APR 5-7 | BIRDS & BALLS OPERA
Apr 05 - Apr 07, 2024
Opera Parallèle brings together two seemingly disparate, but perfectly paired operas to create an entertaining evening in the theater. Birds & Balls combines David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s 2010 opera, Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera with the World Premiere of Laura Karpman and Gail Collins’ opera, Balls. This innovative new pairing explores the nature of competition, how it can consume a personality and the human desire to win, all through a comedic lens.
Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera is a bittersweet comedy in one act inspired by the obscure Flemish folk sport, Finch-Sitting. We see a motley assortment of contestants battle it out to see who has the most melodious bird. Trained finches race to sing the most “susk-e-wiets” over the course of an hour. As they compete, the joys, sorrows, delusions, and all-too-stark realities of their trainers are revealed. Some of the trainers are noble, some not. Some play fair, some don’t. Some just don’t even want to be there at all. But almost all are lost in the world, finding comfort in the companionship of their birds, and in the mere potential of community.
Balls is a multimedia opera dramatizing the famed September 20, 1973, tennis game between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. The match, dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes,” changed not only the perception and treatment of women in sports, but significantly advanced the women’s rights movement. The opera features a live tennis match as a central narrative device, along with actual commentary from the 1973 broadcast. Balls also incorporates electronic sampling entwined in the score, and some creative time hopping, so key figures such as Larry King and Howard Cosell are joined by American Suffragette Susan B. Anthony.
Birds & Balls combines David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s 2010 opera, Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera with the World Premiere of Laura Karpman and Gail Collins’ opera, Balls.