anna rabinowitz

  • Words on the Street by Anna Rabinowitz

    Darkling Opera (cd)

    Albany Records




    From a book-length poem to a multi-media experimental opera to its current incarnation as a CD, Darkling gives a haunting portrayal of the emotions, terrors, and incalculable losses incurred during the period between the two World Wars and the Holocaust. Commissioned by American Opera Projects, DARKLING is based on Anna Rabinowitz’s Darkling: A Poem (Tupelo Press, 2001) set to original music by post- classical composer Stefan Weisman. Featuring four singers (soprano / mezzo / tenor / baritone), a string quartet and 16 spoken-word artists, DARKLING movingly evokes the memory of the Holocaust as well as the human cost of cataclysmic events through a fusion of avant-garde gestures, opera, cutting-edge technology and poignant language.


    Listen to an Aria from Darkling Opera

    They Will Not Ask

    Listen to Anna Rabinowitz on Darkling

    Public Radio’s To the Best of Our Knowledge, 2011 (13:17)

    Praise for Darkling Opera (CD)

  • Darkling Opera


    American Opera Projects (AOP) explores the outer edges of the operatic form with Darkling, an experimental opera- theatre work. Spanning the decades from the 1930’s to the post-World War period, Darkling is a remarkable story of love, loss, calamity and hope. Past and present blur, characters are swept along by the great forces of history, and lives are bowed and buffeted in this uniquely moving and captivating work. "Brave and sensitive" (The New York Times ), Darkling uses opera, avant-garde theatre, vaudeville and cutting edge technology to create “an unlikely collaboration of Wagner, Sally Bowles and Steven Spielberg" (Time Out / New York ). This dramatic tour-de-force


    views history not from a grand geo-political perspective but from the insightful, intimate outlook of a poet whose ordinary Polish-Jewish family is unexpectedly overtaken by the extraordinary events of the Holocaust.


    Darkling assembles narratives of the Holocaust not through the convention of narrative details but through the turbulence of multiple voices in the act of finding themselves. The production recasts opera in a contemporary form by overlaying poetry with live music, interweaving the drama with a landscape of projected films and images, collages of spoken text and pre-recorded soundscapes.


    In 2006, American Opera Projects presented the world premiere of Darkling, which ran off-Broadway for three weeks to wide critical acclaim. Subsequently, Darkling toured in a concert version to Berlin and Poland and to the Center City Opera as part of the Philly Fringe Festival in 2008. Excerpts have been performed in many venues, including New York City Opera’s Vox series at NYU’s Skirball Center and the Works and Process Series at the Guggenheim Museum. Darkling was created for four singers (soprano / mezzo / tenor / baritone), seven actors, and string quartet. The touring version of Darkling reduces the number of actors to three and is adaptable to multiple venues.


    More on Darkling from AOP


    Praise for Darkling Opera

  • The Wanton Sublime

    Libretto by Anna Rabinowitz


    The Wanton Sublime monodrama premiered in London in August, 2015 as part of the Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre


    August 25 - 29, 2015

    European Premiere

    Presented by Inside Intelligence as part of Grimeborn Festival

    Arcola Theatre

    Performances by Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn and The Orpheus Sinfonia

    Directed by Robert Shaw; Conducted by Andrew Griffiths.


    “What does it mean to be chosen?” The Wanton Sublime explores the human and mythic aspects of the Virgin Mary. In this one-act monodrama for mezzo-soprano and amplified chamber ensemble, Mary struggles to retain her flesh and blood identity in the face of external forces intent on symbolizing her as the ideal woman.


    Rabinowitz rejects the notion of the Virgin Mary as a representation of the eternal feminine and depicts instead a strong young woman who questions, challenges and even defies the God who has slated her to be the mother of Christ.


    It's a stimulating thesis that owes much to the existential feminism of Simone de Beauvoir (who warned that women's identity had been constructed by men, and therefore urged them to embrace their own freedom) and it's expounded with fierce economy across 30 absorbing minutes.


    O'Regan colours the drama with pre-recorded vocal episodes and long melodic lines broken by punchy chords, and it never fails to grip. What a thrilling composer he is; this is vital, compelling music. As for Chinn, the singer who created the role at its American premiere, her dramatic engagement is as striking. Robert Shaw's commendably simple staging presents her as a power-dressed young professional who changes midway through into simpler clothes that better assert her individuality. It's a subtle transition, and beautifully judged.


    Praise for The Wanton Sublime

    Listen to an Excerpt from The Wanton Sublime

    Must I Stop



    The Wanton Sublime 008



    ★★★★ “An invigorating and rewarding experience of rare quality” —Daily Telegraph


    ★★★★ “Barnstorming performance by Hai-Ting Chinn … Go to the Arcola and revel” —WhatsOnStage


    ★★★★ “Go and catch this show NOW.” – “A strikingly immersive experience” —The Stage


    ★★★★★ British Theatre Guide


    ★★★★ The Times, Time Out, WhatsOnStage, The Stage


    ★★★★ The Daily Telegraph, British Theatre


    Critics’ Choice: The Times, Time Out, Metro


    “Compelling” —Time Out


    “An excellent piece” —Civilian Theatre


    “Robert Shaw’s production is a little gem.”  —The Stage


    OffWestEnd Award Nomination of Best Female Performer: Hai-Ting Chinn





    August 27, 2015 THE GUARDIAN UK

    August 27, 2015THE TELEGRAPH UK

    August 27, 2015WHATS ON STAGE

    August 27, 2015THE STAGE UK

    August 27, 2015THE EVENING STANDARD (UK)

    August 20, 2015THIS WEEK: LONDON

    July 1, 2014 – OPERA NEWS


    April 30, 2014GARDEN STATE JOURNAL


    July 26, 2012ARTS JOURNAL blog

    July 5, 2012WQXR blog: "One-Person Shows: Star Vehicles but Compelling Drama?"





    April 22, 2014

    NYC Semi-Staged Premiere

    Roulette, 509 Atlantic Ave Brooklyn, NY

    Performances by Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn

    with American Modern Ensemble and Mila Henry, keyboard

    Music direction by Tyson Deaton; Stage direction by Mallory Catlett


    July 21 & 22, 2012

    Staged reading of opera and panel discussion with artists

    Berlind Theater, McCarter Theatre Center, Princeton University

    Performances by Mezzo-soprano Hai-Ting Chinn, and counter-tenor Ryland Angel

    Music direction by Steven Osgood; Stage direction by Crystal Manich


    May 9 & 12, 2011

    May 9 - The Players Club, 16 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003

    May 12 - South Oxford Space, 138 South Oxford St., Brooklyn, NY 11217

    Concert reading of opera excerpts and panel discussion with artists

    Performances by Amy Shoremount-Obra

    Piano: Mila Henry


    Jan 11-12, 2009

    Song excerpt

    Peter B. Lewis Theater - Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

    Performed by Caroline Worra

    Featuring AOP string ensemble; J. David Jackson, conductor



  • Words on the Street

    Words on the Street, a hybrid music-theater event that wrestles with power, apathy, and excess, premiered at the Baruch Performing Arts Center in NYC in 2018. Sometimes darkly comedic, it casts a merciless light on the Seven Deadly Sins, and their interventions and influences in human life.


    Words on the Street is a “what-done-it?” as well as a mystery bordering on rumination. An infant is abducted and the Sins relentlessly play out their power struggles while pandemonium reigns in a dystopian world teeming with hearsay and falsehood, plagued by threat and insecurity.


    Anna Rabinowitz’s book-length poem was lifted off the page and transformed into a unique production collaboratively conceived by poet Rabinowitz, director Kristin Marting, composer Matt Marks (1980-2018), and video designer Lianne Arnold. Performers included the acclaimed soprano Lauren Flanigan and iconic downtown performance artist John Kelly.

    Praise for Words on the Street


    From National Sawdust Log:

    “Matt Marks [composer] saw his work on Words on the Street as 'a gradual act of opening the sonic, dramatic, and visual possibilities of Anna's poems to be shared with our eventual audiences', who...'weren't bred to be [music theatre hybrid] aficionados'...Words on the Street combines this musical point of access with a plot...entrenched in metaphor...a deliberate combination of unlikely forms meant to reflect on disaster in a time of excess and pleasure...treads an...inattentive earth in search of the observant versus the didactic.”

    Interview About Words on the Street with Composer Mary Kouyoumdjian


    From I Care if You Listen