The Old Man and the Sea is an opera by Paola Prestini, Royce Vavrek and Karmina Šilec that presents a dual track of storytelling by combining the Hemmingway with original portraits of quotidian life to create a look at aging, legacy and our relationship to oceans. The work includes longtime collaborators/muses of Prestini’s including Helga Davis and Zachary James as the narrators/orators, and Jeffrey Zeigler as the featured cellist. The cast includes a choir, and brings to life the seminal characters Santiago, Manolin, and the wife, recast as the Virgen del Cobre, a goddess in Santería, the Afro-Caribbean faith, who was found floating on a wooden board off the coast of eastern Cuba in 1628. Themes of baseball, ecology, religion, and economy help paint a conflict between progress and tradition, craft passion and exploitation, ultimately shedding contemporary perspectives on this timeless tale.
Libretto by Royce Vavrek, direction by Karmina Šilec, choreography by Sidra Bell and design by Dorian Šilec, produced by Beth Morrison Projects, developed at MASS MoCA. Commissioned by Arizona State University and Carolina Performing Arts.