NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE OPERA by Todd Goodman
piano / vocal score
SCORED FOR: 7 principal singers, 7 supporting singers (can all come from Undead Chorus), SATB chorus, orchestra (flute [doubles piccolo and alto], clarinet [doubles bass], violin, cello, piano, synthesizer, and percussion). TOTAL TIME: [2 1/2 hours]
WINNER of the 2013 American Prize for Theater Composition
PERUSE THE PIANO/VOCAL SCORE:
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WATCH THE WORK
The world premiere production of Night of the Living Dead, the opera, by the Pittsburgh-based Microscopic Opera Company.
Set against the political and social turbulence of 1968, Todd Goodman’s and Stephen Catanzarite’s Night of the Living Dead is an operatic retelling of the classic horror film of the same name.
In the deep freeze of the Cold War, as America mourns the assassinations of both Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, with the sexual revolution beginning to upset ancient taboos, and while the Space Race escalates and America’s foreign policy descends to the madness of My-Lai, a wayward NASA space probe returning from Venus crashes somewhere in rural western Pennsylvania. Chaos descends upon the world as radiation from the probe is believed to be causing the recently dead to rise from their graves, seeking to feed on the flesh of the living.
As the crisis erupts, Barbara and her brother Johnny have traveled from Pittsburgh to a small country cemetery to place flowers on the grave of their father on All Soul’s Day. There, a ghoul murders and begins to gnaw on Johnny before turning his attention to Barbara, who runs to the cemetery caretaker’s house. Ben, also taking shelter from the ghouls, boards up the doors and windows of the ramshackle house. He finds a shotgun and a radio, which becomes a lifeline to the outside world now sliding into bedlam. Five other people are hiding in the basement: a middle-aged couple, Harry Cooper, his wife Helen, and their young daughter, Karen, who is injured and ill; and a young couple, Tom and his girlfriend Judy. Ben and Harry immediately clash over who’s in charge. As the night grinds on and a growing legion of undead claw and pound at the windows and doors, the situation in the house descends to a different kind of horror.