Center - exploring the ideas and motivations behind this premiere production.


The Radio Operas will all be shared on starting on Monday March 17 at 8:00 pm and will be available afterwards for on-demand streaming.  Tune in to hear all of these riveting works in their natural environment.

Monday March 17: Aaron Siegel – The Collector
Tuesday March 18: Matthew Welch – The Mutt
Wednesday March 19: Paul Pinto – Thomas Paine in Violence
Thursday March 20: John King – Ping
Friday March 21: Jason Cady and Ann Heppermann – I Need Space
Saturday March 22: Jonathan Mitchell – The Extractor

“Exploring What Opera Means…”

“Exploring What Opera Means…”

That’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote about our Radio Operas show at Abrons Arts Center.  The two performances were sold out and a huge success!  Here are some stills from the shows:

I Need Space
The Extractor
Thomas Pai...
The Collector

Friday February 28 – March 1, 2014 | 8:00 PM
Underground Theater at Abrons Arts Center

Featured composers: 
John KingMatthew WelchPaul PintoAaron SiegelJason Cady and Ann Heppermann, and Jonathan Mitchell.

Featured performers: Joan La Barbara, Vince B. Vincent, Erin Flannery, Jamie Jordan – vocals; John King – viola and electronics; James Moore, Taylor Levine and Mary Halvorson – guitar; Matt Evans – percussion; Matthew Welch, Aaron Siegel – spoken voice; Karl Larson – piano; Jason Cady – modular synthesizer; Ed Herbstman, Dennis Pacheco, Annemarie Cullen, Kevin Cragg and Rebecca Robles – actors, and featuring Foley artist Steve Brush.

Experiments in Opera returns to Abrons to premiere Radio Operas – a collection of six 10-15 minute works that explore a wide range of stories highlighting the composers’ interests in Modern abstractionism, science fiction, melodrama, satire, hallucinatory experiences, scientific discoveries, and pop culture icons.

These are not nostalgic homages to the radio plays of yesteryear. EiO’s Radio Operas are daring new operatic works created by some of the premiere experimental composers of today and designed specifically with this format in mind. Rather than prioritizing stage design and visual storytelling, these opera vignettes feature sound effects performed live by a foley artist, spoken text, music and singing and will rely on the imagination of the listener to create the image of the stories.

This inversion of standard operatic presentation will be made complete when the six featured works are recorded at the studios of Q2 Music for world premiere webcasts and on-demand streaming. Q2 Music will share one opera on consecutive nights Monday through Saturday at 8 pm during a special week in March.

Additionally, in partnership with, composers and collaborators featured on Radio Operas will take part in a free public discussion - Opera in Dialogue #2 on Saturday, March 1 at 5pm in the Abrons Underground Theater – exploring the ideas behind this innovative program.


Scored for soprano, percussion, viola and electronics, ‘Ping’ by John King is an adaptation of a Samuel Beckett short story written in a stream of abstract imagery and thoughts. This performance uses musical substitutions to punctuate the flow of the spoken text and will feature soprano Joan La Barbara and electronics by John King.

‘The Mutt’ by Matthew Welch, takes as its subject freestyle skateboarder Rodney Mullen, who invented the vocabulary of modern skateboarding, endured family abuse in his youth, led a double life as a burgeoning biomedical engineer, and now is an established inventor. The music will feature James Moore and Taylor Levine, from the Dither electric guitar quartet, Matthew Welch on spoken word, and will involve electro-acoustically sequenced “Foley” skateboarding sounds by Steve Brush.

Thomas Paine in Violence’ by Paul Pinto is a mad psychedelic depiction of the final days of the American founding father’s life. Paine—portrayed by a woman spurting speech, operatic vignettes and a number of extended vocal techniques—transports “herself” through space and time, including on “her” deathbed in 1809, the Stock Market of 2008, and the future. Scored for singer and electronics and featuring Joan La Barbara and Miguel Frasconi.

In ‘The Collector’ by Aaron Siegel, a character delivers a wild and delusional monologue detailing his dangerous obsession with stamp collecting. The natural rhythms of the spoken text are mimicked in increasing accuracy by the instruments in the ensemble. The Collector is scored for piano, soprano, vibraphone and actor and will feature pianist Karl Larson, percussionist Matt Evans, soprano Jamie Jordan and Aaron Siegel as the collector.

‘I Need Space’ by Jason Cady and Ann Heppermann tells the story of a couple moving to a Martian colony but breaking up on the way there. It is set in an alternate present: 2014 as it had been imagined by science fiction writers in the 1950s. I Need Space is scored for two voices, guitar, piano, synthesizer and Foley artist and features tenor Vince B. Vincent, soprano Erin Flannery, guitarist Mary Halvorson, pianist Karl LarsonJason Cady on modular synthesizer and Foley artist Steve Brush.

‘The Extractor’ by Jonathan Mitchell tells the story of a guy who has figured out a way to extract sounds from objects. By inserting a needle into a wall (for example), he can measure the microscopic effects of variations of air pressure over time, and hear conversations that took place in that room. ‘These Walls Can Talk features performances by Matt Evans on percussion, Shawn Lovato on double bass, Isabel Kim on Clarinet, and actors Ed Herbstman, Dennis Pacheco, Annemarie Cullen, Kevin Cragg and Rebecca Robles.

When No On...
Holy Visio...
Holy Visio...

November 2 | 8pm
Student Discounted Tickets $20
Purchase a Season Subscription and save $15.

Opera in Dialogue #1
October 27 | 7pm

In celebration of the Day of All Souls and the close of Hallowmas, Experiments in Opera, in partnership with VisionIntoArt, presents a semi-staged production of John Zorn’s The Holy Visions, an exhilarating choral opera based on the writings and work of the medieval mystic and composer, Hildegard von Bingen.  ‘Chorus of All Souls’ will also include the premiere of When No One Around You is There by Jessica Pavone which utilizes the chorus as an abstract metaphor for the human predicament and two semi-staged choral operas: Jason Cady’s Nostalgia Kills You, a comedy about a man and his zombie ex-girlfriend and Matthew Welch’s Reanimator Requiem which merges the mass for the dead with H.P. Lovecraft’s cult classic.

The Holy Visions
By John Zorn
Produced by VisionIntoArt
Projection & Video Design by S. Katy Tucker
Performances by Abby Fischer, Kirsten Sollek, Sarah Brailey, Jane Sheldon and Mellissa Hughes

Nostalgia Kills You
By Jason Cady
Directed by Louisa Proske
Costumes by Seth Bodie
Matthew Welch - conductor
Erin Flannery – Soprano
Vince B. Vincent – Bass

Reanimator Requiem
By Matthew Welch
Directed by Louisa Proske
Costumes by Seth Bodie
Matthew Welch – conductor

When No One Around You is There
By Jessica Pavone

The Chorus
Amanda Weber, Molly Netter, Kathleen Allan, Rachel Calloway, Patrick Fennig, Max Blum, Nick Hallett, Jeffrey Gavett, Peter Stewart - Chorus

The Ensemble
Mike Pride, Tim Dahl, Emily Manzo, Brendon Randall-Myers

Sound Design by Levy Lorenzo
Lighting Design by Masha Tsimring

Chorus of All Souls opens Experiments in Opera’s 2013-14 Season and yearlong residency at the Abrons Arts Center.  The residency will continue with a Radio Operas (February 28 – March 1, 2014), a showcase of opera shorts for the radio , and the premiere of Brother Brother (May 2-3, 2014), an evening length opera that has been in development with EiO for the past two seasons. A $60 subscription is available for discounted ticketing to all three events.

These mainstage programs will be augmented throughout the year by supporting videos, photos and writings that will help to contextualize the works in progress and by three free Opera in Dialogue public programs aimed to build dialogue between the composers, writers, performers, directors and designers working in the hybrid space of experimental opera. Experiments in Opera will partner with online magazine for these public programs. Opera in Dialogue #1 will take place Sunday, October 27 from 7 – 9 PM in the Experimental Theater.

Purchase a Season Subscription and save $15.

Chorus of All Soul with text web

Radio Operas with text web

Brother Brother with text web

Purchase a Season Subscription and save $15.

Season Partners


New Shorts videos by New Shorts Composers Robert Ashley, Jason Cady, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Aaron Siegel, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, Matthew Welch.

Photos from New Shorts on February 9, 2013 featuring works by Robert Ashley, Jason Cady, Joe Diebes, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Aaron Siegel, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, and Matthew Welch

Bodiless 1
Bodiless 2

Wow!  We are all still reeling from the tremendous show last weekend.  We are planning on posting a photo album in the what do viagra and cialis do if taken together next week, but in the meantime, here is the intro video we shared at the concert, directed by Louisa Proske.

Experiments in Opera has commissioned 10 composers to present new operas that last no more than 10 minutes. These new works will be premiered by the contemporary music ensemble Hotel Elefant on February 9, 2013 at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn.

Purchase tickets at

There will be a Q and A conversation with all New Shorts composers and moderated by James Holt at 6:30 on February 9 before the concert.

The featured composers are:

Robert Ashley | Jason Cady | Joe Diebes | Ruby Fulton | Gabrielle Herbst | Mary Kouyoumdjian | Aaron Siegel | Justin Tierney | Leaha Maria Villarreal | Matthew Welch

Directed Casino Online by Louisa Proske, David Levine, Britt Olsen-Ecker

Performances by Paolo Bortolameolli, Hannis Brown, Meagan Brus , Peter Bussigel, Nicole Camacho, Christina Campanella, Lucy Dhegrae, Erin Flannery, Domenica Fossati, David Friend, Jeff Gavett, Seth Gilman, Nick Gleason, Ariadne Greif, Elisabeth Halliday, Jonathon Hampton, Gabrielle Herbst, Isabel Kim, Lisa Komara, George Lam, Michelle Lou, Shawn Lovato, Robert Maril, Devin Provenzano, Anne Rhodes, Jon Russell, Mark Smith, Andie Springer, Kirsten Volness, Lindsey Warford, Meg Zervoulis

This project is supported by:

In support of our upcoming ‘New Shorts’ event at Issue Project Room in February 2013 we hosted a benefit concert and mingle on Sunday December 2 at Spectrum on the Lower East Side.

The Online Casino concert featured performances by ‘New Shorts’ partners, Hotel Elefant, as well as Experiments in Opera Co-founders Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch and Jason Cady, and special guest John Zorn.

The Experiments in Opera Spring Series at Roulette in Brooklyn on May 10-11, 2012 was a huge success!  Enthusiastic audiences were thrilled to finally see full versions of Jason Cady’s ‘Happiness is the Problem’ and Matthew Welch’s ‘Borges and the Other’ as well as excerpts from Aaron Siegel’s ‘Brother Brother’ and Cough Button’s ‘To Scale.  Here are some photos from the two days of events:

Borges 2
Borges 1
Happiness 1
Brother Br...

Following up on the tremendous success of our inaugural concert in January 2012, Experiments in Opera presents two evenings of works at Roulette in Brooklyn on May 10 & 11, 2012.

May 10 will feature work-in-progress presentations of Brother Brother by Aaron Siegel and To Scale by Cough Button as well as a full production of Happiness is the Problem by Jason Cady.

May 11 will be devoted to a partly staged production of Borges and the Other by Matthew Welch.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit

On April 5, 2012, Experiments in Opera hosted a benefit event in support of the upcoming Spring Series at Roulette on May 10-11, 2012. The menu for the event featured performances of Aperghis, Monteverdi, Chopin and Why Lie? and a tasty menu designed by New York Times Food Columnist Melissa Clark.  Here are some of the pictures from the evening.

Please consider a donation to the Spring Series Fundraising Campaign on IndieGoGo

Our inaugural Experiments in Opera Festival on January 16, 2012 was an enormous success.  We had a packed and attentive crowd at (le) Poisson Rouge for what was a remarkable evening of performances.  Here are some of the photos from the evening to give you a sense of the energy of the event.