THE SHAFT, an urbanist opera, from the Mesopotamian Opera Company arrives at the Highland Park Ebell Club

The Mesopotamian Opera Company, Inc., presents its new production, THE TREE*, an urbanist opera, with words and music by Peter Wing Healey, conducted on piano by Dr. James Lent, at the Highland Park Ebell Club in Los Angeles , 25, 26, 27 and 28 May 2022.

THE TREE is an exciting, eclectic, colorful, captivating and melodic tale of an ancient Japanese myth combined with the story of today’s struggle to build great cities, provide adequate housing and save the environment.

The spirit of a century-old oak tree on a ridge outside a small town falls in love with a young townsman. She comes out of her tree and marries him when her first marriage falls apart. They move to the big city where he will pursue his dream of becoming an architect. His ex-wife, taking custody of their son, remarries, this time to a local promoter. When, years later, the developer decides to build a mega-mall outside the growing city, it becomes clear that he plans to cut down the old tree. The son joins a group of tree keepers to protest the construction. The city is polarized. The architect and the spirit of the tree watch helplessly as the situation deteriorates. When the tree is finally felled, she dies, but in the process he is given the gift of a vision that will allow him to transform the world.

THE TREE is inspired by the work of Canadian-American journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Jacobs influenced urban studies, sociology and economics. THE TREE brings together themes from major global movements, such as New Urbanism and Extinction Rebellion, making it a timely work of operatic theatre.

Peter Wing Healey: Founder of The Mesopotamian Opera Company, Inc., has presented his original operas in New York and Los Angeles, the latter where he currently lives and works. Mr. Healey’s acclaimed productions have received support from American Opera Projects, the Gilman Foundation, the Noah Wyle Foundation, the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the James Irvine Foundation. Mr. Healey’s 40+ year career includes a long and illustrious association with the Mark Morris Dance Group both as a performer, rehearsal director and he appeared in the PBS Great Performances production of the innovative version of Mr. Morris from The Nutcracker, The Hard Nut. In addition, Mr. Healey has worked on The White Oak Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and has served as Ballet Master on the John Adams/Peter Sellars Nixon Opera in China since its premiere at the Houston Grand Opera, including productions at the Los Angeles Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Dutch National Opera, English National Opera and Metropolitan Opera.

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