About the Grant
$35,000 to support The Scarlet Ibis (MAP 2014)
$3,500 to general operating expenses for Stefan Weisman, David Cote, and Mallory Catlett
$2,500 to general operating expenses for HERE
About the Project
The Scarlet Ibis is an opera that fuses singers, puppetry and multimedia stagecraft to tell the story of Doodle, a remarkable, disabled boy whose older brother pushes him to be “normal.” Set in rural North Carolina a century ago, the story contrasts notions of physical wholeness versus mystical otherness. Episodic and expressionistic, the narrative draws on elements of Southern Gothic, boy’s adventure and domestic tragedy. It unfolds in thirteen scenes, from Doodle’s traumatic birth to his tragic end. Ingenious set and puppet effects take us to various locations: house, barn, field and swamp.
In the opera, Doodle is manifested by a bunraku-style puppet and voiced by a countertenor. Brother is played by a mezzo-soprano, in a nod to opera’s “pants role” tradition. The other main puppet is the title bird, an exotic, dying creature that flies far off course and lands on the family’s property. Doodle and the ibis form a brief, fateful bond.
The score is by composer Stefan Weisman (Darkling) with a libretto by David Cote. Acclaimed director Mallory Catlett will stage the premiere, which incorporates set design by Joseph Silovsky, puppetry by Tom Lee and lighting by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew. The cast will include mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn, countertenor Eric S. Brenner, mezzo-soprano Abigail Fischer, baritone Kyle Pfortmiller and alto Nicole Mitchell.
The Scarlet Ibis is for adults and teens. It’s a 21st-century opera for a 21st-century audience. World premiere: January 2015 in PROTOTYPE, co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE.