Muhly: Dark Sisters and Impossible Things

Muhly: Dark Sisters and Impossible Things


Dark Sisters is a new opera by Nico Muhly. It opened in New York on November 9 presented by Gotham Chamber Opera. The opera is a suspenseful, emotional, and lyrical depiction of one woman's struggle with life and faith and the universal dilemma of whether to stay in bondage to be close to the ones you love or leave to be free and true to your own path.

Specifically Dark Sisters is a chamber opera that imagines a government raid on a polygamist family. State officials have removed all of the family’s children due to allegations of child abuse, and the women are left to cope with the aftermath, and comfort one another through the night. One woman, Eliza, begins to plot an escape from her family. The second act imagines the women on national TV, faced with justifying their lifestyle to a primetime audience. We see into each of their minds and witness Eliza and one of her sister wives make a series of decisions that will shatter the family.

Muhly worked closely with librettist Stephen Karam to create the opera. The stage director is Rebecca Taichman who works with Muhly for the first time. The designs are by 59, who worked on his first opera Two Boys. Muhly says of the cast, which includes Caitlin Lynch and Eve Gigliotti "We cast the singers before I started writing, and therefore, the vocal parts are bespoke, specific, and intensely personal. This isn’t to say that others can’t ever sing it, but the craft of the thing benefitted from knowing who was going to wear it first."

The work is commissioned and produced by Gotham Chamber Opera, Music-Theatre Group, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

See the opera's website for more information and ticket information.


Dark Sisters: Nico Muhly


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