Everyone's an Abyss
Everyone's an Abyss
Desperate for money to support his fledgling family, an army officer submits to medical experimentation for cash. As the experiments drive him to the edge, Georg Büchner’s eponymous play asks “Is there really any difference between man and beast?” This Chicago premiere of Tom Waits’ alt-chamber opera features a new orchestration by acclaimed jazz pianist Carl Kennedy.
Supported by The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
Production Design Funding Provided by Clayton & Rachel Mobley
Based on the Play by Georg Büchner
Music and Lyrics by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan
Original Concept by Robert Wilson
Original Text Version by Anne Christin Rommen and Wolfgang Wiens
|As One||Hannah Before||2017|
|Woyzeck||Andres / Marie / Soprano||2019|
|The Great God Pan||Helen||2018|
|Woyzeck||Doctor / Margaret / Mezzo-soprano||2019|
Matthew Peckham is a multi-disciplinary Chicago-based artist and arts entrepreneur. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (BM 2012), and the Chicago College of Performing Arts (MM 2015), he has performed in operas, musicals, and choruses in numerous venues across the United States. His performances have been described by critics as “facile,” “fresh,” and “inspired.”
As an entrepreneur, Matthew has a special interest in fostering new works and in building sustainable arts institutions. Projects in Chicago have included co-founding the Chicago Vocal Arts Consortium, serving on the inaugural board of Thompson Street Opera Company, and helping to grow the classical music recording company Atlas Arts Media, where he currently works as Director of Operations. Many projects that Matt has helped launch have gone on to receive national recognition. Most recently, Rossa Crean’s opera The Great God Pan received the 2018/19 American Prize in Opera Performance. Matthew assisted both as a performer and recording technician in the pilot recording that led to Chicago Fringe Opera’s world premiere production in 2018.
His award-winning work as a performer, AV designer, and audio engineer has been recognized by organizations including the Roosevelt University Presidential Awards for Social Justice (Considering Matthew Shepard, CCPA 2019), and DCASE: The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (There Always, Something Sings, Midwest and East Coast tour, 2018/19)
As a frequent performer of new music, Matthew has worked with many living composers on projects including the world premieres of Rootabaga Stories, by Yvonne Freckman, and Jonathan Hannau’s Pierrot Songs. Other collaborators include Daron Hagen, Erik Lindsay, Rossa Crean, Paul Winchester, Ezra Donner, and Chappell Kingsland. Last year, as the recipient of a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Matthew toured the Midwest and East Coast with the recital There Always, Something Sings, featuring a program of music by living American composers about power of interfaith understanding and the shared core beliefs of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
|Woyzeck||Drum Major / Captain / Tenor||2019|
Jacob Slocum is an artist who approaches his medium of music through the lens of Jazz. Although firmly rooted in an ethos of Soulfulness (the Blues, the music of the Black Church, and the tradition of Jazz), Jacob lives by Charlie Parker’s words that “there’s no boundary line to art.” Jacob is an artist easily at home in a variety of settings and genres both secular and sacred and both instrumental and choral. Chicago’s incredible tapestry of music provides fertile ground for Jacob to thrive.
Originally from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, Nick Roach has established himself in Chicagoland as an in-demand composer, arranger, educator, and performer. Having performed in several states and on cruise ships on five continents, Nick is an adept and versatile musician on multiple instruments as well as being an accomplished bass-baritone singer. As a composer/arranger, he has written for groups of various sizes and genres, including writing for his own ensembles as well as receiving commissions to write for big bands and combos in Illinois and Texas.
As a trombonist and singer, Nick has had the privilege of performing with many respected musicians of different genres, such as Arthur Barrow (Frank Zappa), The Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Harry James Orchestra, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Corey Wilkes, Robert Irving III, Ari Brown, Ray Olan y su Nuevo Sason, Al Smith, Dee Alexander, Sal Lozano, Nicholas White, Russ Phillips, Victor Garcia and Eric Schneider, as well as the Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Bach Chamber Choir, Chicago Jazz Orchestra and the Chicago Composers’ Big Band.
A resident of Chicago, Illinois, Catherine O’Shaughnessy is an active orchestra and opera conductor both in the United States and abroad. In 2010, she made her international professional conducting debut as music director of the Mittelsächsisches Theater’s production of Pyramus und Thisbe in Freiberg, Germany; she has also conducted the Moscow Philharmonic and the Rousse Philharmonic (Rousse, Bulgaria) in concert. Avidly committed to Chicago’s dynamic opera scene, she founded Windy City Opera and conducted its first production (La bohème) in 2015. Additionally, she just completed her first collaboration with The Floating Opera Company and 42nd Parallel as conductor and music director for Don Giovanni. Catherine, a student of William Reber at Arizona State University, holds a B.M. from the University of Michigan and a M.M. from Bowling Green State University. In addition to her musical pursuits, Catherine is passionate about the role of the arts in philosophy and society. She currently serves as co-organizer for two philosophy meet-up groups and presented a paper on the philosophy of passion at the 2013 Humanities Conference at Lincoln University, PA.
|Two Remain||Music Director||2020|
|Love Wounds||Music Director||2019|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Music Director||2019|
|The Great God Pan||Music Director||2018|
|Song from the Uproar||Conductor||2016|
|In the Penal Colony||Conductor||2016|
George is the Artistic Director of Chicago Fringe Opera (called “the city’s alt-opera company” by the Chicago Tribune), which produces experiential, immersive, and site-specific productions of operas composed in English. At CFO, George has directed The Rossini Project (workshop), The Long Christmas Dinner, The Great God Pan (world premiere), Lucrezia, In the Penal Colony, The Turn of the Screw, Trouble in Tahiti and The Rape of Lucretia.
In addition, George has directed opera scenes at Wolf Trap Opera and Chautauqua Opera, and new productions with the Chicago Sinfonietta, Pittsburgh Opera, the Bay View Music Festival, Chicago Folks Operetta, and Chicago Opera Vanguard. An enthusiastic mentor, George has taught acting, auditioning and scene study at Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, North Park University, and DePaul University.
Now in its fourth season, George hosts Opera Box Score, America’s Talk Radio Show About Opera, heard every Monday night on WNUR 89.3 FM Chicago. The show tackles the week’s opera headlines and discusses them in a sports talk radio format.
A recipient of the 2015 American Prize in Directing, George’s production of Silent Night was chosen as a winner of Opera America’s 2013 Director-Designer competition. As one of ten Americans to receive the 2011-12 German Chancellor Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, George served as a Regieassistent at the Staatstheater Darmstadt.
George’s training includes the Resident Artist Stage Director program at Pittsburgh Opera, serving as the Apprentice Stage Director at the Merola Opera Program, and as the Directing Fellow at Wolf Trap Opera. He holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA in Theatre Studies and English from Yale University. A dual US-UK citizen, George is a proud ensemble member of Steep Theatre Company (Chicago) and the American Guild of Musical Artists.
He lives with his wife, their two children, and their cat, in Chicago.
|The Rosina Project||Director||2019|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Director||2019|
|The Rossini Project||Director||2018|
|The Great God Pan||Director||2018|
|In the Penal Colony||Director||2016|
|The Turn of the Screw||Director||2015|
|Voices in the Dark, Jazz & Trouble in Tahiti||Director||2015|
|The Rape of Lucretia||Director||2014|
Brad Caleb Lee is a designer and assistant director whose collaborators, among others, include Chicago Fringe Opera, Filament Theatre, Hell In A Handbag, Pride Films & Plays, Theatre Tuscaloosa, Music Theatre Wales, ELANFrontoio, and Welsh National Opera. He co-designed the award-winning British Pavilion Make/Believe for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial and the subsequent exhibition at The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Brad’s design for The Richard Burton Theatre Company’s Dogville was selected as part of World Stage Design 2017. He holds an MA w/Merit from The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and is a member of OISTAT, USITT, and SBTD.
|Two Remain||Production Designer||2020|
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Production Designer||2019|
|Song from the Uproar||Assistant Director & Stage Manager||2016|
Ted Nazarowski has worked in many facets of theater throughout his career. In addition to his day job as a music and theater teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, Mr. Nazarowski has worked as a director, musician, and designer throughout the Chicago area. Recent lighting design credits include A Fool’s Journey (Misfit Circus), Lucrezia and Songs from the Uproar (Chicago Fringe Opera), The Violet Hour (South Shore Opera) and The Consul (Main Street Opera). He is thrilled to be working with such an amazingly talented cast and crew!
|The Long Christmas Dinner||Lighting Designer||2019|
|The Great God Pan||Technical Director||2018|
|Song from the Uproar||Lighting Designer||2016|