Vertical Player Repertory presents The Constitution, A Secular Oratorio, by Benjamin Yarmolinsky. The work, recently re-composed as a setting for chorus and soloists, will receive its first public performances on June 27th and 29th in Brooklyn, NY.
The text is comprised of major portions of the United States Constitution, including highlights of Articles 1-7, the Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments.
The U. S. Constitution has been much mentioned in recent news. We're inviting our audience to revisit our democracy's rule book in a new way, and reflect on the rights it guarantees. Yarmolinsky, a composer called “wildly eclectic” by The New York Times, specializes in tackling legal texts, for example, the Miranda Rights, the IRS 1040, and the transcripts of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings set as an opera (Clarence & Anita). In this oratorio, he draws from the history of American and European music, combining jazzy rhythms, blues, folk, gospel, and Handelian flourishes, to give voice to the Constitution’s iconic words in a clear, vigorous, and highly singable style.
Words set to music linger in the memory, and Ben's music is very catchy—people might walk away from this performance humming an amendment or two! Besides being enjoyable, we hope the experience will spark the resolve to uphold our constitutional ideals of justice, freedom, human dignity, and participation in government, ideals which are in constant need of our awareness and protection.
Conducted by Peter Szep
Directed by Judith Barnes and James Rutherford
Sarah Krauss, assistant director
Matthew Lobaugh, piano
Christopher Denver, stage manager
In collaboration with Lina Tetriani, director, Brooklyn Opera Works at Brooklyn Music School.
Michelle Trovato, soprano
Linda Collazo, mezzo soprano
Andrew Egbuchiem, countertenorAnthony P. McGlaun, tenor
Byron Singleton, tenor
Blake Burroughs, bass-baritone
Roland Burks, bass-baritone
THE VPR CHORUS
Sarah Arena, Frances Burgos-Linares, Jasmine Collins, Sarah Downs, Kitt Flamer-Caldera, JoAnne Hoffman, Jeanne Marie Holcomb, Aley Kent, Laura Kolb-Araujo, Susan Kommel, Robert Lewis, Isaac Mann, Richard Mann, Ittai Ratzersdorfer, Gordon Reynolds, Lena Wu
We The People image by Karni Dorell