April 20-22, 8:00 p.m., 26-27, 8:00 p.m.
The Loeb Mainstage
Directed by Devon H. Dunn ’12
Produced by Bryce J. Gilfillian ’12,
Madeleine F. Bersin ’14
A student-written opera about the eponymous American poet, “Hart Crane,” tells the life story of an artist who is regarded as one of the most brilliant of his generation. Matthew A. Aucoin ’12—who wrote both the score and the libretto—has been writing operas for as long as he can remember. He finds the story of Hart Crane uniquely engaging. “What I want to present in this piece is the story of a human being who wanted to do something impossible. He wanted to invent poetry as a whole new language for…art in America,” Aucoin says.
Set in 1920s New York City, “Hart Crane” chronicles Crane’s trials and triumphs as he struggles not only to create a unique form of poetry but also to come to terms with his own homosexuality. Drawing inspiration from the works of T. S. Eliot, Crane rebelliously set out to shake the literary world through his highly stylized, difficult poetry. With his most ambitious work, “The Bridge,” Crane brought a new sincerity to modern American poetry.
According to Aucoin, opera provides a unique medium through which Crane’s life story can be poignantly conveyed. “Opera is the right medium to do this because it shows so many different registers. You can show a boring fight between two lovers just as effectively as a fantasia on the poetic process,” he says. Having loved opera since childhood, director Devon H. Dunn ’12 has found it exciting to put together an operatic work, especially one of this caliber. “The Mainstage is such a big, beautiful space, which works really well for [opera], which is so grand,” she says.
“Hart Crane,” will portray a trying tale of self-discovery and the power of art. New works such as this one emphasize the fact that opera is very much a vibrant art form. “A big meta-theatrical takeaway is that opera is not dead,” says Dunn. Through poetry and music “Hart Crane” explores the life of one of America’s most important poets.