Black Square, a new futuristic/dystopian opera in two acts, is a tragicomic love story of a couple swept up by the political coup and surviving its ramifications. Written in English, Black Square is inspired by the 1913 Russian opera Victory over the Sun and science-fiction literature of Lenin's era. It explores the modern resonance of old prophecies, and universal themes such as personal freedom and the price of conformity. We combine linear storytelling with non-linear language, using Alexei Kruchenykh's absurdist poetry in a context that makes it easy to understand. The libretto mixes Russian avant-garde intellectual traditions with the faster-paced style of a Western action thriller.

Black Square has a cast of twelve, and a chorus of variable size. Act I lasts c. 45 minutes, Act II 70 minutes. 


Parts of the opera will be workshopped at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign December 2017  in the Tryon Festival Theatre (capacity 950).  

Short synopsis 

The dramatic material, in more detail, unfolds as follows: In the first act, we first meet a couple, Jane and John Doe. A motley crew of outcasts follows, among them Nero-Caligula and his beloved Violet, Malevolent (an ex-criminal with penchant for fashion), a paranoid Time Traveler and a mysterious creature Bi-Ba-Bo. A coup foreboded by the Time Traveler erupts and an army of Legionnaires swarms through town. They declare war on the Sun, and many volunteers eagerly join the fight. In a monumental battle, the Sun is assassinated. A new society emerges in the aftermath (Act II). The Memory-Eraser, a innovative technological marvel, works overtime to brainwash citizens. Bi-Ba-Bo has meanwhile evolved into a charismatic leader who's followers, Jane now among them, only speak in new abstract words and abbreviations.  John, with the help of his neighbors is trying to win Jane back. 

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