Composed, written, and conducted by Matthew Aucoin
American Repertory Theater
Directed by Diane Paulus
Part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival
At the crux of Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” lies the question: “What is it, then, between us?” In Crossing, 27-year-old composer and conductor Matthew Aucoin explodes Whitman’s “us” to operatic proportions, taking inspiration from the diary the poet kept while volunteering as a Civil War nurse. Stunningly rendered by pioneering, Boston-based orchestra collective A Far Cry and American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus (Waitress, Pippin), Aucoin’s taut chamber opera imagines Whitman, played by baritone Rod Gilfry (the loser, 2016 Next Wave; Anna Nicole, 2013 Next Wave), drawn deep into a fraught, sensual relationship with wounded young soldier John Wormley (tenor Alexander Lewis). In the shadows of a DC sick ward, haunted by the dreams and nightmares of its inmates, the two men grapple with questions that threaten to tear each other—and their country—apart.