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Arts Watch: Joseph Keckler’s “I am an Opera” to Premiere at Dixon Place

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Joseph Keckler
Joseph Keckler

A real live opera, I am an Opera, is opening on the LES complete with all the Sturm und Drang one would expect from the art form. Except that in this opera the cast of characters is one—award-winning writer, composer, performer, and interdisciplinary artist Joseph Keckler. And his familiar sounding arias which at times might seem like they could be plucked from a Verdi opera, are not about broken hearts, death and betrayal, but rather about everyday minor happenings in Keckler’s life–like the time he tripped on hallucinogens, or went on an expedition to the bondage store, or fell asleep in the stairwell at a day job.  Okay, so maybe “everyday” is not the right description. But then where’s the drama?

Keckler, an arresting performer with a powerful voice and a sharp wit, is no stranger to turning the ordinary into the operatic. Over the past year he has staged “humorous operatic episodes about everyday life in front of unsuspecting crowds in unlikely settings” everywhere from rock clubs and dive bars to art galleries and cocktail benefits. I am an Opera is the culmination of this undertaking to breathe theatrical life into ordinary modern-day events through an old art form (for some an antiquated and rusty one) and make it poignantly 21st Century .

To spice things up a bit, Keckler adds a few stories about taunting demons and a “persnickety voice teacher” who comes forth from the mystical bygone days of silent film.  Billed as “part satire, part self-portrait and part aesthetic exorcism,” Keckler’s I am an Opera poses the questions, “Is opera dead? If so, could it come back to life?” 

There is only one way to find out. Head over to Dixon Place and prepare to enter the satirical world of I am an Opera.

I am an Opera. Written, Composed and Performed by Joseph Keckler. Directed by German experimental theater artist Uwe Mengel with music co-arranged and performed live by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Grant.  // Dixon Place // 161A Chrystie St. // Fridays and Saturdays, April 5-27,  7:30pm / $15 in advance, $18 at the door, $12 for students and seniors and TDF.

 

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