Saturday, September 15, 2012

Timothy McDevitt to premiere "Ghost Train"

Timothy McDevitt
We've watched Timothy McDevitt's physical transformation from a skinny student into a full-fledged barihunk during his performances of Philip Glass' "Les Enfant Terribles" at North Carolina Opera. His vocal evolution has been equally successful as he's been a finalist in a number of international vocal competitions and he has become increasingly in demand as a recitalist on both sides of the Atlantic. This emerging talent returns to the Tar Heel State today with the Carolina Chamber Music Festival in New Bern in the world premiere of Paul Crabtree's The Ghost Train.

The Ghost Train, a funny thriller for six singers and instrumental ensemble, is based on an original stage play written by Arnold Ridley in 1923. The original play was turned into a movie in 1941 to help with the War effort, in an effort to cast suspicion on potential local Nazi sympathizers, and at the same time to jolly along the career of two struggling entertainers.

Rehearsal footage from The Ghost Train:

What begins as melodrama—travelers thrown together by fate one stormy night at a rural railway station—turns into political allegory as the group ignores repeated warnings to leave before a legendary apparition appears, bringing destruction in its wake. Increased and more elaborately hysterical warnings to look away if the ghost train should pass keep the travelers from realizing the truth, until one of the conspirators realizes she has been betrayed. Providing a level of intimacy by being performed without a proscenium, The Ghost Train is intended to expand the operatic tradition into relevant political debate, and at the same time provoke audiences to think about venues and their meanings, their potential disappearance, and perhaps challenge them to engage with their reuse.

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