When a young Mary Shelly ran away to the home of mad poet, Lord Byron, an infamous writer’s circle began. In the long nights of drinking, ghost stories, and free love—both Frankenstein and the Vampyre were born. By You That Made Me Frankenstein, a world-premiere opera, captures the passion and madness of these complex relationships.
The Philadelphia Opera Collective continues to redefine opera with their second, completely internally created opera. Their ever-present mission to engage new audiences with the visceral, living art of opera continues with an English libretto created by the POC and music by Reese Revak and newcomer Josh Hartman. The show opens on the September 12 and will be held in the parlor of Philadelphia’s oldest writer’s club, The Franklin Inn Club (205 S. Camac St.).
By You That Made Me, Frankensteinwill explore the complex relationships of the artists living at Lord Byron’s estate during the summer of 1816 and the competition that would give the world Frankenstein. “That summer they redefined a genre! That is exactly our mission—to redefine opera. It is the perfect choice, then, to focus on Mary Shelley and Lord Byron during this exciting time in our company’s history” says producer Michael A. Lienhard.
“We all have monsters inside of us. More often than not we create the monsters present in our lives and we become the same to others. Shelley intended The Monster to be a personification of the damage we cause to our friends and lovers” Lienhard, who will be playing the Monster, goes on to say. This theme of dark exploration has become a trademark of the POC. “In order to appreciate the light inside of us, we need to identify the darkness. In 1816, those artists in Geneva felt the same way.”
The production will take place at the historic Franklin Inn Club. Founded in 1902, Philadelphia’s oldest literary club will provide an intimate and unique experience for audience members. The club was designed to reproduce the intimate parlor ambiance present in Ben Franklin’s time. What began as a watering hole for authors has become a haven for artists of all mediums… like opera singers. Sitting in well-worn armchairs and sofas and surrounded by books, the audience will sip on wine while watching the map poet, Lord Byron, initiate the Ghost story competition that would give the world Frankenstein.
Also, they will be breaking operatic ground by juxtaposing the operatically trained and untrained voice. Lienhardfeels that “the human voice is the most delicate and versatile instrument available to us. By casting opera singers andnon-opera singers we can explore this amazing instrument in all its glory while the audience can experience a once in a lifetime event.” The audience will be met on a very primal level and truly understand all the colors and shapes that opera can take.
By You That Made Me, Frankenstein
Philadelphia Opera Collective
The Franklin Inn Club, 205 S. Camac Street
September 12 – 21