"Opera Kardashian" and "Diary of a Madman (Записки сумасшедшего)"
Opera Kardashian, a one-act opera about tragedy and the human condition (as told through the Kardashians), was workshopped by Frost Opera Theater and Ensemble Ibis at University of Miami from April 23-27, 2018. Cycle Kardashian, a similarly-themed song cycle commissioned by OperaRox Productions, premiered at New York Opera Fest in June 2017; it also received a performance during National Opera Week in New York City. Berkshire Fine Arts wrote of the premiere:
"Dana Kaufman’s Cycle Kardashian brought the audience to attention, laughing, saddened, torn between the glitz of the images and the sadness of a life where only the closet is comfortable. Celebrity leaves little space for peace. In these selections from an opera in process, Tom Swift provided the libretto.
"The combination of text, music and performance was perfect and surprising. For instance, repeated sentences were broken up as Wallace Stevens and e.e. cummings might have done. The music matched and mezzo Melissa Serluco hit her beat perfectly. Kaufman’s take on the story, as it was performed in snippets, suggests a lively, engaging and moving opera is in the works."
Diary of a Madman (Записки сумасшедшего), a 2015 Semi-Finalist for The American Prize in the Opera/Theater/Film Division, is based on the short Russian story of the same name by Nikolai Gogol. Set in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1835, the opera follows the descent of a low-ranking Russian official--Aksentiy Ivanovich Poprischin, the "Madman"--into the insanity and despair Gogol hauntingly depicted in diary format almost two centuries ago.
Music and Libretto by Dana Kaufman
Premiered January 28, 2012 at Buckley Recital Hall, Amherst College
Nathan Olson, Conductor
Jeffrey Moro, Stage Director
Aksenty Ivanovich Poprishchin (Madman)....Tom O'Toole
Medji the Dog....Julia Moorman
Fidele the Dog....Hilary Cullen Budwey
Head of the Department...David Ressler
Performance Pianist and Rehearsal Accompanist...Jesse Fried
Performance Pianist...Nicholas Shaneyfelt
Stage Manager/Lighting Designer...Beccie Magnus
Supertitles Operator....Kristin Ouellette
Cycle Kardashian - New Works Concert
Diary of a Madman (Записки сумасшедшего), an Original Opera by Dana Kaufman (Scene 3)