Composer Michael Hersch Announces Premiere of New Opera & Other Works

By David Salazar

Composer Michael Hersch has announced a series of new premieres during the 2023-24 season.

First up will be a program featuring soprano Ah Young Hong that features the world premiere performances of “sapped from me broken,” “across, in grief and detail,” and “Miserere mei Domine.” She will be joined by violinist William Overcash and bassoonist Ben Roidl-Ward. This showcase is set for Sept. 8 at the International Museum of Surgical Science in Chicago with another performance to come on Sept. 9 at the Goethe Institute in Boston.

Then comes the North American premiere of “One step to the next, worlds ending” starring soprano Hong and the Talea Ensemble. The showcase, set for Oct. 29, 2023, will take place at St. Paul + St. Andrew in New York City.

But the biggest premiere of the season is set to be “and we, each,” a new opera in collaboration with poet and memorist Shane McCrae. The opera will feature two singers and five instrumentalists. It is set to premiere on Sept. 28, 2024 at the Baltimore Theatre Project in a production by Mind on Fire. The work will star Hong and baritone Jesse Blumberg with James Matthew Daniel directing.

Per an official press statement, the opera “takes as its theme the treacherous territories of relationships – explorations of love, fidelity, and ultimately collapse. The project grew out of an off-and-on ten-year correspondence between Hersch and McCrae. Over time, their mutual admiration developed into a plan to collaborate. The resulting libretto combines texts drawn from four of McCrae’s books with a large amount of material written especially for the opera.”

There will be  additional performances of the opera in New York at the National Sawdust, Washington D.C., and Basel, Switzerland at the Ensemble Phoenix Basel.