Black Lodge stands out as an exemplary piece of big scale music theatre, renowned for its innovative blend of various musical expressions and its capacity to resonate with a broad audience. The work is notable for reimagining musical theatre by integrating live and recorded segments, creating a rich tapestry of sound and performance. This production is a significant achievement, ambitiously incorporating a multitude of musical styles and textures to push the limits of both opera and film.
The narrative of Black Lodge is inspired by the complex mythologies of William S. Burroughs, best known for his iconic novel Naked Lunch, weaving a tale of a troubled writer navigating a liminal space fraught with personal demons and memories. This psychological journey is portrayed through an intricate mix of dance, industrial rock, a classical string quartet, and operatic elements, resulting in an immersive Lynchian experience.
Black Lodge is praised for its groundbreaking hybridity and artistic excellence, embodying the essence of innovation in music theatre. It captivates audiences with its unique combination of live and recorded music, its diverse musical language, and a narrative steeped in surrealism.
About Black Lodge
What does it take to face ourselves? Enter the darkness in search of something beautiful, transcendent. But be very careful what you need to know…
Drawing on the complicated mythologies of the surrealist writer William S. Burroughs (Naked Lunch), Black Lodge uses dance, industrial rock, classical string quartet, and opera to take viewers through a Lynchian psychological escape room.
Set in a nightmarish Bardo, a place between death and rebirth, a tormented writer faces down demons of his own making. Forced to confront the darkest moment in his life, he mines fractured and repressed memories for a way out. A woman is at the center of all the writer’s afterlife encounters. She is the subject of his life’s greatest regret, and she materializes everywhere in this Otherworld. The writer cannot detach any thoughts of his life from her.
Part film screening and part industrial rock opera concert, this world premiere event featured glam opera band Timur & the Dime Museum alongside musicians from the Opera Philadelphia Orchestra.
- Composer: David T. Little
- Libretto: Anne Waldman
- Story, screenplay and film/stage direction: Michael Joseph McQuilken
- Executive producer: Beth Morrison Projects, Thurston Moore
- Producers: Beth Morrison, Jecca Barry, Brian Freeland & Robert Phillip Smith
- Additional Producers: Judy & Allen Freedman, Kiki & David Gindler, Charlotte Isaacs & Thomas H. Platz
- Soundtrack produced by: David T. Little, Andrew McKenna Lee & Beth Morrison
- Production consultant: Timur Bekbosunov
- Starring: Timur & Jennifer Harrison Newman
- Timur and the Dime Museum (Timur – vocals, Milo Talwani – keyboard, Andrew Lessman – drums/vocals, Matthew Setzer – guitar/vocals & Hannah Dexter – bass
- Isuara String Quartet (film) (Emily Call – violin, Madeline Falcone – violin, Betsy Rettig – cello, Nadia Sirota – viola & Rita Andrade – viola)
- Opera Philadelphia Orchestra (live)
- Spoken text: Adina Verson
- Doctor: André de Quadros, Chip Morrison & Thomas H. Platz
- Opera commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera
- Film commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects, Opera Philadelphia, the Allen R. and Judy Brick Freedman Venture Fund for Opera, David & Kiki Gindler, Charlotte Isaacs, and Thomas H. Platz with additional support provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation
- Developed by Beth Morrison Projects, California Institute for the Arts, HERE Arts Center, and REDCAT. Additional production support provided by David & Kiki Gindler, Charlotte Isaacs, and Thomas H. Platz
October 1, 2022 at the Philadelphia Film Center, Pennsylvania, USA
© Matthew Soltesz
About Beth Morrison Projects
Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) is one of the foremost creators and producers of new opera-theatre and music theatre, with a fierce commitment to leading the industry into the future, cultivating a new generation of talent, and telling the stories of our time.
Founded by “contemporary opera mastermind” (LA Times) Beth Morrison, who was honored as one of Musical America’s Artists of the Year/Agents of Change in 2020, BMP has grown into “a driving force behind America’s thriving opera scene” (Financial Times), with Opera News declaring that the company, “more than any other… has helped propel the art form into the twenty-first century.”
Operating across the US and internationally, with offices in Brooklyn and Los Angeles, BMP’s unique model offers living composers the support, guidance, and freedom to experiment, allowing them to create singularly innovative and impactful projects. Since forming in 2006, the company has commissioned, developed, produced and toured over 50 works in 14 countries around the world, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning chamber operas Angel’s Bone and p r i s m.
In 2013, BMP co-founded the PROTOTYPE Festival with HERE Arts Center, which has been called “utterly essential” (The New York Times), “indispensable” (The New Yorker), and “one of the world’s top festivals of contemporary opera and theater” (Associated Press).