This two night series of experimental operas at Roulette in Brooklyn featured work-in-progress presentations of Brother Brother by Aaron Siegel and To Scale by Cough Button as well as a full productions of Happiness is the Problem by Jason Cady and Borges and the Other by Matthew Welch.

To Scale, is a work-in-progress that details the relationship between an architect and his scalies — the two-dimensional characters who populate architectural models.  Co-written by Lynn Levy, Dave Ruder, and Aliza Simons, To Scale explores the gap between creator and created.  The piece uses radio transmitters to broadcast the singers’ voices throughout the space.

Brother Brother is an operatic work for percussion, strings, choir, soloists and actors that explores the enigma of brotherhood. The story follows the lives of two pairs of brothers­­—one historical (Orville and Wilbur Wright) and one fictional (Red and Blue)—as they discover the character of their bond to one another.

Happiness is the Problem is a two-act opera buffa and comic book about idealism and disillusionment. It presents three young women who sell an elixir of happiness derived from the secretions of slugs which they market as “Euphoressence.”

Borges and the Other is a series of short operas (or modular “acts”) centered around the luminary Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. In 2007, the first of these Borges mini-operas featured two mezzo-sopranos portraying an older and younger Borges meeting in a dream space. Borges was not shy to rework the basic concept of a story in to a new and equally fantastic second tale, and so for a second act written for tenor and baritone, two additional Borges of differing ages meet yet again in a separate encounter of dreaming each other. In both operas/acts, each Borges views his other in disbelief, hashing out self-loathing critique, whilst verifying biographical information. This pushes the iconic identity of Borges and his astonishing deconstruction of time and memory as forefront topics. 

Borges and the Other (Excerpt) by Matthew Welch

Interview with Matthew Welch

Interview with Aaron Siegel

Interview with Jason Cady

Interview with Cough Button

To Scale
Paul Pinto, Architect
Lainie Fefferman, Customer Scalie
Dylan Widjiono, Clerk Scalie
Brian Rady, Freeway Scalie
Aliza Simons, Kitchen Scalie
Lea Bertucci, bass clarinet
Karen Waltuch, viola
Vasudevan Panicker, synthesizer
Dave Ruder, electronics

Brother Brother
Amanda Sidebottom, Soprano
Patrick Fennig, Countertenor
Jonathon Hampton, Tenor
Thomas McCargar, Bass
Emily Manzo, Piano

Happiness is the Problem
Lisa Komara, mezzo-soprano
Christie Finn, soprano
Megan Schubert, soprano
Jeremy Bloom, director

Borges and the Other
Jeff Gavett, Baritone
James Rogers, Tenor
Amirtha Kidambi, Mezzo Soprano
Lisa Komara, Soprano
Anne Rhodes, Soprano
Hannah Collins, Alto
Robert Yaman, Tenor
Dashon Burton, Bass
Leah Paul, Flutes
Karen Waltuch, Viola
Emily Manzo, Piano
Taylor Levine, Electric Guitar
Matthew Hough, Electric Guitar
Ian Riggs, Bass Guitar
Joe Bergen, Vibraphone
Mike Pride, Drums
Matthew Welch, Conductor