Contemporaneous Ensemble & Fifth Wall Presents Chamber-Rock Opera ‘The Precipice’

By Afton Wooten

Contemporaneous Ensemble and Fifth Wall will present the New York premiere of the new chamber-rock opera “The Precipice.”

The 100-minute abstract opera by KARL (Karl Ronneburg) and Grey Rose Grant explores the parallel journeys of its trans/queer and cis/straight characters. The work unfolds through journal entries, poems, and past works by KARL and Grant which they stitched together into a series of abstract conversations. The dialogue is paired with a distinctive movement language developed during the opera’s workshop residency at Avaloch Farms in 2022.

KARL says of his creative process, “Grey sent me a number of their old pieces and fragments of musical material related to the story. I also dug through five-or-six years of my own compositions and voice memos to find musical memories to incorporate. Then, just like the text, I stitched it all together (writing a significant amount of new music along the way) to make the final score.”

The creators, tenor Morgan Mastrangelo and baritone Wayne Arthur star in the production – acting as narrators, their conscience, and an inner monologue alongside members from the Contemporaneous ensemble. Corey Smith directs.

Performance are set to take place at The Space at Irondale on June 27 and 28. Both performances start at 8 p.m.