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Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 in News | 0 comments


Brooklyn, NY – On Saturday, October 1, 8pm, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn and American Opera Projects will present Philip Glass’ opera In the Penal Colony, based on the short story by Franz Kafka. Kicking off Philip Glass’ 75th birthday season, this production will feature rising opera stars Jason Papowitz and Matt Boehler, and will be directed by veteran New York director Sam Helfrich. String Orchestra of Brooklyn artistic director Eli Spindel will conduct.

In Franz Kafka’s allegorical short story, a visitor arrives at a penal colony to witness the torture and execution of a prisoner who has not received a trial and does not even understand that he has been charged with a crime. Philip Glass’ dark, chilling score underscores the unsparing brutality of Kafka’s vision.

In the Penal Colony an opera in one act in English
With singers and string orchestra and projected titles

Saturday, October 1, 8:00pm (opera runs 90 minutes)
St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church,
157 Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights
Tickets $15
Available in advance at

For more info, visit


American tenor Jason Papowitz’s credits include such leading roles as Pinkerton, Manrico, Rodolfo, Danilo, Don José, Alfredo, Cavaradossi, Riccardo, Radamès, Einsenstein, Herman, and the title roles in the world premieres of the operas Cain and the Turing Opera. He has performed with such theaters and ensembles as the Greek National

Opera; the Prague and Ostrava State Operas; National Opera Theater, Taiwan; Virgin Atlantic Holders Festival, Barbados; Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Burgas, Vratza, and Bulgaria Hall theaters in Bulgaria; numerous theaters on tour with Eurostage and Opera Verdi Europa; Santa Margherita, Italy; Opera in the Heights, Texas; and Amato Opera, Taconic Opera, the Center for Contemporary Opera, One World Symphony, and American Opera Projects in New York. His extensive recital credits run from soloist in numerous oratorios through Three Tenor Concerts, Wagner Concerts, and the Prizewinner’s concert at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In addition to being an honor’s graduate in philosophy of both K.U. Leuven, Belgium (M.A.) and Vassar College (B.A.), Mr. Papowitz has studied voice privately with such teachers as Franco Corelli, Arrigo Pola, Iris Adami Corradetti, Gianni Raimondi, and Bill Schuman.


Hailed by The New York Times as “a bass with an attitude and the goods to back it up,” Matt Boehler has been critically lauded for both his dramatic skill and his vocalism. Equally at home on the operatic and concert stages, he has been engaged by The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Portland Baroque Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and Chicago Opera Theater. Some recent highlights include performances of The Mikado with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Sweeney Todd with Wolf Trap Opera, Bach’s Magnificat with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the world premieres of Bastianello and Lucrezia with New York Festival of Song. Upcoming engagements include The Pearl Fishers with Hawaii Opera Theater, Shostakovich’s Moscow, Cheryomushki with Chicago Opera Theater and performances of Messiah with Portland Baroque Orchestra and Jacksonville Symphony. He holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Viterbo University.


One of the leading opera and theater directors in the region, Sam Helfrich made his Lincoln Center debut in 2003 with a fully staged production of Rain, a new opera by composer Richard Owen, at Alice Tully Hall. Recent opera productions include The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at Opera Boston, Don Giovanni with Boston Baroque Orchestra, West Side Story at Ashlawn Opera Festival, The Abduction from the Seraglio at Opera Omaha, Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Kentucky Opera, Agrippina with Boston Baroque Orchestra (2005 Boston Globe “Best production of the year”), L’Elisir d’amore at the Berkshire Opera, La Voix Humaine and Philip Glass’ Orphée at Glimmerglass Opera, The Turn of the Screw at Pittsburgh Opera, among others. Recent theatre productions include Eric Overmyer’s In a Pig’s Valise, and Len Jenkins’s Dark Ride, both at Bard College.


American Opera Projects’ mission is to champion innovative works of music theater, to expand the art form, and to identify, develop and present new works by emerging and established talent. AOP’s goal is to create a lasting legacy of relevant music theater and to inspire new audiences with a fresh appreciation for new opera and theater. AOP is a driving force behind the revitalization of contemporary opera and musical theater in the United States through its exclusive devotion to creating, developing, and presenting new American opera and music theatre projects.


The String Orchestra of Brooklyn (SOB) is a close-knit group of musicians dedicated to exploring the breadth of the string repertoire, from the concerti of Bach to the latest experimental works by emerging composers. The orchestra also seeks out collaborative projects with other like-minded performance ensembles and organizations, including ISSUE Project Room, American Opera Projects, and the Ghostlight Choir. Founded in 2007 by violinist and conductor Eli Spindel, the SOB has quickly become an integral part of Brooklyn’s vibrant musical community. Based at St. Ann and the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn Heights, the ensemble also presents an annual summer concert in Fort Greene Park, and holds regular chamber recitals around the borough.

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