Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Music Opera Institute and School of Theatre present 17th Annual Fall Fringe Festival

in CFA, Music, Opera, Theatre
September 23rd, 2013

Featuring new or rarely performed significant works in the opera and theatre repertoire, October 4–27

Boston, MA – For 17 years, the Boston University College of Fine Arts annual Fringe Festival has been a popular fixture in CFA’s fall event schedule. A collaboration between the School of Music Opera Institute and the School of Theatre, the festival’s mission is to produce new or rarely performed significant works in the opera and theatre repertoire, bringing performers and audiences together in unique theatrical settings.

Conducted by CFA’s William Lumpkin with stage direction by School of Theatre Director Jim Petosa, this year’s festival kicks off with Jonathan Dove’s one-act opera, Siren Song , running October 4–6. Inspired by Gordon Honeycombe’s novel, Dove first brought the extraordinary story of Dave Palmer to the Almeida Opera Theatre stage in 1994. A 70-minute work for five singers, an actor, and an orchestra of ten players, Siren Song is a bizarre, true story of a young sailor on the HMS Ark Royal who exchanges letters with a woman he believes to be a beautiful and successful model. As their romantic and passionate relationship develops, a meeting proves increasingly difficult to arrange; the character of Diana, the model whom Dave sees so vividly in his mind, does not exist.

“I fell in love with Jonathan’s opera, Flight, when I had the pleasure of conducting its American premiere,” said William Lumpkin, Artistic Director of the School of Music Opera Institute at the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, and conductor for this season’s performance of Siren Song. “It has been a delight to come back to his earlier opera, Siren song, and to discover some of the germs of Flight. The music is serene and captivating, much like Diana herself, and even though she may be a figment of Davey’s imagination, the effect is real and unrelenting. Although composed long before the existence of online matchmaking, Dove’s opera seems timely in this age of Facebook and other online tools where identities and personalities can ultimately turn out to be entirely different than expected.”

“Jonathan Dove and Nick Dear create a sensual, provocative, and chilling tale that takes us into the rabbit hole of one man’s imaginations,” continued Jim Petosa, Director of the School of Theatre at the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, and stage director for season’s performance of Siren Song, “where illusions of love conjure powerfully destructive delusions of self.”

Welcoming back guest stage director, David Gately, the lineup continues with Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters, with music direction by Allison Voth, playing October 11-13. Premiered in 2011, Dark Sisters conjures an atmosphere of stifling oppression. The work focuses on five “sister-wives” in a polygamous Mormon compound, all married to a stern “Prophet” who uses the language of righteousness to hold them in fearful bondage. An alumnus of the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, Muhly is enjoying a moment in the New York City spotlight as a contemporary classical composer and arranger. Muhly’s opera, Two Boys is making its Metropolitan Opera debut this fall.

The festival concludes with a presentation of the great American playwright Sam Shepard’s Back Bog Beast Bait, October 22–27. One of Shepard’s lesser known works, the one-act Back Bog Beast Bait follows a two-headed “pig beast” who is ravaging the Louisiana countryside. A terrorized mother summons Slim and his sidekick, Shadow, to slay the Beast. School of Theatre Assistant Professor Michael Hammond, a Broadway veteran and former faculty at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, will direct.

Learn more about the 17th Annual Fringe Festival at

Siren Song
Jonathan Dove, composer
Nick Dear, libretto
William Lumpkin, conductor
Jim Petosa, stage director
Based on the novel of the same name by Gordon Honeycombe, Dove tells the story of a love-starved sailor who becomes entangled in an affair with a pen pal he believes to be a lonely young woman, but who turns out to be a deceitful and callous man. A one-act opera sung in English.
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210
Friday, October 4, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 5 2pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, October 6, 2pm
Dark Sisters
Nico Muhly, composer
Stephen Karam, libretto
Allison Voth, music director
David Gately, stage director
Dark Sisters follows on woman’s dangerous attempt to escape the FLDS Church (Fundamentalists Latter Day Saints), a sect that split from mainstream Mormonism following the renunciation of polygamy. A one-act opera sung in English.
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 210
Friday, October 11, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 12, 2pm, 7:30pm
Sunday, October 13, 2pm
Back Bog Beast Bait
Sam Shepard, playwright
Michael Hammond, director
In this one-act play, a young mother calls on two cowboys to slay the two-headed “pig beast” terrorizing the Louisiana countryside.
BU Theatre, Lane-Comely Studio 210
Tuesday, October 22, 7:30pm
Wednesday, October 23, 7:30pm
Thursday, October 24, 7:30pm
Saturday, October 26, 8pm
Sunday, October 27, 2pm

Tickets now on sale: $7 general admission; $3.50 CFA Membership; one free ticket with BU ID at the door, subject to availability. Box Office: or 617.933.8600.