Mary Motorhead / Trade

Two one act chamber operas at Abrons Art Center

Delayed by locusts and plagues no longer, the duo of operas by the O’Halloran family came to a lovely culmination at Abrons. People seemed to like them both.

Zachary Wolfe from NY Times: 

“…the intensity rarely flags in Emma O’Halloran’s two-hour double bill about the down and out and desperate for connection, “Trade/Mary Motorhead” — to librettos by her uncle, the actor and writer Mark O’Halloran — at Abrons Arts Center on the Lower East Side.

Directed by Tom Creed, both operas offer virtuosic showcases for daring singing actors. “Mary Motorhead” is a monodrama featuring the vivid, charismatic Naomi Louisa O’Connell in the raconteur title role of a woman in prison for killing her husband. In “Trade,” set in a hotel room where two men — one older, one younger — are meeting for sex, the Broadway veteran Marc Kudisch and the tenor Kyle Bielfield are fiercely committed as they toggle between aggression and tenderness.

With Elaine Kelly conducting the ensemble NOVUS NY, O’Halloran shapes lucid, communicative vocal lines; the text always sings out. “Mary Motorhead” finds its protagonist sometimes angry, sometimes exhausted; “Trade” has the relentlessly, effectively weepy emotionalism of Kevin Puts’s “The Hours,” which recently played at the Metropolitan Opera, but is more affecting without the Met work’s overblown trappings.”

Suck that Met.


Hat tip to collaborators director Tom Creed, LD Chris Kuhl and costumes by Montana Blanco