Capital Fringe 2014 Preview: ‘A Fire in Water’ by Michael Oberhauser

We here at Silver Finch Arts Collective are excited to be back at the Capital Fringe Festival after our last production, Fallen Angels in 2012, was such a great success.

This year we’re presenting another new opera, A Fire in Water, and it’s the type of collaborative work that I had envisioned when I started Silver Finch. The libretto is by Shannon Berry, who helped out with the libretto of Fallen Angels, and I collaborated on composing the music with Terrance Johns. We’re also excited to have Courtney Kalbacker as our director – she directed and starred in the award-winning The Young Wife from Fringe 2013.

In A Fire in Water, two goddesses try to protect their sons from all harm, but their sons’ love for their companions makes them vulnerable – makes them human, allowing them to break like snapped twigs, like fingernails, like hearts.

The opera explores how its characters and their relationships to each other are affected by the tragedy of war. It definitely has a pacifist message, and it also deals with the power of love: The love of a mother for a son, or of a man for another man.

It was a fun challenge to co-compose the opera with Terry. He and I have distinct but complementary styles: His strengths make up for my weaknesses, and vice-versa. With Shannon’s gorgeous text, and with Courtney’s engaging directing, everything else seemed to just fall into place.

I also see this opera as a sort of collaboration between the arts. Two characters in the opera speak but never sing. This gave us the opportunity to cast two fantastic actors, Kyle McGruther and Brian McDermott, to work alongside our talented singers. The difference between speaking and singing characters is a way we found to portray the difference in status between the two pairs of lovers.

Last summer we held a series of workshop performances of A Fire in Water. Terry Byrne wrote us a report of the workshop for DCMetroTheaterArts and declared: “A Fire in Water… has all the elements of a masterwork.” Courtney Kalbacker creates simple yet spellbinding stagecraft.”

Since the workshop we’ve made a few edits and had a few casting changes. I’m very excited for audiences to hear and see our fantastic cast this summer. They are:

Artemis – Danielle Buonaiuto
Thetis – Kristina Riegle
Achilles – Andrew Sauvageau
Patroclus – Kyle McGruther
Alexander – David Artz
Hephastian – Brian McDermott
Porrima – CarrieAnne Winter
Situla – Hillary LaBonte
Andromeda – Tanya Ruth
Our show dates and times:
Thursday, July 10: 8:15 pm
Tuesday, July 15: 6:15 pm
Sunday, July 20: 4:45 pm
Wednesday, July 23: 6:15 pm
Saturday, July 26: 12:00 pm
Our Venue:
Atlas Performing Arts Center – Lang
1333 H Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
We also have an Indiegogo campaign running, in case anyone is interested in helping us out with the production:

Our promotional video:

Our website:—fringe-2014.html

Our Facebook page:

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